Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's transforming touch on Tarak, who later became Swami Shivananda. We may now turn to Latu, the future Swami Adbhutananda, 'Sri Ramakrishna"s greatest miracle", as Swami Vivekananda aptly called him. Latu was an orphan shepherd boy, who had migrated to Kolkata from a small village in Bihar. He had no opportunity for schooling. He had lost his parents when he was quite young. The little boy—Rakhturam was his original name—was brought up by his uncle. Famine and hard circumstances made them leave their native village and migrate to Kolkata.
As luck would have it, the boy Rakhtu got a job in the house of Ramachandra Datta, one of the earliest devotees of Sri Ramakrishna. Whenever he went to Dakshineswar, Ramachandra would carry with him some fruits and sweets for Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. On his return, he would enthusiastically tell his wife what Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had said on the day. We do not know how she responded to these narrations, but Latu, who heard it with rapt attention, was deeply influenced. He was slowly getting drawn to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and had become eager to see his unseen, unknown guru.
Once when Ramachandra went to Dakshineswar in sometimes 1879 or 1880, Latu, one might say, forced himself into the carriage taking Ramachandra to Dakshineswar. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa as not in his room when they reached there. Latu carried a basket that Ramachandra was taking with him, into Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's room and being conscious of his status as a servant of Ramachandra, he stood outside the entrance. On returning to his room, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's keen eye fell on Latu and he asked Ramachandra if the boy standing outside the room had come with him. And before Ramachandra gave any reply, Ramakrishna added: 'I see some holy signs in him." Then he asked Latu to enter the room and to be seated. Then he spoke about underground springs which remain covered until a stone mason digging the earth removes a particular rock. Then the water begins to flow.
Saying so he put his hand on Latu"s head. The very next moment the spiritual spring hidden in Latu, as it were, began to flow and Latu experienced samadhi. He was in such a charged state that tears began to trickle down his eyes and he just could not control the quivering of his lips. This ecstasy of Latu lasted for a full one hour. And Ramakrishna Paramahamsa touched him once more and Latu returned to the normal state of consciousness slowly. As in the case of Narendra, on being touched by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa twice, one uplifting and the other bringing him back to the normal state, Latu had been elevated to a high spiritual state by the first touch of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and brought back to normalcy by the second. And as Swami Chetanananda has put it, 'Latu"s body returned to Calcutta but his mind remained in Dakshineshwar". And one might add, his heart also remained at Dakshineswar.
These examples illustrate the wonders the touch of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa worked. There are many more similar incidents recorded in his life. Let us conclude what Swami Vivekananda once said in this context: I actually saw that religion could be given. One touch, one glance, can change a whole life. I had read about Buddha and Christ and Mohammed, about all those different luminaries of ancient times, how they would stand up and say, 'Be thou whole," and the man became whole. I now found it to be true, and when I myself saw this man [Ramakrishna Paramahamsa] all scepticism was brushed aside. It could be done; and my Master used to say: 'Religion can be given and taken more tangibly, more really than anything else in the world." Be therefore spiritual first; have something to give, and then stand before the world and give it.