“A vulture soars high in the sky, but its eyes are fixed on the charnel-pits where the carcasses of animals are burned (shakuni khub uncute uthe, taar najaD bhaagaaDe). They who are only Pandits, and Pandits in name (yaaraa shudhu Pandit, shuntei Pandit) are attached to ‘lust and gold’ (Kaaminii Kaancane aasakti) – they look for decomposed corpses, just like a vulture (shakunir mata pacaa maDaa khunjche)”
– Shri Ramakrishna
“I seek to bring the simple soul out of the hagiographical mist of mystification and deification.” - Prof. Narasingha P. Sil
In this part of this article I will discuss on Prof. Narasingha P. Sil’s paper “The Professor and the Paramahamsa: Martin Luther and Ramakrishna Compared” – though I will not have a single word on Luther here, and concentrate on what Sil has to say about Shri Ramakrishna.
Within the space that I must allot to this paper, I cannot quote Sil’s papers in entirety – that would not be fair too, so, I invite readers, if they choose, to read Sil’s papers first. In fact, I would recommend that even before reading my paper.
I strongly suggest my readers to read the cited materials in entirety (both Sil’s and mine) before forming any opinion, and my expressed caution is that unless a Text is read in entirety, its purport cannot be understood. Needless to say, that applies to Sil’s paper and my article as well.
My stand is clear: the reader or devotee, who forms an opinion against a critic of his /her idol without reading his writing in original and merely on hearsay, is as guilty as the critic who has launched the critique without reading the historical source material in original or with distorting that source material.
Below are some portions/samples from Sil’s paper and my examination of his citations from the original source.
Sil: “Ramakrishna constantly professed his ongoing struggle against his twin external devils, kamini-kanchana [lust and lucre] …
Prof. Narasingha P. Sil begins the very first line with a wrong premise that Kaaminii Kaancana is an “external devil” to Shri Ramakrishna. In fact, when Shri Ramakrishna mentions Kaaminii to his male disciples, it is as much ‘External’ or the Real Woman, as much "Woman in the Brain" or "Kaama in the Mind/Brain" – more so in case of householder disciples and devotees, because he teaches them to give up Attachment and Addiction for Kaama Kaancana internally while maintaining normal conjugal life including Sex ‘externally.’ (see for example, KA, 1.12.4; Diary of 19 October 1884, and KA, 4.20.1; Diary of 19 September 1884).
For his Sannyaasii disciples however, Kaaminii is both External and Internal – though not ‘devil’ as Sil suggests, but to be avoided with strict austerity in all her aspects excepting as Mother.
For example, shortly after Shri Ramakrishna’s death, Naren (Svami Vivekananda) once tells Raakhaal (Svaamii Brahmaananda) that it is Kaama in Mind that creates the perception of Man and Woman as separate, in other words, "Kaama in the Mind/Brain" creates the entity of Kaaminii – the Sexual Woman. (KA, 2.27.Appendix I; Diary of 8 May 1887)
Whether Sil’s false premise is owing to his faulty reading or an act of careful deliberation – we will soon find out, however, we already know his direction when in the next few lines, Sil turns Shri Ramakrishna into a ‘political’ figure by pronouncing the verdict that Gadaadhar (name of Shri Ramakrishna) “probably figured out a strategy to prove that he was so intimate with the Goddess” by making use of “his repertoire of song, samadhi, and unabashed unconventionality” (note Sil’s italicization of Samaadhi), and by such “apparently creative deviancy” he came to be regarded as a “wacky holy man who had special access to divinity.”
Sil’s Academic Dance-Style is in suggestive-persuasive mode with delicate and cautious Mudraas of ‘probably’ and ‘apparently.’
Here, I must express my gratitude to Sil for inspiring me with the coinage Academic Dance-Style. In his paper “Vivekaananda's RaamaKrishna: An Untold Story of Mythmaking and Propaganda,” Sil regards Shri Ramakrishna’s trance-dance as “Paramaharisa style of dances.” If dance in Bhaava merits style, can academics be far behind?
Sil: “He was almost dumbfounded when Ashwini Kumar Datta (1856-1923), a distinguished intellectual and patriot from eastern Bengal, was asked to give his preference between Ramkumar of Kotrang and Ramakrishna of Dakshineshvar as a scholar and stated that there could be no comparison between them as Ramkumar was a scholar whereas the Paramahamsa was not. Only when he was told that though not a scholar like Ramkumar, he was a fun loving guy, did the Master regain his usual affable self and remark with a smile: “Well said! Well said!” (LR: 406-7).”
The episode that Sil mentions is found in Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta’s letter to Shrii M included in Shri Ramakrishna Kathaamrta (“The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna”).
Two Sil-ian or Sil-ly phrase stand out here about Shri Ramakrishna –
i) almost dumbfounded
ii) fun loving guy
(I laud myself for this coinage “Sil-ian”, because given Sil’s interest in Tudor history, and given Tudor-Wales connection, this should be appropriate; but I cannot absolutely laud myself for the coinage “Sil-ly” because though I intend to sound it and mean as in ‘Kingly,’ what concerns me is some careless readers’ carelessness with the hyphen.)
Anyway, Sil here tries to construct Shri Ramakrishna in a way – “dumb” and “guy” – we are not accustomed to (courtesy hagiographical Texts, Sil would say), so, let us examine his citation.
