India and her miracle-feast: come and enjoy yourself, part 6, vol. 1 — Traditional Indian stories about Ramdas Kathiya Baba
Introduction by the AuthorI have decided to narrate a few traditional stories which are well-known in India. These stories are not my own creations; they are about spiritual Masters who used to show their occult power as easily and as often as we drink water. I am one of those who do not appreciate miracles, for quite often miracles only feed curiosity, and there is a yawning gulf between curiosity and aspiration. Again, there are some Masters who think that it is advisable for an individual to start his spiritual journey, even if he has to start with curiosity. Eventually the same person will enter into the world of true aspiration.
Sometimes occultists want to prove that modern science does not have the last word with regard to God’s creation. They want to show that the infinite wealth of the inner world can easily silence all the achievements of mankind in the outer world. To be sure, what we call a miracle is nothing but a common occurrence in the world beyond our senses. Inwardly we can learn from these great Masters, from their fascinating miracles, from their soul-stirring lives. That is why I am interested in telling these stories.
— Sri Chinmoy
I have definitely realised GodRamdas Kathiya Baba realised God by repeating the Gayatri Mantra one million times at the foot of a banyan tree. Then he composed a sweet, soulful and fruitful song. It said: “I have realised God. My God-realisation is for the holy ones to believe and for the wicked ones not to believe. But I know, I know I have definitely realised God.”
Commentary: True, a God-realised soul does not have to depend on man’s belief or disbelief. But if people believe in him, then he can without fail accelerate humanity’s progress and divinity’s manifestation on earth. Not only the non-believers but also the disbelievers will one day turn into believers, but God does not force anyone. He waits for His choice Hour. Again, God’s Compassion-Power on rare occasions overrules His Justice-Light. At that time it forces the non-believers and disbelievers to see the Light devotedly the way the Light wants to be seen.
Human belief is transitory; it has a fleeting breath. Divine belief is nothing short of our inmost faith. It sees constantly through the Vision-Eye of God and feels with the Compassion-Heart of God.
Temptation-force never to be forgivenIn the middle of the night Ramdas was seated on his bed meditating. His disciples were sleeping in adjacent rooms. Suddenly a middle-aged but beautiful widow came into Ramdas’ room and embraced him. Ramdas became furious and wanted to strike her. When he shouted aloud, his disciples came in. All of them wanted to beat the woman mercilessly, but she immediately cried out, “I was sent by the head of the village to test your celibacy. I am innocent. Please forgive me.” And she began to weep bitterly.
The disciples were moved to tears and sympathised with her. But the Master did not forgive her. He said to her, “I will not forgive you, for I know you could have easily ignored the request or command of the head of your village. It is not his request or command, it is his money-power that has compelled you to come to me; therefore, I shall not forgive you. Go home.”
The widow went home crying and sobbing.
Commentary: Money-power and temptation-power are two neighbours. These two friends are extremely fond of each other. In course of time they look around and find a few more friends. Money-power makes a special attempt to make friends with pride and vanity. Temptation-power makes a special attempt to make friends with the lower vital. In most cases, members of a family or friends all stay together. Here we try to separate them and put an end to their friendship so that we can hear the message of perfect oneness.
After we have separated them they will be weakened, true, but there is no guarantee that they will lose all their power. What shall we do then? We shall have to transform them radically. In order to transform them, we advise money-power to enter into the world of dedicated service. We advise temptation-power to enter into the world of aspiration. We advise the lower vital to enter into the pure heart, the heart that always listens to the soul and devotedly sees eye to eye with the soul. Money-power becomes satisfaction-power only when it is used in service to God. Temptation-power becomes satisfaction-power only when it is used as aspiration-power. The lower vital becomes satisfaction-power only when it is used as illumination-power.
Deception — no, compassion — yesWhenever Kathiya Baba wanted his disciples to meditate for many hours at night, he used to play a trick on them. He would tell them that he was getting the inner message that at night there was every possibility that some thief would commit a theft in the ashram. To prevent a serious type of robbery, they all must remain awake and there was only one way to do so — that is, to remain in constant meditation. If they could really meditate well, they would be able to remain alert and there would be no theft.
The following day Kathiya Baba would tell them that it had been a false alarm. Although they were deceived each time by the Master, the disciples enjoyed their meditation and offered their Master most soulful gratitude, for they knew that it was not deception after all, but true compassion on his part that had wanted to keep them awake even by telling them a white lie.
Commentary: There are so many ways for a Master to increase the aspiration of his disciples. Sometimes the end justifies the means. If the Master feels that a negligible white lie has tremendous power to raise the consciousness of the disciples, then he will not hesitate to tell that white lie, for he knows precisely what God wants from him. God wants him to help his disciples make progress as fast as possible. God Himself will take care of the Master’s white lie, as the Master is taking care of the disciples.
If Kathiya Baba had simply asked his disciples to meditate for hours, they would all have made friends with sleep. The Master and the disciples had practically no material possessions, but by telling them that there was every possibility of a theft, the Master made them alert. This alertness helped them tremendously in their sincere effort to meditate, and by meditating for many hours they definitely made tremendous progress. So when we make a comparison, the harmless white lie that the Master told is next to nothing when we see the Joy, the Light, the Delight and the other achievements of the disciples which resulted from the Master’s harmless lie.
