Do not criticise the Master

One day Nag Mahashay went to his father-in-law's place. There was a guest there who was inwardly quite spiritual, although outwardly he used to make fun of spiritual people. This guest began criticising Sri Ramakrishna, saying that Sri Ramakrishna was crazy and his realisation was not authentic.

Nag Mahashay could not restrain himself. He said to this gentleman, "If you utter one more word, I shall throw you out of this place!"

The man was quite tall and stout. Physically he was much stronger than Nag Mahashay. Once more he began criticising Sri Ramakrishna mercilessly. Nag Mahashay grabbed a pair of sandals and started thrashing the guest. He said, "I begged you to leave this place, but you would not go. You dared to speak ill of my Master. This is what you deserve!"

Needless to say, the gentleman beat a hasty retreat.

When Girish Chandra Ghosh came to hear of this incident, he said to Nag Mahashay, "You never wear sandals. Where then did you get a pair of sandals to beat this poor fellow?"

"I simply removed them from his own feet," replied Nag Mahashay.

"Nag Mahashay is verily a hooded Naga!" was Girish's comment.

There were two ways Sri Ramakrishna used to advise his disciples to deal with somebody who was criticising their Master. If that person was physically, vitally and mentally stronger than the disciple, he used to tell the disciple to think of the person as an insect, not as a human being. In Bengali, lok means human being and pok means insect, so you can easily substitute pok for lok. Sri Ramakrishna would say, "Just think of them as pok. Then you will not have to take them seriously." 1

But if somebody who was physically, vitally and mentally weak began criticising the Master, Sri Ramakrishna would say to his disciples, "How do you allow yourselves to keep quiet at that time? If somebody speaks ill of your Master, it is the greatest sin for you to hear it. Do you not read the shastras?"

In our Indian scriptures, it is written that if you hear somebody speaking ill of your Master and you do not rise to his defence, then you are committing the greatest sin.

God alone knows which one is the right attitude. In my own case, I have told my disciples that if somebody speaks ill of me, they must never take the side of physical violence-never, never! Of all the Himalayan blunders you can make, physical violence is absolutely the worst. Only pray to the Supreme to illumine that person. Let each human being take his own time to realise the Truth.

GNM 14,7. Note: 'Nag' means 'snake'. 'Mahashay' means 'esteemed sir'.