Renunciation and Not Mere Scholarship
Sri Ramakrishna saw that the pundits spoke words of wisdom but they did not live up to them. He said that they were like vultures, soaring high on the wings of their uninspired intellect. But their eyes were fixed on the carnal pit of greed and lust. He emphasized that the most effective way to turn the mind God-ward was to free it from lust and gold. He himself fully demonstrated this ideal in his life. He said that an aspirant should regard precious stones and metals like gold as worthless as a clod of earth. Sitting on the bank of the Ganges, holding a rupee in one hand and clay in the other, he discriminated, 'The rupee is clay and clay is verily the rupee" and threw them both into the river.
Sri Ramakrishna looked on all women as images of Shakti. Never even in a dream did he feel the impulses of lust. His spontaneous attitude of a child towards all women excited tender filial attitude in their hearts. The women did not feel bashful before him. Pratap Chandra Mazumdar was a follower of Keshab. He was a writer and an orator, and he represented the religion of the Brahmo Samaj at the Parliament of Religions, Chicago, in 1893. He wrote about Sri Ramakrishna:
The adoration of Shakti is, according to our saint, a childlike, whole-souled, rapturous self-consecration to the Motherhood of God as represented by the power of women. Woman therefore, has long been renounced by our friend in every material and carnal relation. He has a wife but has never associated with her. Lust fascinates and keeps the whole world from the love of God. The highest and holiest saints have been brought back to carnality and sin by the power of lust. He has successfully escaped the evil of carnality. His Mother i.e., the Goddess Kali, made him recognize every woman as Her Incarnation, so that he now honours each member of the other sex as his mother. He bows his head to the ground before women and before little girls; he has insisted upon worshipping not a few of them as a son might worship his mother. The purity of his thoughts and relations towards women is most unique and instructive.4
Isn"t it shocking rather ironic that Mazumdar, who wrote in such glowing appreciation about Sri Ramakrishna"s purity and renunciation, should later on join hands with Christian missionaries in vilifying his own fellow disciple, Swami Vivekananda? Filled with jealously at Swamiji"s success at the Parliament of Religions he spread all sorts of lies about him. Such is the difference between a scholar and a holy man! A scholar may be a good writer or an orator yet he may be a slave of his passions and meanness and jealousy, and anger rooted deep in his psyche. But a holy man is broad-minded and never criticizes anybody.
To be continued
About the author
Sudesh, a devotee from Ambala, regularly contributes inspiring articles to 'The Vedanta Kesari'. He speaks about going beyond just intellectually equipping one with religious scriptures and not only grasping the essence but also living it. In this article he speaks about practising renunciation.