Faith

Seeing God

Swami Vivekananda belonged to an indigent family. As long as his father was alive, it was able to manage its expenses, but after that, life turned difficult. The story goes that Vivekananda approached Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and asked him how money could be obtained, for he had an urgent need of it.

Ramakrishna replied that Vivekananda should ask Goddess Kali for money. Vivekananda agreed to do so, but every time he saw the idol of Kali, he forgot all about material possessions, and did not ask for money.

His anxiety about his poverty yielded place to a yearning for spiritual knowledge. Vivekananda became Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's disciple, who proved himself worthy of his guru, said Tiruppur Krishnan

In later years, as Ramakrishna was diagnosed with cancer, Vivekananda went to a doctor and asked him to come and examine his guru.

The doctor said he was willing to do so, but on one condition: neither Ramakrishna nor Vivekananda try to make him believe in God, for he was an atheist. As Vivekananda agreed, the doctor visited Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and offered him what respite he could.

One day, Vivekananda put a coin beneath Ramakrishna's bed-sheet and asked the doctor to observe what was going to happen. Ramakrishna twisted and turned in discomfort, until the coin was removed. Vivekananda said the reason was that Ramakrishna never touched money, and any contact with it made him uncomfortable. But the doctor said that what Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had experienced must have been physical discomfort. He could not see it as spiritual discomfort.

When Paramahamsa died, Vivekananda asked the doctor if he had changed his mind, after his acquaintance with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa for some time. “Do you believe now that God exists?” asked Vivekananda. “God no longer exists, for He just died,” the doctor replied, referring to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa himself as God! Thus, the atheist had seen God in the saint, and had been converted against his will.

Saints have the power to win followers just by their presence and effulgence, and by the example of simplicity they set.


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Printable version | Oct 7, 2021 3:45:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/seeing-god/article3520515.ece

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