Kalu’s three hundred gods

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

Vivekananda was called and Ramakrishna shouted very angrily and said, ‘Is this the way to use power?’

Ramakrishna and Vivekananda

It happened in Ramakrishna’s time…

He had a disciple, Vivekananda, who felt great power the first time he had a satori. And in the ashram of Ramakrishna there was a very simple innocent man whose name was Kalu. He was so innocent and so simple, so childlike, that Vivekananda used to tease him always. Vivekananda was an intellectual type, argumentative. And this Kalu was a simple villager.

And he used to worship. His room was a temple and in his room there were hundreds of gods – in India you can purchase as many gods as you want. Any stone can become a god. You just put red colour on it and it becomes a god. So he had almost three hundred gods in his small room. There was no space left even for him to sleep. And these three hundred gods he had to worship every day; it used to take six to eight hours. By the evening he was finished with the worshipping, then he would take his food.

Vivekananda was always saying, ‘This is stupid, this is foolish. You throw all these gods in the Ganges. Be finished. This is nonsense. The god is within.’ But Kalu was such a simple man that he said, ‘I love those stones. They are beautiful. Don’t you see this stone? See how beautiful it is. And I have found it by the Ganges; the Ganges has given it to me. Now how can I throw it back into the Ganges? No, I cannot do that.’

Colourful stones

The day Vivekananda attained his first satori, he was sitting in another room just close by Kalu’s room. With the first power rush the idea came into his mind that Kalu must be worshipping still. It was afternoon but he must be worshipping. So just to have fun he thought of an idea, he projected an idea into Kalu’s mind from his room – ‘Kalu, now take all your gods and throw them into the Ganges.’ He felt that the power was there. He could project the thought and it would be received.

Ramakrishna was sitting outside. He saw this whole game – what Vivekananda had done. He must have seen the thought being projected. But he waited. Then Kalu came out with a big bundle; he was carrying all the gods in one big bag. Ramakrishna stopped him and he said, ‘Wait, where are you going?’ Kalu said, ‘An idea came into my mind that this is foolish. I am going to throw all these gods away. I am finished.’

Ramakrishna said, ‘You wait. Call Vivekananda.’ Vivekananda was called and Ramakrishna shouted very angrily and said, ‘Is this the way to use power?’ And he told Kalu, ‘You go back to your room, put your gods back in their places. This is not your idea, it is Vivekananda’s.’

Then Kalu said, ‘I felt as if somebody was hitting me like a stone, as if it had come from the outside, but I am a poor simple man, I didn’t know what was happening. And the idea took such possession of me and I was trembling with fear – “What am I doing?” But I was almost possessed.’

Ramakrishna was so angry with Vivekananda that he said, ‘Now, I will keep your key. You will only receive this key just before you are dying, just three days before. You will never have any more satoris again.’

And this is how it happened. Vivekananda didn’t have another satori again. He cried and wept for years but he didn’t, he could not have. He tried hard. And then Ramakrishna died. When Ramakrishna was dying he was crying and saying to him, ‘Give my key back.’ And Ramakrishna said, ‘You will get it just three days before you die – because you seem to be dangerous. Such power cannot be used in such a way. You are not pure enough yet. You wait. You go on crying and you go on meditating.’

And exactly three days before Vivekananda died he had another satori. But then he knew his death had come, only three days were left.

Osho, Sufis, People on the Path, Vol 1, Ch 9 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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