The child of KaliThe child Ramakrishna was at once God-centric and God-intoxicated. It is often that a God-lover is misunderstood and considered to be a lunatic of the first water. Sri Ramakrishna was no exception, in the eyes of some of his countrymen. As a child cries to his mother for sweets and toys so did the child Ramakrishna for love and devotion to his Mother Kali. And this love and devotion is nothing other than the secret key to open the door to God-realisation.
Ramakrishna will appear to one as a man of overflowing emotion, to a second as an ardent aspirant, to a third as a man of philosophical wisdom, to a fourth as a man of unique sincerity. It is obvious that different persons should possess different opinions regarding his personality. For in a matter like this, a flawless analysis on an intellectual basis is next to impossible, and all our human judgment must sadly fail to yield any useful result. But nobody will ever hesitate to call him the most beloved child of Kali the Mother. His sole aim in life was to have nothing save and except a constant union with the Mother Kali. His aim he did fulfil. And in one word we can sum up the message of his life: Ma.
A wonderful swimmer in the sea of Brahman's Silence, a unique clarion in the world-atmosphere of the Spirit's expression was Sri Ramakrishna. Although he had attained to the transcendental plane he preferred to be the flute to be played by his Mother Kali. To cite him: "I do not want to be sugar, but I want to taste sugar."
Ramakrishna was, as it were, the seed sown in the world soil and Vivekananda the bumper crop of which humanity is the reaper. Ramakrishna was the Inspiration, Vivekananda was its Expression and humanity has now both Inspiration and Expression as its peerless possessions.
Every word that fell from his divine lips carried weight; and sharp humour too was not wanting when occasion demanded, but those who had to suffer his humorous blows did feel later on that those blows were meant only to awake their slumbering soul. His trance-bound countenance, the simplicity of his expression, his unassuming and genial manner, the lucid cordiality of his relationship with all, coupled with his magnificently hallowed life and divine lore won for him a universal attraction and devotion. It was Ramakrishna who had peacefully housed in him the Cosmic and Trans-cosmic Consciousness with all possible exclusiveness of outlook. What he felt was spontaneous. What he said was spontaneous. What he did was spontaneous. He had no purpose of his own and whatever we apparently hold to be his purpose, that too, to our astonishment, was never influenced by the stream of desire. He had no will of his own save that of his Mother Kali. Consequently an occasion never arose in this self-dedicated life to the Mother to hold himself responsible for all his activities. Now we can easily come to the conclusion that the descent of Avatars like Sri Ramakrishna with a human body is simply to uplift and further the progress of mankind in the evolutionary process. They go on doing good to mankind in their earthly body so long as such continuance is necessary in the interest of humanity in spite of their being immune from any action, good or bad, big or small. Naturally we do not, and cannot, know all the phases of Sri Ramakrishna's mystic life. But what we dare understand is this that he taught us how to call to the Mother: no doubt, we are her children, but it is absolutely necessary to feel that She is our real Mother and we are her real children, and we have every right to demand of her all our needs which She will never fail to supply us.
Ramakrishna ranks high among the greatest mystics and spiritual figures of the world. His very life was in itself the most effective refutation of the half-believer and unbeliever of the Divine. Reason, whether erring or unerring, was altogether foreign to his nature. Who was Ramakrishna, if not a unique revelation of the Intuition? This supreme Mystic showed to the world that there is something divine beyond and behind the terrestrial appearances, and this is no mere inference of the hesitating understanding that the world is real. His teachings were surcharged with conviction. They sprang from the innermost depth of his heart. His simple and candid language has touched the heart of mankind as clearly as the sense-organs apprehend the physical objects of the world.
Apparently we do notice that the true and higher life is less contagious than the evil and the lower life. But the higher consciousness that constantly and puissantly flooded the mind and the heart of Ramakrishna exerted a unique attraction on all persons around him, whether his disciples or not, and finally lifted them above the ordinary plane to partake of the divine sweetness. They found that a supremely calm and serene atmosphere was not to be had from the eloquent discussions of the intellectuals, but only from Ramakrishna the eternal child of the eternal Mother Kali.
It is quite surprising that Naren, the dearest disciple of Ramakrishna, had in the beginning no faith in Mother Kali. Days ran into weeks, weeks into months and months into years, yet the proud head of Naren would not surrender to Kali. In season and out he would argue with his Master about the authenticity of divinity in the Mother. At times the Master was hurt. But the Mother used to brush off his qualms. Once She told her child that in due time Naren would have faith in her and stop arguing with him. With a heart full of certitude the Master said to his hesitating disciple that a time would come when at the mere mention of Mother Kali his eyes would shed tears. Infallible was his prophecy. In after years Vivekananda says: "How I used to hate Kali! and all her ways! That was the ground of my six years' fight — that I would not accept Her. But I had to accept Her at last! Ramakrishna Paramahansa dedicated me to Her, and now I believe that She guides me in every little thing I do, and does with me what She wills."
Vivekananda's invocation to Kali the Mother is unique.
...Come, Mother, come!
For Terror is Thy name,
Death is in Thy breath
And every shaking step.
Destroys a world for e'er.
Thou "Time", the All-Destroyer!
Come, O Mother, come!...
Something more significant we learn from him. He confides to us that only such a devotee can hope to cherish her Presence:
"Who dares misery love,
And hug the form of Death,
Dance in destruction's dance,
To him the Mother comes."
The great Messenger of Nazareth declared to the world:
2) "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.""
He made bold to declare so on the strength of his supreme identification with his Father. Now I must bring Sri Ramakrishna's consort on the scene. Sarada Devi constantly felt and saw that the child of Kali had completely identified himself with his Mother. So to her he was neither her husband nor the God-man Ramakrishna but Kali.