According to the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Girish Ghosh declares that even the feces of Sri Ramakrishna, whom he considered an incarnation, were very pure. To this, Dr. Sarkar replies that he is never bothered by the human feces and it is same to him whatever be its source. With his expertise in medicine, he could truly see it as just a material. We often categorize the objects into “pure” and “impure” and steadfastly hold on to this fictitious dichotomy. We ought to be aware of this demarcation as far as their utility is concerned, but without forgetting the substratum underlying this duality. Sometimes this compartmentalization takes a morbid turn of respecting a reverential person at the cost of hurting an ordinary person. It is also not uncommon amongst devotees to treat someone, who has not followed their own methods of devotion or does not cherish their ideals, as someone who needs to redeemed although this person may be more spiritually elevated than themselves due to his/her having followed a “secular” path sincerely. It could be argued that Dr. Sarkar, through his dedication in material research, had come to some state of equanimity that was perhaps absent in many other devotees, nevertheless he was and will be treated as a “kid” amongst the “adults” for having taken the unconventional path of science to reach that state. An illustration in Sri Ramakrishna’s life:
“Once a god intoxicated saint came to Kali temple. One day he did not get any food; and even though feeling hungry, he did not ask anybody for it; but seeing the dog eating the remnants of food thrown away in a corner after a feast, he, embracing the dog, said, “Brother, how is it that you eat alone without giving me a share?” So saying, he began to eat along with the dog. Having finished his meal in this strange company, the sage entered the temple of Mother Kali and prayed with such earnestness of devotion, it sent a thrill through the temple. After finishing his prayers, when he was going away, the Master (Sri Ramakrishna) asked his nephew Hriday, to talk with him.
When Hriday followed him for some distance, the sage turned around and said, “Why do you follow me?” Hriday replied, “Sir, give me some instruction”. The sage said, “When the water of this dirty ditch and the Holy Ganges yonder appear as one in your sight, and when the sound of the flageolet (musical instrument) and the noise of the crowd will have no distinction to your ear, then you will reach the state of true Knowledge. A Siddha (established in wisdom) roams in various disguises – as a child, as an unclean spirit, or even as a mad man.”
Swami Yogatmanandaji’s answers for the question, “Why did Sri Ramakrishna spend so much time with Dr. Sarkar?”, were: Sri Ramakrishna saw a potential for growth in him and if a famous person like Dr. Sarkar takes up spirituality, it will inspire other ordinary men to follow the same. While those could be very valid reasons, I think what He saw in Dr. Sarkar was sincerity and great hunger to transform. That is what, we, the “devotees”, need too.