Question is, why Sil leaves the most authentic source of Shri Ramakrishna’s meeting with Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta – that is in Shri Ramakrishna Kathaamrta (KM, 3.16.1 [GR: Chap- 14]; Diary of 23 May 1885), and Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta’s own letter written to Shrii M (GR: Appendix B”).
Shrii M records in Shri Ramakrishna Kathaamrta about his first meeting Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta in Dakshhineshvara:
“A Theosophist gentleman has arrived with Aswini Kumar Dutta and the son of Behari Bhaduri. The Mukherji brothers come in and salute Thakur. Arrangements for a kirtan have been made in the courtyard. At the sound of the drum, Sri Ramakrishna leaves the room and comes to the courtyard. The devotees follow him and take their seats there. Bhavanath introduces Aswini to Sri Ramakrishna. Thakur introduces M. to Aswini by pointing at him. They are both in conversation when Narendra arrives and sits down. Thakur says to Aswini, “This is Narendra.”’
Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta however, met Shri Ramakrishna “probably during the autumn holidays of 1881 …the first Time.” He also refers to Shrii M’s mention of him in Shri Ramakrishna Kathaamrta: “The last time I visited him — you have mentioned it in the third part of your book (Under May 23, 1885) — I had with me the headmaster of our school, who had just then graduated.” (GR: Appendix B; Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta’s letter to Shrii M).
Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta begins the letter as follows: “Three days ago I received the fourth part of the Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita1 sent by you, and today I have finished reading it. You are blessed indeed. What heavenly nectar you have sprinkled all over the country! ... A long time ago you wanted me to set down my conversations with the Master. Now I shall try to write them for you. But I was not born under the lucky star of an M., that I might jot down the days, the dates, and the hours of my visits with the Master and note down correctly all the words uttered by his holy lips. In this letter I am giving you as many of my experiences as I remember. Very likely I shall confuse the events of one day with another — and I have forgotten many things.”
Where Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta himself admits that he might “confuse” and “forget” many things, Sil chooses to rely on this letter (right to freedom of education, of course) – in fact, devote a whole paragraph to make Shri Ramakrishna “dumbfounded”!
Anyway, reading that letter, we find, Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta’s utter fascination for Shri Ramakrishna’s personality – he uses words like “ecstatic mood,” “divine smile,” “divine emotion,” in the letter.
Now, here is the episode in Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta’s own words that “dumbfounded” Sil:
‘I told the Master that I had met Achalananda Tirthavadhuta of Barisal.
Master - "Isn't that Ramkumar of Kotrang?"
Myself - "Yes, sir."
Master - "How did you like him?"
Myself - "Very much."
Master - "Well, whom do you like better — him or me?"
Myself - "Oh, can there be any comparison between you two? He is a scholar, an erudite person; but are you one?"
Sri Ramakrishna was a little puzzled at my reply and became silent. A moment later I said: "He may be a scholar, but you are full of fun! There is great fun in your company." At this the Master laughed and said: "Well said! Well said! Right you are!" (GR: Appendix B; Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta’s letter to Shrii M).
In Shrii Dharma Paal Gupta’s translation, it is: ‘I — How can you be compared with him? He is a pundit, a learned man. But are you a pundit, a jnani? Hearing this he was taken aback a little and kept quiet. After a minute or so, I said, “He may be a pundit but you are a pleasant person, full of joy. There is a lot of pleasure in you.” At this he smiled and said, “Well said. You have said it rightly.”’
Now, let us check the Bengali version of “Sri Ramakrishna was a little puzzled at my reply and became silent.” I will transliterate the Bengali words and add my own translation in bracket where I feel the translation needs to be modified.
The Bengali with my translation is:
‘“taanr sange ki aapnaar tulana hay? Tini Pandit Vidvaan lok aar aapni ki Pandit Jnaanii? (He is Pandit scholar, and you are Pandit and Wise?)” Uttar shune ektu abaak haye cup kare railen (hearing the answer, he was a bit surprised and remained silent). Ek aadh minit pare aami ballam, “taa tini Pandit hate paaren, aapni majaar lok. AApnaar kaache majaa khub (so, he may be a Pandit, but you are a man of humour and ‘a pleasant person, full of joy.’ There is great Joy in your company). Eibaar hese ballen, “besh balecho, thik balecho (you have spoken well, very right.”’
As we can see, “puzzled” (Svaamii Nikhilaananda’s tr.) is not correct translation of “abaak haye,” because it exaggerates the ‘surprise,’ and “became silent” is not correct translation of “cup kare railen,” because it carries the sense of ‘being silenced.’ Again, “taken aback” is also some degree harder than “abaak (‘surprise’),” and “lot of pleasure” (Shrii Dharma Paal Gupta’s tr.) is not adequate translation of “Aapnaar kaache majaa khub,” because the English ‘Pleasure’ (for Bengali ‘majaa’) carries the connotation of Sensual Pleasure, whereas Bengali “majaa” might be secular joy arising Naturally and Spontaneously.
However, we cannot blame the translators. They could not have been aware that some Vulturinus Scolares some day would search for carrions and find nothing else in a translation whose slight deviation can be easily glossed over given the right frame of mind with focus on the context.
However, the Sil-ian/Sil-ly translation of “ektu abaak haye cup kare railen” as “almost dumbfounded,” and “majaar lok” as “a fun loving guy,” (‘guy’ obviously sounds like its modern day connotation in American slang – “Hi Guys”) is an outstanding flight of that bird Shri Ramakrishna, the bard, often spoke of!
