Thakur Shri Ramkrishna Food Habits

Shri Ramakrishna lived over 50. While at Dakshineswar, the temple officials regularly sent his allotted breakfast, lunch, and supper. For breakfast he had a little butter and rock candy from the Krishna temple and fruits and sweets from the Kali temple.

When the Master first came to Dakshineswar, he cooked his own food on the bank of the Ganges, and Hriday (nephew) helped him. Later he started taking Kali's cooked Prasad. Eventually he developed stomach problem and he tried to eat before noon. When Jadu Mallick heard about his difficulty, he engaged a cook for him. After lunch the Master would take a little rest.

The Master's supper was very simple. He ate a few pieces of luchi (fried bread) and a little farina pudding that had been offered to the Divine Mother at night. If he was hungry at night, he would eat some sweets and fruits from the cabinet in his room, or the Holy Mother would make some farina pudding for him.

The Master smoked tobacco a few times a day [as was the custom in those days], using a hubble-bubble that he kept in the southwest corner of his room. He sometimes offered a smoke to his visitors. After meals he would chew betel rolls. Holy Mother would prepare them for him, and his lips would become crimson from chewing them.

Whenever Ramakrishna went to Calcutta his attendant always carried his towel and spice bag, which contained fennel seeds, cloves, cubeb, caraway, and cardamom.

Sri Ramkrishna Paramahansa was very fond of Sandesh and Jilipi. Rani Rashmoni always ordered two maunds of Bhim Nag-er sandesh on her way to Ma Bhabatarinir Mandir. One for Ma Bhabatarini and the other for Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. He enjoyed them and distributed the sweets among his disciples equally, saving just a few extra for his favorite disciple, Naren. More

From 1872 Sarada Devi lived at Dakshineswar as a devoted wife and the first disciple of her husband Sri Ramakrishna. Her life revolved around devotional practices, cooking and looking after the needs of Ramakrishna and his disciples. Ramakrishna had a very delicate constitution and struggled to eat food from the temple. Therefore Sarada Devi would cook with the utmost care so as to be able to feed Ramakrishna.

Ramakrishna loved all foods, not just sweets. Perhaps he experienced the divine through his sense of taste. Not strange. As food went past his taste buds and entered his stomach a sense of joy radiated and filled his entire body. Sometimes he would walk out of a gathering of disciples, run to the kitchen, smell or taste what was ready and dart back. His wife, Ma Sarada, at times felt embarrassed wondering what people would think. But Ramakrishna was oblivious, for he knew that some mysterious power was in control and he was doing its bidding. He never talked about his weakness for food because he said he did not wish to attract a following of gluttons.

Ramakrishna enjoyed food all his life, experienced great joy, and kept quiet about it. His followers reverently ignored his weakness. Toward the end of his life he suffered cancer of the throat. He was unable to eat or drink for he could not swallow. Yet he was joyful as ever despite acute pain and denial of food. Calcutta's best doctors tried their best but failed to cure him.

One day Vivekananda and some other disciples were sitting with Ramakrishna. Vivekananda said to him: "Parmahamsa, your suffering is unbearable to us. Doctors have tried and failed to help you. It is a very difficult situation. Since you are so close to God, why don't you seek His help? I am sure your prayer will not be ignored."

Ramakrishna grinned and replied that he did ask Ma Kali to cure him.

"But do you know what she said to me?

'Ramakrishna, you have eaten and enjoyed enough food; it's time to stop. From now on you should relish what others eat. As food touches their taste buds and goes down their throats, you should feel as if you are eating it. Become one with your brothers and sisters.'

That I think is good advice, for I am the gainer. Earlier, I relished only what touched my taste buds; now I enjoy what all of you eat. My enjoyment is multiplied a thousand fold!"

Parmahamsa Ramakrishna left his body after about 8 days of fasting. His enchanting smile stayed on his face every minute of those days and it remained imprinted on it even after he departed from his body. More