Author Topic: Rough Notebook-Open Forum  (Read 314744 times)

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1935 on: July 29, 2016, 11:03:25 PM »
How The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna came to be written continued....

With this encouragement from Holy Mother, M. began to develop Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita in right earnest. He published chapters from the book in many Bengali magazines and newspapers such as Udbodhan, Tattwamanjari, Anusandhan, Arati, Alochana, Utsaha, Rishi, Janmabhumi, Navya Bharat, Punya, Pradip, Prabasi, Prayas, Bamabodhini, Sahitya, Sahitya Samhita, and Hindu 10 Patrika.M. then arranged those chapters in chronological order and published them as Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita - Volume I, which was published on 11th March 1902 by Udbodhan Press under Swami Trigunatitananda's supervision. Volume II was published in 1904, Volume III in 1908, Volume IV in 1910, and Volume V in 1932. In its entirety, Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita contains nearly 177 diary entries that M. recorded during Ramakrishna's lifetime and 8 entries that he added after the Master passed away. In addition, M. collected information from other sources that he included in appendices to those volumes.

Swami Nityatmananda described how M. wrote notes to himself in his diary. On Sunday, 1st January 1882, Sri Ramakrishna went to attend the Brahmo Festival at Jnan Chaudhury's house in Simla, Calcutta. M. wrote only two words in his diary entry for that day: 'kamarshalar loha', meaning 'iron in a smithy'. Based on those two words, M. wrote the words of the Master: "Why shouldn't it be possible for a householder to give his mind to God? But the truth is that he no longer has his mind with him. If he had it, then he could certainly offer it to God. But, alas, the mind has been mortgaged - mortgaged to 'woman and gold'.So it is necessary for him constantly to live in the company of holy men. Either he should think of God in solitude day and night, or he should live with holy men. The mind left to itself gradually dries up. Take a jar of water, for instance. If the jar is set aside, the water dries up little by little. But that will not happen if the jar is kept immersed in the Ganges.
The iron becomes red in the forge of a smithy. Take it out and it becomes black as before. Therefore the iron must be heated in the forge every now and then".

On 21st February 1924 a devotee asked M., "Why did you assume three names: Master, Srima, and Mani in the Kathamrita instead of one"?
M.: "Where there is a private conversation, I put 'Mani' because it is not necessary for the reader to know the person. It is enough to know what the Master said to him. What is the necessity for others to know whether the Master scolded or praised him?"
The devotee: "Will readers understand if your diary is printed as it is"?
M.:"No, people won't understand it. It is recorded in a very concise way. Some parts are in my mind and some are in the diary, such as a subtitle in the chapter, 'The Brahmachari and the Snake.'"

On 16th July 1925 Swami Vireswarananda asked M. how he could have written the wonderful Kathamrita from such meagre sketches. M. humbly replied: "By the Master's grace alone. People take these incidents to have occurred over forty years ago. But I see them happening this very moment before my very eyes. In meditation the distance of time vanishes. In love and devotion everything is ever-present; there is no past or future."

On 3 November 1927 a devotee asked M."Is it true that the Master forbade anyone to record his words, except you?"
M.:"The Master did not allow people to record his words in his presence. No one knew that I was recording the Master's sayings. I habitually maintained a diary, so I went on recording his words accordingly. When the Master was ill at the Cossipore garden house, he learned (somehow) that I was recording his conversations, and he did not forbid it."

M. would listen and absorb the words of the Master, and then return home and write in his diary, sometimes the entire night. On 13th September 1924, M. described the stress this caused:"One day on Badurbagan Street, in front of Vidyasagar's house, I fell unconscious on the sidewalk. Then someone took me home in a horse carriage. When the Master heard about this incident, he said: "Please sleep more and drink milk. And stop writing for some days."

continued......
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 12:39:56 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1936 on: July 30, 2016, 12:59:52 AM »
How The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna came to be written continued....

