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Devout Hindus have firm faith that whoever dies at Kashi (Varanasi) gets released from bondage of worldly life. The popular scripture Kashi – Khanda proclaims, “One who dies at Varanasi gets liberated without any special effort.” Sri Ramakrishna Himself endorsed this view, as is evident from one incident. Master Himself narrated:

“My sister, Hriday’s mother, used worship my feet with flowers and sandal paste. One day I placed my foot on her head and said to her, “You will die in Benaras.” It is said that Master’s Blessings came true.

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When Sri Ramakrishna went on pilgrimage to Vrindavan, He expressed a desire to listen to the music of the vina, a stringed instrument, but no expert vina player could be found there. That desire again arose when he went to Varanasi. On enquiry, a virtuoso player on the vina, Mahesh Chandra Sarkar, was found. Master went straight to his house, and requested him to play. Mahesh played the vina , and its sweet melody sent the Master into deep ecstasy.

As Master partially regained external consciousness, He prayed: “Mother, please let me listen to the vina”. After that He was able to remain in the external plane. Master was so delighted, that at times he sang to the accompaniment of the vina. Mahesh felt that his three hours of playing was amply rewarded. The Master later paid tribute to maestro Mahesh saying: “He completely lost himself while playing on the vina.

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HOLY CITY _ VARANASI

Sri Ramakrishna was a connoisseur of things spiritual and could correctly assess the spiritual status of a holy place. The idea that Varanasi is unique was so deeply ingrained in his psyche, that it was found later in his conversations the mention of Varanasi and its different facets. Varanasi according to Mark Twain was ‘older than history, older than tradition, and even legend’ -was to Sri Ramakrishna the holiest of the holy. Master used to say, “Anyone who dies in Benaras, whether a Brahmin or prostitute, will become Shiva.” Master’s love for Benaras was next to that of Daksineshwar Kali Temple. He said “Once when Hriday was tormented me, I thought of leaving this place and going to Benaras.”

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Sri Ramakrishna said: “When a worldly man goes to holy places, he doesn’t have any time to think of God. He almost kills himself carrying bundles for his wife. On entering the temple, he is very eager to give his child the holy water to drink, but has no time for his own devotions.” To derive benefit from pilgrimage, one must devoutly and consciously cherish holy thoughts, when one is at a holy place. This practice gets strengthened by the power present in holy places.

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Late one night, Hriday saw Sri Ramakrishna walking towards the Panchavati. Thinking that his uncle may need His waterpot and towel, Hriday took the items and followed Thakur. As he did so his spiritual sight opened. He saw the figure of Sri Ramakrishna become luminous as it walked ahead of Him. This was no longer a figure of a human being, it was made of light! The whole Panchavati was illumined by the light which streamed from His body. Hriday now saw that the figure was not walking at all, but moving through the air, just above the ground.

He could not believe it! He thought he must be dreaming and rubbed his eyes. But the shining figure did not vanish, nor did the trees and shrubs around it. And he became aware that this light was none other than the light which formed Sri Ramakrishna. Light had merely detached itself from light, in order that the Master might have someone to serve Him. Hriday, was wild with joy at this discovery. “Oh. Ramakrishna”, he cried, “You and I are the same! “Why should we stay here, let us go from land to land, setting men free from bondage”.Late one night, Hriday saw Sri Ramakrishna walking towards the Panchavati. Thinking that his uncle may need His waterpot and towel, Hriday took the items and followed Thakur. As he did so his spiritual sight opened. He saw the figure of Sri Ramakrishna become luminous as it walked ahead of Him. This was no longer a figure of a human being, it was made of light! The whole Panchavati was illumined by the light which streamed from His body. Hriday now saw that the figure was not walking at all, but moving through the air, just above the ground.

He could not believe it! He thought he must be dreaming and rubbed his eyes. But the shining figure did not vanish, nor did the trees and shrubs around it. And he became aware that this light was none other than the light which formed Sri Ramakrishna. Light had merely detached itself from light, in order that the Master might have someone to serve Him. Hriday, was wild with joy at this discovery. “Oh. Ramakrishna”, he cried, “You and I are the same! “Why should we stay here, let us go from land to land, setting men free from bondage”.

