Once it happened…
Ramakrishna was drinking tea. A few disciples were sitting there, Vivekananda was also there, and Ramakrishna started saying ‘This cup of tea is God himself.’ NOW, this was too much for Vivekananda. He was a well-educated man, logical, rational – this looked like absolute nonsense.
‘A cup of tea… and God? Ramakrishna must be mad. Now, this is going too far.’
Just to reject the whole idea he went out – just as a protest. He didn’t say anything to Ramakrishna, but the protest was there; he simply went out. Another friend of his followed him, and they both started smoking outside the temple. And they were both laughing and joking about Ramakrishna and ‘the absurd things he sometimes says’. Now look, a cup of tea… and God? This is utter nonsense!’
While they were talking, suddenly Ramakrishna came out. They were a little embarrassed because they were smoking. Ramakrishna touched Vivekananda, and suddenly everything changed with that touch: he could see even the cigarette and the smoke as God. And for three days that consciousness persisted.
After three days he fell at Ramakrishna’s feet and said ‘I’m sorry. Everything is God. Now I know.
But give me back that experience, now I don’t want to come back.’ Ramakrishna said ‘Given, it can’t be eternal. You will have to come back unless you rise to it. It was a gift. It is as if somebody is asleep and dreaming, and you shake him up, and he opens his eyes and looks at you. But his inner sleep is not complete: for a moment he wakes up, and then falls into sleep again.’ Ramakrishna said ‘It was just like that. I simply shook you up because I could see the protest, I could see that you think this is absurd.’
And it looks absurd because we don’t know what reality is. I am reflecting you, you are reflecting me, and so on and so forth. The trees are reflecting you, and you are reflecting the trees, and so on and so forth. All mirrors – in all shapes and sizes. This is a mirror palace; it consists only of mirrors because it consists only of consciousness.
The only discovery of all the Buddhas is that only consciousness is real, only consciousness is. You can call it God, you can call it enlightenment, you can call it nirvana , kaivalya or whatsoever you choose to call it you can call it, but those are only names, differences in names. The message is simple and clear and loud: that we all consist of pure consciousness.
If you can stop the constant flow of thoughts even just for a moment, you will be able to see it.
– The Sun Rises In Evening