“God is in the Vagina” – Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna PramahmsaSri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836 – 1886) is considered as one of the most respected spiritual masters of the modern time in India. The story or saying is that he attained the highest ‘nirvikalpa samadhi’, state. He empowered Swami Vivekananda as his most powerful disciple in the 20th century. He experienced ‘trances’ at the age of six. He was born to a poor but pious family in a village in Bengal, India. He never bothered to learn even to write his name, such an implicit ‘illiterate’ he was. Ducked and bunked the ordeals of school learning. He was a true ‘rebel’, but still remained rooted in the tradition of the soil and time. He took over the priesthood profession for his livelihood to worship Goddess Kali. He revolted against the senseless caste and class discriminations, in his own ways. He was initiated to other religions also – Islam, and Christianity. He has no qualms about the religions. Initially he was initiated into ‘tantra’ tradition by Bhairavi Brahmani, an orange-robed, middle-aged female ascetic; later on initiated into non-dual meditation and Vedanta. This is the briefest description that is given here just as a reminder about his holy personality.

Sri Ramakrishna was also known as a ‘tantrik’; he worshiped even his wife Sarada as Goddess. It is not unknown that many a class spiritual masters go eccentric and erratic (or erotic or mystic?) in their utterances, gestures and teachings. It is told that Ramakrishna used the most rustic, colloquial, classic, gross Bengali language to communicate or abuse with his disciples and people – in the larger mission of spreading the spiritual consciousness. He often used filthy, sexy words to convey the message of clarity. These masters or mystics often reveal ‘Vedanta’ in the very ‘vagina’, so to speak. They know not what is holy or unholy. It’s the middle class mortals and minds that drum beat and blow the siren of morals and holiness; and our Gurus make good ‘harvest’ out of it. Otherwise, God knows no bounds of morals or sermons. It seems, the morals are for the mortals, never for the immortal ones.

The teachings of Ramakrishna are preserved in the work called ‘Sri-Sri-Ramakrisna-Kathamrta’ compiled in Bengali by his house-holder devotee, Mahendranath Gupta. This book is more realistic and less filtered, it seems. But the English translation of this book was never a true translation or rather the translation was made to depict the Personality Ramakrishna as an ‘avatar’ and ‘holy’ person; or rather it was impossible to translate the ‘original’ as it is due to the best kept reasons or impulses.

All the above paragraphs I scribbled just after incidentally reading a passage from the book, ‘Stopped in Our Tracks’ (third series, on UG) originally compiled in Telugu by K. Chandrasekhar, a close long associate of UG, (translated in English by Narayana Moorty). There may be several scholarly great books available on UG, but my favorite passion is always, Chandrasekhar’s ‘Lost in Our Tracks’ (First series ; Second series ; and Third series), an informal inner circle open chit-chat or tidbits on UG and in UG’s own informal spontaneous words too. Many instant diamonds of wisdoms we may strike there in the jungle of informal UG journey in these books (first, second, and third series).

The random passage I got in this book (‘Lost in our Tracks: third series’) reads:

“God is in the Vagina” – Sri Ramakrishna

The other day, Guha was reading the Bengali original of Sri Ramakrishna Bodhamrtam, translating it into English for us. “I will remove all my clothes and dance before the women; what do you care about it?” Sri Ramakrishna had scolded one of his disciples. Guha continued, “God is in the vagina. God lets me see him in the copulation of two dogs.” Ramakrishna had used much more obscene and vulgar language [than this] in his conversations. But Nikhilananda, in translating, had corrected all that, changing it so that people would be presented with the image of a holy man to hold in their minds.

And another passage I happened to get from Chandrasekhar’s ‘Stopped in Our Tracks’ (first series) reads:

“The source for both God and sex is the same. As long as you think of God, there is always sex in its shadow,” says U.G. I now understand the value of this saying. But in those days I was very confused. “Why am I so deluding myself? The mind which freed itself from so many attractions, why is it pining so much for such a trifle? Is this a test? O Lord, please give me strength. Please get me out of this mire.” Just as I was praying thus, I felt that I was sinking deeper into the mire.