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Tara (woman who worked with Girish Chandra Gosh on stage performing drama etc.) recalls her visit to Maharaj : Swami Brahmananda, the Spiritual son of Sri Ramakrishna, was revered and respected by all. With what undeserved care and affection he made me his own! I never saw my father, he died before I was born. I thought to myself : “Is this what a father’s affection is like? Or is this something greater?

I could not hold back my tears. My lifelong sorrow melted as the tears fell from my eyes, and I realized: Here is my refuge. Here is someone to whom I am Not a sinner, I am Not an outcast. I am the daughter of Maharaj. He who has none is Maharaj’s own. He is My Maharaj, my father, my heaven, my peace and my God.

What peace I found in Maharaj! I am truly a Blessed Soul because I met Maharaj!

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CONFIDENCE

I was debating with myself whether I should send this mail about my personal experience. Realising, that we are One Big family, then why not? Daily we are blessed with the Presence OF A WONDERFUL Swamijee as we have classes on the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. However one weekend on Sunday, all devotees were expecting Maharaj to deliver a talk, but Maharaj had other plans! He decided to call devotees from the congregation to give five minute talks on any Spiritual matter.

The devotees including self were trying to hide behind each other, as we were so nervous to go up to the stand talk. As devotees names were being called, I was trying to make an excuse to go out of the shrine, then after a good half an hour….. Swamijee calls “Navashri” shivering , I stood up to obey Revered Maharaji, as I went up to the podium, I called to Master silently…”help” “What am I going to talk about” . All Devotees, although very nervous spoke on wonderful incidents on the Lives of the Holy Trio.

Then it all dawned upon me….. Swami Brahmanandaji.. the posts that was being sent to the group and the other posts by our respected devotees…. it was all coming back to me, the teachings and a few incidents …. The confidence that I had was wonderful.

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PEACE

Maharaj: Peace and Sincere love of God and true faith come together. At the very start how can one attain peace? First restsleseness must come, yearning and intense pain for NOT having seeing HIM, the greater the thirst the sweeter the water. We must rouse unrest in the heart. When a man does not find happiness in the world, then he grows restless and attachment to God awakens him. So love of God will eventually grow by sadhana and intense prayer.

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MEDITATION

Sri Ramakrishna never used to spend the night in sleep, nor would he allow the young devotees who stayed with to sleep long. When others had gone to bed, he would wake up His disciples, give them definite instructions and send them to the Panchavati, or the Mother’s Temple, or to Shiva’s Temple for meditation. They would spend the whole night in sadhana, as directed and take rest during the day. This was the way that Sri Ramakrishna taught His disciples the various spiritual exercises.

Master used to say : “Three classes of people keep awake in the night – Yogis, Bhogis (seekers of enjoyments) and Rogis (sick persons). You are all yogis. You should by no means sleep away the night.”
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Master used to say, Spiritual practices should not be done in public for show. If you do them before others, they will be harmful to you. People will mock you, they will offer advice gratis and give you conflicting suggestions, as a result of which various doubts will arise in your mind and your spiritual progress will be obstructed. The ideal Sadhaka behaves thus…… He goes to bed at night, with the mosquito curtain drawn down. Everybody thinks that he is sleeping, but as a matter of fact he spends the whole night in meditation lying quietly on his bed.

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RICH LOVE

Sri Chaitanya sent a man to Ramananda. Ramananda lived a lived a life of luxury, but at the name of the Lord fountain of tears of devotion burst from his eyes. The man did not understand why he wept. They say, if you are not a sadhu, you cannot know a sadhu – as a brinjal seller cannot appraise a diamond. Only that one, who through Sadhana has attained a higher stage can understand a true devotee.

At the time of meditation, you must think that desires and passions have no existence, that they are unreal. Gradually this impression will sink into your mind. As you drive out these thoughts, force in good ones. During meditation, if you perceive some light or sound, know that you are going in the along the right path.

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