January 1, 1886, was “an event of unusual consequence and meaning” in the life of Sri Ramakrishna and his followers. Ramakrishna was suffering from throat cancer at that time, and his health was declining. It was a relatively good day for him, and he took a walk in the garden. And something strange happened. He entered as estatic trance like state, which was not uncommon, but, and this is rare, allowed the people around to touch him. Most Yogis when they reach a particularly advanced state of consciousness would not allow random people to touch their body.

This serves a two way purpose – barring currents of useless karmic filth from entering their chitta and also saving those gross-minded individuals from the live action of an awakening Shakti that flows through the body of the Yogi, a drop of which, for an unprepared nervous system, is enough to wreck havoc in their lives. But that day Ramakrshna was in a strange mood. He not only allowed others to touch his feet, but even blessed them with instant experiences. Some fell down in a trance, another started weeping, a few had their lives permanently altered as their subtle indriyas opened, while to some few he merely said, your time has not yet come. As the news spread a crowd gathered around the saint in the garden, with each one striving to collect some of the blessing from this rare man of God.

One disciple, Ramachandra Dutta, explained that Ramakrishna had, in effect become #Kalpataru (also called Kalpavriksha), the “wish-fulfilling tree” of Hindu mythology and since then this day, 1st January, is celebrated as Kalpataru Diwas in Ramakrshna Mission.

The true test of spiritual power has always been this, the ability to transmit this power to another and transform them in the process. No amount of bookish theory, nor rote learning or scholarship can take one to this condition. They are helpful, but not more than the fire of actual spiritual sadhana. The great saints and yogis and rishis are always accorded a far greater status than scholars and thinkers in India. It has been the norm and it will remain the norm for ever in such a deeply spiritual-minded land as India. Nobody can change it. Because the former have done the hard work of internalizing and realizing the states mentioned in the scriptures, others have only squabbled over semantics. The Gita attests to this fact as well.

यदा ते मोहकलिलं बुद्धिर्व्यतितरिष्यति ।
तदा गन्तासि निर्वेदं श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य च ॥

When your intelligence shall cross beyond the whirl of delusion, then shall you become indifferent to Scripture heard or that which you are yet to hear.

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Oftentimes a devata may work through the mind-body of such an exalted saint and supply the power needed for such an act of mass transformation. In the case of Sri Ramakrshna, Divine Mother Bhavatarini Kali was the Power, Ramakrshna the human vessel and a very pure and rare and unique one at that. One Ramakrshna can create a hundred Vivekanandas, who in turn can take the world in the cup of their palm and give it a new spin thus changing the direction of life for centuries to come. That is the unique Shakti of a tremendous Yogi and it is they who are the greatest living testament to the power of Sanatana Dharma, for the final adhyatmik touchstone is the ability to transmit the Spiritual power and effect a transformation in others, thus giving them a glimpse of the real Dharma.

This photo of Sri Ramakrishna taken on 10 December 1881 at the studio of “The Bengal Photographers” in Radhabazar, Calcutta. Notice his fingers in the photo. Often when he would enter into states of samadhi his finger would automatically become fixed in some mudra – hand-gesture to contain the Shakti flowing in the mind-body at that time. Rest of the photos of Ma Kali in Dakshineswar, the form that was the istha-devata of Sri Ramakrishna.

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