Look at this great Bengali soulPushkar was Ramdas’ cook. He was extremely greedy, and he was wicked to the backbone. Three times he intentionally poisoned his Master. Once he put poison inside the bread, once inside the rice pudding and a third time in something else. With his occult power Ramdas saved himself, but he suffered miserably. He told his disciples the reason for his suffering, and Pushkar confessed each time.
Once when Ramdas had been poisoned, Bijoykrishna was at that time in a distant city. When he heard that Ramdas was dying, Bijoykrishna said to one of Ramdas’ disciples, “I can’t believe it. Only poison can take his life. No disease can kill him, for he never allows any disease to enter into him. Somebody has definitely poisoned him.”
Ramdas’ disciple went to his Master and told him about this. Ramdas said to his disciples, “Look at this great Bengali soul! Where is he and where am I? Although he is so far away, from there he understands what is happening here. You people are here with me, but even then you didn’t recognise that I had been poisoned.”
After this incident Ramdas’ disciples wanted to throw Pushkar out of the ashram, but Ramdas said, “No, he will have his own karma. What I know, I do: I know how to forgive. What he knows he does: he knows how to steal. As God is taking care of me, even so He will take care of him.”
Commentary: The disciple poisoned the Master to get his money. This was the height of the disciple’s ignorance. But the Master wanted to offer the height of his wisdom to the disciple. He could do this either by forgiving him or by punishing him.
If the disciple is a sincere seeker, then the Master’s forgiveness-power itself will invariably act like punishment-power, for it will create tremendous remorse in the sincere seeker’s heart for deceiving the Master. Again, if the disciple is punished, he will take it not as justice-light, but as forgiveness-power. He will think that this punishment is absolutely nothing in comparison to the crime he has committed. He will feel very grateful to the Master, for he will say to himself, “The Master has punished me. That means he has taken some interest in me. He could have easily ignored me. He could have easily paid attention to other disciples who are good, sincere, devoted and surrendered. How is it that he is thinking of me?”
Even the Master’s punishment is not real punishment; it is only the Master’s divine concern which wants us always to make progress. The punishment itself is forgiveness. Something more: it is true concern that the culprit-seeker should become the all-fulfilling truth-seeker.
God will punish him in His own WayRamdas used to wear a wooden belt which his Master had given him. He wore it twenty-four hours a day. Devadas Maharaj wanted him to wear it all the time so that he could not enjoy comfort, even while he was resting. Pushkar was under the impression that his Master was hiding money inside the wooden belt; therefore, quite a few times he had tried to steal money from his Master by removing the belt while he was resting or sleeping. But each time he had approached his Master to steal the belt, he saw that his Master was actually wide awake.
Finally Pushkar poisoned his Master so that he could get the belt. When Ramdas drank the poison, he suffered terribly, and he asked his disciples to cut and remove the wooden belt. When the disciples removed the wooden belt, they saw that there was nothing inside it. When Pushkar saw that there was no money inside the belt, he confessed that he felt sorry, not for the Master’s suffering, but for his own stupidity.
The disciples wanted to throw Pushkar out of the ashram or kill him. But Ramdas said, “Don’t throw him out. Don’t kill him. God will punish him in His own Way. God wants me to show forgiveness; therefore, I forgive him. We must surrender to God’s Will. But God Himself will not forgive him.”
Commentary: Man’s temptation-power wants to destroy the world. God’s Compassion-Power does not permit temptation-power to destroy the world. God’s Compassion-Power knows perfectly well that if temptation-power does not succeed in tempting others, it will eventually destroy itself instead of destroying others. God never wants anything or anybody to be destroyed. What He wants is illumination. When illumination takes place, the night of human ignorance becomes the light of divine knowledge. And what is divine knowledge? Divine knowledge is to know God as the Supreme Seeker and as the Beloved Supreme.
The rogue consoles the saintOnce Ramdas was meditating at the foot of a small hillock. His cook Pushkar employed two unparalleled rogues to throw a heavy stone on him from the top of the hill. The hooligans succeeded in their wicked adventure, and dropped a heavy piece of stone on Ramdas’ lap. He was severely injured. And who came to console him first? The worst possible rogue — Pushkar.
The Master’s cries and shouts finally brought some of Ramdas’ other disciples to the spot. He immediately told them that it was Pushkar who had employed two of his friends to drop the stone. Pushkar wanted to deny it, but the Master’s fiery eyes frightened him; therefore, he had no choice but to tell the truth, to confess. Then Ramdas said to Pushkar, “I shall always forgive you, but God will not forgive you, although He easily can.”
Commentary: Pushkar knew what deception was. Ramdas knew what compassion was and what forgiveness was. An individual usually acts according to his nature, but at times one can change this nature. If a spiritual Master feels that by exposing a person he will be able to expedite that person’s progress, then he will definitely do so. What the Master wants is progress from the disciples, and for that progress he will adopt any means and do everything he can.
Take your tongue backRamdas Kathiya Baba had a disciple who had a very foul tongue. Everybody was horrified at his foul language. Many times he had insulted and scolded even his Master, Ramdas. Finally it came to the point when his language was unbearable for everyone. Then Ramdas said to him, “To punish you I am taking your tongue away for twelve years. Now try to talk.”
Ramdas did not actually remove the man’s tongue, but he took away the disciple’s speech-power. From that moment the disciple could not speak, and for twelve long years he did not utter a word.
At the end of twelve years Ramdas Kathiya Baba said, “Take your tongue back,” and the disciple could talk again.
Commentary: Silence prepares; speech offers. If there is no preparation, then there can be nothing worth giving. First we dive deep within; then we can either march forward or fly upward.