Id Mubarak

Ramakrishna’s association with Islam

Today is the festival of Bakrid which is celebrated in commemoration of Hazrat Ibrahim’s great test of obedience to Allah, who ordered him to sacrifice the person dearest to him. Ibrahim chose to sacrifice his son Ismail, at Mina, near Mecca.  As Ibrahim was about to apply the sword upon the throat of his dearest son, it was revealed to him that the exercise was just to test his faith upon Allah and it was sufficient for him to sacrifice a ram in place of his son.  It also marks the completion of Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, when special “Dua” is recited by millions of Muslims for peace.  Also it is today that the Holy Quran was declared complete.

This holy day brings to our mind the days of Ramakrishna’s Islamic sadhana.

One of the main teachings of Sri Ramakrishna is Religious Harmony.

When Sashi Maharaj (Swami Ramakrishnananda) was studying the scriptures of Islam.  Sri Ramakrishna having come to know of this, said to him,”It will take a long time as yet to achieve the harmony, for there lies a mountain of difference between the two.  However, it will be achieved in the future.”

But Sri Ramakrishna crossed the boundaries of all religions, went direct to the core of each one of them and experienced harmony amongst them.

We shall see a bird’s eye view of Ramakrishna’s Islamic sadhana.

When Ramakrishna was 9 years old Gadddhar living in Kamarpukur, he went alone to see the Namaz on the occasion of ID near Kamarpukur.  On his way to the ground of Namaz  he stood under a peepul tree and lost his consciousness and remained in divine absorption nearly for 2 hours.

It was in the year 1866 when Ramakrishna was 30 years old, he practised Islamic sadhana at Kamarpukur.  His teacher was a Sufi mystic by name Govinda Rai.  He was a Hindu – Kshat  riya by birth, became learned in Persian and Arabic texts and thus got attracted to Islam and got formally initiated into it and got the name of Wajed Ali Khan.  Ramakrishna got attracted towards this Sufi saint who used to his prayers at the Panchavati.  Govinda Rai taught him the 3 main attitudes needed in Sufi mysticism, viz. Attraction, Devotion and Elevation  towards Allah.  Ramakrishna’s absorption was so intense that he did not even once enter the inner courtyard of the Kali temple but lived in the Kuthibari of Mathurnath Babu.  Even in Kuthibari, Ramakrishna got removed of he pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses. He repeated the holy syllable “Allah”. wore cloth like the Muslim, said Namaz thrice daily.  He spent three days in that mood and had the full realization of the result of practices according to Islam.  One day he went to the nearby mosque and said his Namaz.

Ramakrishna during this time had all the three phased experiences:

(1) First was the experience of Personal God without form but with attributes

(2) Second was the experience of  Personal God with form and attributes.

He had the vision of an effulgent impressive personage with a long beard.

(3) Thirdly, he had the unitive experience of Sufi mystics.

Ramakrishna’s experience of the truth of Islam simply gives validity to that historical path rather than bringing any synthesis between Hinduism and Islam.

It is apt to reminisce Swami Vivekananda’s letter to Sarfraj Hossain:

“…I am firmly persuaded that without the help of practical Islam, theories of Vedantism, however fine and wonderful they may be, are entirely valueless to the vast mass of mankind. . . . For our own motherland a junction of the two great systems, Hinduism and Islam — Vedanta brain and Islam body–is the only hope”

When one gives validity and truthful acceptance of other religions as that of his own based on the experience of our Master Sri Ramakrishna, that itself is a clear and sincere observance of the value of Harmony of religious faiths.

Swami Nishthatmananda, Muzaffarpur.


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