'Once there came a sadhu here,' Ramakrishna would recall, `who had a beautiful glow on his face. He just sat and smiled. Twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, he'd come out of his room and look around. He'd look at the trees, the bushes, the sky and the Ganges, and he'd raise his arms and dance,
beside himself with joy. Or he'd roll on the ground laughing and exclaiming, "Bravo! What fun ! How wonderful it is, this Maya ! What an illusion God has conjured jured up!" That was his way of doing worship. `Another time, there came another holy man. He was drunk with divine knowledge. He looked like a ghoul - almost naked, with dust all over his body and head, and long hair and nails. On the upper part of his body there was a tattered wrapper; it looked as if he'd got it off some corpse on a cremation-ground. He stood in front of the Kali Temple and fixed his eyes on the image and recited a hymn. He did it with such power that it seemed to me the whole temple shook and Mother looked pleased and smiled. Then he went to the place where the beggars were sitting, and got his prasad. But the beggars wouldn't let him sit near them, because of his disgusting appearance. They drove him away.
Then I saw him sitting with a dog, in a dirty corner where they'd thrown away the leaf-plates. He had put one arm around the dog, and the two of them were sharing the remains of food on one of the leaves. The dog didn't bark or try to get away, although he was a stranger. As I watched him, I felt afraid. I was afraid I might get to be like him, and have to live like that, roaming around as he did. After I'd seen him, I said to Hriday: "That's not ordinary madness; he is mad with the highest God-consciousness." When Hriday heard this, he ran out to get a look at the holy man and found him already leaving the temple gardens. Hriday followed him a long way and kept asking, "Holy sir, please teach me how I can realize God." At first, he didn't answer. But at last, when Hriday wouldn't leave him alone and kept following him, he pointed to the sewer-water around a drain in the road and said, "When that water and the water of the Ganges seem equally pure to you, then you'll realize God." Hriday said, "Sir, please make me your disciple and take me with you." But he didn't reply. He turned and went on. When he'd gone a great distance, he looked back and saw Hriday still following him. He made an angry face and picked up a brick, threatening to throw it at Hriday. When Hriday fled, he dropped the brick, left the road and disappeared. After that, he was nowhere to be found.
- Christopher Isherwood, Ramakrishna and His Disciples
Sri Ramakrishna: The Paramahansa is like a five year old child. He sees everything filled with Consciousness. At one time I was staying at Kamarpukur when Shivaram was four or five years old. One day he was trying to catch grasshoppers near the pond. The leaves were moving. To stop the rustling he said to the leaves : “Hush! Hush! I want to catch a grasshopper”. Another day it was stormy. It rained hard . Shivaram was with me inside the house. There were flashes of lightning. He wanted to open the door and go out. I scolded him and stopped him, but still he peeped out now and then. When he saw the lightning he exclaimed, “There, uncle! They are striking matches again!”.
The Paramahansa is like a child. He cannot distinguish between a stranger and a relative. He isn’t particular about worldly relationships. One day Shivaram said to me, “Uncle, are you my father’s brother or his brother in law?”
The Paramhansa is like a child. He doesn’t keep track of his whereabouts. He sees everything as Brahman. He is indifferent to his own movements. Shivaram went to Hriday’s house to see the Durga Puja. He slipped out of the house and wandered away. A passer-by saw the child, who was then only four years old , and asked, “Where do you come form?” He couldn’t say much. He only said the word “hut”. He was speaking of the big hut in which the image of the Divine Mother was being worshipped. The stranger asked further, “whom are you living with?” He only just said the word “bother”.
Sometimes the Paramahansa behaves like a madman. When I experienced that divine madness I used to worship my own sexual organ as the Siva phallus. But I can’t do that now. A few days after the dedication of the temple at Dakshineswar, a madman came there who was really a sage endowed with the knowledge of Brahman. He had a bamboo twig in one hand and a potted mango plant in the other, and was wearing torn shoes. He didn’t follow any social conventions After bathing in the Ganges he didn’t perform any religious rites. He ate something that he carried in a corner of his wearing cloth. Then he entered the Kali temple and chanted hymns to the Deity. The temple trembled. Halidhari was then in the shrine. The madman wasn’t allowed to eat at the guest house, but he paid no attention to this slight. He searched for food in the rubbish heap where the dogs were eating crumbs from the discarded leaf plates. Now and then he pushed the dogs aside to get his crumbs. The dogs didn’t mind either. Halidhari followed him and asked: “Who are you? Are you a purnajnani?” The man whispered, “Sh! Yes. I am a purnajnani”.
My heart began to palpitate as Halidhari told me about it. I clung to Hriday. I said to the Divine Mother, “shall I too have to pass through such a state?” We all went to see that man. He spoke words of great wisdom to us but behaved like a madman before others. Halidhari followed him a great way when he left the garden. After passing the gate he said to Halidhari: “What else shall I say to you? When you no longer make any distinction between the water of this pool and the water of the Ganges then you will know that you have perfect knowledge”. Saying this he walked away rapidly.
Ramakrishna: "He acts like a child or a madman or an inert thing or a ghoul. While in the mood of a child he sometimes shows childlike guilelessness, sometimes the frivolity of adolescence, and sometimes while instructing others, the strength of a young man."