Although A Biography and an autobiography are considered complementary to each other, the autobiography of a mystic bears more positive and authentic value than that of the mystic's biography. Mystics, in general, live within their spiritual world. As a result, biographers living on the external planes are not found to be fully capable to precisely portrait the subliminal Self of the mystics. The absence of autobiographies in this case, therefore, cannot be fulfilled by other means. The uniqueness of published autobiographies of Vijaykrishna Goswami, Kuladananda Brahmachari, Annada Thakur, and Yogananda Paramahamsa substantiate this veracity.
Streams of multi-branched sadhanas all at the same time found an appropriate confluence in Sri Ramakrishna. Keeping the focus on 'As many faiths, so many paths', the Master performed various unique sadhanas, resulting in spiritual illumination, and simultaneously churning out of his subliminal Self in different colours and tones. The ablest biographer may find it difficult to comprehend the evolution of the Master's inmost self, and episodes of divine transformation, resulting from the long and ardous journey of his sadhanas during the period from the first vision of the Divine Mother at the Dakshineswar Kali temple and arrival of his devotees. This profound, but sublime Consciousness would, perhaps, be incomprehensible to the common people without an auto- biography of Sri Ramakrishna.
On many occasions, there are instances when many divine souls kept useful unexpected resources reserved for future generations. These are beyond our comprehension. Only for this reason, their noble gifts remains unutilized.
While going through 'Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita' and 'Sri Sri Ramakrishna Lila-Prasanga' several times, I suddenly discovered that Sri Ramakrishna reserved such an in- valuable gift for us, the full depiction of which still awaits compilation. That gift is nothing but his autobiographical notes scattered hither and thither of these two sourcebooks. We are only to collect those pearls one by one with a view to making a beautiful necklace.
It is not wise to claim that this is a case of new discovery; nevertheless, one may term it so. At different times and during various discourses, Sri Ramakrishna expressed many things before his intimate devotees about his external as well as internal state. The quantitative and qualitative values of these states are of paramount significance to us. We are yet to come across another mystic who desired to express and ultimately became successful to churn out the mystery of spiritual practice of life, and the most secluded and the most profound realization.
The five volumes each of the 'Kathamrita' and the 'Lila- Prasanga' (the old edition), a total of the ten volumes contain such sayings of Sri Ramakrishna, the authenticity of which have been accepted irrevocably. It is a matter of selecting his autobiographical notes from those sayings without any addition and alteration of any word/sentence, arid arranging in a systematic way so as to give shape in the form of an autobiography. The present one has been compiled in this very manner.
It may also be worthwhile to mention that more and more autobiographical notes have been found in the various source- books of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Literature besides the above. The said necklace has not been deprived of suitable pearls mined for the purpose. This work, though not claiming to be a product of original thought, is the outcome of plentiful diligence, watchful consideration and consultation. The frequent visits into the aforesaid ten volumes and selecting the autobiographical sayings of the Master are pre-eminently strenuous endeavours. Our efforts to connect the scattered sayings of the Master without any impairment with a view to maintaining relevance and congruity are nothing short of a herculean task.
In course of these efforts we have also come across some notable difficulties. In some cases, the time and age as hinted about various incidents in the sayings of Sri Ramakrishna are in variance for with the recorded time and age in his standard biography. Nevertheless, we have only used the Master's quoted talks arising from his memory verbatim in this autobiography. His consciousness of time-period in the reminiscences of remote childhood and adolescence will not be minute as found in his authentic biography, and is quite obvious to be so.
It is further observed that Sri Ramakrishna narrated the same event in different versions in course of various discourses. In that case, his one or more sayings for the same event have been considered attentively and combined carefully, so that unnecessary repetitions of the Master's talks can be avoided, but not a single word has been left out.
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