Pandit Shiva Nath Shastri, the Minister of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, writes thus in ' The Modern Review, Nov., 1910, of a meeting with Sri Ramakrishna:
A Christian preacher of Bhowanipur, who was my personal friend, once accompanied me on my visit to Ramakrishna. When I introduced my friend to him, I said - "Today I bring a Christian preacher to you, who having heard of you from me, was very eager to see you." Whereupon the Saint bowed his head to the ground and said,"I bow again and again at the feet of Jesus."
Then took the following conversation:
My Christian friend: How is it, sir, that you bow at the feet of Christ? What do you think of Him?
Ramakrishna: Why, I look upon Him as an Incarnation of God.
My friend: Incarnation of God! Will you kindly explain what you mean by it?
Ramakrishna: An Incarnation like our Rama or Krishna. Don't you know there is a passage in the Bhagavata where it is said that the Incarnations of Vishnu or the Supreme Being are innumerable?
My Friend: Please explain further; I do not quite understand it.
Ramakrishna: Just take the case of the ocean. It is a wide and almost infinite expanse of water. But owing to special causes, in special parts of this wide sea, the water becomes congealed into ice.
When reduced to ice it can be easily manipulated and applied to special uses. An Incarnation is something like that. Like that infinite expanse of water, there is the Infinite Power, immanent in matter and mind, but for some special purposes, in special regions, a portion of that Infinite Power, as it were, assumes a tangible shape in history, that is what you call a great man; but he is, properly speaking, a local manifestation of the all-pervading Divine Power; in other words, an Incarnation of God. The greatness of men is essentially the manifestation of Divine Energy.
My friend: I understand your position, though we do not quiet agree with it. (Then turning to me) - I should like to know what my Brahmo friends would say to this.
Ramakrishna: Don't talk of them, they do not see it in that light.
Myself (addressing Ramakrishna): Who told you, sir, that we do not believe that the greatness of the great teachers of humanity was a Divine communication, and in that sense they were Incarnations of a Divine Idea?
Ramakrishna: Do you really believe it to be so? I did not know that. Think not that Rama and Sita, Krishna and Radha, were mere allegories and not historical personages; or that the scriptures are true only in their inner or esoteric meaning. Nay, there must have been human beings of flesh and blood who personified the ideals of Rama and Sita, and because they were also divinities, their lives can be interpreted both historically and allegorically.