Sri Ramakrishna's life was based on truth, so every one of his words was true. He said that the Divine Mother had never allowed an untruth to pass through his lips. The omniscient Master knew that M. was preserving his message, so from time to time he corrected M.'s ideas to make sure they were accurate. The following conversation took place between Sri Ramakrishna and M. on 9th November 1884:
Master: "How did you like today's conversation?"
M.:"Very much indeed."
Master (smiling): "How I spoke about the Emperor Akbar!"
M.: "It was very good."
Master: "Repeat it to me."
M.: "A fakir came to visit Akbar. The Emperor was saying his prayers. In his prayers he was asking God to give him wealth and riches. Thereupon the fakir was about to leave the room quietly. Later, when the Emperor asked him about it, the fakir said, 'If I must beg, why should I beg of a beggar?"
Master: "What else did we talk about?"
M.: "You told us a great deal about saving up for the future."
Master(smiling): "What did I say?"
M.: "As long as a man feels that he must try, he should make an effort. How well you told us about it at Sinthi!"
Master: "What did I say?"
M.: "God takes upon Himself complete responsibility for one who totally depends upon Him. It is like a guardian taking charge of a minor. You also told us that at a feast a child cannot by himself find a place to eat his meal; someone finds a place for him."
Master: "No, that is not quite to the point. I said that the child doesn't fall if the father leads him and holds his hand."
M.: "You also described the three classes of sadhus. The best sadhu does not move about to get his food; he lives in one place and gets his food there. You told us about that young sadhu who said, when he saw the breasts of a young girl, 'Why has she those abscesses?'You told us many other things."
Master(smiling): "What else?"
M.: "About the crow of Pampa Lake. He repeated the name of Rama day and night. That is why he couldn't drink the water though he went to its edge. And about the holy man in whose book was written only 'Om Rama.' And what Hanuman said toRama."
Master: "What did he say?"
M.: "Hanuman said to Rama: 'I saw Sita in Ceylon; but it was only her body. Her mind and soul were lying at Your feet.'
"And about the chataka bird. He will not drink anything but rain-water. And about jnana yoga and bhakti yoga."
Master:"What did I say about them?"
M.: "As long as one is conscious of the 'jar,' the ego will certainly remain. As long as one is conscious of 'I' one cannot get rid of the idea, 'I am the devotee and Thou art God."
Master: "No, it is not that; the 'jar' doesn't disappear whether one is conscious of it or not. One cannot get rid of the 'I'.
You may reason a thousand times; still it will not go."
M. remained silent a few moments.
M.: "You had that talk with Ishan Mukherji in the Kali temple. We were very lucky to be there."
Master(smiling):"Yes, yes. Tell me, what did I say?"
M.: "You said that work is only the first step. You told us that you said to Shambhu Mallick, 'If God appears before you, will you ask Him for a number of hospitals and dispensaries?'
"You said another thing: 'God does not reveal Himself to a person as long as he is attached to work'.You said that to Keshab
Sen."
Master:"What did I say?"
M.: "As long as the baby plays with the toy and forgets everything else, its mother looks after her cooking and other household duties; but when the baby throws away the toy and cries, then the mother puts down the rice-pot and comes to the baby".
"You said another thing that day: 'Lakshmana asked Rama where one could find God;after a great deal of explanation, Rama said to him, Brother, I dwell in the man in whom you find ecstatic love -a love which makes him laugh and weep and dance and sing. "
Master:"Ah me! Ah me!"
Sri Ramakrishna sat in silence a few minutes.
M.: "That day you spoke only words of renunciation to Ishan. Since then many of us have come to our senses. Now we are eager to reduce our duties. You said that day, 'Ravana died in Ceylon and Behula wept bitterly for him'."
Sri Ramakrishna laughed aloud.
M. (humbly): "Sir, isn't it desirable to reduce the number of one's duties and entanglements?"
Master: "Yes. But it is a different thing if you happen to come across a sadhu or a poor man. Then you should serve him."
M.: "And that day you spoke very rightly to Ishan about flatterers. They are like vultures on a carcass. You once said that to Padmalochan also."
Master:"No, to Vamandas of Ulo."

continued......
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 05:50:19 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1937 on: July 30, 2016, 01:17:07 AM »
How The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna came to be written continued....


Sometimes Sri Ramakrishna tested M.'s understanding of  specific terms that he used. On 3rd August 1884, the Master talked about false and real renunciation. Because M. was a family man, it was not possible for him to renounce completely, so the Master asked him to renounce mentally.
M.: "Mental renunciation is prescribed for those who cannot give up the world outwardly. For superior devotees total renunciation is enjoined - both outer and inner."
Sri Ramakrishna was silent for a few minutes and then resumed the conversation.
Master: "How did you like what I said about renunciation a little while ago?"
M.:"Very much, sir."
Master:"Tell me, what is the meaning of renunciation?"
M.: "Renunciation does not mean simply dispassion for the world. It means dispassion for the world and also longing for God."
Master: "You are right. You no doubt need money for your worldly life; but don't worry too much about it. Those who surrender their hearts and souls to God, those who are devoted to Him and have taken refuge in Him,do not worry much about money. As they earn so they spend. This is what the Gita  describes as 'accepting what comes of its own accord'.

