Marriage and Children – Ramakrishna
Sri Ramakrishna on M.’s marriage and children
This happened during M.’s second visit to Sri Ramakrishna.
Sri Ramakrishna: “Pratap’s brother came here. He stayed a few days. He had nothing to do and said he wanted to live here. I came to know that he had left his wife and children with his father-in-law. He has a whole brood of them! So I took him to task. Just fancy! He is the father of so many children! Will people from the neighbourhood feed them and bring them up? He isn’t even ashamed that someone else is feeding his wife and children, and that they have been left at his father-in-law’s house. I scolded him very hard and asked him to look for a job. Then he was willing to leave here.
“Are you married?”
M: “Yes, sir.”
Sri Ramakrishna (with a shudder): “Oh, Ramlal! Alas, he is married!”
Like one guilty of a terrible offence, M. sat motionless, his eyes fixed on the ground. He thought, “Is it such a wicked thing to get married?”
The Master continued, “Have you any children?”
M. this time could hear the beating of his own heart. He whispered in a trembling voice, “Yes, sir, I have children.”
Very sadly Sri Ramakrishna said, “Ah me! He even has children!”
Thus rebuked M. sat speechless. His pride had received a blow.
Holier than thou ?
After a few minutes Sri Ramakrishna looked at him kindly and said affectionately: “You see, you have certain good signs. I know them by looking at a person’s forehead, his eyes, and so on. Tell me, now, what kind of person is your wife? Has she spiritual attributes, or is she under the power of avidya?”
M: “She is all right. But I am afraid she is ignorant.”
Master (with evident displeasure): “And you are a man of knowledge!”
M. had yet to learn the distinction between knowledge and ignorance. Up to this time his conception had been that one got knowledge from books and schools. Later on he gave up this false conception. He was taught that to know God is knowledge, and not to know Him, ignorance. When Sri Ramakrishna exclaimed, “And you are a man of knowledge!”, M.’s ego was again badly shocked.
Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
By Mahendranath Gupta (“M”), His Disciple
Translated from the Bengali by Swami Nikhilananda