Selections from the Teachings of
Sri Ramakrishna - 1




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Contents

The Absolute – Intimations that It is not the end

God is both formless and endowed with form. He is many things more. The Absolute and the Relative belong to one and the same Reality. (PR in GSR, 366.)

The Aged – See also Surrender to God – Give God your power of attorney

I have cooked the food and placed it on the plate. Your task is simply to sit and eat. You will not have to do anything. You are merely to lift it up to your mouth and enjoy. I have taken the responsibility. You will not have to do any spiritual disciplines. I have already done them for you. It will be enough if you give me the power of attorney and be at ease. (PR, addressing the old, in RAWSH, 172.)

Alcohol

Why should you drink wine as wine? Offer it to Kali, and then take it as Her prasad, as consecrated drink. But see that you don’t become intoxicated; you must not reel and your thoughts must not wander. At first you will feel ordinary excitement, but soon you will experience spiritual exaltation. (PR to Suresh Mitra, known as Surendra, in GSR, 49.)

Argument

Ram, why don’t you say in simple words that even now you have the desire to enjoy the sour dish of hog-plum [the worthless pleasures of the world]! What is the need for all this vain argument? (PR in RAWSH, 196.)

Attitude – See Bhakti Yoga – Mood or attitude; see also Conviction

Austerity

Please eat your meals regularly and then practice your japam and meditation. The Divine Mother is not a stranger. She is your very own. She will not be angry if you eat first and then call on her. In this Kali yuga the human body cannot bear excessive austerities, and it is hard to practice spiritual disciplines if one’s health is not good. (PR in TLWG, 164.)

It is not necessary for all to practise great austerity. But I went through great suffering. (PR in GSR, 331.)

Avatars

God has different forms, and He sports in different ways. He sports as Isvara, deva, man, and the universe. In every age He descends to earth in human form, as an Incarnation, to teach people love and devotion. There is the instance of Chaitanya. One can taste devotion and love of God only through His Incarnations. Infinite are the ways of God’s play, but what I need is love and devotion. I want only the milk. The milk comes through the udder of the cow. The Incarnation is the udder. (PR in GSR, 257.)

God is born on earth as man in every age. (PR in TLWG, 253.)

Divine incarnations without number appear and disappear on the tree of the Absolute Brahman. (PR in GSR, 128.)

Avatars – They choose to behave and experience what humans do

When the Divine sports as a human being, He behaves exactly like an ordinary man and experiences weal and woe and attains perfection by dint of personal effort, endeavour and austerity. (PR in SRGM, I, 93.)

Avatars – They manifest God’s Power, some Avatars more than others

There is a great accumulation of divinity in an Incarnation, like the accumulation of fish in a deep hollow in a lake. (PR in GSR, 283.)

There is no doubt that God exists in all things; but the manifestation of His Power is through an Incarnation. Again, in some Incarnations there is a complete manifestation of God's Power. (PR in GSR, 726.)

Avatars – It is God who incarnates

The Incarnation is the play of the Absolute as man. Do you know how the Absolute plays as man? It is like the rushing down of water from a big roof through a pipe; the power of Satchidananda – nay, Satchidananda Itself – descends through the conduit of a human form as water descends through the pipe. (PR in GSR, 359.)

Yes, God in man. The body is a mere covering. It is like a lantern with a light burning inside, or like a glass case in which one sees precious things. (PR to Manilal Mallik in GSR, 365; TLWG, 87.)

Gauri once said that one attains true Knowledge when one realizes the identity of Kali and Gauranga. That which is Brahman is also Sakti, Kali. It is That, again, which, assuming human form, has become Gauranga. (PR in GSR, 382.)

Avatars – It is the Sakti who incarnates

The Incarnation of God is part of the lila of Sakti. (PR in GSR, 283.)

God’s play on earth as an Incarnation is the manifestation of the glory of the Chitsakti, the Divine Power. (PR in GSR, 290.)

It is the Sakti, the Power of God, that is born as an Incarnation. (PR in GSR, 726.)

What is beyond speech and mind is born in the flesh, assuming various forms and engaging in various activities. From that one Om have sprung “Om Siva,” “Om Kali,” and “Om Krishna.” (PR in GSR, 366.)

The Divine Mother of the Universe manifests Herself through this three-and-a-half cubit man. (PR in GSR, 353.)

It is Sakti alone that becomes flesh as God Incarnate. (PR in GSR, 272.)

Avatars – Their purpose

The purpose of the Divine Incarnation is to teach man ecstatic love for God. (PR in GSR, 283.)

Avatars – Here for the devotees

According to the Vedanta, there is no Incarnation of God. The Vedantists say that Rama and Krishna are but two waves in the Ocean of Satchidananda. (PR in GSR, 306.)

The Incarnation of God is accepted by those who follow the path of bhakti. (PR in GSR, 308.)

An Incarnation of God is for the sake of the bhaktas and not of the jnanis. (GSR, 789.)

God plays in the world as man for the sake of His devotees. They can love God only if they see Him in a human form: only then can they show their affection for Him as their Brother, Sister, Father, Mother, or Child. It is just for this love of the devotees that God contracts Himself into a human form and descends on earth to play His lila. (PR in GSR, 382.)

The Saguna Brahman1 is meant for the bhaktas. In other words, a bhakta believes that God has attributes and reveals Himself to men as a Person, assuming forms. (PR in GSR, 149.)

1 Brahman-with-attributes -- the personal God, including Avatars or incarnations of God. In order to bring people spiritual knowledge, an Incarnation of God lives in the world in the company of devotees, cherishing an attitude of love for God. (PR in GSR, 272.)

A little of [my] mind is attached to the body. It wants to enjoy the love of God and the company of the devotees. (PR in GSR, 391.)

It is like the sun at dawn. You can easily look at that sun. It doesn’t dazzle the eyes; rather it satisfies them. God becomes tender for the sake of His devotees. He appears before them, setting aside His powers. (PR in GSR, 282.)

The followers of [jnana yoga] do not accept the Divine Incarnation. It is a very difficult path. The lovers of God should not hear much of such reasoning. That is why God incarnates Himself as man and teaches people the path of devotion. He exhorts people to cultivate self-surrender to God. Following the path of devotion, one realizes everything through His grace- both Knowledge and Supreme Wisdom. (PR in GSR, 355.)

Avatars – They bring their circle of devotees

I came into this world secretly with a few close devotees. (PR in RAWSH, 55-6.)

When God assumes a human body for the sake of His devotees, many of his devotees accompany Him to this earth. Some of them belong to the inner circle, some to the outer circle, and some become the suppliers of His physical needs. (PR in GSR, 933.)

A band of minstrels suddenly appears, dances, and sings, and it departs in the same manner. They come and they return, but none recognizes them. (PR in GSR, 943.)

Avatars – Few recognize the Avatar

Not all, by any means, can recognize an Incarnation of God. Assuming a human body, the Incarnation falls victim to disease, grief, hunger, thirst, and all such things, like ordinary mortals. (PR in GSR, 355.)

God, incarnating Himself as man, behaves exactly like a man. That is why it is difficult to recognize an Incarnation. When God becomes man, … He has the same hunger, thirst, disease, grief, and sometimes even fear. … In the theatre, when an actor comes on the stage in the role of a holy man, he behaves like one, and not like the actor who is taking the part of the king. He plays his own role. … Likewise, when God becomes man He behaves exactly like a man. (PR in GSR, 361.)

Only twelve sages, Bharadvaja and the others, recognized Rama as an Incarnation of God. Not everyone can recognize an Incarnation. (PR in GSR, 359.)

One needs spiritual practice in order to know God and recognize Divine Incarnations. … There is oil in mustard seed, but one must oress the seed to extract the oil. (PR in GSR, 354.)

Can all comprehend the Indivisible Satchidananda? Only twelve rishis could recognize Ramachandra. All cannot recognize an Incarnation of God. Some take him for an ordinary man, some for a holy person, and only a few recognize him as an Incarnation. (PR in GSR, 759.)

Sometimes a king visits his capital publicly with his convoy and trumpeters, but at other times, in order to observe the true conditions and activities of his subjects, he moves around in disguise. As soon as the people recognize him they whisper among themselves: “He is the king. He is visiting us disguised as an ordinary person.” Then the king immediately leaves that place. Similarly the avatar appears sometimes publicly and sometimes secretly. (PR in RAWSH, 169.)

Avatars – States of consciousness

Chaitanya experienced three states of mind. First, the conscious state, when his mind dwelt on the gross and the subtle. Second, the semi-conscious state, when his mind entered the causal body and was absorbed in the bliss of divine intoxication. Third, the inmost state, when his mind merged with the Great Cause. This agrees very well with the five koshas, of “sheaths,” described in the Vedanta. The gross body corresponds to the annamayakosha and the pranamayakosha, the subtle body to the manamayakosha and the vijnanamayakosha, and the causal body to the anandamayaksoha. The Mahakarana, the Great Cause, is beyond the five sheaths. When Chaitanya’s mind merged in That, he would go into … nirvikalpa or jada samadhi. While conscious of the outer world, Chaitanya sang the name of God; while in the state of partial consciousness, he danced with the devotees; and while in the inmost state of consciousness, he remained absorbed in samadhi. (PR in GSR, 330.)

Avatars – No one can understand them

Have you heard of a tree called the “achina’? … There is a tree called by that name. But nobody knows what it is. (PR in GSR, 283.)

Avatars – They hold in their hands the key to liberation

When God Himself is born as a man, as an Incarnation, [He holds] in His hand the key to others' liberation. (PR in GSR, 237.)

The Incarnation is like the udder of the cow, the only place milk is to be got. (PR in GSR, 283.)

Avatars – If one seeks God, one must seek Him in His Incarnation

God sports in the world as man. He incarnates Himself as man – as in the case of Krishna, Rama, and Chaitanya. … If you seek God, you must seek Him in the Incarnations. (PR in GSR, 353.)

Avatars – To love an Incarnation is enough

The devotee should worship and serve an Incarnation of God as long as He lives in a human body. (PR in GSR, 355.)

To love an Incarnation of God – that is enough. Ah, what ecstatic love the gopis had for Krishna. (PR in GSR, 356.)

Avatars – They are not here to be liberated

An avatar will never get liberation. As an executive officer of an estate rushes to a place where there is chaos or disturbance, so the avatar comes to relieve the sufferings of people whenever there is an unusual condition in the Divine Mother’s vast empire – that is, in the world. (PR in RAWSH, 169.)

Avatars – They survive Brahmajnana

Those who retain their bodies, even after attaining Brahmajnana, … teach others. Divine Incarnations belong to this class. (PR in GSR, 354.)

Avatars – They accept the help of maya to fulfill their mission

Everyone is under the authority of the Divine Mother, Mahamaya, the Primal Energy. Even the Incarnations of God accept the help of maya to fulfill their mission on earth. Therefore, they worship the Primal Energy. (PR in GSR, 226.)

Avatars – They allow themselves to be subject to maya

Even the Incarnations are conscious of the body. Embodiment is due to maya. Rama wept for Sita. But the Incarnation of God puts a bandage over His eyes by His own will, like children playing blind man's buff. The children stop playing when their mother calls them. It is quite different, however, with the ordinary man. (PR in GSR, 243.)

Avatars – The ordinary person could not tolerate a fraction of their experience

An ordinary man couldn’t have borne a quarter of that tremendous fervour; it would have burnt him up. I had no sleep at all for six long years. My eyes lost the power of winking. I stood in front of a mirror and tried to close my eyelids with my finger – and I couldn’t! I got frightened and said to Mother: “Mother, is that what happens to those who call on you? I surrendered myself to you, and you gave me this terrible disease!” I used to shed tears – but then, suddenly, I’d be filled with ecstacy. I saw that my body didn’t matter – it was of no importance, a mere trifle. Mother appeared to me and comforted me and freed me from my fear. (PR in RAWSH, 14-15.)