In Bengali, “majaar lok” suggests one with Natural and Spontaneous source of humour and Joy.
Regarding Sil’s Academic Dance-Style here we can only say - to use Prof. Somnath Bhattacharyya’s words – “scholarship indeed!” 
Here is the full quote: ‘Sil, whom Kripal does not forget to thank for his "own brand of Bengali mischievousness"(KC xviii), termed Kripal's presentation "plain shit" in a prominent review in 1997, and the very next year was doing a volte face suggesting that this was the best scholarly work on Ramakrishna (Sil 1998); scholarship indeed!’
Coming back to the present discussion, we also find that Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta is “writing down Shri Ramakrishna’s words” – certainly not an expected conduct on the part of a “distinguished intellectual and patriot from eastern Bengal” (in Sil’s words) regarding a “dumb” man!
Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta ends the letter as follows:
‘That evening I went to Ram Babu's house and met Narendra. In one of the rooms the Master sat reclining against a pillow. Narendra sat at his right, and I in front.
He asked Narendra to talk with me. But Narendra said: "I have a bad headache today. I don't feel like talking."
I replied, "Then let us put it off till another day."
And that came to pass in May or June of 1897, at Almora. The will of the Master had to be fulfilled, and it was fulfilled after twelve years. Ah, how happily I spent those few days with Swami Vivekananda at Almora! Sometimes at his house, sometimes at mine, and one day on the top of a hill with nobody accompanying us. I never met him after that. It was as if to fulfill the Master's wish, that we saw each other at Almora.
I saw the Master not more than four or five times; but in that short time we became so intimate that I felt as if we had been class-mates. How much liberty I took while speaking with him! But no sooner had I left his presence than it flashed on me: "Goodness gracious! Think where I have been!" What I saw and received in those few days has sweetened my whole life. That Elysian smile of his, laden with nectar, I have locked up in the secret closet of my memory. That is the unending treasure of a hapless person like myself. A thrill of joy passes through my heart when I think how a grain of the bliss shed from that laughter has been sweetening the lives of millions, even in distant America. If that be my case, you may very well understand how lucky you are.’
What we find is that Ashvinii Kumaar Dutta has been dumb-founded by Shri Ramakrishna’s personality throughout his life!
Interestingly, Sil’s own citation Deconstructs his thesis, thus! Sil ends up glorifying Shri Ramakrishna with the opposite intention!
Question is, why Sil, despite being a Bengali by birth, is bent on misinforming his non-Bengali and not-Bengali-knowing readers?
Sil: ‘He justified his scriptural innocence by arguing that “scriptures merely give hints and therefore it is not necessary to read a few scriptures.” He exclaimed on one occasion: “Mere knowledge of Advaita! Hyak thoo—I spit on it!!” and actually spat on the floor denouncing rationality (KM, 4: 43 [GR: 358]. Diary of December 23, 1883).’
Let us see what emerges from this:
i) Shri Ramakrishna was ‘innocent’ of scriptures
ii) To justify that, he preached against scriptures and also against reading Texts
iii) He spat on the floor
iv) He denounced rationality
Was Shri Ramakrishna really innocent of scriptures? No doubt he was not a scripture-reading Pandit, and almost certainly he did not mostly read firsthand (he was not entirely illiterate), and all his learning was in ancient Shruti manner, however, can his knowledge in scriptures be doubted?
So, what Sil-constructed Shri Ramakrishna do we get here? A person who has “scriptural innocence” but who can “justify” and “argue” so well that thousands of Man and Woman including English educated youths and scholars fall at his feet? And then Sil quotes Shri Ramakrishna expressing disgust on “mere knowledge of Advaita.” A person ‘innocent’ of ‘scripture’ knows “mere knowledge of Advaita” is nothing! What innocence!
We cannot but laugh to see how Sil inadvertently ends up in actually glorifying Shri Ramakrishna.
We need not linger on this point of Sil’s “innocence”– let us quote a bit from Prataap Chandra Mazoomder’s reminiscences:
“What is there in common between him and me? I, a Europeanized, civilized, self-centered, semi-skeptical, so-called educated reasoner, and he a poor, illiterate, unpolished, half-idolatrous, friendless Hindu devotee? Why should I sit long hours to attend to him, I who have listened to Disraeli and Fawcett, Stanley and Max Muller, and a whole host of European scholars and divines? I who am an ardent disciple and follower of Christ, a friend and admirer of liberal-minded Christian missionaries and preachers, a devoted adherent and worker of the rationalistic Brahmo-Somaj—why should I be spellbound to hear him? And it is not I only, but dozens like me who do the same. He has been interviewed and examined by many, crowds pour in to visit and talk with him. Some of our clever intellectual fools have found nothing in him, some of the contemptuous Christian missionaries would call him an impostor, or a self-deluded enthusiast. I have weighed their objections well, and what I write now I write deliberately…. If all his utterances could be recorded they would form a volume of strange and wonderful wisdom. If all his observations on men and things could be reproduced, people might think that the days of prophecy, of primeval, unlearned wisdom had returned. But it is most difficult to render his sayings in English.”
