Sri Ramakrishna would often speak to his devotees about the nature of a man of true knowledge. He would say that the truly wise ones are extremely humble. In this connection he would talk about a great pundit by the name Padmalochan. This person was a man of deep wisdom. Although he was a jnani, he had great respect for Sri Ramakrishna though at that time the latter was in a deep devotional mood constantly repeating the name of the Divine Mother.

Once, he came to Kolkata and was staying in a garden house near Kamarhati, in the suburbs of Kolkata. Whenever Sri Ramakrishna heard of any great personality, particularly those who are spiritual aspirants, he would feel a deep urge to meet such people and enjoy their holy company. He felt a desire to meet Padmalochan. Accordingly a meeting was arranged. Although he was a man of great knowledge and scholarship, Padmalochan began to weep on hearing Sri Ramakrishna singing the devotional songs composed by Ramprasad, a well-known devotee of the Divine Mother. Both of them talked for a long time enjoying the spiritual company of each other. During the conversation Padmalochan told Sri Ramakrishna an interesting incident. Once a meeting had been called to decide which of the two deities, Shiva or Brahma was greater. The assembled persons could not come to any conclusion and at last the matter was referred to Padmalochan considering his great knowledge. With his characteristic simplicity he said, “How do I know? Neither I, nor any of my ancestors going back to the 14th generation have seen either Shiva or Brahma.”

Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that as one advances more and more in spiritual life, one realizes the immensity and the mighty nature of God. Such knowledge brings an awareness of one’s own limited wisdom. He becomes truly humble and is ever ready to accommodate divergent spiritual views.

– by Swami Shantatmananda, published in the ‘Sacred Books of the East’ column, Sunday Guardian, 12th Oct 2013

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