It is said about Ramkrishna that he was much too interested in food; in fact obsessed. That is very unlikely. Even his wife, Sharada, used to feel very embarrassed; because he was such a great saint, only with one flaw – and the flaw was that he was much too interested in food. He was interested so much that while he was giving satsang to his disciples, just in the middle he will say, ”Wait, I am coming,” and he will go to look into the kitchen, what is being cooked. He will just go there and ask, ”What is being prepared today?” and then will come back and start his satsang again.
His closest disciples became worried. They said, ”This doesn’t look good, Paramhansa. And everything is so perfectly beautiful – never has there walked such a beautiful and perfect man – but this small thing, why can’t you drop it?” He will laugh and will not say anything.
One day his wife Sharada insisted too much. He said, ”Okay, if you insist, I will tell. My prarabdha is finished; and I am just clinging with this food. If I drop that I am gone.” The wife could not believe this. It is very difficult for wives to believe in their own husbands – even if the husband is a Paramhansa it makes no difference.
The wife must have thought that he is befooling, or he is trying to rationalize. Seeing that, Ramkrishna said, ”Look, I can see that you are not trusting me, but you will know. The day I am going to die, just three days before that day, three days before my death, I will not look at the food. You will bring my thali in, and I will start looking in another direction; then you can know that only three days more am I to be here.”
That too was not believed; they forgot about it. Then, just three days before Ramakrishna died, he was resting, Sharada brought his thali, his food: he turned over, started looking at the other side. Suddenly the wife realized, remembered. The thali fell from her hands, she started crying.
Ramakrishna said, ”Don’t cry now. Now my work is finished; I need not cling.” And exactly after three days he died.
He was clinging in compassion, just trying to create a bondage with one chain. The imprisonment is gone; the prison has disappeared. Out of compassion he was trying to cling, to linger a little longer on this shore, to help those who had gathered around him. But it is difficult to understand a Paramhansa. It is difficult to understand a man who has become a siddha, a Buddha, one who has emptied all his sanchita, all accumulated karmas. It is very difficult. He has no gravitation, so Ramkrishna was clinging to a rock.
The rock has gravitation. He was clinging to a rock so that he could linger on this earth a little longer. When you have samyama, a consciousness fully alert, you can see how much karma is left. It is exactly like when a physician comes and he sees and touches the pulse of a dying man, and he says, ”Not more than two, three hours.”
What is he saying? By long experience he has come to know how the pulse beats when a person is going to die. Exactly that way, a man who is alert knows how much prarabdha is left – how much pulse – and he knows when he has to go.