Sri Ramakrishna Showers His Grace

On 1 January 1886, the Master [Sri Ramakrishna] felt better and expressed a desire to walk in the garden for a short while. Because it was a holiday, the householder devotees began arriving at the Cossipore garden after midday individually and in groups. The Master came down from upstairs at 3:00 p.m.; there were more than thirty people talking amongst themselves inside the house and sitting under the trees in the garden. They all stood up reverently and bowed down when they saw him. The Master went out through the western door of the hall, descended onto the garden path, and proceeded slowly southward to the gate. The devotees followed him at a little distance. When he reached the midpoint of the path between the house and the gate, the Master saw Girish, Ram, Atul, and a few others under a tree on the west side of the path. They bowed down to him and came to him joyfully.

Before anyone had spoken a word, the Master addressed Girish, asking him: ‘Girish, what have you seen and understood (about me) that makes you say all these things (that I am an avatar and so on) to everyone, wherever you go?’ Unperturbed, Girish knelt down at the Master’s feet, folded his hands before his raised face, and responded in a voice choked with emotion: ‘What more can I say of Him? Even the sages Vyasa and Valmiki could find no words to measure His glory!’ Girish’s sincere faith expressed in those words so moved the Master that he said to the devotees, while looking at Girish: ‘What more need I tell you? I bless you all. May you all be illumined!’ He became overwhelmed by love and compassion for his devotees, and went into ecstasy after uttering those few words.

That selfless and profound blessing touched the devotees deep within their hearts and they became mad with joy. They forgot time and space; they forgot the Master’s illness; they forgot that they had vowed not to touch the Master until his recovery. They saw that a wondrous divine being had come down to them from heaven and was calling to them affectionately; they also had felt that their suffering grieved him and that he was carrying in his heart an infinite pain and compassion for them and offering them shelter as selflessly as a loving mother. They became anxious to bow down to him. As they touched his feet, the ocean of the Master’s compassion burst through all bounds and created an astonishing phenomenon. Almost every day in Dakshineswar we had seen the Master become overwhelmed with compassion and grace and bless some devotees with his powerful divine touch. On this day, he remained in a semiecstatic state, he began to touch each devotee present in a similar way, and their joy was boundless.

The devotees understood that from this day on, the Master would no longer conceal his divinity from them or from anyone else in the world. They had no doubt that from now on all sinners and sufferers—despite their shortcomings, lack of spirituality, and feelings of inadequacy—would find shelter at his blessed feet. . . .

Ramchandra and some devotees have said that on that day the Master became the Kalpataru, the wish-fulfilling tree. But we think that it is more reasonable to describe this event as a manifestation of the Master’s fearless divine nature, or to say that he revealed himself on that day, granting fearlessness to all. It is said that the Kalpataru gives people whatever they ask for, good or bad. But the Master did not do that; by this event he let it be known clearly that he was a godman and that he offered shelter from fear to all without discrimination.


Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play