Avatars – They are the sun of knowledge and the moon of love

In an Incarnation of God one sees at the same time, the sun of Knowledge and the moon of Love. (PR in GSR, 351.)

Avatars – Seeing one is like seeing God Himself

God can be directly perceived in a man with a tangible form. Seeing an Incarnation of God is the same as seeing God himself. (PR in TLWG, 253.)

Avatars – Saluting one brings liberation

Chaitanyadeva became a sannyansin so that all would salute him. Whoever salutes an Incarnation, even once, obtains liberation. (PR in GSR, 717.)

Avatars – Pain is unavoidable when a body has been assumed

Pain … is unavoidable as long as there is a body. (PR in GSR, 71.)

Suffering is inevitable when one assumed a human body. (PR in GSR, 943.)

Benares – Those who die there are liberated

I saw a tall white person with tawny matted hair walking with solemn steps to each pyre in the [Benares] burning ghat, raising carefully each jiva1 and imparting into his ear the mantra of supreme Brahman; while, sitting on the pyre on the other side of the body was the all-powerful universal Mother, Mahakali, untying all knots of the bondage of karma, sending him to the indivisible sphere by opening with Her own hands the door to liberation. Thus did Siva grant the soul that which ordinarily results only from the practice of yoga and tapas2 for many lives. (PR in VSR, 64.)

1 Individual soul.
2 Austerities.

Bhagavad-Gita

The Gita is the essence of all scriptures. A sannyasi may or may not keep with him another book, but he always carries a pocket Gita. (PR in GSR, 772.)

The essence of the Gita is what you get by repeating the word ten times. The word become reversed. It is then “tagi,” which refers to renunciation. The essence of the Gita is: “O man, renounce everything and practice spiritual diwscipline for the realization of God.” (PR in GSR, 255.)

Bhagavata, Bhakta, Bhagavan

[Sri] Ramakrishna was listening to a reading of the Bhagavata when he went into bhavasamadhi and saw a shining figure of Sri Krishna. Then a ray of light from the feet of that figure touched the scripture being read, and from there touched the Master's own heart, remaining in contact with all three for some time. The result of this vision [was] his firm, life-long conviction of the unity of the scripture, the devotee, and the Lord. “Bhagavata, Bhakta, Bhagavan,” he used to say, “three in One and One in three.” (VSR, 52.)

Bhakti vs. Jnana (Devotion vs. Knowledge)

This Primal Power, Mahamaya, has covered Brahman. As soon as the covering is withdrawn, one realizes: “I am what I was before,” “I am Thou; Thou art I.” As long as that covering remains, the Vedantic formula “I am He,” that is, man is the Supreme Brahman, does not rightly apply. The wave is part of the water, but the water is not part of the weave. As long as that covering remains, one should call on God as Mother. Addressing God, the devotee should say, “Thou art the Mother and I am Thy child; Thou are the Master and I am Thy servant.” (PR in GSR, 290.)

Do you know how a lover of God feels? His attitude is: 'O God, Thou art the Master, and I am Thy servant. Thou art the Mother, and I am Thy child.' Or again: 'Thou art my Father and Mother. Thou art the Whole, and I am a part.' He doesn't like to say, 'I am Brahman.' (PR in GSR, 133-4.)

It is good to have the attitude of the servant toward the master. From this relationship of master and servant spring up other attitudes: the attitude of serene love for God, the attitude of friend toward friend, and so forth. When the master loves his servant, he may say to him, “Come, sit by my side; there is no difference between you and me.” But if the servant comes forward of his own will to sit by the master, will not the master be angry? (PR in GSR, 290.)

Take refuge in the Chitsakti, the Mahamaya. (PR in GSR, 291.)

It is written in the books of the Vaishanava: “God can be attained through faith alone; reasoning pushes Him far away.” Faith alone. (PR in GSR, 310.)

Do you know where those who speak of the formless God make their mistake? It is where they say that God is formless only, and that those who differ with them are wrong. But I know that God is both with and without form. And He may have many more aspects. It is possible for Him to be everything. (PR in GSR, 291.)

You do not accept God with form. That is all right. The image is not meant for you. For you it is good to depend your feeling toward your own Ideal. From the worshippers of the Personal God you should learn their yearning – for instance, Sri Krishna’s attraction for Radha. You should learn from the worshippers of the Personal God their love for their Chosen Ideal. When the believers in the Personal God worship the images of Kali and Durga, with what feeling they cry from the depths of their souls, “Mother! O Mother!” How much they love the Deity! You should accept that feeling. You don’t have to accept the image. (PR in GSR, 216.)

The jnani seeks to realize Brahman. But the ideal of the bhakta is the Personal God – a God endowed with omnipotence and with the six treasures. Yet Brahman and Sakti are, in fact, not different. That which is the Blissful Mother is, again, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. (PR in GSR, 277.)

Why should I make myself dry through mere reasoning? May I have unalloyed love for the Lotus Feet of God as long as the consciousness of “I’ and “you’ remains with me! (PR in GSR, 272.)

In order to reach the roof, other people should follow the path of devotion, as long as they have not attained Knowledge and become free of desire. (PR in GSR, 272.)

The path of knowledge leads to Truth, as does the path that combines knowledge and love. The path of love, too, leads to this goal. The way of love is as true as the way of knowledge. All paths ultimately lead to the same Truth. But as long as God keeps the feeling of ego in us, it is easier to follow the path of love. (PR in GSR, 104.)

The jnani experiences God-Consciousness within himself; it is like the upper Ganges, flowing in only one direction. To him the whole universe is illusory, like a dream; he is always established in the Reality of the Self. But with the lover of God, the case is different. His feeling does not flow in only one direction. He feels both the ebb-tide and the flood-tide of divine emotion. He laughs and weeps and dances and sings in the ecstacy of God. The lover of God likes to sport with Him. In the Ocean of God-Consciousness he sometimes swims, sometimes goes, down, and sometimes rises to the surface – like pieces of ice in the water. (Laughter.)

(PR in GSR, 277.)

Do you hear how melodious that music is? One player is producing only a monotone on his flute, while another is creating waves of melodies in different ragas and raginis. That is my attitude. Why should I produce only a monotone when I have an instrument with seven holes? Why should I say nothing but, “I am He, I am He’? I want to play various melodies on my instrument with seven holes. Why should I say only, “Brahma! Brahma!’? I want to call on God through all the moods – through santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhur. I want to make merry with God. I want to sport with God. (PR in GSR, 1009-10.)

There are five kinds of light: the light of a lamp, the light of various kinds of fire, the light of the moon, the light of the sun, and lastly the combined light of the sun and the moon. Bhakti is the light of the moon, and jnana the light of the sun. (PR in GSR, 351.)

Yes, it is true. Through the grace of God some may get both jnana and bhakti. (PR in GSR, 351.)

Look here, you have had enough of reasoning. No more of it. Promise that you won’t reason any more. … When you came to me the first time, I told you your spiritual Ideal. I know everything about you, do I not? … Yes, I know everything: what your Ideal is, who you are, your inside and outside, the events of your past lives, and your future. Do I not? (PR to Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 381.)

Bhakti Yoga– The Path of Devotion

The bhaktas accept all states of consciousness. They take the waking state to be real also. They don’t think the world to be illusory, like a dream. They say that the universe is a manifestation of God’s power and glory. God has created all these – sky, stars, moon, sun, mountains, ocean, men, animals. They constitute His glory. He is within us, in our hearts. Again, He is outside. The most advanced devotees say that He Himself has be come all this – the twenty-four cosmic principles, the universe, and all living beings. The devotee of God wants to eat sugar, not become sugar. (All laugh.)

(PR in GSR, 133.)

One should not discuss the discipline of the Impersonal God or the path of knowledge with a bhakta. Through great effort perhaps he is just cultivating a little devotion. You will injure it if you explain everything away as a mere dream. (PR in GSR, 354.)

Gopaler Ma: My son, you are learned and intelligent, and I am a poor, illiterate widow. I don’t understand anything. Please tell me, are these visions [that Gopaler-Ma has of Krishna] true? Narendranath Gupta [later Swami Vivekananda]: “Yes, Mother, whatever you have seen is all true. (Gopaler Ma and Naren in TLWG, 346..)

Bhakti Yoga– Devotion is the one essential thing – See also Purpose of Life

The sum and substance of the whole thing is to cultivate devotion for God and love Him. (PR in GSR, 339.)

Bhakti, love of God, is the essence of all spiritual discipline. Through love one acquires renunciation and discrimination naturally. (PR in GSR, 123.)

One is able to realize God just through love. Ecstacy of feeling, devotion, love, and faith – these are the means. (PR in GSR, 108) Love of God is the one essential thing. A true lover of God has nothing to fear, nothing to worry about. He is aware that the Divine Mother knows everything. The cat handles the mouse one way, but its own kitten a very different way. (PR in GSR, 252.)

Once the seed of bhakti is sown, the effect is inevitable: it will gradually grow into a tree with flowers and fruit. (PR in GSR, 779.)

What is needed is absorption in God – loving Him intensely. (PR in GSR, 108.)

As is a man’s feeling of love, so is his gain. (PR in GSR, 204.)

The bliss of worship and communion with God is the true wine, the wine of ecstatic love. The goal of human life is to love God. Bhakti is the one essential thing. (PR in GSR, 94.)

The one goal of life is to cultivate love for God, the love that the milkmaids, the milkmen, and the cowherd boys of Vrindavan felt for Krishna. When Krishna went away to Mathura, the cowherds roamed about weeping bitterly because of their separation from Him. (PR in GSR, 94.)

Bhakti Yoga– Easiest path in the Kaliyuga – See also Kaliyuga

[Ramakrishna] told his devotees that his "final and most mature opinion" was that a man should reach the Absolute1 by following the trail of the Relative,2 like reaching the roof by the stairs. (VSR, 102.)

1 The Father, the non-dual reality. 2 The Mother, God with form; that is, by following the path of dualistic worship of God with form (or bhakti) . In the Kaliyuga, man, being totally dependent on food for life, cannot altogether shake off the idea that he is the body. In this state of mind it is not proper for him to say, “I am He.” (PR in GSR, 103.)

One realizes God easily through devotion. He is grasped through ecstacy of love. (PR in GSR, 107.)

It is easy to worship God with form. But it is not as easy as all that. (PR in GSR, 354.)

One should constantly repeat the name of God. The name of God is highly effective in the Kaliyuga. The practice of yoga is not possible in this age, for the life of man depends on food. (PR in GSR, 241.)

In this kali yuga God’s name is the essential thing. Chanting God’s name will bring the results of meditation, worship, and sacrifice. (PR in RAWSH, 53.)

Bhakti Yoga– Devotion makes the formless assume form

It is like a great ocean, an infinite expanse of water, without any trace of shore. Here and there some of the water has been frozen. Intense cold has turned it into ice. Just so, under the cooling influence, so to speak, of the bhakta’s love, the Infinite appears to take form. Again, the ice melts when the sun rises; it becomes water as before. … The ice melts into formless water with the rise of the Sun of Knowledge. (PR in GSR, 370.)

Bhakti Yoga– Devotion must be unselfish

The devotion of a man who has any desire is selfish. But desireless devotion is love for its own sake. You may love me or not, but I love you: this is love for its own sake. (PR in GSR, 375.)

It will be very good if you can practise unselfish love for God. A man who has such love says: “O Lord, I do not seek salvation, fame, wealth, or cure of disease. None of these do I seek. I want only Thee.” Many are the people who come to a rich man with various desires. But if someone comes to him simply out of love, not wanting an y favour, then the rich man feels attracted to him. Prahlada had this unselfish love, this pure love for God without any worldly end. (PR in GSR, 386.)

