Tarak, who later came to be known as Swami Shivananda, had an altogether different type of experience when Sri Ramakrishna touched him. He had seen Sri Ramakrishna for the first time at the house of another devotee, Ramachandra Datta. He did not have any opportunity to talk with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa then. A month or so later, he visited Dakshineswar with a friend. By the time they reached the Kali Temple, it was late evening. When he entered Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's room, he found a dimly burning oil lamp, with Sri Ramakrishna seated cross-legged in the room, with three or four devotees squatting on the floor in front of him. Tarak was so overpowered by the atmosphere that instead of bowing down formally in front of Sri Ramakrishna, he bowed down and straightway placed his head on Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's lap. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa moved his affectionate hand on young Tarak"s head and caressed him.
Tarak did not enter into samadhi. He did not see any divine form. But the divine touch made Tarak see his loving mother in Sri Ramakrishna. And this made him surrender himself to Sri Ramakrishna. Ever since, Tarak placed himself entirely under his Guru"s care.5
Kali, who came to be known later on as Swami Abhedananda, had a different kind of experience. When he went to Dakshineswar to meet Sri Ramakrishna, Kali was only a boy of eighteen. He had to wait there for the whole night as the master had gone to the city. Next morning when Ramlal, Sri Ramakrishna"s nephew, took him to the master, after a couple of formal questions, the master took him to the northern verandah, made him sit on a cot in the lotus position and asked him to stick out his tongue. When Kali had done so, Sri Ramakrishna wrote a mantra on the stretched out tongue with the middle finger of his right hand and asked him to meditate on the Divine Mother, Kali. The young Kali followed the guru"s instruction and some time later, he lost his outer consciousness. After some time, Sri Ramakrishna stroked Kali"s chest and brought him back to outer consciousness. One touch on a tongue by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had made Kali rise to a region beyond normal consciousness and another soothing touch on Kali"s chest had brought him back to, what we call, normalcy.
To be continued