On different occasions M. later related the genesis of the Gospel to the monks and devotees:"Once the Master said to me, 'The Divine Mother has told me that you have to do a little work for her. You will have to teach the Bhagavata, the word of God, to humanity. God binds the Bhagavata pundit to the world with one tie; otherwise, who would remain to explain the sacred book? He keeps the pundit bound for the good of men. That is why the Divine Mother has kept you in the world.' "

"To what extent can we foresee God's plan? The Master made me start keeping a diary in 1867 when I was a student of class seven at Hare School. Since then I recorded in my journal my daily activities, the places I had visited, and so on. I met the Master in the later part of February 1882. That is when my habit of maintaining a diary really became fruitful. When we look back on our past we realize that God is making us do everything. God
determines beforehand what he will do through a particular person and then gets it done through him. There were many people around the Master, but he made me write the chronicle. As a result, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna came into existence. I was an apprentice for fifteen years. The hard discipline greatly helped me. It sharpened my memory and increased my skill in writing. I could recall the sequence of all of the incidents that had
occurred during the day after I returned home at night. I would try to remember the first lines of the songs I had heard. This is the way the Master worked through me".
"I was involved in worldly activities, bound to my work, and could not visit the Master whenever I wished. Therefore I used to note down his words so that I could think over what he had said between my visits to him. In this way the impressions made on my mind might not be counteracted by the stress of worldly work and responsibilities. It was thus for my own benefit that I first took notes, so that I might realize his teachings more perfectly".

continued....
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 01:18:42 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1938 on: July 30, 2016, 01:34:53 AM »
How The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna came to be written continued....

M:"I used to memorize the Master's words, and then after returning home I would write brief notes in my diary. Sometimes I would spend the whole night in completing my record. Later I would fill in all the details from memory. Sometimes I would spend seven days completing the record of one day's happenings.
Thus The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna appeared in book form from the notes of my diary. Sometimes I had to wait for a word of the Master's to come to my mind as a chataka bird waits for a drop of rainwater to fall. Sometimes I meditated on one scene over a thousand times. As a result I could vividly visualize the Master's divine play, though it had happened long before. By the grace of the Master I used to feel that his play had just happened.
Therefore one can say that it was written in the Master's presence.At times I would not be satisfied with a particular description of an episode, so I would get absorbed in meditation on the Master.Then the correct picture would vividly appear in my mind.
Therefore, from a human standpoint there was a great distance of time, but in my thought world I felt that it had happened just before I recorded it. My account is not culled from other sources. I recorded whatever I heard from the Master's lips with my own ears and whatever I saw of his life with my own eyes.
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna is the world's only firsthand record of the life and teachings of an avatar. One can collect materials about Sri Ramakrishna in three ways: First, direct observation recorded on the same day; second, direct observation but unrecorded during the lifetime of the Master; and third, hearsay, also unrecorded during the lifetime of the Master. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna belongs to the first category. I was present during each scene of the Gospel".
"I have published my diary very carefully. If there is any mistake in it, then its value will diminish. People do not realize that at one time I had to study the rules of evidence. If a witness makes a single mistake, the entire case becomes nullified. Addressing the judge, the lawyer says, "My Lord, this witness is not reliable." I used to visit the court and observe all these details. The evidence of an eyewitness is very valuable. For that reason the judge asks, "Did you see this yourself?".If a person has seen  and heard something himself, his words carry weight. I checked all the facts and details before I published The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.

When somebody asked M. to remove some of the repetitions from the Gospel, he replied:"I cannot do that. The Master told the same parable to different people. If I remove a particular section, the train of the conversation will be broken. Moreover, you won't be able to see the effect of the Gospel on a particular person's life. The Master gave the same teaching to five different people in five different places. What he said to Bankim, he said to others also; and whatever conversation he had with Vivekananda, he had with others too".
"You see, sometimes the brilliance of a diamond is enhanced by changing its setting. Putting it on the dusty ground produces one effect, and putting it on a green lawn produces another. But putting it in a casket lined with blue velvet produces the most brilliant effect of all. The same is true of the words in the Gospel. The rays of the sun look different when they fall on water, on the earth, and on glass, but the maximum brilliance is produced when the sun is reflected on glass. So I cannot avoid the repetitions in the Gospel, because removing them would disturb the Master's dialogue.
Once Hriday said to the Master: "Uncle, please reserve some of your best teachings. Otherwise, if you say everything all at once, and then repeat the same thing again and again, people will not come to you anymore." The Master replied: 'You rascal! I shall repeat my words fifty times. What does it matter to you?"

continued........
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 05:55:42 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1939 on: July 30, 2016, 01:50:06 AM »
How The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna came to be written continued....

M. added the Kathamrita to the curriculum of his school. When M. was accused by some people of trying to sell his books to the students, he calmly replied: "The students will understand  the effect of reading the Gospel when they enter family life. The Master used to say, 'The world is a burning fire.' And I fully realized it. After the boys enter the world and are tormented by sorrows and sufferings, the Master's immortal words will save them, like a loving mother. If they remember at least one of the Master's teachings, that will be like a boat to ferry them across the  turbulent ocean of maya and it will bring peace to their lives."

In spite of his illness, M. read the proofs of the last part of the Kathamrita at 1 o'clock in the morning by the light of a kerosene lantern.When lovingly chastised by Swami Nityatmananda, he said:"People are finding peace by reading this book, the Master's immortal message. It is inevitable that the body will meet its end, so it is better that it be used for spreading peace to others. We are in the world and have fully experienced how much pain there is in it, yet I have forgotten that pain through The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. I am hurrying so that the  book may come out soon.

