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There are two quotations that Swami Brahmananda used to repeat to his disciples regularly:

“Tell the truth, but never a harsh truth.” The second was from the teachings of Sri Chaitanya:
Be humbler than a blade of grass,
Be patient and forbearing like the the tree,
Take no honour to thyself,
Give honour to all,
Chant unceasingly the Name of the Lord.

Swami Vivekananda once said: “A real guru knows, the past, present, and the future of all his disciples.” Swami Brahmananda knew this about each one of his disciples. Below is an example of an incident Swami Prabhavananda relates:

I was sitting cross-legged in front of Maharaj, with his feet resting on my knees. This was the position in which I often used to massage his feet. Then something happened to me, which I cannot explain. I found myself in a condition in which I was talking, and talking, forgetting my usual restraint, It seemed to me that I spoke freely for a long time, but I do not remember what I said. Maharaj listened and said nothing.

Suddenly I returned to normal consciousness and became aware of Maharaj leaning towards me, and asked me what I said. I then realized, I addressed him as “tumi” (term used for you, when addressing friends and equals). I quickly corrected myself by using apani (respectful form of you).

“I can only assume that Maharaj wanted to corroborate his own intuitive knowledge of my past lives, and he therefore put me into this unusual state of consciousness, in which I was able to tell him what he wanted to know.

Jai Thakur!

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Swami Prabhavananda writes: I remember the first time Maharaj rebuked me. I failed to do a certain errand for him, because I had not understood, exactly what it was he wanted. For this neglect he scolded me throughout the afternoon. At supper time, Swami Turiyananda was seated with Maharaj and I was fanning them. The scolding continued. I remained silent. Swami Turiyananda turned to me and asked: “Do you know why Maharaj is so hard on you?”
“No. I replied frankly, I dont.” “I do not see I am to blame.”

Swami Turiyananda said: “There are three classes of disciples. The third class disciple merely does the guru’s bidding. The second class disciple does not have to be told. He acts as the thought arises in the Guru’s mind. But the first class disciple acts even before the Guru has time to think.” Maharaj wants you all to become ‘FIRST CLASS DISCIPLES’.

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Sri Ramakrishna Himself often rebuked His most intimate disciples, and Maharaj also used this method to train those who were near and dear to him. The chastening of a disciple never began, however, until after he enjoyed several years of love and kind words. These experiences were painful at the time, but they were later treasured among the the disciple’s sweetest memories. It often happened that even while the disciple was being reproached by Maharaj, he would (disciple)
would feel a strange undercurrent of joy.

The harsher the words, the more intensely we felt his interest in our welfare. The very fact that could speak to us in this way proved that we his children , his own.

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The following is Swami Yathiswaranandaji’s own description of his initiation:

The day Maharaj was to initiate me, I felt a spiritual power tangibly emanating from him. After the initiation, I bowed down to him. He raised his hand in benediction above my head, giving me instantly a vivid consciousness of an immanent Presence. I realized that the whole universe was merged into that Presence. That day, also I got a glimpse of the divine nature and the power of the guru. I was literally transported into a new life, and the power that he transmitted to me that day is still working within me.”

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Holy Mother once complained that Maharaj did not accept enough disciples . It so happened that just then Maharaj was invited to see a play about the life of Ramanuja which was written by one of his own disciples. In this drama, there is a scene which expresses Ramanuja’s great love for mankind. The action is as follows:

Ramanuja’s guru initiates him with a sacred mantram and warns him never to reveal it anyone.
“What will happen if I do”? Ramanuja asks, and his Guru replies: “Whoever hears this mantram will be liberated from bondage of his ignorance, but you will suffer damnations. Ramanuja gathers a crowd around him and utters the sacred mantram for all to hear. Ramanuja’s guru pretends to be angry and rebukes him for his disobedience.

Ramanuja answers: “If my damnation can liberate so many people, then my supreme desire is to be damned.” His guru was delighted indeed and blessed him. This drama and Holy Mother’s remarked made a deep impression upon Maharaj. He then initiated many more disciples.

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When Swami Vivekananda returned to India, he talked to his brother disciples, giving a new expression to the ideals for which Sri Ramakrishna had stood. It is not enough, he said, to devote your entire life to the realization of God for yourself alone. You must also live “For the Good of all, for the happiness of all.”

Swamijee wished his brothers to combine the contemplative life, with the life of service to mankind. Swami Brahmananda was the first to recognise the depth and the scope of Swamijee’s ideals and gave them his full support. On 1st May 1897, Swamijee called a meeting of the monastic and lay disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. At this meeting, the organization known as the Ramakrishna Mission was formed. Swami Brahmananda was elected president of the Calcutta Centre. Before Swamijee’s passing away, Swami Brahmananda was made head of the Order and he held that office for more than twenty years, until his own death. During his lifetime the Mission and its ideals grew from strength to a Gigantic Banyan tree, that shelters Millions of God seeking souls and gives solace to all.

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Image worship

Naren (Swami Vivekananda) met Sri Ramakrishna about six months after Rakhals arrival.  Rakhal and Naren were happy to be together at the Feet of their Master.  But one day Naren was shocked when he saw Rakhal follow Sri Ramakrishna into the temple of Mother Kali and prostrate before the image.  He remembered how Rakhal had signed the pledge of the Brahmo Samaj, promising not to worship images or forms of God.  At the first opportunity, Naren reminded Rakhal of his promise and reproached him bitterly for indulging in image worship.  Rakhal was silent.  How could he ever make Naren understand what he had experienced through the Master’s Grace?  Yet, he could not argue the matter.

So for a few days Rakhal avoided Naren, and Naren could not speak to Rakhal.  Sri Ramakrishna noticed this, and when he learned the reason for the quarrel, Master talked affectionately to Naren and made him realize that Rakhal was not responsible for the change in his attitude towards images. After that the boys became friends again.

The Master, however felt Rakhal had a duty to his wife, and told him to visit from time to time.

Rakhal obeyed. Gradually his visits became longer.  Finally Rakhal came to the Master and sought His advice. Master listened, but did NOT tell Rakhal which part to choose.  With a heavy heart Rakhal went back to his wife and silently prayed to Master to show him the way. Rakhal prayed for three days unceasingly. Suddenly a veil was removed from his sight and he saw the divine maya – ( the play of the Divine Mother). He knew now what path to choose.  He and his wife were not to be tied by the ties of marriage.  He had a great mission to fulfil. He was certain, now that his wife would be taken of, and so strangely enough, she also felt full of peace.

So taking leave of his wife, he went straight back to Daksineshwar.  The Master knew exactly what had happened.  Silently, smiling, HE WELCOMED HOME HIS BELOVED SPIRITUAL SON!!

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