In Japan, a great mystic, Hotei, is called the laughing Buddha. He is one of the most loved mystics in Japan, and he never uttered a single word. As he became enlightened, he started laughing, and whenever somebody would ask, Why are you laughing? he would laugh more. And he would move from village to village, laughing.
A crowd will gather and he will laugh. And slowly — his laughter was very infectious — somebody in the crowd will start laughing, then somebody else, and then the whole crowd is laughing — laughing because…. Why are they laughing? Everybody knows, “It is ridiculous; this man is strange, but why are we laughing?”
But everybody was laughing; and everybody was a little worried, “What will people think? There is no reason to laugh.” But people would wait for Hotei, because they had never laughed in their whole life with such totality, with such intensity that after the laughter they found their every sense had become more clear. Their eyes could see better, their whole being had become light, as if a great burden had disappeared.
People would ask Hotei, “Come back again,” and he would move, laughing, to another village. His whole life, for near about forty-five years after his enlightenment, he did only one thing and that was laughing. That was his message, his gospel, his scripture.
And it is to be noted that in Japan, nobody has been remembered with such respect as Hotei. You will find in every house, statues of Hotei. And he had done nothing except laugh; but the laughter was coming from such depth that it stayed with anyone who heard it and triggered his being, created a synchronicity.
Hotei is unique. In the whole world there is no other human being who has made so many people laugh — for no reason at all. And yet, everybody was nourished by the laughter, and everybody was cleansed by the laughter, felt a well-being that he had never felt. Something from the unknowable depth started ringing bells in peoples’ hearts.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA’s REALISATION OF NIRVIKALPA SAMADHI
What he had realized on the heights of the transcendental plane, he also found here below, everywhere about him, under the mysterious garb of names and forms. And this garb was a perfectly transparent sheath, through which he recognized the glory of the Divine Immanence. Māyā, the mighty weaver of the garb, is none other than Kāli, the Divine Mother. She is the primordial Divine Energy, Śakti, and She can no more be distinguished from the Supreme Brahman than can the power of burning be distinguished from fire. She projects the world and again withdraws it. She spins it as the spider spins its web. She is the Mother of the Universe, identical with the Brahman of Vedānta, and with the Ātman of Yoga. As eternal Lawgiver, She makes and unmakes laws; it is by Her imperious will that karma yields its fruit. She ensnares men with illusion and again releases them from bondage with a look of Her benign eyes. She is the supreme Mistress of the cosmic play, and all objects, animate and inanimate, dance by Her will. Even those who realize the Absolute in nirvikalpa samādhi are under Her jurisdiction as long as they still live on the relative plane.
After nirvikalpa samādhi, Sri Ramakrishna realized māyā in an altogether new role. The binding aspect of Kāli vanished from before his vision. She no longer obscured his understanding. The world became the glorious manifestation of the Divine Mother. Māyā became Brahman. The Transcendental Itself broke through the Immanent.
Sri Ramakrishna discovered that māyā operates in the relative world in two ways, and he termed these “avidyāmāyā” and “vidyāmāyā”. Avidyāmāyā represents the dark forces of creation: sensuous desires, evil passions, greed, lust, cruelty, and so on. It sustains the world system on the lower planes. It is responsible for the round of man’s birth and death. It must be fought and vanquished. But vidyāmāyā is the higher force of creation: the spiritual virtues, the enlightening qualities, kindness, purity, love, devotion. Vidyāmāyā elevates man to the higher planes of consciousness. With the help of vidyāmāyā the devotee rids himself of avidyāmāyā; he then becomes māyātita, free of māyā.
The two aspects of māyā are the two forces of creation, the two powers of Kāli; and She stands beyond them both. She is like the effulgent sun, bringing into existence and shining through and standing behind the clouds of different colours and shapes, conjuring up wonderful forms in the blue autumn heaven.
The Divine Mother asked Sri Ramakrishna not to be lost in the featureless Absolute but to remain in bhāvamukha, on the threshold of relative consciousness, the border line between the Absolute and the Relative. He was to keep himself at the “sixth centre” of Tantra, from which he could see not only the glory of the seventh, but also the divine manifestations of the Kundalini in the lower centres. He gently oscillated back and forth across the dividing line. Ecstatic devotion to the Divine Mother alternated with serene absorption in the Ocean of Absolute Unity.
He thus bridged the gulf between the Personal and the Impersonal, the immanent and the transcendent aspects of Reality. This is a unique experience in the recorded spiritual history of the world.
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna p85-87,
~ Foreward by Aldous Huxley, New York, Ramkrishna-Vivekananda Centre
There are five types of Seva(Service).
The first type of seva is when you do not even know that you are doing Seva. You do not recognize it as Seva because it is your very nature – you cannot but do it!
The second type of Seva is what you do because it is needed in that situation.
You do the third type of Seva because it gives you joy.
The fourth type is done out of your desire for merit – you do Seva expecting some benefit in the future.
And the fifth type is when you do Seva just to show off, to improve your image and to gain social or political recognition. Such Seva is simply exhausting, while the first type does not bring any tiredness at all!
To improve the quality of your Seva, regardless of where you start, you must move up to higher levels of Seva.
~ Sri Sri