Bhakti Yoga– Devotion must be pure

Unless the soul is pure, it cannot have genuine love of God and single-minded devotion to the ideal. The mind wanders away to various objects. (PR, GSR, 710.)

In genuine love of God there is no desire. Only through such love does one speedily realize God. (PR in GSR, 252.)

Bhakti Yoga– Devotion must be deep

One should be able to say [“God, I want Thee”] from one’s innermost soul. (PR in GSR, 261.)

Bhakti Yoga– Devotion should be single-minded

One should have nistha, single-minded devotion. It is also described as chaste and unswerving devotion to God. It is like a tree with only one trunk shooting straight up. Promiscuous devotion is like a tree with five branches. Such was the single-minded devotion of the gopis to Krishna that they didn’t care to look at anyone but the Krishna they had seen at Vrindavan – the Shepherd Krishna, bedecked with a garland of yellow wild-flowers and wearing a peacock feather on His crest. At the sight of Krishna at Mathura with a turban on His head and dressed in royal robes, the gopis pulled down their veils. They would not look at His face. “Who is this man?” they said. “Should we violate our chaste love for Krishna by talking to him?” (PR in GSR, 223.)

Liberal-minded devotees accept all the forms of God: Krishna, Kali, Siva, Rama, and so on. … But again, there is a thing called nishtha, single-minded devotion. When the gopis went to Mathura they saw Krishna with a turban on His head. At this they pulled down their veils and said, “Who is this man? Where is our Krishna with the peacock feather on His crest and the yellow cloth on His body?” (PR in GSR, 307.)

True, you should salute everyone. But you must love one ideal with your whole soul. That is unswerving devotion. … A wife may serve her husband’s brothers by fetching water, or in other ways, but she cannot serve them in the way she does her husband. With him she has a special relationship. (PR in GSR, 371.)

Do you know the meaning of devotion that is not loyal to one ideal? It is devotion tinged with intellectual knowledge. It makes one feel: “Krishna has become all these. He alone is the Supreme Brahman. He is Rama, Siva, and Sakti.” But this element of love is not present in ecstatic love of God. (PR in GSR, 228.)

Bhakti Yoga– Lust and greed are the primary obstacles to the rise of devotion – See also Obstacles – Lust and greed

The inner enjoyment of “woman and gold” injures the growth of one’s devotion. (PR in GSR, 1017.)

Most people don't feel any longing for God unless they have once passed through the experience of wealth, name, fame, creature comforts, and the like, that is to say, unless they have seen through these enjoyments. (PR in GSR, 216.)

One cannot love God if one feels attracted to worldly things, to “woman and gold.” Merely taking the vow of monastic life will not help a man if he is attached to the world. (PR in GSR, 224.)

The less you are attached to the world. The more you love God. (PR in GSR, 277.)

Bhakti Yoga– Devotion leads to control of the inner organs

The inner organs1 are brought under control naturally through the path of devotion…. It is rather easily accomplished that way. Sense pleasures appear more and more tasteless as love for God grows. (PR in GSR, 203.)

1 Mind, intelligence, mind-stuff, and ego, according to Nikhilananda. (GSR, 193n.)

Bhakti Yoga– Repeat His name and sins will disappear

One should constantly repeat the name of God. The name of God is highly effective in the Kaliyuga. The practice of yoga is not possible in this age, for the life of man depends on food. Clap your hands while repeating God’s name, and the birds of your sin will fly away. (PR in GSR, 241.)

In this kali yuga God’s name is the essential thing. Chanting God’s name will bring the results of meditation, worship, and sacrifice. (PR as quoted by Ramlal Chattopadhyay in 1931, in RAWSH, 53.)

Repeat His name, and sins will disappear. Thus you will destroy lust, anger, the desire for creature comforts, and so on. … Pray to God with a yearning heart that you may take delight in His name. He will certainly fulfil your heart’s desire. (PR in GSR, 203.)

One should cultivate a taste for God's name. Any name will do -- Durga, Krishna, or Siva. Then if, through chanting of the name, one's attachment to God grows day by day, and joy fills the soul, one has nothing to fear. ... The grace of God will certainly descend. (PR in GSR, 204.)

One must always chant the name and glories of God and pray to Him. An old metal pot must be scrubbed every day. What is the use of cleaning it only once? (PR in GSR, 215.)

The name of God has very great sanctity. It may not produce an immediate result, but one day it must bear fruit. (PR in GSR, 146.)

Bhakti Yoga– Attachment to God will not harm

[The way is] attachment to God, or, in other words, love for Him. And secondly, prayer. (PR in GSR, 215.)

Bhakti Yoga– The one who thinks constantly of God sees Him everywhere

One who thinks of God, day and night, beholds Him everywhere. It is like a man's seeing flames on all sides after he has gazed fixedly at one flame for some time. (PR in GSR, 115.)

Bhakti Yoga– The nearer we approach God, the more we feel His love

As Radha advanced toward Krishna, she could smell more and more of the sweet fragrance of His body. The nearer you approach to God, the more you feel His love. As the river approaches the ocean it increasingly feels the flow of the tides. (PR in GSR, 277.)

Bhakti Yoga– The nearer we approach God, th4e less we want to act

God dwells within us. If one knows that, one feels like giving up all activities and praying to God with a yearning soul. (PR in GSR, 112.)

Bhakti Yoga– Mood or attitude

One should assume a particular attitude toward God while praying to Him – the attitude of friend or servant or son or “hero.” (PR in GSR, 377.)

The devotee assumes various attitudes toward Sakti in order to propitiate Her: the attitude of a handmaid, a “hero,” or a child toward its mother. (PR in GSR, 116.)

In how many ways the believers in a Personal God enjoy Him! They enjoy Him through many different attitudes: the serene attitude, the attitude of a servant, a friend, a mother, a husband, or a lover. (PR in GSR, 217.)

To realize God, one must assume one of these attitudes: santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, or madhur. (PR in GSR, 115.)

I want to call on God through all the moods – through santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhur. I want to make merry with God. I want to sport with God. (PR in GSR, 1009-10.)

Gauri used to say that one must become like Sita to understand Rama; like Bhagavati, the Divine Mother, to understand Bhagavan, Siva. One must practise austerity, as Bhagavati did, in order to attain Siva. One must cultivate the attitude of Prakriti in order to realize Purusha – the attitude of a friend, a handmaid, or a mother. (PR in GSR, 346.)

One can assume other attitudes [than just the heroic] toward God as well – the attitude in which the devotee serenely contemplates God as the Creator, the attitude of service to Him, the attitude of friendship, the attitude of motherly affection, or the attitude of conjugal love. (PR in GSR, 377.)

Do you know how a lover of God feels? His attitude is: 'O God, Thou art the Master, and I am Thy servant. Thou art the Mother, and I am Thy child.' Or again: 'Thou art my Father and Mother. Thou art the Whole, and I am a part.' He doesn't like to say, 'I am Brahman.' (PR in GSR, 133-4.)

Bhakti Yoga– Mood or attitude – Hero

A hero’s attitude is to please Her even as a man pleases a woman through intercourse. (PR in GSR, 116.)

In northwest India the bride holds a knife in her hand at the time of marriage; in Bengal, a nut cutter. The meaning is that the bridegroom, with the help of the bride, who is the embodiment of the Divine Power, will sever the bondage of illusion. This is the “heroic” attitude. (PR in GSR, 116-7.)

The attitude of “hero” is extremely difficult. The Saktas and the Bauls among the Vaishnavas follow it, but it is very hard to keep one’s spiritual life pure in that attitude. (PR in GSR, 377.)

Bhakti Yoga– Mood or attitude – Friend or Sakhya

Sakhya, the attitude of friendship. Friends say to one another, “Come here and sit near me.” Sridama and other friends sometimes fed Krishna with fruit, part of which they had already eaten, and sometimes climbed on His shoulders. (PR in GSR, 115.)

Bhakti Yoga– Mood or attitude – Mother or Vatsalya

Vatsalya, the attitude of the mother toward her child. This was Yasoda’s attitude toward Krishna. The wife, too, had a little of this. She feeds her husband with her very life-blood, as it were. The mother feels happy only when the child has eaten to his heart’s content. Yasoda would roam about with butter in her hand, in order to feed Krishna. (PR in GSR, 115.)

Bhakti Yoga– Mood or attitude – Child

I assume the attitude of a child. … The divine Maya, seeing this attitude in an aspirant, moves away from his path out of sheer shame. (PR in GSR, 377.)

My natural attitude has always been that of a child toward its mother. I regard the breasts of any woman as those of my own mother. (PR in GSR, 116.)

Bhakti Yoga– Mood or attitude – Servant or Dasya

Dasya, the attitude of a servant toward his master. Hanuman had this attitude toward Rama. A wife feels this mood also. She serves her husband with all her heart and soul. A mother also has a little of this attitude, as Yasoda did towards Krishna. (PR in GSR, 115.)

It is good to have the attitude of the servant toward the master. From this relationship of master and servant spring up other attitudes: the attitude of serene love for God, the attitude of friend toward friend, and so forth. When the master loves his servant, he may say to him, “Come, sit by my side; there is no difference between you and me.” But if the servant comes forward of his own will to sit by the master, will not the master be angry? (PR in GSR, 290.)

The relationship of master and servant is the proper one. Since this “I” must remain, let the rascal be God’s servant. (PR in GSR, 105.)

Bhakti Yoga– Mood or attitude – Serenity or Santa

Santa, the serene attitude. The rishis of olden times had this attitude toward God. They did not desire any worldly enjoyment. T is like the single-minded devotion of a wife to her husband. She knows that her husband is the embodiment of beauty and love, a veritable Madan. (PR in GSR, 115.)

Bhakti Yoga– Mood or attitude – Sweetheart or Madhur

The conjugal relationship, the attitude of a woman to her husband or sweetheart, contains all the rest – serenity, service, friendship, and motherly affection. (PR in GSR, 377.)

The conjugal relationship, the attitude of a woman to her husband or sweetheart, contains all the rest – serenity, service, friendship, and motherly affection. (PR in GSR, 377.)

Madhur, the attitude of a woman toward her paramour. Radha had this attitude toward Krishna. The wife also feels it for her husband. This attitude includes all the other four. (PR in GSR, 115.)

Bhakti Yoga– God is under the control of the devotee

God sports in this world. He is under the control of His devotee. Syama, the Divine Mother, is Herself tied by the cord of the love of Her devotee. … The devotee attracts God to him. God is the beloved of the devotee and is under his control. (PR in GSR, 355.)

Bhakti Yoga– First comes bhakti

First of all one acquires bhakti. Bhakti is single-minded devotion to God, like the devotion a wife feels for her husband. It is very difficult to have unalloyed devotion to God. Through such devotion one’s mind and soul merge in Him. (PR in GSR, 315.)

Bhakti Yoga– Then comes bhava

Then comes bhava, intense love. Through bhava a man becomes speechless. His nerve currents are stilled. Kumbhaka comes by itself. It is like the case of a man whose breath and speech stop when he fires a gun. (PR in GSR, 315.)

Bhakti matured becomes bhava. (PR in GSR, 255.)

Bhakti Yoga– Next comes mahabhava

Next is mahabhava. (PR in GSR, 255.)

Bhakti Yoga– Then comes prema or ecstatic love

Then prema, and last of all is the attainment of God. Gauranga experiences the states of mahabhava and prema. When prema is awakened, a devotee completely forgets the world; he also forgets his body, which is so dear to a man. Gauranga experienced prema. He jumped into the ocean, thinking it to be the jamuna. The ordinary jiva does not experience mahabhava or prema. He goes only as far as bhava. But Gauranga experienced all three states. (PR in GSR, 255.)