Sri Ramakrishna's Language in the Kathamrita
Like Buddha and Christ, Ramakrishna taught in the language of the people. His mother tongue was Bengali, but he also knew some English words, including 'friend', 'refine','like', 'honorary', 'society', 'under', 'tax', 'cheque' and 'thank you'. Although he had no formal education, he could read and write Bengali. Once he humorously said: "Narendra considers me to be illiterate, but I know the alphabet."
Sri Ramakrishna also spoke Hindi with his guru Tota Puri and with monks from western India. He studied Sanskrit "a little" at his brother's Sanskrit School in Calcutta.
Again, he once said: "If a pundit speaks to me in Sanskrit, I can follow him, but I cannot speak it myself."

Before we discuss the charm of Sri Ramakrishna's language and how M. recorded it almost verbatim in the Kathamrita, it is important to understand the difference between the colloquial mother tongue and the literary language. Children learn their mother tongue spontaneously from their parents, friends, and relatives, but they learn literary language from teachers in school.
As a child Sri Ramakrishna learned his native mother tongue, which was Bengali, but he never learned literary language or "language proper",from his schooling. Thus, when we read the Kathamrita,we enjoy the freshness and liveliness of Sri Ramakrishna's colloquial village language. His language is simple and sweet; his words are clear and charming; his examples are apt and beautiful; his descriptions are poetic and graphic; his ideas are profound and meaningful; his style of conversation is original and captivating; his gestures and mimicry are joyful and entertaining. Sri Ramakrishna used short and simple sentences to communicate his profound teachings, so his powerful statements would remain in the minds of his listeners. Even the great savants of India sat spellbound, listening to this uneducated temple priest.

continued......
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 05:57:48 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1940 on: July 30, 2016, 02:05:38 AM »
How The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna came to be written continued....

Swami Vivekananda said: "My ideal of language is my Master's language, most colloquial and yet most expressive. It
must express the thought which is intended to be conveyed
."

When flowers bloom, bees come of their own accord. In New York Vivekananda gave a lecture entitled "My Master" in which he said:"People came by thousands to see and hear this wonderful man who spoke in a patois, every word of which was forceful and instinct with light. For it is not what is spoken, much less the language in which it is spoken, but the personality of the speaker, which dwells in everything he says that carries weight.
Every one of us feels this at times. We hear most splendid orations, most wonderfully reasoned-out discourses, and we go home and forget everything. At other times we hear a few words in the simplest of language, and they remain with us all the rest of our lives, become part and parcel of ourselves and produce lasting results. The words of a man who can put his personality into them take effect, but he must have tremendous personality. All teaching means giving and taking: the teacher gives and the taught receives, but the one must have something to give, and the other must be open to receive".
It is true that Ramakrishna did not have much formal education, but his words had the force of scripture and he spoke only truth. Vivekananda later said: "The Vedas and other scriptures were so long hidden in the darkness of ignorance, and  the light of Sri Ramakrishna has revealed them again". While in America, Swami Vivekananda reminisced to his disciples: "When I think of that man [Sri Ramakrishna] I feel like a fool, because I want to read books and he never did. He never wanted to lick the plates after other people had eaten. That is why he was his own book".

Observing the Master's encyclopaedic knowledge of religion and philosophy, a disciple asked him how he came to have such deep and broad knowledge.Sri Ramakrishna answered:"I have not read; I have listened and learned. I have made a garland of their knowledge and put it round my neck, and I have  offered it at the feet ofthe Mother."
On 2 January 1884, Ramakrishna said to M.: "At Kamarpukur I have seen grain-dealers measuring paddy. As one heap is measured away another heap is pushed forward to be measured. The Mother supplies devotees with the 'heap' of Knowledge... Weeping, I prayed to the Mother: 'O Mother, reveal to me what is contained in the Vedas and Vedanta. Reveal to me what is in the Purana and the Tantra'.One by one She has revealed all these to me".
Sri Ramakrishna used to say that the Divine Mother spoke through his mouth.

M.was blessed with the opportunity to record Sri Ramakrishna's divine language in the pages of the Kathamrita. He did not vitiate that wonderful language by paraphrasing it or rewriting the Master's words. Like a skilled craftsman, M. set those divine jewels of the Master's words in the pages of the Kathamrita. By resorting to his recorded notes and his meditation, he recreated Sri Ramakrishna's dialogue.( I had the opportunity to see some pages of M.'s diary - and from those I could understand that without divine grace, no one could have accurately recorded those divine dialogues of Sri Ramakrishna- Swami Chetanananda)

continued.....

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1941 on: July 30, 2016, 02:15:00 AM »
How The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna came to be written continued....

M. emphatically said, "Every word of the Master is a mantra". By this he meant that reflecting upon those words connects individual souls with God. Here I (swami chetanananda)present some of the Master's words as M. recorded them in the Kathamrita.