Some of the interesting passages taken from the article [Wikipedia] on Sri Ramakrishna are reproduced here:

The Bhairavi initiated Ramakrishna into Tantra. Tantrism focuses on the worship of shakti and the object of Tantric training is to transcend the barriers between the holy and unholy as a means of achieving liberation and to see all aspects of the natural world as manifestations of the divine shakti.

In 1866, Govinda Roy, a Hindu guru who practiced Sufism, initiated Ramakrishna into Islam. Ramakrishna said that he “devoutly repeated the name of Allah, wore a cloth like the Arab Moslems, said their prayer five times daily, and felt disinclined even to see images of the Hindu gods and goddesses, much less worship them—for the Hindu way of thinking had disappeared altogether from my mind.” According to Ramakrishna, after three days of practice he had a vision of a “radiant personage with grave countenance and white beard resembling the Prophet and merging with his body”.

At the end of 1873 he started the practice of Christianity, when his devotee Shambu Charan Mallik read the Bible to him. Ramakrishna said that for several days he was filled with Christian thoughts and no longer thought of going to the Kali temple. According to Ramakrishna, one day when he saw the picture of Madonna and Child Jesus, he felt that the figures became alive and had a vision in which Jesus merged with his body. In his own room amongst other divine pictures was one of Christ, and he burnt incense before it morning and evening. There was also a picture showing Jesus Christ saving St Peter from drowning in the water.

According to Malcolm Mclean, the principal source for Ramakrishna’s teaching is Mahendranath Gupta’s ‘sri-sri-ramakrisna-kathamrita’. Kripal calls it “the central text of the tradition”. The text was published in five volumes from 1902 to 1932. Based on Gupta’s diary notes, each of the five volumes purports to document Ramakrishna’s life from 1882–1886.

The main translation of the Kathamrita is The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Nikhilananda. Nikhilananda’s translation rearranged the scenes in the five volumes of the Kathamrita into a linear sequence. Malcolm Mclean and Jeffrey Kripal argue that the translation is unreliable. Philosopher Lex Hixon writes that the Gospel is “spiritually authentic” and “powerful rendering of the Kathamrita”

Ramakrishna’s explicitly sexual language shocked 19th-century Westerners, even scholars Max Müller who were otherwise his admirers. Müller wrote that his language was at times “abominably filthy”. He admitted however that such direct speech was natural to contemporary hindus, “where certain classes of men walk stark naked”, and should not be considered intentional filthiness or obscenity. Citing examples of classical poems like Bhartrihari, the Bible, Homer, and Shakespeare, Müller felt that few of the sayings would have to be bowdlerized.

Many great thinkers including Max Müller, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sri Aurobindo, and Leo Tolstoy have acknowledged Ramakrishna’s contribution to humanity. Ramakrishna’s influence is also seen in the works of artists such as Franz Dvorak (1862–1927) and Philip Glass.

Indologist Heinrich Zimmer was the first Western scholar to interpret Ramakrishna’s worship of the Divine Mother as containing specifically Tantric elements. Neeval also argued that tantra played a main role in Ramakrishna’s spiritual development.

Philosopher Lex Hixon writes Ramakrishna was an Advaita Vedantin. Postcolonial literary theorist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak wrote that Ramakrishna was a “Bengali bhakta visionary” and that as a bhakta, “he turned chiefly towards Kali.” Amiya P.Sen writes that “it is really difficult to separate the Tantrik Ramakrishna from the Vedantic”, since Vedanta and Tantra “may appear to be differ in some respects”, but they also “share some important postulates between them”.

The dialogue between psychoanalysis and Ramakrishna began in 1927 when Sigmund Freud’s friend Romain Rolland wrote to him that he should consider spiritual experiences, or “the oceanic feeling,” in his psychological works. Romain Rolland described the mystical states achieved by Ramakrishna and other mystics as an “‘oceanic’ sentiment,” one which Rolland had also experienced. Rolland believed that the universal human religious emotion resembled this “oceanic sense.” In his 1929 book La vie de Ramakrishna, Rolland distinguished between the feelings of unity and eternity which Ramakrishna experienced in his mystical states and Ramakrishna’s interpretation of those feelings as the goddess Kali.

