‘If Sri Ramakrishna were alive today…’ – Kedarnath, Sri Ramakrishna’s disciple, was thinking thus a few years after His passing away. He was travelling on a boat in Ganga and was passing by Dakshineshwar. The Kali temple – its gopura, garden and pathways – reminded him of Sri Ramakrishna but “Where is our beloved Master now?” When Kedar alighted from the boat at Bagbazar with such thoughts, he suddenly remembered that after Sri Ramakrishna’s passing away His relics are being preserved by His disciples at Ramchandra Datta’s garden house – Yogodhyan in Kankurkachi. He had also heard that a temple had been built there and dedicated to Him. Kedar now thought that he would visit the temple. He did not know the exact location of Yogodhyan but only knew that it was located near a place called Narkeldanga. So, he started to walk with the only thought in his mind ‘If Sri Ramakrishna were living here today…’
Let us listen to Kedar himself on the remaining part of his experience:
‘It was noon on a summer day and I was walking past the railway track. Beautiful gardens on either side of the road were pleasing to the eye; the street was deserted with scarce movement of people. I thought that Yogodhayan must be near and kept walking. After sometime, I saw a bamboo garden with an entrance and its gate was not locked. I had a feeling that this is the place I came looking for. I entered the compound and closed the gate. But, where is the temple? ‘I have heard that a temple had been constructed for Sri Ramakrishna. Where is it? Have I come to the correct place?’ Yet, I had a strong feeling that I was at the correct place and I proceeded forward. After a little distance, I saw a lake and a path around it. On the eastern side of the lake, I also saw a west-facing building. Its gates were open. Inside … I could not believe!…I saw Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna! His image was so wonderfully carved that it looked His exact replica. My mind was overflowing with joy. O devotees, you are very fortunate that you could install His image exactly like Him. The beaming joyful face exactly resembled His; the manner of dressing too was the same! It seemed to me that even the hair of his beard was moving with the slow breeze. I was filled with ecstatic joy at the sight of the image. I was seeing the same joyful person whom I used to see at Dakshineshwar!’
Kedar was unaware of the passage of time when suddenly he heard the voice of the priest from the north-east corner of the building saying, ‘Who are you? What do you want?’
Kedar walking towards the priest replied, ‘I am looking at Sri Ramakrishna. Is this the garden house of Ramchandra Datta?’
Priest: What did you say?
Kedar: I said that I was looking at the image of Sri Ramakrishna.
Priest: What image? Where did you see?
Kedar: I saw Sri Ramakrishna’s image inside that room.
Priest: See closely. The room is locked and I have the keys. Do you want to see the inside? I had finished the puja about an hour ago and went for my lunch. There are silver vessels inside the room and that is why I had locked it. You are saying that you have seen Sri Ramakrishna’s image inside. Both of them went in front of the building. Its west and southern gates were in open position and no image was seen! Kedar not able to control his emotions — said in a low tone, ‘Please check if the silver vessels inside the room are in place.’ When the priest found everything in order he said, ‘Everything is in order. I am the priest for last few years and I have never gone without locking,’ and was filled with amazement. Kedar did not know what to say. Thinking, ‘Did I really have the vision of Sri Ramakrishna? Is what I am seeing now real?’ Kedar asked the priest again, ‘Is it the garden house of Ramchandra Datta?’
Priest: Yes. This is the garden house of Ramchandra Datta. This building is the temple of Sri Ramakrishna. Good. Pray tell me who you are. Where are you coming from? Many people come here but I have not seen you. Shall I tell Rambabu about your visit?’
Kedar: No. Just like many others, I also came here to worship Sri Ramakrishna. The priest then gave Kedar cucumber, banana, papaya and sweets as prasad and water for drinking. Kedar relished the prasad with delight.
Kedar came out of the temple and saw a horse carriage coming. The driver asked him, ‘Sir, Where do you want to go?’ Kedar said, ‘To Dakshineswar.’ ‘Then please board the carriage. This belongs to Venisaha of Baranagore.’ Kedar got into the carriage and it left.
Kedar overwhelmed with joy said to himself, ‘O, Ramakrishna! What a play is this! Did you grant my wish to see you in this way?’ The carriage was moving towards Dakshineswar. Kedar’s mind was again filled with thoughts ‘If Sri Ramakrishna were alive today …’