But prema, ecstatic love, is an extremely rare thing. Chaitanya had that love. When one has prema one forgets all outer things. One forgets the world. One even forgets one’s own body, which is do dear to a man. (PR in GSR, 315.)

When a man is intoxicated with ecstatic love of God, he doesn’t take delight in anything else. (PR in GSR, 372.)

Large fish live in the deep water of a big lake. Throw some spiced bait into the water; then the fish will come, attracted by its smell; now and then they will make the water splash. Devotion and ecstatic love are like the spiced bait. (PR in GSR, 353.)

Sri Ramakrishna was completely intoxicated with divine love. The devotees felt its contagion and danced with the Master in an ecstacy of love. (PR in GSR, 807.)

Rama said to Lakshmana, “Brother, wherever you find people singing and dancing in the ecstacy of divine love, know for certain that I am there.” (PR in GSR, 210.)

The whole thing in a nutshell is that one must develop ecstatic love for Satchidananda. What kind of love? … Gauri used to say that one must become like Sita to understand Rama; like Bhagavati, the Divine Mother, to understand Bhagavan, Siva. One must practise austerity, as Bhagavati did, in order to attain Siva. One must cultivate the attitude of Prakriti in order to realize Purusha – the attitude of a friend, a handmaid, or a mother. (PR in GSR, 346.)

One must become mad with love in order to realize God. ... Sex-life with a woman! What happiness is there in that? The realization of God gives ten million times more happiness. Gauri used to say that when a man attains ecstatic love of God all the pores of the skin, even the roots of the hair, become like so many sexual organs, and in every pore the aspirant enjoys the happiness of communion with the Atman. (PR in GSR, 346.)

The fact is, all men may look alike from the outside, but some of them have fillings of “condensed milk.” Cakes may have fillings of condensed milk or powdered black grams, but they all look alike from the outside. The desire to know God, ecstatic love for Him, and such other spiritual qualities are the “condensed milk.” (PR in GSR, 232.)

It is not possible to develop ecstatic love of God unless you love Him very deeply and regard Him as your very own. (PR in GSR, 229.)

It is the very nature of [ecstatic] love that it makes a man think himself stronger than his Beloved. He is always alert lest his Beloved should suffer. The one desire of his life is to keep his Beloved from being pricked in the foot by a thorn. (PR in GSR, 229.)

There are two elements in this ecstatic love: “I-ness” and “my-ness.” Yasoda used to think: “Who would look after Gopala if I did not? He will fall ill if I do not serve Him.” She did not look on Krishna as God. The other element is “my-ness.” It means to look on God as one’s own – “my Gopala.” Uddhava said to Yasoda: “Mother, your Krishna is God Himself. He is Lord of the Universe and not a common human being.” “Oh!” exclaimed Yasoda. “I am not asking you about your Lord of the Universe. I want to know how my Gopala fares. Not the Lord of the Universe, but my Gopala.” (PR in GSR, 229.)

Do you know the meaning of devotion that is not loyal to one ideal? It is devotion tinged with intellectual knowledge. It makes one feel: “Krishna has become all these. He alone is the Supreme Brahman. He is Rama, Siva, and Sakti.” But this element of love is not present in ecstatic love of God. (PR in GSR, 228.)

I was always overwhelmed with divine ecstacy and I couldn't tell the passing of day and night. On the day after such a vision I would have a severe attack of diarrhoea, and all these ecstacies would pass out through my bowels. (PR in GSR, 813.)

But prema, ecstatic love, is an extremely rare thing. Chaitanya had that love. When one has prema one forgets all outer things. One forgets the world. One even forgets one’s own body, which is do dear to a man. (PR in GSR, 315.)

There are two characteristics of prema. First, it makes one forget the world. So intense is one's love of God that one becomes unconscious of outer things. ... Second, one has no feeling of “my-ness” toward the body, which is so dear to man. One wholly gets rid of the feeling that the body is the soul. (PR in GSR, 202.)

Bhakti Yoga– God-Intoxication – Confused with madness

Some people think that by thinking of God too much the mind becomes deranged; but that is not true. (PR in GSR, 108.)

Was Radha’s madness the madness that comes from brooding over worldly objects and makes one unconscious? One attains that madness by meditating on God. Haven’t you heard of love-madness and knowledge-madness? (PR in GSR, 220.)

Krishnakishore … too passed through a God-intoxicated state, when he would repeat only the word “Om” and shut himself up alone in his room. His relatives thought he was actually mad, and called in a physician. Ram Kaviraj of Natagore came to see him. Krishnakishore said to the physician, “Cure me, sir, of my malady, if you please, but not of my ‘Om.’” (PR in GSR, 118.)

Bhakti Yoga – God-Intoxication – Fearlessness

In that state of God-intoxication I used to speak out my mind to all. I was no respecter of person. Even to men of position I was not afraid to speak the truth. (PR in GSR, 118.)

One day, in that state of divine intoxication, I went to the bathing-ghat on the Ganges at Baranagore. There I saw Jaya Mukherji repeating the name of God; but his mind was on something else. I went up and slapped him twice on the cheeks. At one time Rani Rasmani was staying in the temple garden. She came to the shrine of the Divine Mother, as she frequently did when I worshipped Kali, and asked me to sing a song or two. On this occasion, while I was singing, I noticed she was sorting flowers for worship absent-mindedly. At once I slapped her on the cheeks., She became quite embarrassed and sat there with folded hands. . After praying to the Divine Mother for some time with great yearning, I was able to shake off this habit. (PR in GSR, 119.)

Bhakti Yoga – God-Intoxication – One can only hear about God

When one gets into such a state of mind, one doesn’t enjoy any conversation but that about God. I used to weep when I heard people talk about worldly matters. (PR in GSR, 119.)

Bhakti Yoga– The more one loves God, the less he is inclined to act

If a man comes to love God, he need not trouble himself much about … activities. One needs a fan only as long as there is no breeze. The fan may be laid aside if the southern breeze blows. Then what need is there of a fan?... The more you come to love God, the less you will be inclined to perform action. When the daughter-in-law is with child, her mother-in-law gives her less work to do. As time goes by she is given less and less work. When the time of delivery nears, she is not allowed to do any work at all, lest it should hurt the child or cause difficulty at the time of birth. (PR in GSR, 108.)

Bhakti Yoga– Influenced by the gunas

Even bhakti has three aspects: sattva, rajas, and tamas. (PR in GSR, 250.)

Bhakti Yoga– Sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic

As worldly people are endowed with sattva, rajas, and tamas, so also is bhakti characterized by the three gunas. (PR in GSR, 146.)

Bhakti Yoga– Sattvic aspect

Sattva begets bhakti. (PR in GSR, 250.)

The sattva of bhakti is pure sattva. When a devotee acquires it he doesn’t direct his mind to anything but God. He pays only as much attention to his body as is absolutely necessary for its protection. (PR in GSR, 250.)

A devotee who possesses [sattwa] meditates on God in absolute secret, perhaps inside his mosquito net. Others think he is asleep. Since he is late in getting up, they think perhaps he has not slept well during the night. His love for the body goes only as far as appeasing his hunger, and that only by means of rice and simple greens. There is no elaborate arrangement about his meals, no luxury in clothes, and no display of furniture. Besides, such a devotee never flatters anybody for money. (PR in GSR, 146.)

Do you know what a worldly person endowed with Sattva is like? Perhaps his house is in a dilapidated condition here and there. He doesn’t care to repair it. The worship hall may be strewn with pigeon droppings and the courtyard covered with moss, but he pays not attention to these things. The furniture of the house may be old; he doesn’t think of polishing it and making it look neat. He doesn’t care for dress at all; anything is good enough for him. But the man himself is very gentle, quiet, kind, and humble; he doesn’t injure anyone. (PR in GSR, 146.)

Similarly, Bhakti, devotion, has its Sattva. A devotee who possesses it meditates on God in absolute secret, perhaps inside his mosquito net. Others think he is asleep. Since he is late in getting up, they think perhaps he has not slept well during the night. His love for the body goes only as far as appeasing its hunger, and that only by means of rice and simple greens. There is no elaborate arrangement about his meals, no luxury in clothes, and no display of furniture. Besides, such a devotee never flatters anybody for money. (PR in GSR, 146.)

Bhakti Yoga – Rajasic

Again, among the worldly there are people with the traits of rajas. Such a man has a watch and a chain, and two or three rings on his fingers. The furniture of his house is all spick and span. One the walls hang portraits of the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and other prominent people; the building is whitewashed and spotlessly clean. His wardrobe is filled with a large assortment of clothes; even the servants have their livery, and all that. (PR in GSR, 146.)

An aspirant possessed of Rajasic bhakti puts a tilak on his forehead and a necklace of holy rudraksha beads, interspersed with gold ones, around his neck. (All laugh.)

At worship he wears a silk cloth. (PR in GSR, 147.)

Bhakti Yoga– Tamasic aspect

The traits of a worldly man endowed with tamas are sleep, lust, anger, egotism and the like. (PR in GSR, 146.)

A man endowed with tamasic bhakti has burning faith. Such a devotee literally extorts boons from God, even as a robber falls upon a man and plunders his money. “Bind! Beat! Kill!” – that is his way, the way of the dacoits. (PR in GSR, 147.)

If you can give a spiritual turn to your tamas, you can realize God with its help. Force your demands on God. He is by no means a stranger to you. He is indeed your very own. (PR in GSR, 147.)

Assume the tamasic aspect of bhakti. Say with force: “What? I have uttered the name of Rama and Kali. How can I be in bondage any more? How can I be affected by the law of karma?” (PR in GSR, 252.)

We can force our demand on Him. We can say to Him, “Reveal Thyself to me or I shall cut my throat with a knife!” (PR in GSR, 384.)

A man endowed with tamasic bhakti has burning faith. Such a devotee literally extorts boons from God, even as a robber falls upon a man and plunders his money. ... If you can give a spiritual turn to your tamas, you can realize God with its help. Force your demands on God. He is by no means a stranger to you. He is indeed your very own. (PR in GSR, 147.)

Bhavamukha – Remain in Bhavamukha – See Ramakrishna, Sri – Remain in Bhavamukha

Body

The body consisting of the five gross elements is called the gross body. The subtle body is made up of the mind, the ego, the discriminating faculty, and the mind-stuff. There is also a causal body, by means of which one enjoys the Bliss of God and holds communion with Him. The Tantra calls it the Bhagavati Tanu, the Divine Body. Beyond all these is the Mahakarana, the Great Cause. That cannot be expressed in words. (PR in GSR, 902.)

Without desires the body cannot live. (PR in GSR, 397.)

Body and wealth are impermanent. Why go to so much trouble for their sakes? (PR in GSR, 285.)

A true spiritual devotee does not care for such things as wealth or health. He thinks: “Why should I practise spiritual austerities for creature comforts, money, or name and fame? These are all impermanent. They last only a day or two.” (PR in GSR, 286.)

Body – Body and soul are different

Just a pillow-case. (PR speaking of his body, in GSR, 133.)

The body and the soul. The body was born and it will die. But for the soul there is no death. It is like the betel-nut. When the nut is ripe it does not stick to the shell. But when it is green it is difficult to separate from the shell. After realizing God, one does not identify any more with the body. Then he knows that body and soul are two different things. (PR in GSR, 319.)

Body – So long as one is conscious of it, one is aware of duality

As long as a man remains conscious of the body, he is conscious of duality. (PR in GSR, 269.)

Body – Identification with it brings awareness of pleasure and pain

Pleasure and pain are the characteristics of the embodied state. (PR in GSR, 275.)

One is aware of pleasure and pain, birth and death, disease and grief, as long as one is identified with the body. All these belong to the body alone and not to the Soul. After the death of the body, perhaps God carries one to a better place. It is like the birth of the child after the pain of delivery. Attaining Self-Knowledge, one looks on pleasure and pain, birth and death as a dream. (PR in GSR, 257.)

