No one likes rules… especially those that ask you to observe silence. But there’s something about this place. The silence here is not a product of fear. It is out of respect. You can see that respect in the way people sit and walk. The way they take a chair. The way they bow down. You feel that people haven’t come here to demand something. And that’s not something you see in a spiritual place. Usually, people are fanatical about their spiritual gurus as they seem to have the power to solve their problems. Someone wants a kidney, someone wants a heart, someone wants money and someone wants peace.
I was 20 when I first visited the Ramkrishna Math. I must confess that the reason why I visited this place was not completely ‘spiritual.’ It was just a foolish desire to impress someone and probably feel superior to people who like material things :D. But no matter how egoistic you are, you feel like bowing down…not to any guru or God..but to the universe itself. There is Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda and Sarada Devi (there is a Holy Mother temple as well) and on the walls, there are pictures of the founders of all major religions. Ramkrishna Paramhansa didn’t parrot words from textbooks. He practiced and experimented with many religions including Hinduism, Islam and Christianity and he found the same results. When you see the pictures on the walls, you don’t see terrorism, riots and all the complicated things that are associated with religion today. You go back to the root, the essence of religion: it is asking questions like, “Who am I?,” “What is the meaning of life?” or “What is good?” etc. A person discovered something and he shared it with the world. Instead of discussing the teachings with respect and maturity, people started playing ego games.
One thing that I didn’t like was that the Holy Mother Temple dedicated to Sarada Devi always has the fan switched on (even when there is no one inside the room). They probably do that because they believe that the Mother’s spirit still alive and I respect that sentiment. However, if you truly believe in humanity and all that, won’t you think about saving electricity? Maybe, I don’t fully understand the spiritual world and the significance of all this (I’m not saying this sarcastically).
There is library opposite the Math with a good collection of books on a wide range of topics. I recently became a member and I just can’t get enough of it. There are so many amazing books and not enough time. I am always in a dilemma: Should I spend more time in the library or should I spend time in the Math where I can read the book that’s inside me?