Other than the obvious reason why I quote Prataap Chandra Mazoomder, there are two other reasons –
i) In response to Openshaw's review of his “Ramakrishna Revisited: A New Biography,” Sil wrote: “Pratapchandra Mozoomdar …was a genuinely good man who admired the simplicity of the rustic saint.” From what we have read in Prataap Chandra Mazoomder’s own words, that he was “spellbound to hear him,” that all his “utterances…wonderful wisdom,” etc., it seems Sil knows even better than Prataap Chandra Mazoomder why he admired Shri Ramakrishna! If Shri Ramakrishna ever liked to “argue” and could argue so convincingly, then isn’t Sil further deconstructing himself by acknowledging Shri Ramakrishna as a Natural Pandit? To construct Shri Ramakrishna, Sil has to reconstruct Prataap Chandra Mazoomder too! And of course with that Academic Dance-Style, Sil is revealing himself more and more to us.
ii) Prataap Chandra Mazoomder’s last line as quoted above deserves mention – “But it is most difficult to render his sayings in English.” As we will see repeatedly, Sil being a Bengali by birth merely takes advantage of this.
Moreover, Sil confuses (or deliberately betrays his confusion to bask in that glory) Spiritual Knowledge and Academic Knowledge or Material Knowledge – and obviously is totally ignorant (not merely innocent) of "Hindudhaarmik Tradition" – otherwise he would have known that Shri Ramakrishna’s Thoughts have their root in RgVeda, Upanishhad, and Mahabharata.
For example, in Mahabharata, Bhiishhma regards those as Asurik “traders of learning” who only read scriptures and exercise their intellect without being capable of going into the signification réelle of Deep Layer. The RgVeda also says that three parts of Vaak are in Deep Layer and only one part of Vaak is in Surface Layer of Language and words.
Now, let us check the incident that Sil refers from Shri Ramakrishna Kathaamrta (“actually spat on the floor denouncing rationality”):
‘Next he speaks to the Divine Mother, “Mother, You have taken away my worship. Please do not take away all my desires. Mother, a paramahamsa is a child. Doesn’t a child need a Mother? You are the Mother and I am Your son. How can a child live without his mother?” Thakur talks to the Divine Mother in a tone of voice so touching it could melt even a stone. He says to the Her, “Mother, merely the knowledge of non-dualism – I spit on that. As long as there is the feeling of ‘I,’ there is ‘You’ too. A paramahamsa is a child. Doesn’t a child need its mother?” Mani gazes in speechless wonder at this state of Thakur, which is rare even among the gods… He is ever immersed in the joy of intense love for the Mother of the Universe; he is ever intoxicated! Observing Thakur in this state, suddenly Hazra folds his hands and now and then says, “Blessed. Blessed.” (KA, 4.8.1; Diary of 23 December 1883)
Here it is from Svaamii Nikhilaananda’s “The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna”
“Sri Ramakrishna was talking to the Divine Mother in a voice that would have melted even a stone. Again he addressed Her, saying: "mere knowledge of Advaita! I spit on it! Thou doest exist as long as Thou dost keep the ego in me. The paramahamsa is but a child. Doesn't a child need a mother?"
As we can see, here Shri Ramakrishna is speaking to himself, and the context and “occasion” have nothing to do with his “scriptural innocence.”
More importantly, there is no mention of Shri Ramakrishna “actually spat on the floor denouncing rationality” in either Shri Ramakrishna Kathaamrta or “The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna” – and Sil is clearly manipulating the Text to create a false impression on Shri Ramakrishna’s lack of hygienic sense.
Shri Ramakrishna says “Hyak thoo” – that is a colloquial Bengali expression for expressing disgust, and it never means “actual spitting.” Sil thinks himself cunning, so that in his translation, he keeps the original “Hyak thoo,” and then adds the translation (I spit on it!!”) to make it – “Hyak thoo—I spit on it!!”- in order to create the False Impression that Shri Ramakrishna’s first expression is “actual spitting,” and the second expression is verbalizing his action.
We cannot be sure of Sil’s knowledge or innocence in English grammar, however, placing “denouncing rationality” at the end of the sentence, he perhaps tries to bolster the false impression that Shri Ramakrishna “actually spat” in an irrational way!
Anyway, before spitting out Sil’s thesis in a rational way, let us remember that ‘once upon a time,’ Sil charged Kripal of “taking recourse to casuistry and cunning,” and an intellectual “driven by an uncontrollable urge to say something salacious, scandalous, and scintillating,” and that “Kripal has pecked the Bengali sources of Ramakrishna’s life and teachings like a hungry vulture that feeds on carrion and then flies out in search of another, leaving germs and vermins behind—a reminder of its execrable presence.”
We are only reminded of Shri Ramakrishna’s vulture-analogy – and that bird certainly knows and recognizes its own species more than it knows the human species.
Sil: ‘Ramakrishna adamantly opposed working for a living or doing social work because, as he believed, these were distractions for man whose sole purpose and exertion ought to be the realization of the divine. When he came to know that his devotee Nityaniranjan Ghosh (later known as Swami Niranjanananda, 1862-1904) had obtained an employment, he felt aggrieved and was heard to say, “I feel more pained to hear that he had taken up employment than if I had heard of his death” (LP, 1 [Sadhakabhava]: 93).’
