Birth of Swami Vivekananda
Of Swami Vivekananda’s birth, Ramakrishna was quoted as saying:
One day I found that my mind was soaring high in Samadhi along a luminous path. It soon transcended the stellar universe and entered the subtler region of ideas. As it ascended higher and higher I found on both sides of the way ideal forms of gods and goddesses. The mind then reached the outer limits of that region, where a luminous barrier separated the sphere of relative existence from that of the Absolute. Crossing that barrier, the mind entered the transcendental realm where no corporeal being was visible. Even the gods dared not peep into that sublime realm, but had to be content to keep their seats far below. The next moment I found seven venerable sages seated there in Samadhi. It occurred to me that these sages must have surpassed not only men, but even the gods, in knowledge and holiness, in renunciation and love. Lost in admiration, I was reflecting on their greatness, when I saw a portion of that undifferentiated luminous region condense into the form of a divine child. The child came to one of the sages, tenderly clasped his neck with his lovely little arms, and, addressing him in a sweet voice, attempted to drag his mind down from the state of Samadhi. The magic touch roused the sage from his super-conscious state, and he fixed his unmoving, half open gaze upon that wonderful child. His beaming countenance showed that the child must have been the treasure of his heart. In great joy the strange child said to him, “I am going down. You too must go with me.” The sage remained mute, but his tender look expressed his assent. As he kept gazing on the child, he was again immersed in Samadhi. I was surprised to find that a fragment of the sage’s body and mind was descending on earth in the form of an effulgent light. No sooner had I seen Naren than I recognized him to be that sage.
When asked, Ramakrishna said that the divine child was himself.
Ramakrishna’s Yearning for Naren
Recalling the time period before Naren and the other disciples came to meet him, Rk recalled his desire to have disciples he could teach:
“There was no limit to the yearning I had then. In the day-time I managed somehow to control it. The ordinary talk of the worldly-minded was galling to me, and I would look wistfully to the day when my beloved, all-renouncing spiritual companions [his future apostles] would come. I hoped to find solace by telling them about my realizations, and so unburdening my mind. Every little incident would make me think of them. I used to arrange in my mind what I should say to one, give to another, and so on. But when the day came to a close, I could not curb my feelings. Another day had gone by and they had not come! When during the evening service the temple precincts rang with the sound of bells and conchs, I would climb to the roof of the building in the garden, and writhing in anguish of heart, cry at the top of my voice, `Come, my boys! Oh, where are you all? I cannot bear to live without you!’
A mother never longed for her child so intensely, nor a friend for his companions, nor a lover for his sweetheart, as I did for them! Oh, it was indescribable! Shortly after this yearning the youngsters began to come.”
Naren’s First Visit at Dakshineswar:
Narendra entered this room by the western door. He seemed careless about his body and dress, and unlike other people, not mindful of the external world. His eyes bespoke an introspective mind, as if some part of it were always concentrated on something within. I was surprised to find such a spiritual soul coming from the material atmosphere of Calcutta. A mat was spread on the floor. He sat on it just near the place where you now see the big jar containing Ganga water. The friends with whom he had come appeared to be ordinary young men with the usual tendencies towards enjoyment. On inquiry, I came to know that he had learnt three or four Bengali songs only. I asked him to sing them. He began singing the Brahmo song which begins:
O my mind
go to your own abode
In the foreign land
of this world
Why roam uselessly
like a stranger
He sang the song with his whole heart and put such pathos into it that I could not control myself, but fell into an ecstatic mood.
Then he took leave. But after that I felt such a constant agonizing desire to see him! At times the pain would be so excruciating that I felt as if my heart were being squeezed like a wet towel! Then I could no longer check myself. I ran to the northern quarter of the garden, a rather unfrequented place, and there cried at the top of my voice, “O my darling, come to me! I cannot live without seeing you!” After some time, I felt better. This state of things continued for six months. There were other boys who also came here; I felt greatly drawn to some of them, but nothing like the way I was attracted to Narendra.
When I saw Naren for the first time I noticed that he had no body-idea.
