ISStory005_Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Totapuri

Ramakrishna was a worshipper of Kali – the mother goddess. And then he came across a very very strange man, Totapuri. A man like Totapuri very rarely happens in the world. He was like Bodhidharma. A VERY strange man. Naked he used to walk, utterly free from all kinds of morality, ethics, rules, regulations. He was a PARAMAHANSA, a JEEVAN MUKTA – he was free in his life, absolutely free. Freedom was his quality. Just wandering around the Ganges, he came to Dakshineshwar. Ramakrishna saw him, became interested in him. He had never seen such a freedom, and such grace and such beauty. And he asked him,” Help me.”

He looked at Ramakrishna and he said,” Yes, I will help you. But the only thing is you will have to destroy this Mother Goddess.”

Ramakrishna started shaking and trembling and perspiring. He said,” What are you saying? How can I destroy the Mother goddess? She is my Mother! She has helped me up to now. She is my all in all. She is my soul, my very heart. I will die!”

Totapuri said, ”So better die, but kill this Mother. If you really want to have freedom, you have to destroy all connections and all attachments. And this is your attachment. You are not attached to your wife, so that is not a problem. You are not attached to money, so that is not the problem. You are not attached to the world, so that is not the problem. Your whole attachment is with this Mother, this idea of a Mother goddess. And I know, it is beautiful, but still, it will keep you away from the truth.”

Ramakrishna would sit in meditation in front of Totapuri, but the moment he would close his eyes, the Mother goddess was there with all her glory. And he would start swaying, and tears would come in his eyes. And he would forget all about Totapuri end his freedom. And Totapuri would shake him up and he would say,” You have again fallen into the dream. It is ALL dream! Why don’t you take a sword and cut her in two pieces? Destroy her!”

It happened many times and Ramakrishna was not able... What to say about cutting? – he would forget all about Totapuri and the idea that he had given him. And he would look at the face of the Mother inside, and it was so alive and so beautiful, so full of light. It was no ordinary experience: it was the greatest vision, the ultimate vision of form, God as form, beyond which is only the formless.

Totapuri got fed up and he said,” Now, today I leave. Before I leave, you try once more, and I have brought this piece of glass.”

Ramakrishna said,” For what?”

He said,” When I see that your tears start coming and you start swaying and you are feeling orgasmic, I will cut on your third eye with this glass. Blood will start coming. And I will cut DEEP, just to remind you that I am here! Just to remind you: take the sword and cut the Mother in two pieces.”

And Ramakrishna said,” From where to bring the sword?”

And Totapuri said,” From where have you brought this Mother? From the same source – it is all imagination.”

And that day Ramakrishna tried. Totapuri cut his third eye with that piece of glass. Blood started Flowing, and he pushed the glass deep into the third eye. In a single moment of awareness, Ramakrishna took a sword, cut the Mother in two pieces. The Mother disappeared, and it opened the door for the formless.

For six days he was in samadhi. And when he came back, the first words that he uttered were,” The last barrier has fallen. I am infinitely grateful to you, Master Totapuri – infinitely grateful to you. The last barrier has fallen.”

This is similar to the saying, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.”  - Linji Yixuan 

"Killing the Buddha means killing our conceptualizations, killing the belief that we understand it all."

Credit -

  1. The Book of Secrets by Osho

  2. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by M, Mahendra Nath Gupta