Not forgetting to notice the Sil-ian/Sil-ly Academic Dance-Style of vocabulary-Mudraas (“adamantly opposed”), here I quote the entire context from which Sil “pecked the Bengali sources of Ramakrishna’s life” to create a false impression about Shri Ramakrishna. Svaamii Saaradaananda writes –
“We heard the Master express on many occasions that opinion about taking service. The Master did not hold in high regard anybody who served another without being hard pressed by need. Once, when he knew that one of his boy devotees took service, he felt much pained ; and was heard to say, " I feel more pained to hear that he has taken service than if I had heard of his death." When the Master met him later and knew that he had taken service for the maintenance of his helpless old mother, he said, passing his hand affectionately over his head and body, " There is no harm in that; you are not to blame when you have taken service for that purpose ; but had you done so prompted by selfishness and needlessly, not for the sake of your mother, I could not have touched you any more. So I say, my Niranjan has not the slightest ' anjan' (stain) in him; why should he be so low?" All the new-comers were surprised to hear those words of the Master to Nitya-niranjan, for that was his full name, and one was cheeky enough to say, “Sir, you condemn service ; but how can we maintain our families without taking to it ? " The Master replied, “Let him take service who likes it; I don't forbid all to do that. I say this only to them (pointing to Niranjan and the other boy devotees). Their case is different." The Master was fashioning the lives of his boy devotees in a different manner; and he, it goes without saying, gave such advice, because taking service was not consistent with the requisite spiritual attitude.”
Let us read the episode from Shri Ramakrishna Kathaamrta –
“After the kirtan Thakur sits for a while with the bhaktas. Niranjan comes in now and offers obeisance by prostrating himself on the ground. As Thakur sees him, he stands up. With eyes wide open he smiles joyfully and says, “So you have come!”
(To M.) “Look here, this boy is remarkably simple. Such openness and simplicity does not come unless a lot of austerity has been practised in the previous births. When a person is cunning and calculative, he cannot attain the Lord.
“Do you not see that wherever Bhagavan incarnated Himself as an avatara, there was guilelessness. How simple was Dasharath! Nanda, Sri Krishna’s father, was free from guile! So the saying goes, ‘What a nature he has! Exactly like that of Nanda Ghosh (the milkman).”
The bhaktas are free from guile. Is Thakur hinting that the Lord has again incarnated Himself?
Sri Ramakrishna (to Niranjan) — I say, it looks as if a dark shadowy film has spread over your face (kaalo avaran). This is because you work in the office. You have to keep accounts in the office and perform so many other duties there. So you are always worried (sarvadaa bhaabte hay).
“Like other men of the world you also do a job, yet there is a little difference (taphaat aache). You have accepted the job for the sake of your mother.
“The mother is venerable, she is the very image of the All-Blissful Mother (maa gurujan brahmamayiisvaruupaa).” (KA, 1.10.2; Diary of 15 June, 1884)
About one year later Shri Ramakrishna says: “Look at Niranjan. He’s not a bookkeeper – he doesn’t keep track of gain and loss. When he hears the call, he can go. But as long as a person’s mother is alive, she has to be looked after. I used to worship my mother with flowers and sandal paste. It is the Mother of the Universe who has come down in the form of your mother.” (KA, 4.23.8; Diary of 13 July 1885)
What we find here is that Shri Ramakrishna is not opposed to anybody accepting service (“Let him take service who likes it; I don't forbid all to do that”), and his objection is only regarding Niranjan [“I say this only to them (pointing to Niranjan and the other boy devotees). Their case is different.”]
Sil, yet again busts his own balls, and Deconstructs his thesis by the very citation he pecks.
Whether Shri Ramakrishna “adamantly opposed working for a living or doing social work” we will see in the next part further, for now let us see how Sil distorts facts.
Here is part of a conversation between Shri Ramakrishna and a sub-judge, a Brahmo devotee (readers are advised to read the whole):
‘The sub-judge: “Sir, must one renounce the family?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “No, why should you have to renounce the family? You can renounce even while living in the family.
“To attain God while living a family life, hold onto His lotus feet with one hand and do your work with the other.”
“Why do you have to renounce the home? It is convenient there. You don’t have to worry about food, and there is no harm in having Sexual Relation with your own wife (svadaaraay sahabaas) (Note: italics - my translation). In a family, all your bodily needs are easily met. If you fall ill, you have people to nurse you.
The Sub-judge — We are householders. For how long have we to attend to these duties?
Sri Ramakrishna — What else do you people have other than duties? To bring up the sons, to provide for your wife and to save money for the upkeep of your wife when you are no more. In case you don’t do these, you are a heartless fellow (nirday)…He who has no kindness is not at all a human being (Dayaa yaar nei se maanushh-i nay).’ (KA, 1.12.4-5; Diary of 19 October 1884)
Many such conversations abound in Shri Ramakrishna Kathaamrta.
So much for Sil-ian or Sil-ly Academic Dance-Style – what we see here is that Shri Ramakrishna calls a man negligent to his family “heartless” and “inhuman.”
Here is another interesting information to note. Shri Ramakrishna’s householder disciple Raam Chandra Datta “did not like the sannyas ideal. He believed that Sri Ramakrishna came to this world to emulate the true house-holder's life. Rambabu thought he understood the Master more than the sannyasin disciples; for he knew Sri Ramakrishna many years before they had met him.” 
Another householder disciple Akshhaya Kumaar Sen notes: “By Srî Râmakrishna’s grace, gradually their natures started changing. They became aware of their responsibility as householders and regained their sense of duty in regard to their wives and children. Their addiction to drugs faded away.” 