Bodies – Anandamaya Kosa or Causal Body

Functioning through the causal body the mind enjoys bliss; it dwells in the anandamaya kosa. This corresponds to the semi-conscious state experienced by Chaitanya. (PR IN FMSR, 71.)

Bodies – Beyond the bodies in the Mahavayu or Great Cause

Last of all the mind loses itself in the Great Cause. What one experiences after that cannot be described in words. In his inmost state of consciousness Chaitanya enjoyed this experience. Do you know what that state is like? Dayananda described it by saying, ‘Come into the inner apartments and shut the door.’ Anyone and everyone cannot enter that part of the house. (PR in FMSR, 71.)

Bound Souls – Their character - See also Free Souls and Ever-Perfect Souls

The young members of the household and a few friends and relatives of Vidyasagar had gathered around. Sri Ramakrishna, still in an ecstatic mood, sat on the bench. A young man, seventeen or eighteen years old, who had come to Vidyasagar to seek financial help for his education, was seated there. The Master sat down a little distance from the boy, saying in an abstracted mood: “Mother, this boy is very much attached to the world. He belongs to Thy realm of ignorance.” (PR in GSR, 100.)

Another day, probably in 1883, I visited the Master with a few young men from Serampore. Looking at them he asked, “Why have they come here?” Myself: “To see you.” Master: “What’s there to see in me? Why don’t they look at the buildings and temples?” Myself: “Sir, they haven’t come to see those things. They have come to see you.” Master: “Ah! Then they must be flints. There is fire in them. You may keep a flint under water a thousand years, but the moment you strike it, sparks come out. They must be of that type. But it will be useless to strike fire out of me!” At this last remark we all laughed. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1023.)

A fop, seated comfortably with one leg over the other, chewing betel-leaf and twirling his moustaches – a carefree dandy -, cannot attain God. (PR in GSR, 225.)

[Longing for God cannot come] for a confirmed scoundrel. A sannyasi’s kamandalu, made of bitter gourd, travels with him to the four great places of pilgrimage, but still does not lose its bitterness. (PR in GSR, 225.)

In the world there is only one thought: “woman and gold.” (PR in GSR, 82.)

The bound souls are tied to the world by the fetters of “woman and gold.” They are bound hand and foot. Thinking that “woman and gold” will make them happy and give them security, they do not realize that it will lead them to annihilation. When a man thus bound to the world is about to die, his wife asks, “You are about to go; but what have you done for me?” Again, such is his attachment to the things of the world that, when he sees the lamp burning brightly, he says: “Dim the light. Too much oil is being used.” And he is on his death-bed. The bound souls never think of God. If they get any leisure they indulge in idle gossip and foolish talk, or they engage in fruitless work. If you ask one of them the reason, he answers, “Oh, I cannot keep still; so I am making a hedge.” When time hangs heavy on their hands they perhaps start playing cards. (PR in GSR, 87.)

True sanyyasis, those who are able to devote their minds constantly to God, are like bees, which light only on flowers and sip their honey. Those who live in the world, in the midst of [lust and greed], may direct their attention to God; but sometimes their minds dwell also on [lust and greed]. They are like common flies, which light on a piece of candy, then on a sore or filth. (PR in GSR, 210.)

They are indeed bound souls who constantly dwell with “woman and gold” and do not think of God even for a moment. How can you expect noble deeds of them? They are like mangos pecked by a crow, which may not be offered to the Deity in the temple, and which even men hesitate to eat. Bound souls, worldly people, are like silk-worms. The worms can cut through their cocoons if they want, but having woven the cocoon themselves, they are too much attached to them to leave them. And so they die there. (PR in GSR, 206.)

All seek to enjoy “woman and gold.” But there is too much misery and worry in that. This world is like the whirlpool of the Visalakshi. Once a boat gets into it there is no hope of its rescue. (PR in GSR, 96.)

The world is like a thorny bush: you have hardly freed yourself from one set of thorns before you find yourself entangled in another. Once you enter a labyrinth you find it is very difficult to get out. Living in the world, a man becomes seared, as it were. (PR in GSR, 96.)

Bound Souls – God dwells in them, hidden

God dwells in the worldly-minded, no doubt, but He is hidden there, like gold under deep layers of clay. (PR in GSR, 342.)

Bound Souls – They have little zeal or wisdom

The spiritual wisdom of worldly people is only seen on rare occasions. It is like the flame of a candle. No, it is rather like a single ray of the sun passing through a chink in the wall. Worldly people chant the name of God, but there is no zeal behind it. It is like children's swearing by God, having learnt the word from the quarrels of their aunts. Worldly people have no grit. If they succeed in an undertaking, it is all right, but if they don't succeed, it scarcely bothers them at all. When they need water they begin to dig a well. But as soon as they strike a stone they give up digging there and begin at another place. Perhaps they come to a bed of sand. Finding nothing but sand they give that place up too. How can they succeed in getting water unless they continue to dig persistently where they started? (PR in GSR, 208.)

Bound Souls – Their devotion is shallow and temporary

The worldly man's devotion to God is momentary -- like a drop of water on a red-hot frying pan. Perchance he looks at a flower and exclaims, “Ah, what a wonderful creation of God!” (PR in GSR, 384.)

The worldly-minded have heard from someone that God exists and that everything happens by His will; but it is not their inner belief. Do you know what a worldly man’s idea of God is like? It is like the children’s swearing by God when they quarrel. They have heard the word while listening to their elderly aunts quarrelling. (PR in GSR, 265.)

Some people have their shrine rooms in their attics. The women arrange the offerings and flowers and make the sandal-paste. But, while doing so, they never say a word about God. The burden of the conversation is: “What shall we cook today? I couldn’t get good vegetables in the market. The curry was delicious yesterday. That boy is my cousin. Hello, there! Have you that job still? Don’t ask me how I am. My Hari is no more.” Just fancy! They talk of such things in the shrine room at the time of worship! (PR in GSR, 287.)

Bound Souls – Non-dual attitude inappropriate – See Householders – Non-dual attitude inappropriate

Bound Souls – They should seek holy company

One must take the trouble to seek the company of holy persons. In his own home a man hears only worldly talk; the disease of worldliness has become chronic with him. The caged parrot sitting on its perch repeats “Rama! Rama!” But let it fly to the forest and it will squawk in its usual way. (PR in GSR, 204-5.)

One should always seek the company of holy men. The nearer you approach the Ganges, the cooler the breeze will feel. Again, the nearer you go to a fire, the hotter the air will feel. (PR in GSR, 241.)

Bound Souls – They should not renounce the world

Those who have not yet come to the end of their enjoyments should not renounce the world. … They should try to perform their duties in a detached way. Before you break the jack-fruit open, rub your hands with oil, so that the sticky milk will not smear them. … You should renounce the world only in mind. But a sannyasi should renounce the world both inwardly and outwardly. (PR in GSR, 215.)

Bound Souls – Does Sri Ramakrishna look down on them?

Do I look down on worldly people? Of course not. When I see them, I apply the Knowledge of Brahman, the Oneness of Existence. Brahman Itself has become everything; all are Narayana Himself. (PR in GSR, 710.)

Brahmayoni – See Formlessness Becomes Form

Caste

Caste restrictions fall away of themselves. As coconut and palm trees grow up, the branches drop off of themselves. Caste conventions drop off like that. But don’t tear them off as those fools do [meaning the Brahmos]. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1024.)

Chakras See Kundalini – Chakra System

Chanting the Name of God (Japa)

With beaming face chant the sweet name of God
Till in your heart the nectar overflows.
Drink of it ceaselessly and share it with all!
If ever your heart runs dry, parched by the flames
Of worldly desire, chant the sweet name of God,
And heavenly love will moisten your arid soul. (Narendra sings to Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 120.)

To feel that one is a free soul is very good. By constantly repeating, “I am free. I am free,” a man verily becomes free. On the other hand, by constantly repeating, “I am bound. I am bound,” he certainly becomes bound to worldliness. The fool who says only, “I am a sinner. I am a sinner,” verily drowns himself in worldliness. One should rather say: “I have chanted the name of God. How can I be a sinner? How can I be bound?” (PR in GSR, 274.)

One should constantly repeat the name of God. The name of God is highly effective in the Kaliyuga. The practice of yoga is not possible in this age, for the life of man depends on food. (PR in GSR, 241.)

In this kali yuga God’s name is the essential thing. Chanting God’s name will bring the results of meditation, worship, and sacrifice. (PR in RAWSH, 53.)

Chanting the Name of God – God is not different from His Name

God is not different from His name. Satyabhama tried to balance Krishna with gold and precious stones, but could not do it. Then Rukmini put a tulsi leaf with the name of Krishna on the scales. That balanced the Lord. (PR in GSR, 386.)

Chanting the Name of God – One must chant with faith and zeal

Have faith in the name of God. Then you won’t need even to go to hgoly places. (PR in GSR, 292.)

Nothing whatsoever is achieved by the performance of worship, japa, and devotions, without faith. (PR in GSR, 286.)

The spiritual wisdom of worldly people is only seen on rare occasions. It is like the flame of a candle. No, it is rather like a single ray of the sun passing through a chink in the wall. Worldly people chant the name of God, but there is no zeal behind it. It is like children's swearing by God, having learnt the word from the quarrels of their aunts. (PR in GSR, 208.)

Chanting the Name of God – It takes time to show effect

It takes a long time to see the effect [of chanting God’s name]. (PR in GSR, 370.)

One gradually acquires love of God through the practise of chanting God's name and glories. (PR in GSR, 131.)

Chanting the Name of God – Practise now to remember God at hour of death

Man becomes pure by repeating the name of God. Therefore one should practise the chanting of God’s name. …The way to remember God in the hour of death is to practise, now, the repetition of His name and the chanting of His glories. If one keeps up this practice, then in the hour of death one will repeat the name of God. … It is good to prepare for death. One should constantly think of God and chant His name in solitude during the last years of one’s life. (PR in GSR, 309-10.)

Charity

It is said in the scriptures that only those who have been charitable in their former births get money in this life. But to tell you the truth, the world is God’s maya. And there are many confusing things in this realm of maya. One cannot comprehend them. The ways of God are inscrutable indeed. (PR in GSR, 397.)

Charity is very noble. There is a great deal of difference between daya, compassion, and maya, attachment. Daya is good, but not maya. Maya is love for one’s relatives – one’s wife, children, brother, sister, nephew, father and mother. But daya is the same love for all created beings without distinction. (PR in GSR, 267.)

Money is not harmful if it is devoted to the service of God. (PR in GSR, 114.)

Those who have money should give it to the poor and needy. (To Trailokya) Jaygopal Sen is well-to-do. He should be charitable. That he is not so is to his discredit. There are some who are miserly even though they have money. There is no knowing who will enjoy their money afterwards. (PR in GSR, 398.)

By these philanthropic activities you are really doing good to yourself. If you can do them disinterestedly, your mind will become pure and you will develop love of God. As soon as you have that love you will realize Him. (PR to Vidyasagar in GSR, 108.)

There is gold buried in your heart, (1) but you are not yet aware of it. It is covered with a thin layer of clay. Once you are aware of it, all these activities of yours will lessen. (PR in GSR, 108.)

(1) Cf. Jesus’s metaphor of treasure buried in a field, the field being the body. (Matthew 13: 44.)

Chosen Ideal

Your Ishta [Chosen Deity] is [pointing to himself] within this. If you meditate on this, you meditate on your Ishta. (PR in RAWSH, 181-2.)

Look, your Chosen Deity is in this place [pointing to his body]. If you think of me, that will bring recollectedness of your Chosen Deity. (PR to Yogin-ma, in TLWG, 142.)