Naren’s Second Visit
Ramakrishna would refer humorously to their second meeting, when Ramakrishna touched Naren, and Naren experienced an alteration of consciousness. Naren cried out at the time, apprehending death, saying he had his father and mother at home. Ramakrishna laughed then and again, sometime later on, implying that the experience was meant to impart the realizations Ramakrishna himself possessed, he said to Naren: “A man died and became an evil spirit. Anxious to have a companion, whenever the spirit heard that someone had passed away it would at once go to that place hoping to get a companion; but every time it returned disappointed, because the soul had been liberated through some act or other of piety. Such is the case with me. As soon as I saw you I thought I had a friend, but you too said that you had your father and mother at home! I am therefore living alone without a companion, like the spirit in the story.”
Second meeting: As soon as I touched him in the region of the heart he lost outward consciousness.
Naren’s Third Meeting
Narendranath paid his third visit to Dakshineswar, probably in mid January 1882. Ramakrishna took him for a walk to the adjacent garden of Jadunath Mallik. After a stroll they went inside the Mallik’s house and sat down in the parlor.
Sri Ramakrishna went into a trance and touched Naren who became unconscious.
Ramakrishna said: “I put several questions to him while he was in that state. I asked him about his antecedents and where he lived, his mission in this world and the duration of his mortal life. He dived deep into himself and gave fitting answers to my questions. They only confirmed what I had seen and inferred about him. Those things shall be a secret, but I came to know that he was a sage who had attained perfection, a past master in meditation, and that the day he knew his real nature, he would give up the body through Yoga, by an act of will.”
Naren was said to not remember anything of his unconscious state, but when he came to, he saw the Master stroking his chest.
Ramakrishna on His Longing for Naren
Hazra took me to task because I was anxious to see the boys. He said, `When do you think of God?’ I felt uneasy and said to Mother, `Hazra asks why I think so much of Naren and the other boys.’ And Mother at once showed me that She Herself was in all human forms. She manifests Herself specially in pure bodies. When I came out of this Samadhi, I felt angry with Hazra. I said to myself, `That rascal! how he unsettled my mind!’ Then I thought, `Why blame the poor fellow! How could he know!”‘
“I regard these boys as embodied Narayana. When I saw Naren for the first time I noticed that he had no body-idea. As soon as I touched him in the region of the heart he lost outward consciousness. Gradually intense longing came over me to see him again and again, and it filled my heart with pain. Then I asked Bholanath [an officer of the Kali temple], `How is it that I feel this, and that for a boy, a Kayastha by caste?’ And Bholanath said, `Sir, that is all right. It is explained in the Mahabharata that when the mind of a man of Samadhi comes down to the normal plane, it finds recreation only in the company of men of Sattva quality, men of the highest spirituality.’ This comforted me.”
Said to Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar (as recorded by M)
They say that the fiery appeal of Advaita Goswami brought about the incarnation of Shri Gauranga at Nadia. Similarly everything that you see here [meaning his own advent] is on account of him [Narendranath].”
Ramakrishna on Naren’s Understanding on Non-Dualism
As recalled by Swami Turiyananda:
“Sri Ramakrishna did not allow everybody to practice the nondual aspect of meditation. What good is it to proclaim that you are one with the Absolute unless the universe has vanished from your consciousness? Sri Ramakrishna used to say: ‘You may say that there is no thorn, but put your hand out—the thorn will prick, and your hand will bleed.’ But with regard to Swamiji, Sri Ramakrishna said, ‘If Naren says that there is no thorn, there is no thorn; and if he puts out his hand no thorn would prick it, because he has experienced his unity with Brahman.”
- “Behold! Here is Naren. See! See! Oh what power of insight he has! It is like the shoreless sea of radiant knowledge! The Mother, Mahamaya Herself, cannot approach within ten feet of him! She is barred by the very glory which She has imparted to him!”
- He (Naren) has eighteen extraordinary powers, one or two of which as sufficient to make a man famous in the world
- He is a burning, roaring fire consuming all impurities to ashes. Even should Naren live on beef and pork, it could not harm in the least the great power of spirituality within him!
(Life of Swami Vivekananda by his Eastern and Western Disciples)