Sil: “He thought Vidyasagar was merely wasting time trying to reform society (KM, 1: 89 [GR: 267]. Diary of July 1883).”
Sil’s next attempt to construct Shri Ramakrishna is in this line – that Shri Ramakrishna is opposed to Social Work!
Let us check Sil’s citation from Shri Ramakrishna Kathaamrta.
Here is a reference from Svaamii Nikhilaananda’s “The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna” (Diary of July 21, 1883) –
A Devotee: "Sir, you met Pundit Vidyasagar. What did you think of him?"
Master: "Vidyasagar has both scholarship (paanDitya) and charity (Dayaa – compassion), but he lacks inner vision (antardrshhti naai). Gold lies hidden within him (antare sonaa caapaa ache). Had he but found it out, his activities would have been reduced; finally they would have stopped altogether. Had he but known that God resides in his heart, his mind would have been directed to God in thought and meditation. Some persons must perform selfless work a long time before they can practise dispassion and direct their minds to the spiritual ideal and at last be absorbed in God. The activities that Vidyasagar is engaged in are good. Charity is very noble (Dayaa khub bhaalo). There is a great deal of difference between daya, compassion, and maya, attachment. Daya is good, but not maya. Maya is love for one's relatives-one's wife, children, brother, sister, nephew, father, and mother. But Dayaa is the same love for all created beings without any distinction (sarvabhuute samaan bhaalobaasaa)."
Another reference from Shri Ramakrishna Kathaamrta:
“Vidyasagar — Has God given more power to some and less to others?
Sri Ramakrishna — He dwells in all beings as the all-pervading Power. He is present even in an ant. But there is a special manifestation of His power in some. If that were not true, how could one man defeat ten, while another person tries to run away from even one? Why do people have regard for you? Have you grown two horns? (Laughter.) Compared to others, you have more compassion and learning. This is why they have regard for you and come to see you. Don’t you agree?
Sri Ramakrishna — Mere learning is of no avail. It is for finding the means for attaining Him and knowing Him that one reads books. (KA, 3.1.4; Diary of 5 August 1882)”
Shri Ramakrishna has the highest respect for Vidyaasaagar because he has both compassion and learning:
“Sri Ramakrishna — Well, you are no such thing. You are not a mere pundit – dry and hard and good for nothing (shudhu Panditgulo darkacaa paDa). A vulture soars high in the sky, but its eyes are fixed on the charnel-pits where the carcasses of animals are burned (shakuni khub uncute uthe, taar najaD bhaagaaDe). They who are pundits due to learning are scholars in name (yaaraa shudhu Pandit, shuntei Pandit)– but they are attached to ‘lust and gold’ (Kaaminii Kaancane aasakti) – they look for decomposed corpses, just like a vulture (shakunir mata pacaa maDaa khunjche). Fondness for the world is Avidyaa (aasakti avidyaar samsaare); compassion, devotion, love of God, non-attachment, are the wealth of vidya (dayaa, bhakti, Vairaagya Vidyaar Aishvarya).
Vidyasagar listens to Thakur silently. Everyone gazes fixedly at the blissful personage and drinks the nectar of his words. (KA, 3.1.2; 5 August 1882)”
Shri Ramakrishna always had the highest opinion for Vidyaasaagar-
“You have compassion; you have scholarship; there is a greater degree of these virtues in you than in others. That is the reason you are so well known.'” (GR: 32: 682)
Further, Shri Ramakrishna tells Vidyaasaagar:
“(To Vidyasagar) "The activities that you are engaged in are good. It is very good if you can perform them in a selfless spirit, renouncing egotism, giving up the idea that you are the doer. Through such action one develops love and devotion to God, and ultimately realizes Him. "The more you come to love God, the less you will be inclined to perform action. When the daughter-in-law is with child, her mother-in-law gives her less work to do. As time goes by she is given less and less work. When the time of delivery nears, she is not allowed to do any work at all, lest it should hurt the child or cause difficulty at the time of birth. "By these philanthropic activities you are really doing good to yourself. If you can do them disinterestedly, your mind will become pure and you will develop love of God. As soon as you have that love you will realize Him.” (GR: 3: 120; Diary of August 5, 1882)
What we find once again is how Sil distorts history.
Sil: ‘When his patron Shambhucharan Mallik (d. 1877) decided to build hospitals, dispensaries, schools, roads, and public reservoirs, his Master admonished him: “You should discharge only those obligations which come first and are absolutely unavoidable—and that too in a spirit of detachment.”
The first thing we note here is that Sil does not cite the dialogue.
This dialogue of Shri Ramakrishna and Shambhucharan Mallik is a hot favourite with some modern scholars, intent on Shri Ramakrishna disparaging, or searching for his historical locale. For example, Prof. Sumit Sarkar gives so much importance to this, that he even counts the saying as mentioned 6 times in Kathaamrta, and opines it has been “excised” in Shri Ramakrishna Liilaaprasanga in order to establish his idea of Shri Ramakrishna’s “rejection of social activism.” 
The argument is untenable on many counts. First, Shambhu Mallik died in 1877 , and Shri Ramakrishna continued to live for another 10 years – during which he had closer contact with Keshava Chandra Sen (first meeting in 1875), and the Braahmos, other foremost persons of Bengal Renaissance, and his “Inner Circle (antaranga)” of disciples.