"The goal of human life is to realize God."
"Lust and gold are maya."
"Practising truthfulness is the austerity ofthis kaliyuga."
"The scripture, the devotee, and God are all one."
"All troubles will cease when the 'I' dies."
"I am the instrument and You are the operator."
"Not I, not I, but Thou, Thou."
"As many faiths, so many paths."
"Tie non-dual knowledge in the corner of your cloth and then do whatever you like."
"Be a devotee, but don't be foolish".
" God is the wish-fulfilling tree".
"Brahman and His power are identical."
"The essence of Vedanta is: Brahman is real and the world is impermanent."
"The essence of the Gita is this: Renounce, renounce."(tagi,tagi....meaning renounce-Ravi)
"The attached mind is like a box of wet matches."
"God without form and with form - both are true."
"As is a man's feeling of love, so is his gain."
"Meditate in your mind, in the forest, or in the corner of your room."
" Dive deep."
"Satchidananda alone is the guru."
"Please God, then everyone will be pleased."
"God has become everything, but He is manifested to the utmost in human beings."
"It is petty to limit God."
"True religion is the union of mind and speech."
"Let there be no theft (hypocrisy) in the chamber of your heart (i.e.shun hypocrisy)".

continued....
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 06:04:09 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1942 on: July 30, 2016, 02:30:47 AM »
How The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna came to be written continued....

Translating Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita
M. wrote his first drafts of the Kathamrita in Bengali so that he could read them to Holy Mother. In 1888 M. expanded four entries from his diary: (1) 15th June 1884, Surendra's Garden, Calcutta; (2) 25th June 1884, visit to a Hindu Pundit and Preacher (Shashadhar), Calcutta; (3) 5th August 1882, Visit to Pundit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Calcutta, (4) 3rd August 1884, Dakshineswar Thakurbari.
M. then translated these entries into English under the heading 'Leaves from the Gospel of the Lord Sri Ramakrishna', and they were published serially in the Brahmavadin magazine (started by Swami Vivekananda in 1895) on 15th October 1897, 16th November 1897, 1st February 1898, and 16th May 1898. He wrote these articles under his pen name:" According to M., a son of the Lord and servant". He also added a footnote below the title:"Translated by M. from original records kept in Bengali by M. These records are based on notes put down from memory by M.on the very day of the meeting, shortly after the meeting was over, and purport to be an attempt to give the Lord's own words as far as possible". Later these four entries were published in two pamphlets in English.
Enthusiastic readers were not satisfied with these pamphlets and demanded that the entire Gospel be published in book form. M. worked diligently to develop his diary entries, writing first in Bengali and then translating them into English. In 1907 M. took the four chapters from the Brahmavadin, added ten more chapters, and produced a book entitled The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna(According to M., a son of the Lord). M. added a subtitle: "The Ideal Man for India and for the World." This publication, part one of the Gospel, was published by Brahmavadin Office, Madras. It consists of 386 pages. In its second edition, M. deleted the subtitle. Of this Gospel, M. wrote:"It is no sentence by sentence translation but M.'s own rendering of his thoughts rather than language, directly into English with many elaborations and elucidating repetitions." In 1912 Swami Trigunatitananda(A direct Disciple of Sri Ramakrishna) of the Vedanta Society of San Francisco published this first edition of the Gospel.

The English of the first edition was archaic, a kind of evangelical language: Thou thinketh, thou comest, thou askest, thou art, and so on. When M. made revisions for the second edition, he freed it of its Biblical turns of expression. This edition was published in 1911 by Ramakrishna Math, Madras. The Madras Math published several more editions, and this work was in circulation until 1942, when the complete translation of The
Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (which contained all five volumes of the original Kathamrita) by Swami Nikhilananda came out. In 1978 the Madras Math reprinted M.'s version under the title 'The Condensed Gospel of SriRamakrishna'.

continued.....

« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 06:08:09 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1943 on: July 30, 2016, 02:46:53 AM »
How The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna came to be written continued....

In 1907 Swami Abhedananda of the Vedanta Society of New York published another version, the Gospel of Ramakrishna. In the preface Swami Abhedananda wrote: "This is the authorized English edition of the Gospel of Ramakrishna. For the first time in the history of the world's Great Saviours, the exact words of the Master were recorded verbatim by one of his devoted disciples. These words were originally spoken in the Bengali language of India. They were taken down in the form of diary notes by a householder disciple, M". M. wrote to me(Swami Abhedananda) letters authorizing me to edit and publish the English translation of his notes, and sent me the manuscript in English which he himself translated. At the request of M., I have edited and remodelled the larger portion of his English manuscript, while the remaining portions I have translated directly from the Bengali edition of his notes."

