The Leela of Monastic Life
Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj – a waking encounter
I am in Bhāva Samādhi
When I was spending time as a brahmachari in Ramakrishna mission, one day morning, I had the darśan of Devi – something like a 100 feet tall, huge form. And I literally felt that whole thing is sitting on My Sahasrāra (crown cakra)! It was an intense Bhāva Samādhi. I was believing that I cannot move My body because the 100 feet tall Devi is sitting on My head! I was just sitting, sitting, sitting. So naturally the news spread in 10 minutes.
At that time fortunately, the Vice President of Ramakrishna mission Swami Ranganathananda, was staying there in Mylapore Ramakrishna mutt. He is a great Sādhu. Even at the age of 90, he will get up, go for his walk, go to the temple morning and sit in meditation or japa. He will sit like a statue; a powerful tapasvi.
Yogaha karmasu kauchalam
So I was sitting in a room which is on the way to that temple. Because he (Ranganathanandaji) was going to the temple, one Swami who was sitting outside the room told – Maharaj, koka has gone mad! Koka was My nickname. The revered Sādhus are called as Maharaj. He shouted – ‘Maharaj Koka paagal hoiche!’ Koka has gone mad! I was not with closed eyes or I was not unconscious towards the outer world incidents, I was conscious. My eyes were also open. I wanted to tell – ‘No, no, I am not paagal. I have not become mad.’ But I could not tell. I was just sitting.
Swami Ranganathanandaji did not enter the room. He just opened the door and looked in. He looked at the other Sādhu and said, ‘Aiy, what, he is not mad. He is just sitting silently. That’s all. He has not broken any things.’ I used to keep My room very neat and clean. I was just sitting and with the face in a big smile. He looked straight into My eyes and asked, ‘What? Ki? Kamanochi?’ In Bengali it means, ‘How are you?’ I could not answer. I said, ‘Bhāva Samādhi, Bhāva Samādhi!’ He just spat on the wall, door (and said), “Yogaha karmasu kauchalam!” (It means ‘Yoga is efficiency in action.’ It is verse 50 of Bhagavad Gita, 2nd chapter, Sankhya Yoga) It was such a strong shock for Me! I can say liberation for Me! In that moment all that darśan went away, everything became alright. I can say it was a powerful initiation leading Me to the next level.
Solidified emotion becoming part of your existence becomes efficiency in action!
Please understand, emotion solidified is Bhāva Samādhi. When that solidified emotion becomes one with your consciousness, it is ‘perfection in your action’!
What is solidified emotion? If you are in Bhāva Samādhi, you will see everything as Devi. If you are in Bhāva Samādhi with Krishna, you will see everything as Krishna. So much of sweetness will be there by the remembrance of Krishna. When that sweetness becomes part of your action without even remembering Krishna…. just by your action if you are going through that same intense sweetness, that is what is called – ‘karmasu kauchalam’ – ‘efficiency in action!’ Efficiency in action means never being tired of action! Any action which makes you tired, will make you old! Will bring you disease. Your action when it does not make you tired, when it goes on inspiring you for more and more and more, then you reach the space ‘Yogaha Karmasu Kauchalam’.
The solidified emotion is Bhāva Samādhi. But when that solidified emotion is no more separate from you, becomes part of your very existence – consciousness, that is what I call karmasu kauchalam.
It was such a strong hit on me! All that darśan everything went away. That 100 feet tall devi sitting… Sahasrāra dala pankaje – the Sahasrāra dala – thousand petalled lotus, devi was sitting in all her glory… everything went away! I did not feel I lost something. I felt very clearly, what was outside of me, has become part of me!.
I enter ‘Yogaha karmasu kauchalam’!
That’s all. I got up. I was supposed to give arghya for him. See in Ramakrishna mission they have a tradition – everyday morning all the senior Sādhus will come and offer arghya to Sri Ramakrishna. Arghya means on the bhel leaf, applying the red sandal, and yellow sandal with little rice and one dhruva grass. Dhruva means not durbha, the dhruva grass and with one flower – these five items are called arghya. I was supposed to prepare arghya for him. I ran with such speed, before he could come to the garbha mandir, there is a bedroom of Sri Ramakrishna. He will usually go there and do namaskar and come to the garbha mandir to do the namaskar. Before he finished that namaskar and came to the garbha mandir, I prepared the arghya and I was keeping it ready!
In Ramakrishna mission in the fridge they will keep the dhruva and the bhel leaf. So I will have to pick up the plastic bag and remove the bhel leaf and wipe it and pick up a dhruva grass and wipe it. And there will be small two stones…. the small piece of red sandal and white sandal…. both pieces will be there. And I finished grinding and wiped it on the leaf, picked up few rice and put it on it and put one flower and I was keeping it ready by the time he reached garbha mandir. Hardly 120 seconds, two minutes… it might be!
Ranganathanandaji delivers the punch line!
Actually the punch line is not over. After he took that arghya from me and offered, he looked at me and asked, ‘What about yours?’ Because I was also supposed to offer! After he offers, I am supposed offer my arghya. I missed my arghya!
I thought, ‘Oh God! Now what He is doing is karmasu kauchalam!’
He just gave a one strong word. With that one strong word, I ran, prepared the whole arghyam, and kept it ready. But he is not satisfied with it. He is looking at the end. He is not going to stop with feeling: Oh! Within two minutes this fellow ran and prepared my arghya.’ No! He finished offering his arghya, then turned (and asked): What about yours?
I was about to feel: I have now done Yogaha karmasu kauchalam. Now I brought efficiency in action! I thought he may not appreciate because he is the person who will not appreciate. The non-appreciation, habit I learnt from him only! He is not the person who will appreciate. I thought at least he will not tell anything… he will just keep quiet and walk out! That is the greatest appreciation you can get from him! If he has not found any fault and if he has not told anything and left, then you can be sure you are in Yogaha karamasu kauchalam. I thought at least he will leave keeping quiet. But he looked and said, ‘What about yours?’ I said, ‘Maharaj, I will bring it, you please walk!’
Paata bheda – the allowed errors of Saints and Seers in the Sanskrit language
The actual Sanskrit words in this Bhagavad Gita verse are Yogaha karmasu kaushalam. However, Sri Ranganathanandaji maharaj used to pronounce it as Yogaha Karmasu kauchalam. The Avatār retained the senior Swami’s pronounciation as the words were a strong initiation from him. This phenomenon of allowing a great Saint or Seer’s errors in the Sanskrit language is called ‘paata bheda’.
The way I heard from him that initiation… “Yogaha karmasu kauchalam”… it’s recorded into My system. I can say, this spelling mistake is my respectful remembrance of his initiation for Me, his grace on Me!