Sunday, April 22, 2007
Swami Vivekananda with Ramakrishna
Narendra met Ramakrishna for the first time in November 1881. He happened to meet Ramakrishna at the house of a neighbour, but there is nothing on record about the impression that he created on Naren's mind. He, however, invited Naren to visit him at Dakshineshwar some day. As the days passed, Naren began to grow restless about the various riddles that religion presented to him. He particularly wanted to meet a person could talk about God with the authority of personal experience. Finally, he went to Ramakrishna
one day and asked him strightaway if he has seen God. He said he had, and Naren if so wished, he could even show God to him. This naturally took Naren by surprise. But he did not know what to make of if, for though his simplicity and love of God impresed Naren, his idiosyncrasies made him suspect if Ramakrishna was not a 'monomaniac'. He beagn to watch him from close quarters and after a long time he was left in no doubt that Ramakrishna was an extrordinary man. He was the only man he had so far met who had comoletely mastered himself. Then, he was also the best illustration of every religious truth he preached.
Naren loved and admired Ramakrishna but he never surrendered his independence of judgement. Interestingly, Ramakrishna himself did not demand if of him, or of any other of his disciples. Neverthelsee, Naren gradually came to accept Ramakrishna as his master. Ramakrishna sufered from cancer and passed away in 1886. During his illness a group of select young men had gathered round him and beagan to nurse him while receiving spritual guidance from him. Naren was the leader of this group. Ramakrishna had wanted that they take to monastery life and had symbolocally given them GERUA cloth. They accordingly founded a monastery at Baranagar and began to live together, depending upon what they got by begging. sometimes they would also wander about like other monks. Naren also would sometimes go travelling. It was while he was thus travelling that he assumed the name of Swami Vivekananda.