Sometimes during that time period, Mathur, the rich proprietor of the temple complex at Dakshineswar, had a vision. SR was pacing up and down the verandah, absorbed in a spiritual mood. Unknown to him, Mathur was watching from his mansion. Suddenly, Mathur came running from his mansion, bowed, clasped the feet of this poor, insignificant, temple priest, and started weeping. When he became collected, he told:” Father, as you came forward walking in this direction, I saw you distinctly as my Mother installed and worshipped in the temple, and immediately you turned about in the opposite direction, I saw you as Mahadeva Himself( Lord Siva, see footnote to previous post ). I thought first it was an optical illusion. I rubbed my eyes well and looked, but saw the same thing.”
He had no teacher (Guru) during the first four years of his Sadhana(spirtual practices ), his mind became his teacher. He had repeated visions of a young man,looking like him, coming out of his body, and instructing him.
Then two teachers appeared on the scene. First in 1861, a woman renunciant, called Brahmani. She stayed with him for six years, and taught him all the disciplines prescribed in the sixty-four main Tantras ( a system of Hindu religious philosophy, which allows worshipping of Goddess Kali, one of several forms of Divine Mother ). All these practices are difficult to accomplish. "In trying to practice which, most of the aspirants go astray. But I got through them by the Mother’s grace.” He got eight miraculous powers, as a result of those practices,but he never used them ( because such powers are often a hindrance to God-Realization)
In 1864, a tall, fearless, wandering monk, who never stayed in a place for more than three days ( to avoid attachment with a place ), arrived at the Kali temple at Dakshineswar, where SR was a priest. He practiced a different system of Hindu philosophy, called Advaita Vedanta. This system is different than Tantra, which SR had been perfecting under the guidance of Brahmini. In this system only God is real, everything else is illusion. Thus, world was an illusion, and so were the gods and goddesses ( such as Mother Kali, whom SR worshipped). Prayers, rites, rituals, ceremonies were meaningless to him. He had realized Absolute (God or Brahman) after forty years of all-renouncing austerities. He spent most of his leisure time in meditation.
Totapuri had a glance at young SR, and was struck by something in his face. He studied SR carefully. He realized, that there was a fit aspirant, who could be taught Vedanta. Then he asked SR, whether he would like to learn the mysteries of Vedanta. SR, said that he has to consult his mother. After consulting with Mother ( instead of his real mother, he went into the temple and talked to the image of Kali, the Divine Mother), he agreed. As a precondition to learn Vedanta, SR had to become a Sanyasi (give up the world).
To be continued