Christopher Isherwood who wrote the book Ramakrishna and his Disciples (1965) said in a late interview,”Ramakrishna was completely simple and guileless. He told people whatever came into his mind, like a child. If he had ever been troubled by homosexual desires, if that had ever been a problem he’d have told everybody about them.(…) His thoughts transcended physical love-making. He saw even the mating of two dogs on the street as an expression of the eternal male-female principle in the universe. I think that is always a sign of great spiritual enlightenment.”

Some scholars of Indian religion, including Narasingha Sil, Jeffrey Kripal, and Sudhir Kakar, analyze Ramakrishna’s mysticism and religious practices using psychoanalysis, arguing that his mystical visions, refusal to comply with ritual copulation in Tantra, Madhura Bhava, criticism of Kamini-Kanchana (women and gold) reflects homosexuality.

Jeffrey Kripal’s controversial Kali’s Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna (1995) argued that Ramakrishna rejected Advaita Vedanta in favor of Shakti Tantra. In this psychoanalytic study of Ramakrishna’s life, Kripal argued that Ramakrishna’s mystical experiences were symptoms of repressed homoeroticism.

Other scholars and psychoanalysts including Romain Rolland, Alan Roland, Kelly Aan Raab, Somnath Bhattacharyya, J.S. Hawley and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak argue that psychoanalysis is unreliable and Ramakrishna’s religious practices were in line with Bengali tradition.

In his 1991 book The Analyst and the Mystic, Indian psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar saw in Ramakrishna’s visions a spontaneous capacity for creative experiencing. Kakar also argued that culturally relative concepts of eroticism and gender have contributed to the Western difficulty in comprehending Ramakrishna. Kakar saw Ramakrishna’s seemingly bizarre acts as part of a bhakti path to God.


23 Responses to “God is in the Vagina” – Sri Ramakrishna

  1. goethean says:

    Yes, well the Wikipedia article is full of lies. I tried to add the perspective of contemporary scholars to it, and was ruthlessly supressed by dishonest Ramakrishna Mission devotees. Unfortunately, Wikipdia administraton sided with the liars.

  2. sulochanosho says:

    Vaginal Discovery of God

    The author of the book, Lost in Our Tracks , Mr. K. Chandrasekhar emailed the following stuff, with a naughty smile:

    Dear Sulochan,

    Congratulations for the vaginal discovery of God. Gives me more sense of satisfaction going through the passage than writing it at that time. I still cannot forget the naughty face of our UG eager to hear more about Sri Ramakrishna from the pages of that book which Guha was reading aloud. You must see the video record of that funny episode to believe what I wrote in Palmsprings.

    with best wishes,

    • Please, dear Sulochanan, ask Chandrasekhar, if possible, to share that video record with us (YouTube, then embed here and so on), and those videos that Nicolas Grey appear watching in his last video on his graphic novel about UG too (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wngFYGUB_Y0). All that material on UG seem to be so entertaining, as any material about him is always entertaining, it would be amazing to have the possibility of watching it all, of having access to it all.
      Sincerely, wishing you all the best,

  3. I find this very interesting…In as much as I don’t share in this belief, I like the variations in people’s thoughts. I am pleased to add your name on the list of my blogging friends for this award. Please check it out on my blog. http://www.lordemmanuel.wordpress.com

    • sulochanosho says:

      Thank you so much Emmanuel Ibok for visiting this place; you know we are a bit crazy indecent guys, in view of others, perhaps. But we never are that. And this “award”, we always try to remain a bit away. We never crave for awards or recognitions. We normally put scrap or crap things, so to say.

      Please don’t think otherwise, we respectfully link your site on ours. We appreciate your kind gesture, whatever it may be.

  4. aswin kumar mishra` says:

    dear sir, i found the topic very very interesting.but at the same time i raise my voice against all those atheists who do not believe in Sri Ramakrishna…he was the living God..and i guarantee you that nobody in future could take his place as a great philoshper, devotee and worshiper..i like all his maxims and believe that Mother Kali i.e. the darkness is the ultimate last thing that is eternal, true and omnipotent,omnipresent and omniscient,…i am a kali sadhak, i meditate and recite mantras jaap whenever i get a little free time…and at last i will say that those people who tell that Ramkrishnaji was a mad homosexual person,i will tell them that they themselves are the Bastard Bitches!!!— jai maa kali

    • Sudhir says:

      Dear brother, I came across this blog page trying to read on Sri Ramakrishna’s advice on control of lust; but look where I landed. It is 4 years past your comment, but I am still replying. These are shameless people who cannot tolerate the good of others and hence try to defame them by using wrong translations like kripal….why should we care.
      Sri Ramakrishna himself asked Vivekananda what he would do if people were to sneer at him and Vivekananda replied, “I will just think that dogs are barking at a magnificent elephant passing by”
      I pray that Sri Ramakrishna may shower his infinite love and blessings on these people and grant them purity for as Swami Vivekananda said, “he condemned none”. Jesus too had said “Father, they know not what they do”….So let us be forgiving towards these ignorant little children for they too are our brothers and sisters. May Thakur and Maa bless all!

  5. AstroHindu says:

    There’s only one problem with this whole argument, which is that Swami Nikhilananda *did* translate that portion into English. It *is* available in the English-language version of the Kathamrita.

    The Bengali version of the Gospel is understood to be the gold standard, and has suffered no censorship at all. If his followers were so afraid of the truth, why would the original be so freely available?

    A good place to start is http://www.interpretingramakrishna.com/

  6. peterandrewsf says:

    Whatever Ramakrishna’s sexual orientation may have been, I can say that he has a special appeal to men who have no sexual attraction to women, and especially to those of us who are attracted, emotionally and physically, to other men. What he did or didn’t do with the young men around him may not be known, but for us, he is a kindred soul, and it is very easy to identify with his spiritual teachings.
    Also, the fact that he could say that he had “a womanly nature,” that he could wear women’s clothes and hang out with women as virtually one of them, points to a transcendence of gender-identity that is much closer to a homosexual identification than to a heterosexual one.
    I often refer to him in my blog: http://mydivinelife.wordpress.com/.
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment here.

  7. Chivas Regal says:

    what an explanation… indeed an eye opener

  8. Aleika says:

    Why is it said that ” He never bothered to learn even to write his name, such an implicit ‘illiterate’ he was.”? Can the source of this fallacious information be provided? If anyone has visited Belurh Math, headquarter of Ramkrishna Mission in Calcutta, India, they undoubtedly has seen Ramkrishna’s handwriting( he copies from many “poothies”,the old books used in India) and his signature also. So it is my earnest request that whenever present any information please verify it before presenting it.

  9. Abhishek says:

    Many idiots like above have many idiotic things about Sri Ramakrishna. The thing is there is never any resistance either from the followers of the order or the Belur Math, or the vast multitude of men and women who respect Him. The actual thing is when shit goes unabated then every nook of the toilet turns yellow and brown. The same is with people who depict Sri Ramakrishna as a delirious madman. First purify your vision, then judge a man of His stature. You idiot, you have proved very well that you are a sex starved dolt of the highest order. Congratulations!!!! n’keep it up….people like you makes us believe that true intelligence is quite rare in this world.

  10. Narasingha P. Sil says:

    You need to read the Kathamrita in its Bengali original or you need to consult Narasingha Sil’s Crazy in Love of God (2009) for getting a handle on Ramakrishna’s wacky spiritualism. You should also be aware that the word “Bhagavan” [meaning “God”], could be understood as the possessor [“van”] of “Bhaga” [“cow” or “vagina”] is called “Bhagavan.” This would mean owning “vaginas” makes one divine. If you care to consider the agricultural penumbra of the Aryans who made their way to what is now called Bharatavarsa [or India], you would readily recognize the significance of owning cows [or women]. Not for nothing, the popular Hindu god Krishna is credited with indulging in dalliance with 16,000 gopis or cow girls.

  11. Tiaraa says:

    excellent write-up…please leave your valuable comments on my write-up

  12. Ani G says:

    Please do not I repeat DO NOT write / publish or distort any sayings of Great Saints to gain cheap popularity.

    Shame on to people who without understanding the spiritual context , picks up any line/word from Life of Great Saints and
    serve in mass media.

    A drain worm is unlucky to receive the Sun rays.

  13. Sky says:

    Fuck your bloody ass. Son of a bitch.

  14. Sky says:

    Fuck your bloody ass. Son of a bitch. Read more hell. Bloody motherfucker.