One’s own Chosen Deity is one’s own Self. The Chosen Deity and the Atman are identical. The vision of the Chosen Deity is equivalent to Self-Knowledge. (PR in RAWSH, 241.)

Christ

Now, Shivanath Shastri told Sri Ramakrishna: “Sir, one of my Christian friends has come to see you. Having heard of you from me, he was very eager to meet you.”

On hearing this Sri Ramakrishna bowed his head to the ground and said: “I bow again and again at the feet of Jesus Christ.”

Surprised at such utterance, Rev. Sannyal said: “How is it, sir, that you bow at the feet of Christ? What do you think of Him?”

Sri Ramakrishna: “Why, I look upon him as an Avatara.”

Rev. Sannyal: “Incarnation of God! Will you kindly explain what you mean by it? Is he one like Krishna and the others?”

Sri Ramakrishna: “Yes, exactly like that. An incarnation like our Rama and 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?”

Rev. Sannyal: “Please explain further. I do not understand it quite.”

Sri 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-pervadng Divine Power; in other words, an incarnation of God. The greatness of great men is essentially the manifestation of Divine Energy.” (PR in FMSR, 106-7.)

Classifications of Individuals – God’s manifestation is unequal among different individuals

You must remember that there is not an equal manifestation of God’s Power in all things. … God exists in all beings as the All-Pervasive Power, but the manifestations of His Power are different in different beings. (PR in GSR, 211.)

As the all-pervading Spirit He exists in all beings, even in the ant. But the manifestations of His Power are different in different beings; otherwise, how can one person put ten to flight, while another can't face even one? (PR in GSR, 104.)

His greater manifestation is in men. Again, among men God manifests Himself more clearly in those devotees who are Sattvic, in those who have no desire whatever to enjoy “women” and “gold.” (PR in FMSR, 116.)

There is a special manifestation of God's power in a man who has any outstanding gift, such as proficiency in music. (PR in GSR, 111.)

His greater manifestation is in man. Again, among men, God manifests Himself more clearly in those devotees who are sattvic, in those who have no desire to enjoy “woman and gold.” (PR in GSR, 321.)

If that were not so, how is it that one man may be stronger than fifty? If that were not the case again, how is it that we have all come here to see you? (PR to Vidyasagar, in GSR, 319-20.)

In one place there is more manifestation of His Power, in another less. The sun’s light is better reflected by water than by earth, and still better by a mirror. (PR in GSR, 265.)

In some places there is a manifestation of the power of Knowledge; in others, of the power of ignorance. (PR in GSR, 287.)

The power of an elephant and that of an ant are not the same. As Spirit they are one, but as power they are different. (PR in RAWSH, 238.)

The soul through which God sports is endowed with His special power. The landlord may reside in any part of his estate, but he is generally to be found in a particular drawing-room. The devotee is God’s drawing-room. God loves to sport in the heart of His devotee. It is there that His special power is manifest. What is the sign of such a devotee? When you see a man doing great works, you may know that God’s special power is manifested through him. (PR in GSR, 320.)

The Divine Mother revealed to me in a flash that it is She Herself who has become man. But She manifests Herself most clearly through a pure soul. (PR in GSR, 231.)

The fact is, all men may look alike from the outside, but some of them have fillings of “condensed milk.” Cakes may have fillings of condensed milk or powdered black grams, but they all look alike from the outside. The desire to know God, ecstatic love for Him, and such other spiritual qualities are the “condensed milk.” (PR in GSR, 232.)

Some people reveal more of God than others. Earth reflects the sun’s rays in one way, a tree in another way, and a mirror in still another way. You see a better reflection in a mirror than in other objects. (PR in GSR, 909.)

Don’t you see that these devotees here are not on the same level with Prahlada and others of his kind? Prahlada’s whole heart and soul were dedicated to God. (PR in GSR, 909.)

The Bhakti scriptures admit that the manifestations of Power are different in different beings. It is Rama who has become everything, no doubt; but he manifests Himself more in some than in others. There is one kind of manifestation of Rama in the Incarnation of God, and another in men. (PR in GSR, 243.)

All men are by no means on the same level. It is said that there are four classes of men: the bound, the struggling, the liberated, and the ever-free. It is also not a fact that all men have to practice spiritual discipline. There are the ever-free and those who achieve perfection through spiritual discipline. Some realize God after much spiritual austerity, and some are perfect from their very birth. … They have realized the fruit, God-vision, even before their spiritual practice. They are like gourds and pumpkins, which grow fruit first and then flowers. … Even though an eternally perfect soul is born in a low family, still he retains his innate perfection. He cannot do anything else. A pea germinating in a heap of cow dung still grows into a pea plant. God has given to some greater power than to others. In one man you see it as the light of a lamp, in another, as the light of a torch. (PR in GSR, 249.)

The greatest manifestation of God is through His Incarnations. (PR in GSR, 355.)

Classifications of Individuals – Typologies

There are different levels among the devotees of God: superior, mediocre, and inferior. All this has been described in the Gita. … The inferior devotee says, “God exists, but he is very far off, up there in heaven.” The mediocre devotee says, “God exists in all beings as life and consciousness.” The superior devotee say, “It is God Himself who has become everything; whatever I see is only a form of God. It is He alone who has become maya, the universe, and all living beings. Nothing exists but God.” (PR in GSR, 265.)

There are three kinds of devotees: superior, mediocre, and inferior. The inferior devotee says, “God is out there.” According to him God is different from His creation. The mediocre devotee says, “God is the Antaryami, the Inner Guide. God dwells in everyone’s heart.” The mediocre devotee sees God in the heart. But the superior devotee sees that God alone has become everything; He alone has become the twenty-four cosmic principles. He finds that everything, above and below, is filled with God. (PR in GSR, 909-10.)

There are two kinds of aspirants. The nature of the one kind is like that of the young monkey, and the nature of the other kind is like that of the kitten. The young monkey, with great exertion, somehow clings to its mother. Likewise, there are some aspirants who think that in order to realize God they must repeat His name a certain number of times, meditate on Him for a certain period, and practise a certain amount of austerity. An aspirant of this kind makes his own efforts to catch hold of God. But the kitten, of itself, cannot cling to its mother. It lies on the ground and cries, “Mew, mew!” It leaves everything to its mother. The mother cat sometimes puts it on a bed, sometimes on the roof behind a pile of wood. She carries the kitten in her mouth hither and thither. The kitten doesn’t know how to cling to the mother. Likewise, there are some aspirants who cannot practise spiritual discipline by calculating about japa or the period of meditation. All that they do is cry to God with yearning hearts. God hears their cry and cannot keep Himself away. He reveals Himself to them. (PR in GSR, 369.)

The young monkey sometimes misses its grip, falls on the ground and gets hurt. But the kitten has no such fear, for its mother carries it safely. Here lies the difference between self-effort and reliance on God. (PR in FMSR, 152.)

There are two classes of yogis: the vahudakas and the kutichakas. The vahudakas roam about visiting various holy places and have not yet found peace of mind. But the kutichakas, having visited all the sacred places, have quieted their minds. Feeling serene and peaceful, they settle down in one place and no longer move about. In that one place they are happy; they don’t feel the need of going to any sacred place. If one of them ever visits a place of pilgrimage, it is only for the purpose of new inspiration. (PR in GSR, 128.)

There are two classes of perfect souls: those who attain perfection through spiritual practice, and those who attain it through the grace of God. ... One must practise spiritual discipline laboriously, in order to avoid the clutches of maya. Those who attain liberation through the grace of God do not have to labour. But they are few indeed. (PR in GSR, 206.)

According to the Vaishnavas (1) the aspirants and seers of God may be divided into different groups. These are the pravartaka, the sadhaka, the siddha, and the siddha of the siddha. He who has just set foot on the path may be called a pravartaka. He may be called a sadhaka who has for some time been practising spiritual disciplines, such as worship, japa, meditation, and the chanting of God's name and glories. He may be called a siddha who has known from his inner experience that God exists. ... There is another type, known as the siddha of the siddha, the 'supremely perfect.' It is quite a different thing when one talks to the master intimately, when one knows God very intimately through love and devotion. A siddha has undoubtedly attained God, but the 'supremely perfect' has known God very intimately. (PR in GSR, 114-5.)

(1) Devotees of Lord Vishnu.
It is said that there are four classes of men: the bound, the struggling, the liberated, and the ever-free. (PR in GSR, 249.)

Men may be divided into four classes: those bound by the fetters of the world, the seekers after liberation, the liberated, and the ever-free. Among the ever-free we may count sages like Narada. They live in the world for the good of others, to teach men spiritual truth. Those in bondage are sunk in worldliness and forgetful of God. Not even by mistake do they think of God. The seekers after liberation want to free themselves from attachment to the world. Some of them succeed and others do not. The liberated souls, such as the sadhus and mahatmas, are not entangled in the world, in “woman and gold.” Their minds are free from worldliness. Besides, they always meditate on the Lotus Feet of God. (PR in GSR, 86.)

The bound souls are tied to the world by the fetters of “woman and gold.” They are bound hand and foot. Thinking that “woman and gold” will make them happy and give them security, they do not realize that it will lead them to annihilation. When a man thus bound to the world is about to die, his wife asks, “You are about to go; but what have you done for me?” Again, such is his attachment to the things of the world that, when he sees the lamp burning brightly, he says: “Dim the light. Too much oil is being used.” And he is on his death-bed. The bound souls never think of God. If they get any leisure they indulge in idle gossip and foolish talk, or they engage in fruitless work. If you ask one of them the reason, he answers, “Oh, I cannot keep still; so I am making a hedge.” When time hangs heavy on their hands they perhaps start playing cards. (PR in GSR, 87.)

Narendra (1) and people of his type belong to the class of the ever-free. They are never entangled in the world. When they grow a little older they feel the awakening of inner consciousness and go directly towards God. They come to the world only to teach others. They never care for anything of the world. (PR in GSR, 88.)

(1) Later Swami Vivekananda.
When peasants go to market to buy bullocks for their ploughs, they can easily tell the good from the bad by touching their tails. One being touched there, some meekly lie down on the ground. The peasants recognize that they are without mettle and so reject them. They select only bullocks that frisk about and show spirit when their tails are touch ed. Narendra is like a bullock of this latter class. He is full of spirit within. … There are some people who have no grit whatever. They are like flattened rice soaked in milk – soft and mushy. No inner strength! (PR in GSR, 91-2.)

There are different classes of sages: the brahmarshi, the devarshi, and the rajarshi. Sukadeva is an example of the brahmarshi. He didn’t keep even one book with him. An example of the devarshi is Narada. Janaka was a rajarshi, devoted to selfless work. (PR in GSR, 362.)

Cleanliness – Outward purity

Don’t be over-fastidious about outward purity. (PR in GSR, 292.)

Company of holy men – See Bound Souls – They should seek holy company

Continence – Its benefits

By the practice of continence, aspirants develop a subtle nerve through which they understand the deeper mysteries of God. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 48.)

Conviction

Attribute to yourselves the bliss of God-Consciousness; then you too will experience ineffable joy. The bliss of God-Consciousness always exists in you. It is only hidden by the veiling and projecting power of maya. (PR in GSR, 277.)

To feel that one is a free soul is very good. By constantly repeating, “I am free. I am free,” a man verily becomes free. On the other hand, by constantly repeating, “I am bound. I am bound,” he certainly becomes bound to worldliness. The fool who says only, “I am a sinner. I am a sinner,” verily drowns himself in worldliness. One should rather say: “I have chanted the name of God. How can I be a sinner? How can I be bound?” (PR in GSR, 274.)

Dakshineswar

Now this place … is as sacred as Vrindavan. (PR in GSR, after carrying a handful of dust from Vrindavan to Dakshineswar and spreading it in the Panchavati and the meditation hut, 36.)

