REMINISCENCES OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA
Vaikunthanath Sanyal, one of the householder disciples of Ramakrishna, visited the Master at Dakshineswar.
He recalled: “The Master was that day full of praise for Narendranath. Talking about him made him so desirous of seeing him that he was completely overwhelmed, and could no longer control himself; he hurried to the adjacent veranda and cried out, ‘Mother dear, I cannot live without seeing him.’ When he returned, be said to us, in a voice full of grief, ‘I have wept so much, and yet Narendra has not come. My heart is being squeezed as it were, so excruciating is the pain at not seeing him. But he does not care.’ He left the room again, but soon returned and said, ‘An old man pining and weeping for the boy! What will people think of me? You are my own people; I do not feel ashamed to confess it before you. But how will others take it? I cannot control myself.’ But his joy was correspondingly great when Naren came.”
(Source: The life of Swami Vivekananda by his eastern and western disciples.)
Ramakrishna period: 1885
Vaikunthanath Sanyal, a devotee of the Master, was at Dakshineswar, the day following the episode where Narendra, as instructed by Ramakrishna, went to the Kali temple intending to ask for boons of material prosperity and asked for spiritual boons instead.
Arriving at Dakshineswar at noon I found the Master alone in his room and Narendra sleeping outside. Shri Ramakrishna was in a joyful mood, and as soon as I saluted him he said, pointing to Narendra, “Look here, that boy is exceptionally good. His name is Narendra. He would not accept the Divine Mother before, but did so yesterday. He is in straitened circumstances nowadays; so I advised him to pray to the Mother for riches; but he couldn’t. He said he was put to shame. Returning from the temple he asked me to teach him a song to the Mother, which I did. The whole of last night he sang that song. So he is sleeping now.” Then with unfeigned delight he said, “Isn’t it wonderful that Narendra has accepted Mother?”
I said, “Yes.”
After a brief pause he repeated the question, and thus it went on for some time.
About four in the afternoon Narendra came to Shri Ramakrishna before leaving for Calcutta. No sooner had the Master seen him than he went closer and closer to him and sitting almost on his lap said, pointing first to himself and then to Narendra, “Well, I see I am this [himself] and again that [Naren]. Really I feel no difference just as a stick floating on the Ganga seems to divide the water, which in reality is one. Do you see the point? Well, what exists after all, but Mother? What do you say?” After talking a few minutes like this, he wished to smoke. I prepared tobacco and gave him the hookah. After one or two puffs at it he said he would smoke from the bowl [of the hookah]. Then he offered it to Naren saying, “Have a pull through my hands.” Naren of course hesitated. How could he defile the hands of his Guru by touching them with his lips? But Shri Ramakrishna said, “What foolish ideas you have! Am I different from you? This is myself and that [Naren] too is myself” He again put his hands in front of the lips of Narendra, who had no alternative but to comply with his request. Narendra took two or three puffs. Shri Ramakrishna was about to smoke when Narendra hurriedly interrupted saying, “Please wash your hands first, sir.”
But his protest was in vain. “What silly ideas of differentiation you have!” the Master said and smoked without washing his hands, talking all the while in an exalted mood.
I was surprised to see Shri Ramakrishna, who could not take any food if a part of it had already been offered to somebody else, making this remarkable exception in the case of Narendranath. It gave me an idea of his love for Narendra and of his feeling of kinship with him. When, about eight at night, he was in his normal mood again, Narendra and I took leave of him and walked to Calcutta.
Courtesy: Frank Parlato Jr.