Although Swami Abhedananda's edited version of the Gospel received many favourable reviews from American papers and was translated into Spanish,Portuguese,Danish, Scandinavian, and Czech, it lacks the flavour and style of M.'s original. M. later remarked that Swami Abhedananda added his own reminiscences to the book.In 1939 Ramakrishna Vedanta Math republished this book as 'The Memoirs of Sri Ramakrishna'.

In 1922 Ramakrishna Math, Madras, published an English translation of Volume II of Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita, without consulting M., who was still alive. The material of this volume first came out serially in Vedanta Kesari. M. disapproved and requested Swami Shivananda, the president of the Ramakrishna Order, to stop the publication. Vedanta Kesari discontinued the series, but the Madras Math published this material, as volume two of the Gospel. This volume was edited by a Westerner, and the second edition was published in 1928. Then it was withdrawn as it did not meet the author's approval.
Regarding this volume two, M. commented: "Even a student of eighth grade translates from Bengali into English. Translation is not an easy thing. One should transmit the idea and mood. A literal translation is not enough. Western people do not understand the Bengali language. While talking, the Master would express an idea with a living feeling. In my translation I have tried my best to convey the same spirit by preserving his words as far as possible. The primary importance is the sense or meaning; words or the language are only secondary. And I have tried to express it in a simple language. In translation, the meaning changes if one overlooks the viewpoint of the Master's saying."

M. was very particular about his record of the Master's words. It was extremely painful for him if his work was translated
in a distorted form. Swami Avyaktananda began to publish the translation of other volumes of Kathamrita in Morning Star, a magazine in Patna.
On 17 May 1930 M. wrote to him: "Dear Avyakta Babaji, My love and salutations to you all. The translation of the Gospel in the Morning Star, is, I regret to say, not satisfactory to me. Being an eye-witness, I naturally want the spirit to be kept up in the translation. Moreover, the report of a meeting should not appear in a mutilated form. The translation should be done by myself. You may do the work after my passing, which is by no means a distant contingency. I am 76 and my health is not at all good. It is painful to see the Gospel presented in this way. I do not approve of the translation which has appeared as Vol. II from Madras".

In 1942, Swami Nikhilananda of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Centre, New York, translated all five volumes of M.'s Kathamrita into English and published the work in one chronologically arranged volume. He did not translate the entire Kathamrita. As he writes in the preface: "I have made a literal translation, omitting only a few pages of no particular interest to English-speaking readers." He wrote a long biographical introduction on Sri Ramakrishna, replacing the sketch that M. had written. On the whole, Swami Nikhilananda's translation is superb and elegant. The Swami's manuscript was edited by Margaret Woodrow Wilson (a daughter of President Woodrow Wilson) and Joseph Campbell (a famous scholar and orientalist) ,and John Moffitt, Jr. (a poet and scholar) used his poetical talent on the mystical and spiritual songs of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, which enhanced their beauty. Aldous Huxley wrote the foreword to this work. This translation drew the attention of the literary world of the East and the West. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan wrote: "Swami Nikhilananda has done an excellent piece of work. His very readable English translation of the Ramakrishna Kathamrita will enable Western readers to understand the deep spiritual life of Sri Ramakrishna and the homely way in which profound truths are conveyed to ordinary mortals, and I hope  that the book will have wide publicity".
This classic translation of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna has now been translated into most of the major languages of the world. The Bengali Kathamrita also has been translated into most of the Indian languages.

continued.....
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 03:09:27 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1944 on: July 30, 2016, 02:59:38 AM »
Nagaraj/Friends,
These are some longish posts on the genesis of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna...how it came to be written and translated into English and other languages....it is to share the sort of tapasya and discipline that has gone into presenting it in its pristine form to posterity.I shall share other interesting stories related to it in this thread.
The fact that we are now getting it in an easily readable form at a very very affordable price! ......we may easily overlook the effort that has gone  towards bringing it out....and of course this is one of the very Best spiritual guides that any seeker irrespective of his approach and path can lay his hands(and mind,Heart and soul)on.
We will continue more on this later.
Namaskar.

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1945 on: July 30, 2016, 09:51:20 PM »
The Story of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna continued.....

M.'s Diary: Lost and Found
Now and then M. would visit Gadadhar Ashrama (a branch of the Ramakrishna Order) in South Calcutta, as he loved to stay with the monks in the monastery. Wherever he went, he carried his diary, which reminded him of the Master. Sometimes he would open it to an entry, meditate on a particular scene, and then talk about it to the monks and devotees. On 16 January 1924 M. was returning by tram from Gadadhar Ashrama to his home in Central Calcutta. Absorbed in thoughts of the Master, he accidentally left his diary next to his seat while changing trams at the Esplanade Station. The diary was found two days later.