  15. I like readers to think about the contemporary society of Calcutta and its surroundings before making any harsh remark on Ramakrishna. Filthy words were freely used not only among the rustic but also among the elite. How will we expect Ramakrishna rise above the prevalent society? He essentially taught how to respect women by treating his wife as Mother. Remember the age when Rammohon Roy himself married three ladies and used to accompany prince Dwarakanath in his dance-hall. Except Vidyasagar, each and every one used vulgar words in daily life. To judge a man, we must consider the environment then and there.

  16. sulochanosho says:

    If we can not see, no one may help us:

    We are very sorry and it’s prompted us to put a few words regarding this post: God is the vagina. We have the highest respect and admiration for Sri Ramakrishna saint or seer. If an innocent word ‘vagina’ makes you wild and itching, we tender our unconditional apology to you.

    What we point out is the false ‘puritan’ emporium that has been built on the saint there. Real ‘puritan’ embodies vagina too. If a saint or seer like Ramakrishna utters the word ‘vagina’ without any adjective or prejudice, that is the height of transparency and nobility. Dogs bark at the ghosts in terms of their own defined defiled rules of sanity and sanctity. Sri Ramakrishna is above that and absorbs all. May we have guts to see? Easy to indulge in scandalous verbal jugglery and you may win also. Thanks, we are here to accept any heaps of abuses that you may throw on us with all due respect. That’s not the issue. See it, only if you have eyes.

    • Jaya says:

      Due to the outrageous (for most people) nature of the words uttered by UG , people(read first time readers) take no time in jumping the guns and pronounce him blasphemous.
      UG, I feel had a great respect for Sri Ramakrishna , which is evident from the letter he wrote to the Swami ji of Ramakrishna mission in London after having Kundalini experience in the meditation hall of the same place.
      And in one of the conversations he did express his pain in the way Sri Ramkrishna had to spend his life in penury and how Sarda devi suffered too…comparing the luxurious lives today’s gurus live …

      Kuch to log kahenge ..logo ka kaam hai kehna 🙂

      For people’s reference here is the text of that letter

      My Dear Swamiji,
      I have just been told by Maharaj that the eye operation has been a success and that you are well on your way to complete recovery, and that you will be returning to the Center in a week or so. This is very good news. And we are all looking forward to seeing you back at the Center ere long.

      I would like to pay you a visit, but certainly not if this will in any way cause strain to you. If it isn’t too much of a strain, it would give me great pleasure to see you at the Hospital, and you may be assured that it will be a very short one.

      I wish to God I knew what hidden hand led me to the Center. When you suggested helping you out with some kind of editing work, I did not for a moment hesitate to fall in with your kind suggestion. What I did not know was that I would be having the most Blessed Moments of my life here at the Center. It is needless to add that it has been a great privilege to have associated myself with you, and I feel greatly refreshed both in mind and body.

      That, however, apart, my continued stay here at the Center and the necessary atmosphere for alert and strenuous discernment in meditation have helped me tremendously. The hidden agony of my life which no human being could understand has dissolved itself into thin air, as it were, and this has awakened me to what may loosely be called a kind of spiritual sleepwalking. I have pulled myself out from what looked like the edge of an abyss.

      You know that there are very rare occasions in the lives of most of us when we have brief experiences of existing beyond time. I too have had several such moments. But this has been more than fleeting and has indeed become an abiding certainty. Nevertheless the strains and stresses of adjusting myself to a whole new way of life resulted in a peculiar state of mind hedged with some kind of indolence, maybe a form of conceit, which only meant greater and greater sorrow but left with a kind of empty expectancy. I may have achieved a certain calmness, but that calmness was of death-producing languor. But I have always felt and still feel that one has to haul oneself out of one’s own swamps by one’s own bootstraps.

      However, all my strenuous and directed attention hasn’t helped me much to break the vicious circle. Well, now, through the touch of the inscrutable Divine power of Sri Ramakrishna, I have been blessed beyond words with the clarity of perception. And this calmness is a calmness without a trace of languor or contentment or watchful expectancy but one of completeness and wholeness. Need I say that when I burst forth into the world–the joy which overflows the heart is indeed bursting forth–I will be a new man?

      With deep and affectionate regards,
      Ever yours,

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