M: After all this over, the place [Dakshineswar] will be considered very holy. Master (smiling): What kind of holy place? Like Panihati? (Mahendranath Gupta to PR in GSR, 332.)

Death – Is inevitable

God is engaged in three kinds of activity: creation, preservation, and destruction. Death is inevitable. All will be destroyed at the time of dissolution. Nothing will remain. At that time the Divine Mother will gather up the seeds for the future creation, even as the elderly mistress of the house keeps in her hotchpotch-pot little bags of cucumber seeds, “sea-foam” blue pills, and other miscellaneous things. The Divine Mother will take her seeds out again at the time of the new creation. (PR in GSR, 209.)

Death – Nothing will survive it

One should constantly remember death. Nothing will survive death. (1) (PR in GSR, 105.)

(1) That is, nothing material.

Death – Sri Ramakrishna’s realization of its impact on householders

Akshay died before my very eyes. … The next day … I felt a racking pain for the loss of Akshay, as if somebody was squeezing my heart like a wet towel. I wondered at it and thought that the Mother was teaching me a lesson. I was not much concerned even with my own body – much less with a relative. But if such was my pain at the loss of a nephew, how much more must be the grief of the householders at the loss of their near and dear ones! (PR in GSR, 40.)

Death – Remembering God at the hour of death

Day and night a man should practise worship, japa, meditation, and other spiritual exercises. Only then, by virtue of practice, will he be able to think of God in the hour of death. If one dies thus, thinking of God, one will acquire God's nature. (PR in GSR, 820.)

He who has renounced his attachment to worldly enjoyments will remember nothing but God in the hour of death. Otherwise he will think only of worldly things: wife, children, house, wealth, name and fame. Through practice a bird can be trained to repeat “Radha-Krishna”; but when a cat catches it, it only squawks. (PR in GSR, 1017.)

If a man practises spiritual discipline before his death and if he gives up his body praying to God and meditating on Him, when will sin touch him? (PR in GSR, 912.)

Depth – One must dive deep

One must dive deep; mere ceremonial worship or lectures are of no avail. One should pray to God that one’s attachment to worldly enjoyment may disappear; that one may have pure love for His Lotus Feet. (PR in GSR, 1017.)

Dive deep. Can a man get pearls by floating or swimming on the surface? He must dive deep. (PR in GSR, 292.)

Design Principles of Life

The very nature of God’s creation is that good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, will always exist in the world. (PR in GSR, 246-7.)

He who has made the law can also change it. (PR in GSR, 817.)

It is the Godhead that has become these two [God and devotee] in order to enjoy Its bliss. (PR in GSR, 305.)

Determination

One must have stern determination; then alone is spiritual practice possible. One must make a stern resolve. (PR in GSR, 210.)

One cannot achieve anything through laziness and procrastination. People who desire worldly enjoyment say about spiritual progress: “Well, it will all happen in time. We shall realize God some time or other.” (PR in GSR, 241.)

A man will certainly succeed if he will take the plunge. Success is sure for such a man. (PR in GSR, 272.)

Determination – Persist in spiritual practices

Does an angler catch a big carp every day the moment he sits with his rod? Arranging everything about him, he sits with the rod and concentrates. Once in a while a big carp swallows the hook, but many times he is disappointed. Don’t relax the practices for that reason. (PR urging his disciples to persevere in spiritual practices even when no result comes, in RAWSH, 29.)

Determination – Go forward!

Go forward. A wood-cutter once entered a forest to gather wood. A brahmachari said to him, “Go forward.” He obeyed the injunction and discovered some sandal-wood trees. After a few days he reflected, “The holy man asked me to go forward. He didn’t tell me to stop here.” So he went forward and found a silver-mine. After a few days he went still farther and discovered a gold-mine, and next, mines of diamonds and precious stones. With these he became immensely rich. (PR in GSR, 109.)

Your mind is still attracted by “woman and gold.” What is the use of saying you don’t care for it? Go forward. Beyond the forest of sandal-wood there are many more things: mines of silver, gold, diamonds, and other precious stones. Having a glimpse of spirituality, don’t think you have attained everything. (PR in GSR, 239.)

Detachment – See also Renunciation

Dispassion is not possible unless there is satiety through enjoyment. You can easily cajole a small child with candies or toys. But after eating the candies and finishing its play, it cries, “I want to go to my mother.” Unless you take the child to its mother, it will throw away the toy and scream at the top of its voice. (PR in GSR, 216.)

If you want to realize God, then you must cultivate intense dispassion. You must renounce immediately what you feel to be standing in your way. You should not put it off until the future. [Lust and greed] is the obstruction. The mind must be withdrawn from it. (PR in GSR, 750.)

Devotees

Who, then, is a devotee? He whose mind dwells on God. (PR in GSR, 111.)

Devotees – Their nature

Bless me that I may serve God with my body, mind and tongue; that I may behold His devotees with these eyes, that I may meditate on Him with this mind, and that I may chant His name and glories with this tongue. (Yasoda quoted by PR in GSR, 380.)

Do you know the nature of devotees? When one devotee meets another, he says, “Let me speak and you listen; and when you speak I shall listen.” (PR in GSR, 219.)

Don’t you know that the nature of devotees is like that of hemp-smokers? One hemp-smoker says to another, “Please take a puff for yourself and give me one.” (PR in GSR, 1009.)

Devotees – All are females before God

In that state [i.e,. of perfection] a devotee looks on himself as a woman. He does not regard himself as a man. Sanatana Goswami refused to see Mirabei because she was a woman. Mira informed him that at Vrindavan the only man was Krishna and that all others were His handmaids. “Was it right of Sanatana to think of himself as a man?” Mira inquired. (PR in GSR, 377.)

Chidatma and Chitsakti. The Purusha is Chidatma and Prakriti is Chitsakti. Sri Krishna is the Chidatma and Sri Radha is the Chitsakti. The devotees are so many forms of the Chitsakti. They should think of themselves as handmaids of the Chitsakti, Sri Radha. This is the whole gist of the thing. (PR in GSR, 381.)

Devotees – Ripe vs. unripe

You see, as long as a man is under maya’s spell, he is like a green coconut. When you scoop out the soft kernel from a green coconut, you cannot help scraping a little of the shell at the same time. But in the case of a ripe and dry coconut, the shell and kernel are separated from each other. When you shake the fruit you can feel the kernel rattling inside. The man who is freed from maya is like a ripe and dry coconut. He feels the soul to be separated from the body. They are no longer connected with each other. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1022.)

Another day, probably in 1883, I visited the Master with a few young men from Serampore. Looking at them he asked, “Why have they come here?” Myself: “To see you.” Master: What’s there to see in me? Why don’t they look at the buildings and temples?” Myself: “Sir, they haven’t come to see those things. They have come to see you.” Master: “Ah! Then they must be flints. There is fire in them. You may keep a flint under water a thousand years, but the moment you strike it, sparks come out. They must be of that type. But it will be useless to strike fire out of me!” At this last remark we all laughed. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1023.)

Devotees – Inferior, mediocre, and superior types – See Classifications of Individuals

Devotees – Young monkeys and kittens – See Classifications of Individuals

Devotees – May be Tamasic, Rajasic, or sattvic

All men look alike, to be sure, but they have different natures. Some have an excess of sattva, others an excess of rajas, and still others an excess of tamas. You must have noticed that the cakes known as puli all look alike. But their contents are very different. Some contain condensed milk, some coconut kernel, and others mere boiled kalai pulse. (PR in GSR, 141.)

Devotees – Tamasic type

Egotism, sleep, gluttony, lust, anger, and the like, are the traits of people with tamas. (PR in GSR, 630.)

Egotism is of the nature of tamas. (PR in GSR, 630.)

One looks on God exactly according to his own inner feeling. Take, for instance, a devotee with an excess of tamas. He thinks that the Divine Mother eats goat. So he slaughters one for Her. (PR in GSR, 322.)

Devotees – Rajasic type

Rajas ... binds a man to the world and entangles him in a variety of activities. Rajas makes him forget God. (PR in GSR, 219.)

Rajas ... stimulates the desire to “lecture” and to show off one's scholarship. (PR in GSR, 413.)

The devotee endowed with rajas cooks rice and various other dishes for the Mother. (PR in GSR, 322.)

Aspirants endowed with rajas exhibit outward pomp -- a string of beads around the neck, a mark on the forehead, an ochre robe, a silk cloth, a rosary with a gold bead, and so on. They are like stall-keepers advertising their wares with signboards. (PR in GSR, 306.)

It is the very nature of rajas to involve a man in many worldly activities. That is why rajas degenerates into tamas. If a man is entangled in too many activities he surely forgets God. He becomes more and more attached to [the objects of lust and greed]. (PR in GSR, 452.)

Men with rajas entangle themselves in many activities. Such a man has clothes all spick and span. His house is immaculately clean. A portrait of the Queen hangs on a wall in his drawing-room. When he worships God he wears a silk cloth. He has a string of rudraksha beads around his neck, and in between he puts a few gold ones. ... When he gives in charity he makes a show of it. (PR in GSR, 630.)

Aspirants endowed with rajas exhibit outward pomp -- a string of beads around the neck, a mark on the forehead, an ochre robe, a silk cloth, a rosary with a gold bead, and so on. They are like stall-keepers advertising their wares with signboards. (PR in GSR, 306.)

Devotees – Sattvic type

Among men God manifests Himself more clearly in those devotees who are Sattvic, in those who have no desire whatever to enjoy “women” and “gold.” (PR in GSR, 321 and FMSR, 116.)

God can be realized when a man acquires sattva. (PR in GSR, 379.)

Sattva makes one introspective. (PR in GSR, 413.)

[Sattva] makes one hide one's virtues. (PR in GSR, 413.)

A man living on the plane of sattva cannot bear noise and uproar. (PR in GSR, 711.)

The sattvic devotee doesn’t make any outer show of his worship. People don’t even know he is worshipping. If he has no flowers, he worships God with mere Ganges water and the leaves of the bel-tree. His food offering to the Deity consists of sweetened puffed rice or a few candies. Occasionally he cooks a little rice pudding for the Deity. (PR in GSR, 322.)

Sattva alone shows the way to God. It produces virtues like compassion, righteousness, and devotion. Again, sattva is like the last step of the stairs. Next to it is the roof. The Supreme Brahman is man’s own abode. One cannot attain the Knowledge of Brahman unless one transcends the three gunas. (PR in GSR, 219.)

A man endowed with sattva is quiet and peaceful. So far as dress is concerned, anything will do. He earns enough money to give his stomach the simplest of food; he never flatters men to get money. ... He does not hanker for name and fame. His worship, charity, and meditation are all done in secret; people do not know about them at all. ... Sattva is the last step of the stairs; next is the roof. As soon as sattva is acquired there is no further delay in attaining God. One step forward and God is realized. (PR in GSR, 630.)

In his last birth a man is endowed with sattva. His mind is directed to God. He longs for God. He withdraws the mind from worldly things. (PR in GSR, 605.)

Devotees – Differences in taste as well as fitness

Don’t you know what difference in taste is? Some enjoy fish curry; some, fried fish; some, pickled fish; and again, some, the rich dish of fish pilau. Then too, there is difference in fitness. I ask people to learn to shoot at a banana tree first, then at the wick of a lamp, and then at a flying bird. (PR in GSR, 910-11.)

The mother cooks different dishes to suit the stomachs of her different children. Suppose she has five children. If there is a fish to cook, she prepares different dishes from it -- pilau, pickled fish, fried fish, and so on -- to suit their different tastes and powers of digestion. (PR, GSR, 81.)