On 18 January M. described his agony to the devotees: "What terrible distress I have gone through! It was worse than losing a son. I felt I should not live anymore; otherwise why had the Master taken away his words from me? When I got back my diary, I realized that this body would remain a few days more. Last Tuesday while returning from Gadadhar Ashrama, I left my diary in the tram car. It struck me when I returned home. It was then 11:00 a.m. Immediately I rushed to the Kali temple of Thanthania. I had visited the Divine Mother after getting down from the tram. I thought that I had left the diary there. Some pundits were reading the holy scriptures in front of the temple. I asked them but no one gave me a positive answer. Then I tried to locate my tram ticket, which I had torn and discarded on the sidewalk. It took me 45 minutes to collect those pieces of the ticket and then bring them home. I pasted them on a piece of paper with flour gum and discovered the number of the ticket.
Immediately I went to the Gadadhar Ashrama. In the afternoon the devotees took the ticket and went to the Kalighat tram depot. They discovered the name of the conductor who was on that tram. On Wednesday morning news came that the diary had been found. The conductor had deposited it with the overseer of the tram depot. This overseer was a devotee. He saw the name 'Jayrambati' on the cover of the diary, so he carefully saved it
"In the evening I fervently prayed to the Master. My fear did not go away even after I learned that the diary had been found. I was worried that it might be lost again before picking it up. Oh, how much fear and anxiety I went through for that diary! How sincerely I prayed to the Master for that! What joy I felt when it came to my hand!"
Again, another thought arose in my mind: It is not a big deal. I left the diary in the tram car and the conductor deposited it in the office. That is the normal procedure. After receiving the diary, I felt that it had not been necessary to say so many prayers. Such are the vagaries of our minds! It behaved in quite another way once the diary was retrieved. You see, many things could have happened: There could have been a tram accident, or someone could have been run over, or the conductor might not have taken proper care of it."

A Devotee: "It also might have fallen into the hands of the sweeper of the car."
M.: "Yes, it could have been, or someone could have taken it and thrown it away on the street. But as soon as I got the diary back, I forgot all those possibilities. What irony! And we live with this mind, which plays tricks on us all the time. So we should always pray: May we not deviate from our goal. May we not forget God when something has been accomplished."

M. presented a copy of the Kathamrita to the overseer as a  token of his gratefulness

continued....
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 09:55:56 PM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1946 on: July 30, 2016, 10:10:29 PM »
The Story of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna continued.....

An Interview with M. at Morton School on 20th March 1924

Swami Madhavananda,the president of Advaita Ashrama in Mayavati, was working on a biography of Ramakrishna. He found some discrepancies between the Kathamrita by M. and the Lilaprasanga by Swami Saradananda, so he went to M. to verify those facts. Furthermore, he wanted to
ask M. how he had recorded the Kathamrita and gathered some other information about the Master.
Swami Madhavananda (to M.): "How many times did Sri Ramakrishna go on pilgrimage? You have mentioned two times."

M.: "Yes, twice. First, the Master went with Mathur; then he went with Mathur's sons. At that time one could go to Varanasi by train. I corresponded with the Railway Company with reference and compared its record of the dates and of who went with him, and they were the same. Moreover, there is some circumstantial evidence. I visited Janbazar and Barrackpore and collected information from the descendants of Rani Rasmani."

Swami Madhavananda:"Did you write in your diary immediately after listening to the Master?"

M.: "No, I didn't write on the spot. After I returned home I wrote from memory. Sometimes I spent the whole night completing an entry. My record (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna) is not a collection from other sources. I wrote down whatever I heard with my own ears from the lips of the Master and whatever I saw of his life with my own eyes. I didn't collect materials like historians or write like the antiquarians".

Swami Madhavananda: "It is amazing that within such a short period there are so many different versions of the Master's life and teachings!"

M.: "This is nothing to wonder at. It happens that way. Look at the Bible: there is little similarity among the four gospels recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The same thing will happen in the case of the Master. Sometimes I spent seven days recording from memory the events of one day - arranging chronologically the songs, stories, samadhi, and so on."

Swami Madhavananda: "To whom did the Master offer the articles during the night of Kali Puja at Shyampukur house?"

M.: "He offered them to himself."

Swami Madhavananda: "Did he offer them to himself or to Mother Kali?"

M.: "In fact, he offered them to himself. As soon as all of the devotees had offered flowers to the Master, his hands assumed the gestures symbolizing fearlessness and the bestowal of boons (that are seen in images of Kali). Thus (saying so, M. demonstrated those two gestures with his own hands). Then everyone realized who the Master was."

continued....




Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1947 on: July 30, 2016, 10:28:41 PM »
The Story of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna continued.....

Swami Madhavananda: "What do you know about the name'Ramakrishna'?"

M.: "I didn?t hear anything from the Master about his name. Probably 'Ramakrishna' was the name given by his family, because the prefix of his brothers' names was 'Rama' (such as Ramkumar and Rameswar).They were all devotees of Ramachandra, and Raghuvir was their household deity. The village people called him 'Gadai'.We did not know that he was called Gadadhar. We learned it later. Tota Puri didn't give him the name Ramakrishna,because long before Tota Puri arrived the name 'Ramakrishna Bhattacharya' was registered in Rani Rasmani's documents".

