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Ramakrishna, His Old Mama and Sunyata

WELL. . .
Ramakrishna close-up

As a man, Ramakrishna felt the pangs of a child separated from its mother. Sometimes, in agony, he would rub his face against the ground and weep so bitterly that people, thinking he had lost his earthly mother, would sympathize with him in his grief. And sometimes, in moments of scepticism, he would cry:

"Are you real, mother, or is it all fiction - mere poetry without any reality? If you exist, why don't I see you? Is religion a mere fantasy and are you only a figment of man's imagination?"

Sometimes he would sit on the prayer carpet for two hours like an inert object. He began to behave in an abnormal manner, most of the time unconscious of the world. He almost gave up food; and sleep left him altogether.

IMAGE
Old woman, still young -

But he did not have to wait long. He has described his first vision of his Mother thus: "I felt as if my heart were being squeezed like a wet towel. I was overpowered with a great restlessness and a fear that it might not be my lot to realize her in this life. I could not bear the separation from her any longer. Life seemed to be not worth living. Suddenly my glance fell on the sword that was kept in the Mother's temple and I determined to put an end to my life. I jumped up like a madman and seized it, when suddenly the blessed Mother revealed herself. The buildings with their different parts, the temple and anything else vanished from my sight, leaving no trace whatever, and in their stead I saw a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Bliss. As far as the eye could see, the shining billows were madly rushing at me from all sides with a terrific noise, to swallow me up. I was panting for breath. I was caught in the rush and collapsed, unconscious. What was happening in the outside world I did not know; but within me there was a steady flow of undiluted bliss, altogether new, and I felt the presence of the Divine Mother."

[From Nikhilananda, translator: The Gospel of Ramakrishna (by M), Abridged edition. Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center. New York, 1974, p. 19-20.]

Woman

IMAGE

Did you never see in the world a . . . woman, eighty, ninety, or a hundred years old, frail, crooked as a gable roof, bent down, resting on crutches, with tottering steps, infirm, youth long since fled, with broken teeth, grey and scanty hair, or bald-headed, wrinkled, with blotched limbs? And did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to decay, that also you cannot escape it? - Buddha, in "The Three Warnings".

Many seem to have other, juicier associations to "Divine Mother", even though she is said to be ancient and a lot older than this one. Well-well.

Valuable Experiences

Brain research suggests that words like "Divine Mother" calls forth a certain association pattern in the brain. There is room for billions of other association sets. The number of networking brain patterns may be beyond firm calculations. The psychologist Tony Buzan has indicated how many brain patterns that are possible in Make the Most of Your Mind [Mum], a decent book for self-help study.

There is room for more perceptions in our minds.

If by Srwityb we understand that everything is empty, that nothing is of value, we overlook things, for example that the "I" inside holds the notion Srwityb too. Ramana Maharsi when he talks about the void (sunyata) that one may experience in deep meditation. He said.

"You must have been there during the void to be able to say that you experienced a void. To be fixed in that 'you' is the quest from start to finish. [. . .] It is the mind that sees objects and has experiences and that finds a void when it ceases to see and experience, but that is not 'you'. You are the constant illumination that lights up both the experience and the void. [. . . Illustration:] In complete darkness we do not see [. . .] and we say: "I see nothing." In the same way, you are there even in the void you mention." - Ramana Maharsi [Osborne, Arthur ed: The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharsi in His Own Words. New ed. Rider. London, 1971. p. 132]

Also, according to Daizetz T. Suzuki (1870-1966), the total self-identity of "I am I" is the state of non-time and is equivalent to the emptiness of Buddhist philosophy.

That emptiness is not "nothingness, non-existence, or non-reality," according to Eihei Dogen, founder of Soto Zen in Japan. He states, "Sunyata is not non-existence." Roshi Nishijima explains, "In Master Dogen's teaching sunyata is not the denial of real existence - it expresses the absence of anything other than real existence." [Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs.: Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. Windbell Publications. London, 1996, chapter "Bussho"]

ARTICLE COLLECTION
Ramakrishna, getting old, decay - END MATTER

Ramakrishna, Decay, Kriyananda Teachings on Child Education, LITERATURE  

Ay: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 1st ed. New York: Theosophical, 1946.

Efl: Walters, James Donald. Education for Life. Rev. ed. Nevada City: Living Wisdom, 2001. www.livingwisdom.org/html./efl_online.htm.

Goa: Nikhilananda, swami, tr. The Gospel of Ramakrishna. Abridged ed. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1974.

Mum: Buzan, Tony. Make the Most of Your Mind. Rev. ed. London: Pan, 1988.

Szi: Nishijima, Gudo Wafo, and Chodo Cross, trs. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. Windbell Publications, London: 1996.

Tb: Osborne, Arthur ed. The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharsi in His Own Words. New ed. London: Rider, 1971.

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