When Sri Ramakrishna Had A Vision Of Jesus Christ
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, a revered Indian mystic and yogi who was as a guide and teacher to renowned Indian scholar and philosopher Swami Vivekananda, was a man who was open to different religious ideas. He followed Hinduism, Islam and Christianity with equal fervour and devotion and was willing to accept every form of divinity as long as it could reveal to him God’s image and glory. Here is an excerpt from the book ‘Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master’, written by his disciple Swami Saradananda, who narrates how during the year 1874, Sri Ramakrishna experienced an encounter with Jesus Christ at a disciple Jadunath Mallick’s garden house, which was situated to the south of the Kali temple at Dakshineswar. It was then the great teacher realised the truth of Christianity being one of the many paths to spiritual awakening and enlightenment and that each religion only serves to bring us to closer to God.
“Jadunath and his mother had great devotion to the Master (Sri Ramakrishna) from the time they first had seen him. Therefore, even if they were not present in the garden at the time of the Master’s walk there, the officers would open the door of the parlour and ask him to sit and rest there for some time.
There were some good pictures hanging on the walls of that room. One of those pictures was that of the child Jesus in his mother’s lap (picture shown above).
The Master used to say that he sat one day in that parlour and was looking intently at that picture and thinking of the extraordinary life of Jesus, when he felt that the picture came to life, and effulgent rays of light, coming out from the bodies of the Mother and the Child, entered into his heart and changed radically all the ideas of his mind!
On finding that all the inborn Hindu impressions disappeared into a secluded corner of his mind and that different ones arose in it, he tried in various ways to control himself and prayed earnestly to the divine Mother (Kali), “What strange changes art Thou bringing about in me, Mother?” But nothing availed.
Rising with a great force, the waves of those impressions completely submerged the Hindu ideas in his mind. His love and devotion to the Devas (Gods) and Devis (Goddesses) vanished, and in their stead, a great faith in and reverence for Jesus and his religion occupied his mind, and began to show him Christian padrees (priests) offering incense and light before the image of Jesus in the Church and to reveal to him the eagerness of their hearts as is seen in their earnest prayers.
The Master came back to Dakshineswar temple and remained constantly absorbed in the meditation of those inner happenings. He forgot altogether to go to the temple of the divine Mother (Kali) and pay obeisance to Her. The waves of those ideas had mastery over his mind in that manner for three days.
At last, when the third day was about to close, the Master saw, while walking under the Panchavati (grove of 5 sacred trees), that a marvellous god-man of very fair complexion was coming towards him, looking steadfastly at him.
As soon as the Master saw that person, he knew that he was a foreigner. He saw that his long eyes had produced a wonderful beauty in his face, and the tip of his nose, though a little flat, did not at all impair that beauty. The Master was charmed to see the extraordinary divine expression of that handsome face, and wondered who he was.
Very soon the person approached him and from the bottom of the Master’s pure heart came out with a ringing sound, the words, “Jesus! Jesus the Christ, the great Yogi, the loving Son of God, one with the Father, who gave his heart’s blood and put up with endless torture in order to deliver men from sorrow and misery!”
Jesus, the god-man, then embraced the Master and disappeared into his body and the Master entered into ecstasy (Bhav Samadhi), lost normal consciousness and remained identified for some time with the Omnipresent Brahman (God, the Ocean of Consciousness) with attributes.”
A comment by another disciple Mahendranath Gupta in his book ‘Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’ enlightens us on Sri Ramakrishna’s thoughts after he had this wonderful vision.
“Sri Ramakrishna realized his identity with Christ, as he had already realized his identity with Kali (Divine Mother), Rama, Hanuman, Radha, Krishna, Brahman (Absolute Ocean of Consciousness), and Mohammed.
Thus he experienced the truth that Christianity, too, was a path leading to God-Consciousness. Till the last moment of his life he believed that Christ was an Incarnation of God. But Christ, for him, was not the only Incarnation; there were others – Buddha, for instance, and Krishna.”