Swami Madhavananda:"A knower of Brahman came to Dakshineswar who shared food with the dogs. Who followed that knower of Brahman? Was it Hriday or Haladhari?"

M.: "Haladhari."

Swami Madhavananda: "Who returned with bel leaves instead of visiting his daughter's house? You have written 'Haladhari's father',and Swami Saradananda has written 'the Master's father.' ?

M.: "I know it that way (that is, the version I have written)."

Swami Madhavananda: "Akshay Sen (the author of Sri Ramakrishna Punthi) has written about a pundit who sat on the Master's bed with his shoes on. What is your opinion about that?"

M.: "No, that is not correct. I was present. The pundit sat on the floor. As soon as the Master touched his chest with his feet, the pundit exclaimed, 'O guru, please awaken my consciousness.' That man had a very devotional temperament."

Swami Madhavananda: "How many years did the Master go through a spiritual tempest?"

M.: "Seven years. The Master said that his family members then took him back to Kamarpukurfor his wedding."

Swami Madhavananda: "Whom did the Master send to Bankim Chattopadhyay?"

M.: "The Master sent Girish Babu and myself to Bankim, saying, 'Please go to Bankim and invite him to come here.' Bankim also invited the Master to visit him, but he could not go."

Swami Madhavananda: "Did Krishnadas Pal (a national leader and the editor of Hindu Patriot) visit the Master?"

M.: "Yes, he did. The Master said about him, 'Krishnadas observed the Hindu custom. He entered my room after leaving his shoes outside.' I asked him: 'What is the goal of human life?' He replied, 'It is to do good to the world'.I told him: 'You see this world? Have you seen innumerable crab eggs floating in the Ganges during the rainy season? As many eggs so many worlds. They are numberless. Who are you to do good to the world? You better try to help yourself. God dwells in every being. Be blessed by serving Him in all beings. The owner of the world will look after his own affairs. You look to your own path'."

continued......




Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1948 on: July 30, 2016, 10:35:07 PM »
The Story of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna continued.....

Swami Madhavananda: "When did the Master meet Keshab Sen?"

M.: "In 1875."

Swami Madhavananda: "Will you publish the fifth part of Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita? It would be nice if you would publish the Master and Bankim's meeting in it."

M.: "I want to do that. The Basumati publishing house sent a person to me. They are eagerto publish it."

Senior Jiten:"Swami Madhavananda and others are writing a biography of the Master."

M.: "Who else will write it? They have practised so much austerity and lived with the disciples of the Master. Moreover they live in the Himalayas (Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati). Mayavati Ashrama is doing a marvellous job. It has published many important books. The monks are doing nishkam karma(unselfish action) without any personal motive."

Swami Madhavananda left after having some refreshments.

continued.....

Ravi.N

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
    • View Profile
Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« Reply #1949 on: July 30, 2016, 10:44:05 PM »
The Story of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna continued.....


Characteristics of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
M. had a photographic memory, artistic talent, and, above all, a poetic imagination. Though one can challenge the historicity of Christ, Buddha, or Krishna, one cannot challenge the existence of Ramakrishna. M. meticulously documented his conversations with the Master, carefully noting the dates and times, the places, and the people who were present, and even any songs that were sung.
Did Ramakrishna say anything new? Not really. He reinterpreted the same ancient Truth. He said, "The money which is used at the time of a Nawab [a Muslim king] becomes outdated with the rule of a Badshah [Muslim emperor]." The coins change according to the rule of different dynasties. Similarly, the ancient avatars brought the message that was needed for their particular age and the conditions in which they lived. Now a new avatar has preached according to the need of our age. One hundred years ago people did not know much about modern medicine. They treated their diseases with herbs and natural medicines. Now we use antibiotics. Herbs and antibiotics are both medicines, but their use changes with the times. Krishna said in the Gita, "Arjuna, I am speaking to you the same Truth again." Tautology is a weakness in logic, but it is not a weak point in scripture. The scriptures never tire of declaring the same truth again and again in different languages in different ages.

In the Gospel we find that M. not only preserved the teachings ofRamakrishna, but also described the settings in order to make a deeper impression on the reader's mind. Here is an example of a description from the Gospel, dated 22nd July 1883: "Sri Ramakrishna had enjoyed a little rest after his midday meal. The room had an atmosphere of purity and holiness. On the walls hung pictures of gods and goddesses, among them being one of Christ rescuing the drowning Peter. Outside the room were plants laden with fragrant flowers, and the Ganges could be seen flowing towards the south. It was the rainy season; the exuberant Ganges was hurrying to meet the ocean and was happy to touch and to see the holy ground where the great saint of Dakshineswar resided."

Here, M.was comparing the spiritual seekers who were coming to meet Sri Ramakrishna to rivers merging in the infinite ocean of Satchitananda.

continued.....
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 10:45:45 PM by Ravi.N »