THE GOSPEL OF SWAMI RAMDAS:
Presents a factual account of some of the incidents and conversations of Swami Ramdas and Mother Krishnabai, recorded (intermittently from 1953 to 1957) by Swami Satchidananda. Pujya Swamiji, known earlier as Anantasivan, met Papa Swami Ramdas at the age of 30 and dedicated his entire life to him. This book is a unique depiction of the activities of two great saints in and outside the Ashram, as noted down by their beloved disciple who served them throughout their life. Available in English and Kannada.
Sri Ramdas, called 'Papa', evolved in a way which may well seem somewhat incredible to all who want to fathom the miracle deep of sainthood. By 'miracle' I want to stress what appears to Reason as the recondite mystery which makes sainthood's flowering fulfillment so baffling to the mind. Ramdas started indeed like a postulant, with japa but bore down everything that stood in the way with an astonishing ease and a regal gait.
His father had given him the Guru mantra, Sri Ram jai Ram jai jai Ram (by Ram he meant Krishna also) which like a miracle seed of Godlove, blossomed in his heart's pure soil into the beautiful lotus of ecstatic Bhakti. They were all amazed, his father, relatives and neighbors to whom he appeared like an enigma which had to be seen to be believed. I will not try to give a cogent, historical account of his swift home-coming to the haven of his Lord's feet in as much as he has himself related graphically in his books how his heart opened and self-will merged in delight in the All-Will of the Divine, culminating in renunciation of his private worldly life. Many an aspirant hears, indeed, His call in the heart, but only a handful are chosen, the rare saints, who chose to be chosen. Being a wonderful raconteur, he has given a fascinating account of his spiritual pilgrimage, an account which has already been acclaimed gratefully by many an authentic spiritual seeker. It is the old and ever new (Sanatan-Punarnava) adventure of the devotee yearning nostalgically to the soul's eternal sky and nest- at once the zenith and asylum of Grace Divine. In a good many of his revealing talks in these pages, seekers of the psychic light will find episodes of rare wisdom alternating with his simple laughter and humour which punctuate his heart warming recital leading us ever on like the Kindly Light' of the famous psalm. In fact, Ramdas did come to us as the beneficent invasion of Krishna's compassion to help us repeal life's teeming shadows with its native lustre. This is not an over statement: We have experienced the Lord's Grace time and again whenever we have had the blessed opportunity of contacting his pristine child-soul of inviolate purity which the elect alone are endowed with.
Only one thing I must add here to acknowledge a personal debt namely that Ramdas did come to bless me as a "messenger of Incommunicable" Krishna who is "hidden in every heart."*
This I say not only to hail his endearing sanctity, but also and primarily to emphasize that I felt in him over and over again the redeeming touch of Krishna, my best Beloved, whose fleeting contact only deepened my yearning to make Him abide with me. Since my adolescence, I have offered my love, such as it is, at His lotus feet and repeated His name in the deepest crises of my life. I told Ramdas all about it when he came to bless us at Poona and stayed with us for three rapturous days in our humble cottage. Indira and I sang in joy, morning and evening, to him and his great disciple Mother Krishnabai who is indeed Bhakti personified. As for me, I found in him not only a guiding angel but a sweet friend and monitor in my quest when my great Guru Sri Aurobindo had passed away leaving me all but derelict. Often, I felt he had come to me at his psychological moment as an answer of Grace to my prayer, to assure me that he had conveyed my petition to the Lord to make me His own and mould me to His Will. We were both verily, intoxicated! For was it not a dream come true - a Bird of Paradise come to us earthlings with his songs of Godlove and tales of a God's nursling who not only walked with Him but had a living communion with Him day after blessed day!
As I have written about his talks with me elsewhere* I will quote here just one remark of his. Once I asked him: "Tell me Papa, how can one attain Him, the Elusive Swain"? "By wanting him not among other things, but above other things," he answered at once. "To give a simile: You are running to catch a train. A pedestrian calls to you. You say: 'Not now - Afterwards. I have to catch a train'. In other words, look upon Him as the Quest of quests, the Light of lights, the heart's One Prince and Swain".
The talks recorded here (The Gospel of Swami Ramdas) cannot but prove eminently helpful to seekers of every stripe. For Ramdas had transcended even in the first phase of his sadhana the grievous and clinging limitations of the mind. He homed in the Elysium of the spirit and although he advised every seeker to eschew formalism and ritualism, he told them that these too could be of help if we were on guard against dogmatism, the curd which soured the milk of human kindness. He told us time and again that Divine Love in its flawless purity could never brook narrowness, parochialism, untouchability and foolish assertiveness.
To give an instance in point to illustrate how spontaneously he could answer questions.
A devotee named Subbaiyar asks: Papa, does He not know that we are thinking of Him constantly?
Papa: where is that man who is thinking of Him constantly? Let Ramdas see him.
Subbaiyar: I am, Papa.
Papa: If you have been thinking of Him always you must have become one with Him. There cannot be any doubt about it. The thinker and the thought become one.
To continuously think of Him means to be rid of the ego-sense. The sloka "Ananyaschintayantomam...." means that we should accept Him completely and entertain no other thought. This exclusive thought of God grants one always great joy. Such a one deserves to attain Him and gets Him.
How simple, direct and true!
To end with a paean Indira composed on him a song we sang in chorus to him and Mother Krishnabai when they were our guest at Poona.
We bow to thee, O Ramdas, O saint, we bow to thee: O Rama's child whose love outpetals in light and harmony! Thou com'st to bless our arid earth with His Name's rain of grace And chantest: "Ram! sing and sing of Thee in gratefulness." Who's a king and who's a bondsman, a lonely alien, say? Behold with the eye of love: In friend and foe He comes to play: On land and sea 'Us He who reigns: all live by His breath of Grace: And so, O Ram, I sing Thy glory in deep gratefulness: Touching thy feet, the earth is blessed, 0 Ram's darling son! Blessed Krishnabai and those who've seen in you the One, And known that through you on our earth comes Ram to rain His Grace: So, we will sing His glory and thine in fervent gratefulness!'
I must add a tribute to Mata Krishnabai composed by Indira, because Swami Ramdas is not complete with-out her, his disciple and colleague for so many decades, and who is still carrying on Papa's work in spite of her frail health. She lived for Papa and her whole being still moves in him and him alone.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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