The Mother Divine
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From Gospel of Ramakrishna
Conversations recorded by Mahendranath Gupta, translated by Swami Nikhilananda

Thursday, December 14, 1882


Purity of heart
VIJAY: "How can one see God?"
MASTER: "One cannot see God without purity of heart.  Through attachment to 'woman and gold' the mind has become stained-covered with dirt, as it were.  A magnet cannot attract a needle if the needle is covered with mud.  Wash away the mud and the magnet will draw it.  Likewise, the dirt of the mind can be washed away with the tears of our eyes.  This stain is removed if one sheds tears of repentance and says, 'O God, I shall never again do such a thing.' Thereupon God, who is like the magnet, draws to Himself the mind, which is like the needle.  Then the devotee goes into samādhi and obtains the vision of God.
God's grace is the ultimate help
"You may try thousands of times, but nothing can be achieved without God's grace.  One cannot see God without His grace.  Is it an easy thing to receive the grace of God? One must altogether renounce egotism; one cannot see God as long as one feels, 'I am the doer.' Suppose, in a family, a man has taken charge of the store-room; then if someone asks the master, 'Sir, will you yourself kindly give me something from the store-room?', the master says to him: 'There is already someone in the store-room.  What can I do there?'
"God doesn't easily appear in the heart of a man who feels himself to be his own master.  But God can be seen the moment His grace descends.  He is the Sun of Knowledge.  One single ray of His has illumined the world with the light of knowledge.  That is how we are able to see one another and acquire varied knowledge.  One can see God only if He turns His light toward His own face.
"The police sergeant does his rounds in the dark of night with a lantern in his hand.  No one sees his face; but with the help of that light the sergeant sees everybody's face, and others, too, can see one another.  If you want to see the sergeant, however, you must pray to him: 'Sir, please turn the light on your own face.  Let me see you.' In the same way one must pray to God: 'O Lord, be gracious and turn the light of knowledge on Thyself, that I may see Thy face.'
"A house without light indicates poverty.  So one must light the lamp of Knowledge in one's heart.  As it is said in a song:
Lighting the lamp of Knowledge in the chamber of your heart,
Behold the face of the Mother, Brahman's Embodiment."
Monday, January 1, 1883
At eight o'clock in the morning Sri Ramakrishna was seated on a mat spread on the floor of his room at Dakshineswar.  Since it was a cold day, he had wrapped his body in his moleskin shawl.  Prankrishna and M. were seated in front of him.  Rakhal, too, was in the room.  Prankrishna was a high government official and lived in Calcutta.  Since he had had no offspring by his first wife, with her permission he had married a second time.  By the second wife he had a son.  Because he was rather stout, the Master addressed him now and then as "the fat brahmin".  He had great respect for Sri Ramakrishna.  Though a householder, Prankrishna studied the Vedanta and had been heard to say: "Brahman alone is real and the world illusory.  I am He." The Master used to say to him: "In the Kaliyuga the life of a man depends on food.  The path of devotion prescribed by Narada is best for this age."
A devotee had brought a basket of jalebi for the Master, which the latter kept by his side.  Eating a bit of the sweets, he said to Prankrishna with a smile: "You see, I chant the name of the Divine Mother; so I get all these good things to eat. (Laughter) But She doesn't give such fruits as gourd or pumpkin.  She bestows the fruit of Amrita, Immortality-knowledge, love, discrimination, renunciation, and so forth."
A boy six or seven years old entered the room.  The Master himself became like a child.  He covered the contents of the basket with the palm or his hand, as a child does to conceal sweets from another child lest the latter should snatch them.  Then he put the basket aside.
Suddenly the Master went into samādhi and sat thus a long time.  His body was transfixed, his eyes wide open and unwinking, his breathing hardly perceptible.  After a long time he drew a deep breath, indicating his return to the world of sense.
Vision of Divine Mother
MASTER (to Prankrishna): "My Divine Mother is not only formless, She has forms as well.  One can see Her forms.  One can behold Her incomparable beauty through feeling and love.  The Mother reveals Herself to Her devotees in different forms.
"I saw Her yesterday.  She was clad in a seamless ochre-coloured garment, and She talked with me.
"She came to me another day as a Mussalman girl six or seven years old.  She had a tilak on her forehead and was naked.  She walked with me, joking and frisking like a child.
"At Hriday's house I had a vision of Gauranga.  He wore a black-bordered cloth.
"Haladhāri used to say that God is beyond both Being and Non-being.  I told the Mother about it and asked Her, 'Then is the divine form an illusion?' The Divine Mother appeared to me in the form of Rati's mother and said, 'Do thou remain in Bhāva' I repeated this to Haladhāri.  Now and then I forget Her command and suffer.  Once I broke my teeth because I didn't remain in bhava.  So I shall remain in bhava unless I receive a revelation from heaven or have a direct experience to the contrary.  I shall follow the path of love.  What do you say?"
PRANKRISHNA: "Yes, sir."
MASTER: "But why should I ask you about it? There is Someone within me who does all these things through me.  At times I used to remain in a mood of Godhood and would enjoy no peace of mind unless I were being worshipped.
"I am the machine and God is the Operator.  I act as He makes me act.  I speak as He makes me speak.  Keep your raft, says Ramprasad, afloat on the sea of life, drifting up with the flood-tide, drifting down with the ebb.
"It is like the cast-off leaf before a gale; sometimes it is blown to a good place and sometimes into the gutter, according to the direction of the wind.
"As the weaver said in the story: 'The robbery was committed by the will of Rama, I was arrested by the police by the will of Rama, and again, by the will of Rama, I was set free.'
"Hanuman once said to Rama: 'O Rama, I have taken refuge in Thee.  Bless me that I may have pure devotion to Thy Lotus Feet and that I may not be caught in the spell of Thy world-bewitching maya.'
"Once a dying bullfrog said to Rama: 'O Rama, when caught by a snake I cry for Your protection.  But now I am about to die, struck by Your arrow.  Hence I am silent.'