By the simple law of Self-Evolution, the Shri Ramakrishna of 1877 could not have been the Shri Ramakrishna of 1880s. Even putting aside this argument we may ask: do these scholars expect that Shri Ramakrishna had been freezed throughout his life on that particular dialogue with Shambhucharan Mallik? What type of scholarship is this? Would we then conclude that these scholars are Static?
It is indeed ludicrous that while denying Self-Evolution to a historical person, Sil reserves that space for himself. In the introduction to his “Ramakrishna Revisited: A New Biography,” Sil writes of his own evolution: “My evolution from adolescence to adulthood was marked by a growing detachment—worse, disenchantment--with prophets and Godmcn…”
Secondly, it is a gross misconception religiously preached by these scholars (- the natural outcome of their brand of scholarly reading) that Shri Ramakrishna was averse to Social Work – a point I will examine later in details. So, as in this case, they choose not to examine the context of Shri Ramakrishna’s utterance, or even Shambhucharan Mallik’s nature at that time.
Coming back to Sil, just as Sil pecks out references, if we take the above reference out of his context of showing Shri Ramakrishna as antagonistic to Social Work, Sil seems to forget his agenda here. What is wrong in that saying? Shri Ramakrishna speaks of giving up attachment to work, not Karma (like Krishna says to Arjuna in Giitaa). This is evident if we check from the original – where we find that we need not have to argue on the line of Self-Evolution because Shri Ramakrishna in fact gives the most practical advice to Shambhucharan Mallik according to his nature – “Fish-cuisine according to the appetite and capacity of the children.”
In Svaamii Nikhilaananda’s “Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna” it is as follows:
“Sambhu Mallick once talked about establishing hospitals, dispensaries, and schools, making roads, digging public reservoirs, and so forth. I said to him: 'Don't go out of your way to look for such works. Undertake only those works that present themselves to you and are of pressing necessity-and those also in a spirit of detachment.” (GR: 5: 157; Diary of October 27, 1882)
Shri Ramakrishna is aware of Shambhucharan Mallik’s nature that he wants to engage in charitable activities more out of ego, and less for real social concern. For example, Shri Ramakrishna once says to Dr. Sarkaar, ““Look here, one cannot attain jnana till one is rid of pride. When shall I be free? When ‘I’ cease to be. ‘My’ and ‘mine’ both are ajnana. ‘You’ and ‘Yours’ constitute jnana.” (KA, 1.18.3; Diary of 27 October, 1885)
If Shri Ramakrishna tells Shambhucharan Mallik to give priority to God devotion that is because Shambhucharan Mallik has already been a devotee before meeting Shri Ramakrishna:
“Sambhu Mallick used to come on foot from Baghbazar to his garden house at Dakshineswar. One day a friend said to him: 'It is risky to walk such a long distance. Why don't you come in a carriage?' At that Sambhu's face turned red and he exclaimed: 'I set out repeating the name of God! What danger can befall me?' Through faith alone one attains everything.” (GR: 11: 258; Diary of June 4, 1883)
Another reference to the same episode –
“Sambhu Mallick once said to me, 'Please bless me, sir, that I may spend all my money for good purposes, such as building hospitals and dispensaries; making roads, and digging wells.' I said to him: 'It will be good if you can do these things in a spirit of detachment. But that is very difficult. Whatever you may do, you must always remember that the aim of this life of yours is the attainment of God and not the building of hospitals and dispensaries. …Therefore I say again that work is only the first step. It can never be the goal of life.” (GR: 23: 488; Diary of June 15, 1884)
Another reference –
"Sambhu said to me: 'It is my desire to build a large number of hospitals and dispensaries. Thus I can do much good to the poor.' I said to him: 'Yes, that is not bad if you can do it in a detached spirit. But to be detached is very difficult unless you sincerely love God. And further, if you entangle yourself in many activities, you will be attached to them in a way unknown to yourself. You may think you have no motive behind your work, but perhaps there has already grown a desire for fame and the advertising of your name. Then again, if you are entangled in too many activities, the pressure of them will make you forget God.' (KA, 5.Appendix II. 3 [GR: 34: 733]. Diary of December 6, 1884)
Shambhucharan Mallik’s idea of charity is based on the suffering of the “Other” –
"Once Hriday asked Sambhu Mallick for some money. Sambhu held the views of 'Englishmen' on such matters. He said to Hriday: 'Why should I give you money? You can earn your livelihood by working. Even now you are earning something. The case of a very poor person is different. The purpose of charity is fulfilled if one gives money to the blind or the lame.' Thereupon Hriday said: 'Sir, please don't say that. I don't need your money. May God help me not to become blind or deaf or extremely poor! I don't want you to give, and I don't want to receive.' " (GR: 19: 420; Diary of February 2, 1884)
Hrdaya often betrayed an opportunistic nature, so Shambhucharan Mallik is of course right in denying him money – one can of course think that way – however, Hrdaya’s ironic response in this case is equally enlightening on the nature of Shambhucharan Mallik’s charity.
“There has to be some people out there suffering wretchedly, so that I can exercise and muscle-flex my Dayaa” – that is Shambhucharan Mallik’s Inner Script that Shri Ramakrishna detects easily.
In other words, Shambhucharan Mallik’s charity is based on more ‘I’-ness than “You,” and his good intention is not Natural and Spontaneous but conditional to Other’s suffering – that is why Shri Ramakrishna says as above.
