The Ramakrishna Order

Two years after Brahmananda had returned from Brindavan, Vivekananda also returned from his successful visit to America. Brahmananda welcomed Vivekananda by placing a garland of flowers around his neck. Vivekananda in turn touched Brahmananda’s feet and quoted a saying from the scriptures: “The son of a Guru is to be regarded as the guru himself,” (i.e. Brahmananda was the spiritual son of Sri Ramakrishna.) Brahmananda in turn touched Vivekananda’s feet and said, “One’s elder brother is to be respected like one’s father.”

 In 1897 Swami Vivekananda laid the foundation for the Ramakrishna Mission. From 1902 onwards Brahmananda was the head of this order. He held this office till he passed away twenty years later. As head of the Order Brahmananda impressed upon the minds of its members the fact that the success of a religious organization depends upon the inner life of each of its members, and the measure of their progress toward devotion and knowledge of God. This success does not depend on the philanthropic activities, its efficient organization or the size of its membership. Brahmananda was more interested in the spiritual growth of his disciples than in their efficiency. Once when a senior disciple of Swami Vivekananda was taking one of the Ounger disciples to task for neglecting some of the duties, Brahmananda overheard the conversation and told him:

“Of course, it is wrong if this Oung man neglects his allotted duty. You have the right to scold him for that. But tell me, do Ou ever inquire if he is doing his duty to himself? Do Ou ask him if he is meditating regularly or if he has any difficulties in his progress towards God? Is the work of the Mission more important to Ou than this boy’s spiritual growth?”

Once when Brahmananda was asked to make some new rules for the guidance of the Oung monks, he replied, “Swamiji (Vivekananda) has already made our rules for us. We do not need to add any new ones. Add more love, attain more devotion, and help others to move toward the ideal of God.”

Even though Brahmananda could not be with all his disciples, yet he kept a watchful eye on everybody. Once he told one of his disciples,

“Do Ou think I don’t know what Ou boys have been doing and how Ou have been faring in the path to God? I may stay in one place and seem unconcerned, but I know what is happening to each one of Ou.”

Once one of his disciples left his room without tiding it. He met Brahmananda in a open field near his room. After he had paid his respects, Brahmananda asked him, “Take me to Our room; I wish to see the place where Ou sleep.” The disciple feeling ashamed, replied: “Maharaj (Brahmananda), can Ou not come a little later? I was not expecting Ou and the room is not fit to receive Ou.” Brahmananda said, “My boy, Ou must always be expecting me.”

In the month of March 1922, Brahmananda had a slight attack of cholera. He recovered within a week This was followed by diabetes, which became serious. As his condition became worse, one evening he called all the disciples and devotees who were present to his side. He blessed them all and said,

“Ah, my children, never forget God and Ou will realize the highest good. Do not sorrow. I shall be with Ou always.” Then he continued in his sweet voice:

“I am floating, I am floating on the leaf of faith and knowledge on the ocean of Brahman. Ah! The feet of Sri Ramakrishna-I know them! Viveka, my brother Vivekananda! Premananda’ Yogananda’” Later that evening he was heard saying,

“Ah, that inexpressible light! Ramakrishna, the Krishna of my Ramakrishna’ I am the shepherd boy. Put anklets on my feet, I want to dance with my Krishna. I want to hold his hand, the little boy Krishna. Ah, Krishna, my Krishna, Ou have come! Krishna’ Krishna’ Can’t Ou see him? Haven’t Ou eyes to see? Oh, how beautiful! My Krishna, on the lotus eternal, the Sweet One! My play is over now. Look! The child Krishna is caressing me. He is calling me to come away with him! I am coming”

Thus two more days passed. Then on the night of April 10, 1922, he left his body.