Reminiscences of Sargachhi
The Vedanta Kesari|March 2021
(Continued from previous issue. . .) Swami Premeshananda (1884 – 1967) was a disciple of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi. For over two decades he lived at Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Sargachhi, West Bengal. Under his inspiration countless people led a life of spirituality and service, and many young men and women entered into monastic life. His conversations – translated from Bengali and presented below – were noted by his attendant who is now Srimat Swami Suhitananda Ji, one of the Vice-Presidents of the Ramakrishna Order.
SWAMI SUHITANANDA

Question: Does an avatar sleep?

Maharaj: One day, after waking from sleep, Sri Ramakrishna, said, ‘I saw a gourd flower in a dream.’ At once Master Mahasaya was ready to go to the market to buy that flower. But Sri Ramakrishna said, ‘Oh no, you won’t have to bring it.’ Sri Ramakrishna too would go into deep sleep just as we do. But there’s a difference. In his case the sheath of deep sleep was of his own making; he could cover himself or cast it off as he wished. But we cannot do that. Furthermore, in deep sleep he would go back to his true identity, whereas our true identity remains veiled. This is the strangest thing about the avatara leela: even while sporting as an avatar, he remains PurnaBrahman. This great truth has been expressed in the Bhagavatam: ’As many gopis, so many Krishnas.’

The Vaishnavites popularised the idea of pure devotion through Hari-nama. This is a sublime ideal which they expressed in a form suitable for the masses. The Brahmins who are knowers of scriptures changed this by delving into the philosophy of Shakti and Tantra. They invigorated the country by popularising the Chandi, Ramprasadi and Agamani songs. This is a method where devotion is mixed with knowledge; it is very helpful for us.

The religion of the masses is very good, provided its followers don’t mingle with others. Your guru may tell you, ‘He who doesn’t worship Krishna will go to hell.’ Very good! Believe in this and practise it quietly. But if you mix with people holding other views, then you will be in trouble.

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