Shri Ramakrishna also feels about Shambhucharan Mallik based on his physical signs that he “was not quite sincere in spite of all his wisdom.” (GR: 30: 652; Diary of October 5, 1884)
One can of course debate whether Shri Ramakrishna’s this method of judging characters from Body-Signs is ‘scientific’ or not, but to say that Shri Ramakrishna is a poor judge of character is historically untenable.
In short, Sil, in his pious project to derail hagiography has himself indulged in hagiographical fabrication!
Sil: ‘He advised a Brahmo devotee: “It is not good to be involved in too many projects. You will forget God that way.” “You people talk of doing some good for the world. Is the world a small place?” Ramakrishna asked his audience angrily. “And who the hell are you to do some good for the world? Meet him [God] by means of spiritual discipline. Realize him if he gives you strength, then you can do good to everybody; otherwise not”’ (KM, 1: 50-51 [GR: 142]. Diary of October 27, 1882).
Let us check from Shri Ramakrishna Kathaamrta –
“The Steamer Trip”
[Instruction to Keshab and other Brahmo bhaktas on Karma Yoga]
Sri Ramakrishna (to Keshab and other bhaktas) — You people talk of doing good to the world (jagater upakaar karaa). I say, is the world so small (jagat ki etatuku gaa)? And who are you to do good to the world (aar tumi ke ye jagater upakaar karbe?) Attain God by performing sadhana (devotional practices) (Note, in the Bengali Text: “taanke saadhan dvaaraa saakshhaatkaar karo” – “meet him through Saadhanaa”) Attain Him (taanke laabh karo). He will give you power, only then you will be able to do good to others, otherwise not (tini SHakti dile tabe sakaler hit karte paarbe, nacet nay).
A Particular Bhakta — Should we give up all work (sab Karma tyaag karbo?) so long as we do not realize God?
Sri Ramakrishna — No, why will you give up work (Karma tyaag karbe kena?). You will have to do all this: Meditation upon the Lord, chanting His names and glories, and undertaking day to day rituals works (nityakarma).
The Brahmo Bhakta — And what about the worldly work (Samsaarer Karma)? About worldly affairs (bishhay Karma)?
Sri Ramakrishna – Yes, you will also do that (taao karbe), as much is necessary for household and wordly matters (Samsaarayaatra). But you must cry in a lonely corner and pray to God so that you do all these works in a nishkama manner (selflessly). And you will say, ‘O Lord, please lessen my worldly work, because O Lord, I see that when engrossed too much in work, I forget You. I think in my mind that I am doing the work in a nishkama way but it turns out to be sakama (with a selfish motive.) Perhaps a desire for name and fame crops up (lokamaanya) when there is increase in giving charity and distributing free meals.’” (KA, 1.2.9; Diary of October 27, 1882)
Some points on Sil’s scholarship –
i) Here Shri Ramakrishna speaks to Keshava Chandra Sen and other Brahmo devotees, but Sil says “advised a Brahmo devotee” – another instance of Sil-ian and Sil-ly hagiographical fabrication – or, deficit in research.
ii) Sil’s fraud is evident. In the Text we find neither Shri Ramakrishna is “angry” nor he says “And who the hell are you” that Sil writes. Shri Ramakrishna says, “who are you?” – and Sil transforms that into “who the hell are you?” Where the HELL does this “Hell” come from? To repeat, another hagiographical fabrication to create False Impression about Shri Ramakrishna.
iii) The dialogue Sil mentions at the beginning (“It is not good to be involved in too many projects. You will forget God that way”) comes later at a related but different context. Sil, in an attempted sleight of his Sil-ly Academic Dance-Style places it at the beginning and thus manipulates the reading of the Text to suit his thesis – a charge he has earlier brought against Kripal.
As we read on Sil’s paper, things become more interesting and promising. I will soon be back with the next part of my article.
Continued to “Excreta-eating-Clever-Crow-Syndrome,” & Shri Ramakrishna
1. Sil, Narasingha P. The Professor and the Paramahamsa: Martin Luther and Ramakrishna Compared. Asian Social Science Vol. 7, No. 5; May 20110
2. Silian, originally Sulien, is a village in the valley of the River Aeron, Ceredigion, Wales. It is located approximately two miles north-west of Lampeter, on a minor road connecting Pont Creuddun on the A482, and Glan Denys on the A485.
3. Bhattacharyya Somnath. Kali's Child: Psychological And Hermeneutical Problems
4. Mazoomdar, Protap Chunder. Paramhamsa Srimat Ramakrishna. Theistic Quarterly Review, October, 1879.
5. Religious studies. Crucifying a saint
6. Sil, Narasingha P.. The Kripal Conundrum: A Critique of Ramakrishna’s Holy Homoeroticism
7. Svaamii Bodhaananda. Some Reminiscences of the Early Sri Ramakrishna Maths and Monks. Magazine Articles November / December 2006. Vedaanta Centre UK.
8. The Wonder that is Shrii RaamaKrishna. 2002. (An English translation by Svaamii Bhaaskaraananda of the Bengali book Shrii Shrii RaamaKrishna-Mahimaa by Akshhaykumaar Sen), p- 11
9. Sarkar, Sumit. Kaliyuga, Chakri, and Bhakti: Ramakrishna and His Times. Writing Social History. Oxford University Press, 2009, p-300
11. Sil, Narasingha P. (1998), Ramakrishna Revisited: A New Biography (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc.)