Brahmananda Loses his Little Bondage

Sri Ramakrishna’s dearest disciple next to Vivekananda was Brahmananda. He reached higher heights than Vivekananda did. In every way, he was dearer than the dearest to Sri Ramakrishna.

Brahmananda’s childhood name was Rakhal. His father arranged for him to get married at a young age. His father was a Brahmin, and it was a matter of extreme importance to him that his son be married. He literally forced Rakhal to get married.

After Rakhal was married, most of his spiritual brothers said, “Alas, our brother has fallen! He has fallen so badly!”

Sri Ramakrishna immediately scolded them. He said, “I do not want to hear any of this talk! You know how fond I am of my dearest Rakhal.”

Then Rakhal and his wife had a baby boy. Once again, the disciples mercilessly criticised Rakhal. They said, “He is completely gone from the spiritual life. He has totally fallen.”

Again Sri Ramakrishna admonished his disciples. “You must not criticise Rakhal. Do not criticise him!”

One day Rakhal’s son died. He and his wife were so sad to have lost their dearest son.

When the disciples heard about it, they were sincerely sympathising with their beloved brother. “What a terrible thing has happened to Rakhal. Our brother and friend has lost his only son,” they said.

The disciples came running to Sri Ramakrishna screaming, “Master, Master, Rakhal’s son has just died!”

To everyone’s surprise, Sri Ramakrishna started singing and dancing. He was extremely happy. Then Sri Ramakrishna said, “Rakhal had a little bondage. Now Mother has taken away that bondage. I am so happy! I am very, very happy.”


Who can understand a spiritual Master’s ways? With the ordinary human mind, we can never, never know the Master’s ways. They are inscrutable.

Sri Ramakrishna would tell one person, “Go and eat meat. Nothing will happen.” To another person, he would say, “All restlessness will enter into you if you eat meat. You must never eat meat!” If the first person ate meat, his consciousness would not be disturbed in the slightest. If the second person ate meat, the restlessness of the animals would enter into him instantly and take him into the abysmal abyss of his consciousness.

After he realised God, Swami Vivekananda used to eat meat and fish. His fellow brother-disciples and other critics used to say, “O my God, he is eating meat! He has definitely fallen.”

Swami Vivekananda would answer, “When I was poverty-stricken, you did not give me even one rupee. Such kind-hearted people you were! Now I am in a position to eat meat and you are criticising me mercilessly. Is eating meat taking away my spirituality? Am I descending? You are such well-wishers! Where was your sympathy when I was without money for weeks on end?”

Sri Aurobindo used to eat chicken quite regularly for a year, even when he was in his high, higher, highest consciousness. Nothing affected him. And while he was writing his magnum opusThe Life Divine, his servant used to come to him with a very large Burmese cigar. Sri Aurobindo would smoke to get inspiration. This is all written in official books on Sri Aurobindo’s life.

Another great Master of the highest heights, Sri Ramakrishna, used to smoke a hookah frequently before he entered into his highest meditation. In most cases, if people smoke, they cannot raise their consciousness even an iota. Even if someone is smoking next to another person who does not smoke, it is all finished for the non-smoker! That person will not be able to go higher at all.

In Lord Buddha’s case, a man gave him poisoned meat and then the Buddha died. As he was dying, when someone asked him about the man who had poisoned him, Lord Buddha said, “Forgive him! Forgive him! He has not done this intentionally.”

In our spiritual life, we all have to know how much capacity we have.

Read more stories about Swami Vivekananda...