Devotional texts or scriptures speak of several approaches to God. They discuss in detail puja, prayer, japa, etc. But, Sri Ramakrishna seems to have added a new dimension to the path of Bhakti. The book titled “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna” contains detailed references to Vyakulata or intense longing for God. His own intense Sadhana leading to the first major breakthrough in his spiritual life is largely based on this spiritual discipline.
Day after day he would weep with such intense longing that the onlookers would wonder what really had happened to him. Several times he would be seen rolling on the ground at the end of the day piteously crying that one more day had gone in vain and that he was yet to get the vision of the Divine Mother Kali. Ultimately his longing became so unbearable that he was about to put an end to his life.
At that very moment he had his first extraordinary spiritual experience. He had the vision of the Divine Mother in the form of a glorious light which engulfed the entire shrine. He was bathed in that light and he lost his outer consciousness. Later on when devotees would ask him the nature of this Vyakulata or longing for God, he would explain the idea using a beautiful example.
Once, a disciple asked his Guru as to the nature of intense longing or Vyakulata. The Guru did not give any answer, but simply took him to a water reservoir. All of a sudden he caught hold of the disciple’s head and held it immersed in water.
The disciple was panting for breath and felt that he might die any moment. Just then the teacher released his grip and when the disciple got up he told him that if he felt the same intensity for God vision as he was panting when his head was held under the water, such a feeling was true Vyakulata or longing for God.