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ramakrishna forward

To:, alt.magick.tantra
Subject: Ramakrishna's Tantrika Guru (was: Re: Indian Men, American Women)
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 20:49:41 GMT

In article <>, (VAtreya) wrote:
> In the life of Ramakrishna paramahamsa, it is mentioned that he learnt the
> tantra art  from a yogini. i remember reading it in swami nikhilananda's book
> 'life of swami vivekananda' but never thought it could provoke discussion. i
> would like to know who this yogini might be.
> thanks
> Vasudevan S Atreya

A few months after the Rani (Ramakrishna's original patroness) died in
a strange woman appeared at the temple river landing.  An
text describes her as "extraordinarily sexy"--middle-aged brahmin woman
"brahmani"), she was dressed in the red robes of a Bhairavi and carried
bundle of books in her hand.  Her hair was dishevelled, like that of
She claimed that she had found two out of the three great souls that had
revealed to her by the goddess.  She was now seeking the third.  To
amazement--Ramakrishna had refused to associate with women up to this
point--Ramakrishna immediately entrusted himself to her wisdom, relating
her all his visions and strange experiences, "like a child."  The
assured the troubled priest that he was not mad by using her books to
that the same things had happened to Radha, the lover of Krsna, and
the sixteenth-century saint of Bengal.  "Who calls you mad, father?  You
not mad.  You are in great ecstasy."  Probably at the Bhairavi's
Mathur (Ramakrishna's patron) brought in a local Tantric scholar named
Vaishnavacharan, whom the Bhairavi seems to have known, to establish the
Bhairavi's conclusions that Ramakrishna's seemingly pathological
behavior was
in fact a sign of his unprecendented religious status.  The young priest
relieved when Vaishnavacharan's diagnosis matched the Bhairavi's: "I'm
to know it's not a disease."  A similar discussion, staged again by
shortly after the arrival of Gauri, yet another Tantric scholar, would
conclude that Ramakrishna was a veritable incarnation of God.  Mathur,
Bhairavi, and their Tantric friends were clearly in control of things.

The precise nature of Ramakrishna's relationship with the Bhairavi, like
almost everything else about the saint, is something of a secret.  In
Katham.rta we are told that after seeing Ramakrishna eat, Gauri used to
Ramakrishna whether he took the Bhairavi for his sadhana, that is,
whether he
had engaged in ritual intercourse with her.  Ramakrishna made no reply
Gauri's question, or if he did, M refuses to record it.  The reader is
with a similar silence in the Jivanav.rttanta.  Datta uses an ambiguous
section heading for these initial scenes with the Bhairavi, a heading
constitutes, like Gauri's curiosity, a question and like Ramakrishna's
a refusal to answer.  The phrase Datta uses is brahmaNir sahita milana. 
could mean either "union with the Brahmani" or "meeting with the
depending on how one wants to take the verbal noun, milana.  The term is
commonly used to mean sexual union.  When Ramakrishna, for example, uses
term, it usually refers either to the sexual pleasure a wife and husband
experience in their conjugal relations or to a mystical form of sexual
"Saccidananda Siva is in the thousand-petaled lotus--he unites with
The union (milana) of Siva and Sakti!"  It is also used in the texts to
to the physical joining of the sexual organs, and to Tantric ritual
intercourse.  The term, however, can also mean simply "meeting."  But
here, it should be pointed out that, for Ramakrishna, a "meeting" of
type possesses unmistakable sexual dimensions: "Sitting down or visiting
a woman for a long time, that too is called sexual intercourse (ramaNa). 
Accordingly, in the last volume of the Katham.rta, the Paramahamsa,
the Tantras, lists "the eight types of sexual intercourse
that a renunciant must avoid: "There are eight kinds of sexual
That bliss one experiences when one listens to talk about women, that is
kind of sexual intercourse.  Talking about women (praising them) is also
kind of sexual intercourse.  Keeping anything of a woman's close to you
deriving bliss from it, that too is a kind of sexual intercourse. 
is a kind of sexual intercourse."  For Ramakrishna, as for the Tantras,
kind of social intercourse with a woman is always just that:
Human interaction, at least between the sexes, is charged with sexual
acknowledged or not.

Datta's use of the expression "Union with the BrahmaNi," then, is at
ambiguous.  He never explicitly describes a scene in which Ramakrishna
actually engages in intercourse with the Bhairavi, but in the end he
the door open to just such a possibility by his acknowledgement that he
keeping secrets: "We have heard of various happenings concerning the
BrahmaNi, but on this topic we hesitate to reveal all of them to the
 Like Ramakrishna in the Katham.rta, then, Datta refuses to answer
question concerning the precise nature of Ramakrishna's
"intercourse"with the

This secret silence surrounding the Bhairavi and the ambivalence that
presence seemed to invoke from practically everyone carries over into
every scene involving her.  Mathur, of all people, immediately
her.  Suspicious of both her physical charms and her traveling habits
traveled alone), he is said to have one day asked her mockingly, "Where
your Bhairava [male Tantrika], O Bhairavi?"  She cleverly pointed to
lying beneath the feet of the goddess in the Kali temple.  "But that
doesn't move," Mathur replied.  "Why have I become a Bhairavi if I
rouse the unmoving?" she snapped back.  Mathur shut up.

Two other early scenes involving the Bhairavi are especially revealing
light of my analysis of Kali as Mother and Lover.  In the first, the
is meditating on her chosen god, Raghuvira (the same deity of
family), in the Panchavati and is about to offer him food and drink when
sight of a "strange vision" plunges her into samadhi:

At this same time, the Master felt drawn [to that place] and in a
half-conscious state showed up there.  Completely possessed by a divine
power, he began to eat all of the ritual food offered by the BrahmaNi. 
a while, the BrahmaNi regained consciousness, opened her eyes, and saw
such actions of the Master, merged in an ecstatic state, corresponded to
own vision.  She was filled with bliss as the hairs of her body stood on
 After a while, the Master regained normal consciousness and was
about what he had done.  He said to the BrahmaNi: "Who knows, mother,
why I
lose control of myself and do such things!"

The Bhairavi, convinced now that her chosen deity dwelt in the body of
Ramakrishna, immersed her image of Raghuvira in the river, for she had
obtained "the concrete and abiding presence of Raghuvira in the body and
of the Master."  Ramakrishna in effect had replaced the image.

It is important to note here the terms with which Ramakrishna commonly
addressed the Bhairavi--"Mother"-- and with which the Bhairavi addressed
Ramakrishna--"Child."  It was a relationship that Ramakrishna felt quite
comfortable with, despite the hints of something improper or scandalous
his behavior.  But sometimes the Bhairavi attempted to initiate a quite
different relationship, one to which Ramakrishna objected....

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