Some Glimpses of Ramakrishna-Part V

Posted By: Staff

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Eating Habits
Continued From The Fourth Part

The Master at Night

Ramakrishna slept only two or three hours at night. Sometimes he would walk around the garden and ask the night guard, 'Can you chant the Lord's name a little?' In the early morning he would get up and pace in his room and chant the names of gods and goddesses. At that time he would use his yogic vision to observe the spiritual progress of his disciples, and then help them accordingly. At 3:00 a.m., when he would go towards the Panchavati, he would call Lakshmi and Holy Mother to get up and practise meditation.

The Master's Eating and Other Habits

Ramakrishna lived over 50 years depending wholly on God and without touching any money. As a result, God provided him with all he needed. Rasmani and Mathur arranged everything for him—his daily food, his clothing, his room. The temple officials regularly sent his allotted breakfast, lunch, and supper, which had all been offered to Kali and Krishna. For breakfast he had a little butter and rock candy from the Krishna temple and fruits and sweets from the Kali temple. One day Swami Brahmananda ate some butter and rock candy before the Master had eaten, and the Master scolded him.

When the Master first came to Dakshineswar, he cooked his own food on the bank of the Ganges, and Hriday helped him. Later he started taking Kali's cooked prasad, which he himself had offered to the Mother between 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Later, during his days of sadhana, the Master could no longer perform the worship in the temple. Eventually he developed stomach problem and he tried to eat before noon. When Jadu Mallick heard about his difficulty, he engaged a cook for him. On 7 September 1884 the Master said:

'Mallick noticed the late hours of my meals and arranged for a cook. He gave me one rupee for a month's expenses. That embarrassed me. I had to run to him whenever he sent for me. It would have been quite a different thing if I had gone to him of my own accord.'

Then the Master improvised a humorous couplet: 'Sudhamukhi's cooking no more, no more. When I ate, I cried and cried.' He was a free soul and did not like to be obligated to anyone or to flatter rich people.

Later Holy Mother and some other women devotees would cook for the Master. Once during lunch the Master humorously said to Balaram:

'Well, can you tell me why I married? What is the purpose of having a wife? I cannot even take care of the cloth on my body—it just drops off. Why then do I have a wife?'

Balaram smiled and kept quiet.

The Master: 'Oh, I understand (taking a little curry from the plate and showing it to Balaram)—for this reason I married. Otherwise, who else would cook for me with such care? (Balaram and the other devotees laughed.) Truly speaking, who else would look after my food? They all left today—(seeing that the devotees did not understand who had left) along with Ramlal's aunt. Ramlal is going to be married, so everyone left for Kamarpukur today. I watched her departure impassively. It was truly as if someone else had left. Then I grew anxious when I thought about who would cook for me. You see, some kinds of food do not agree with my stomach, nor am I always conscious enough to eat. She (the Holy Mother) knows what kind of food suits me and makes various preparations accordingly. So I asked myself, who will cook for me?'

Read more about Sri Ramakrishna's diet on the Next Page

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Story first published: Friday, November 6, 2009, 12:26 [IST]
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