by Russell Atkinson
To the east, far beyond the darkened city of light, the sun rose, as it had since the dawn of time. The lightened city awoke to the caw of crows and the whistle of kites high aloft, as it had since the dawn of cities. Slowly brightening, its light touched the tips of the temples in the Dakshineswar temple garden on the banks of the holy river, its Himalayan waters flowing fast with the ebb tide to the distant delta.
Joy flowed in the temple garden as with the first light the priests came to begin the morning worship, chanting, blowing conches and sounding gongs. Dawn music flowed from the music towers. The joyous sounds filled the temples, the flower gardens, orchard and goose pond…
…and to the Panchavati, the grove of five sacred trees north of Sri Ramakrishna’s room; even over to the village on the distant bank of the holy river. In his room, Sri Ramakrishna rose, chanting the names of avatars, deities, the names of the ten mahavidyas* or intoning the mahavakyas**, clapping his hands the while, smiling or occasionally laughing as he walked slow and stately to the temple of Mother Kali. There She stood, emblem of All, dancing resplendent on the recumbent body of Her Lord Shiva. Her hand gestures and everything about Her symbols signifying deep meaning.
Ecstatic, Ramakrishna offered flowers to the Cosmic Mother, or laughing, put them on his own head. Then, taking the yak-tail fan, he began to fan the splendid image. In a voice of indescribable sweetness and pathos, he sang hymn after hymn.
‘Who is there who can understand what Mother Kali is? All the philosophies are powerless to reveal Her…
…Áll creation is the sport of my mad Mother Kali. By Her Maya the three worlds are bewitched…’
..’Kali, who can know Thee? Numberless are Thy forms….’
…’Oh Mother, make me drunk with Thy love!
What need have I for knowledge or reason?
Thus drunk, unsteady on his feet, he staggered back to his room, a bewitching smile on his radiant face. The river flowed on to the sea.
*The names of the great Goddesses.
**Four great sayings from the Upanishads, encapsulating the wisdom of the Vedas regarding humanity’s relationship with the Absolute Reality, Brahman.
(Adapted from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by M for November the tenth 1884.)
Russell Atkinson, a retired Naturopath and teacher of Hatha and Raja Yoga, is associated with the Ramakrishna Vedanta Societies in Australia. THEAKO@WESTNET.COM.AU