1 January is celebrated as Kalpataru Day in most of the centres of the Ramakrishna Order. On this day, lakhs of devotees visit the Cossipore Garden House, a centre of the Ramakrishna Math in North Kolkata, the place where Sri Ramakrishna had spent the last few months of his sojourn on earth. He was suffering from throat cancer. Here on the 1 January 1886, in the afternoon, he came down from his room and was walking along the pathway leading to the main gate when he saw his close devotees Girish Ghosh, Ram Chandra Dutta, etc., sitting on the lawn and talking. Girish Ghosh, who was a famous dramatist of Bengal, had undergone a tremendous transformation by coming in contact with Sri Ramakrishna. He was already telling his close associates that Sri Ramakrishna was God incarnate on earth. Seeing Girish, Sri Ramakrishna stopped and asked him, “Girish, what is it that you have seen in this (meaning himself) that you go about talking the way you do?” Immediately, Girish came near him, knelt down and with his voice choked with emotion said, “What can I say about you? Even Vyasa and Valmiki could not find enough words to describe His Glory.” By these words, Girish meant that Sri Ramakrishna was a reincarnation of both Rama and Krishna. Moved by his supreme faith, Sri Ramakrishna said, “What more need I tell you? May you all be illumined.” So saying, he went into a trance. As they touched his feet one by one, he touched each one of the devotees on his chest and each one of them had an extraordinary spiritual experience. Devotees like Ram Chandra Dutta felt that Sri Ramakrishna had become the Kalpataru, the proverbial wish fulfilling tree of heaven and hence the day has come to be called as Kalpataru Day. But there is a difference. The Kalpataru of Heaven may fulfil any desire, good or bad, whereas Sri Ramakrishna would fulfil only the spiritual desires.

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