Devotees – Isvarakotis

An Incarnation of God or one born with some of the characteristics of an Incarnation of God is called an Isvarakoti. An ordinary man is called a jiva or jivakoti. By dint of sadhana a jivakoti can realize God; but after samadhi he cannot come back to the plane of relative consciousness. The Isvarakoti is like the king's son. He has the keys to all the rooms of the seven-storey palace; he can climb to all the seven floors and come down at will. A jivakoti is like a petty officer. He can enter some of the rooms of the palace; that is his limit. (PR in GSR, 750.)

The Isvarakotis, such as Incarnations of God, are above sin. Sri Chaitanya is an example. (PR in GSR, 371.)

Those who are eternally free do not have to enter worldly life. Their desire of enjoyment has been satisfied with their very birth. (PR in GSR, 386.)

Then there is the class of the ever-perfect. They are born in each life with their spiritual consciousness already awakened. Think of a spring whose outlet is obstructed. While looking after various things in the garden, the plumber accidentally clears it and the water gushes out. Yet probably people are amazed to see the first manifestations of an ever-perfect soul’s zeal for God. They say, “Where was all this devotion and renunciation and love?” (PR in GSR, 206-7.)

There is also another class of devotees, those who are beyond the three gunas. They have the nature of a child. Their worship consists in chanting God’s name – just His name. (PR in GSR, 322.)

God is directly present in the man who has the pure heart of a child and who laughs and cries and dances and sings in divine ecstasy. (PR in GSR, 208.)

Do you know what these youngsters are like? They are like certain plants that grow fruit first and then flowers. These devotees first of all have the vision of God; next they hear about His glories and attributes; and at last they are united with Him. (PR in GSR, 813.)

Narendra, Bhavanath, Rakhal, and devotees like them belong to the group of the nityasiddhas; they are eternally free. Religious practice on their part is superfluous. (PR in GSR, 279.)

Look at Narendra. He doesn’t care about anyone. … He is independent even of me. He doesn’t tell all he knows, lest I should praise his scholarship before others. He is free from ignorance and delusion. He has no bonds. He is a great soul. … Narendra doesn’t come here very often. That is good, for I am overwhelmed by his presence. (PR in GSR, 279.)

Purna belongs to the realm of the Personal God. He was born with an element of Vishnu. Ah, what yearning he has! (PR in GSR, 810.)

[Purna] has inherited that knowledge [that the world is illusory] from his previous births. In his past lives he practised many disciplines. (PR in GSR, 812-3.)

Purna is in such an exalted state that either he will very soon give up his body -- the body is useless after the realization of God -- or his inner nature will within a few days break forth. He has a divine nature -- the traits of a god. ... If you put a garland round his neck, or smear his body with sandal-paste or burn incense before him, he will go into samadhi; for then he will known beyond the shadow of a doubt that Narayana Himself dwells in his body, that it is Narayana who has assumed the body. I have come to know about it. ... I want to see Purna once more. But how will it be possible for me? It seems he is a part. (1) How amazing! Not a mere particle, but a part. (GSR, 796-7.)

(1) A part of Narayana or Vishnu.
Purna was born with an element of Vishnu. I worshipped him mentally with bel-leaves; but the offering was not accepted. Then I worshipped him with tulsi-leaves and sandal-paste. That proved to be all right. God reveals Himself in many ways: sometimes as man, sometimes in other divine forms made of Spirit. One must believe in divine forms. (GSR, 797-8.)

Narendra belongs to a very high plane -- the realm of the Absolute. He has a manly nature. So many devotees come here, but there is not one like him. Every now and then I take stock of the devotees. I find that some are like lotuses with ten petals, some like lotuses with sixteen petals, some like lotuses with a hundred petals. Narendra is a thousand-petalled one. Other devotees may be like pots or pitchers; but Narendra is a huge water-barrel. (PR in GSR, 810.)

Among fish, Narendra is a huge red-eyed carp; others are like minnows or smelts or sardines. Tarak of Belgharia may be called a bass. (PR in GSR, 811.)

Nityagopal was always in an exalted spiritual mood. Tarak’s mind, too, was always indrawn; he seldom exchanged words with others. (Mahendanath Gupta in GSR, 294-5.)

Tarak of Belgharia was going home from Dakshineswar. I clearly noticed that a flame-like thing came out of this [meaning his body] and followed him. A few days later Tarak came back to Dakshineswar. In a state of samadhi He who dwells in this body placed His foot on Tarak's chest. (GSR, 798.)

“Knowledge is always within the grip of Nityasiddhas in every birth. They are like fountains hidden under stone. As soon as some expert removes the obstacle water gushes out.” Scarcely had the topic of discussion closed before Sri Ramakrishna came forward and touched [Latu] with his hand. The electric touch gave rise to a wonderful experience within [Latu]. A mighty and mysterious love of God invaded his heart, and he lost his outer consciousness. His body became motionless; suddenly his hair stood on end, and he began to sob with profuse tears of joy streaming down his cheeks. His lips began to tremble. … Under the pressure of a surprisingly sweet experience [Latu] continued shedding tears for more than an hour. … Sri Ramakrishna touched him again, and thereafter [Latu] could control himself to a certain extent. (PR in FMSR, 140.)

Devotees – Trouble-makers

Why does [Hazra] live here? This has a meaning too. The play is enlivened by the presence of trouble-makers like Jatila and Kutila. (PR in GSR, 270.)

Devotees – God’s devotees have nothing to fear

God’s devotees have nothing to fear. They are his own. He always stands by them. (PR in TLWG, 76.)

Devotees – Fate of those who fail to reach God

You are rich, and still you call on God. That is very good indeed. It is said in the Gita that those who fall from the path of yoga are born in their next birth as devotees of God in rich families. (PR in GSR, 343.)

Devotees – God and His devotees

The whole thing is to love God and taste His sweetness. He is sweetness and the devotee is the enjoyer. The devotee drinks the sweet Bliss of God. Further, God is the lotus and the devotee the bee. The devotee sips the honey of the lotus. As a devotee cannot live without God, so also God cannot live without His devotee. Then the devotee becomes the sweetness, and God its enjoyer. The devotee becomes the lotus, and God the bee. It is the Godhead that has become these two in order to enjoy Its bliss. That is the significance of the episode of Radha and Krishna. (PR in GSR, 305.)

How else will a man established in samadhi occupy his mind in the phenomenal world, after coming down from samadhi? That is why he seeks the company of devotees endowed with Sattva. (PR in GSR, 320.)

Discrimination

Discrimination is the knowledge of what is real and what is unreal. It is the realization that God alone is the real and eternal Substance, and that all else is unreal, transitory, impermanent. (PR in GSR, 140.)

Discrimination is the reasoning by which one knows that God alone is real and all else is unreal. Real means eternal, and unreal means impermanent. He who has acquired discrimination knows that God is the only Substance and all else is non-existent. With the awakening of the spirit of discrimination a man wants to know God. On the contrary, if a man loves the unreal – such things as creature comforts, name, fame, and wealth – then he doesn’t want to know God, who is of the very nature of Reality. Through discrimination between the Real and the unreal one seeks to know God. (PR in GSR, 327.)

Always discriminate between the Real and the unreal. God alone is real, the Eternal Substance; all else is unreal, that is, impermanent. By discriminating thus, one should shake off impermanent objects from the mind. (PR in GSR, 81.)

One cannot assimilate spiritual instruction without discrimination. (PR in GSR, 363.)

You must practice discrimination. “Woman and gold” is impermanent. God is the only Eternal Substance. What does a man get with money? Food, clothes, and a dwelling-place -- nothing more. You cannot realize God with its help. Therefore money can never be the goal of life. That is the process of discrimination. (PR in GSR, 82.)

Consider—what is there in money or in a beautiful body? Discriminate and you will find that even the body of a beautiful woman consists of bones, flesh, fat, and other disagreeable things. Why should a man give up God and direct his attention to such things? Why should a man forget God for their sake? (PR in GSR, 82.)

“Woman and gold” alone is the obstacle to yoga. Always analyze what you see. What is there in the body of a woman? Only such things as blood, flesh, fat, entrails, and the like? Why should one love such a body? (PR in GSR, 113.)

As long as one has not realized God, one should renounce the world, following the process of “Neti, neti.” But he who has attained God knows that it is God who has become all this. Then he sees that God, maya, living beings, and the universe form one whole. God includes the universe and its living beings. Suppose you have separated the shell, flesh, and seeds of a bel-fruit and someone asks you the weight of the fruit. Will you leave aside the shell and the seeds, and weigh only the flesh? Not at all. To know the real weight of the fruit, you must weigh the whole of it – the shell, the flesh, and the seeds. Only then can you tell its real weight. The shell may be likened to the universe, and the seeds to living beings. While one is engage din discrimination one says to oneself that the universe and the living beings are non-Self and unsubstantial. At that time one thinks of the flesh alone as the substance, and the shell and seeds as unsubstantial. But after discrimination is over, one feels that all three parts of the fruit together form a unity. Then one further realizes that the stuff that has produced the flesh of the fruit has also produced the shell and seeds. To know the real nature of the bel-fruit one must know all three. (PR in GSR, 328.)

As soon as a man finds his mind wandering away to the unreal, he should apply discrimination. (PR in GSR, 97.)

This world is a mixture of sand and sugar. Like the ant, one should discard the sand and eat the sugar. He who can eat the sugar is clever indeed. (PR in GSR, 912.)

Discrimination – Awakening of the spirit of discrimination brings up longing for God

With the awakening of the spirit of discrimination a man wants to know God. (PR in GSR, 327.)

Through discrimination between the Real and the unreal one seeks to know God. (PR in GSR, 327.)

By turning the mind within oneself one acquires discrimination, and through discrimination one thinks of Truth. (PR in GSR, 327.)

Discrimination, Detachment and Devotion

One may enter the world after attaining discrimination and dispassion. In the ocean of the world there are six alligators: lust, anger, and so forth. But you need not fear the alligators if you smear your body with turmeric. Discrimination is the knowledge of what is real and what is unreal. It is the realization that God alone is the real and eternal Substance, and that all else is unreal, transitory, impermanent. And you must cultivate intense zeal for God. You must feel love for Him and be attracted to Him. ... Yearning is all you need in order to realize Him. (PR in GSR, 140.)

By meditating on God in solitude the mind acquires knowledge, dispassion, and devotion. But the very same mind goes downward if it dwells in the world. (PR in GSR, 82.)

Further, one must practise discrimination and renunciation; one must be conscious of the unreality of the world. (PR in GSR, 215.)

How will the mere repetition of 'Brahma' profit you if you are not imbued with discrimination and dispassion? It is the empty sound of a conch shell. (PR in GSR, 125.)

You may say, even though you dive deep you are still in danger of sharks and crocodiles, of lust and anger. But dive deep after rubbing your body with turmeric powder; then sharks and crocodiles will not come near you. The turmeric is discrimination and renunciation. (PR in GSR, 543.)

When you plunge in the water f the ocean, you may be attacked by alligators. But they won’t touch you if your body is smeared with turmeric. There are no doubt six alligators – lust, anger, avarice, and so on – within you, in the “heart’s fathomless depths.” But protect yourself with the turmeric of discrimination and renunciation, and they won’t touch you. (PR in GSR, 125.)

What can you achieve by mere lecturing and scholarship without discrimination and dispassion? ... First of all set up God in the shrine of the heart, and then deliver lectures as much as you like. (PR in GSR, 125.)

Divine Emotion – Its impact on the body of the ordinary man

An ordinary man couldn’t have borne a quarter of that tremendous fervour; it would have burnt him up. (PR in RAWSH, 14-15.)

Why is it that you are ill? There is a reason for it. Many spiritual feelings have passed through your body; therefore it has fallen ill. At the time an emotion is aroused, one understands very little about it. The blow that it delivers to your body is felt only after a long while. I have seen big steamers going by on the Ganges, at the time hardly noticing their passing. But, oh, my! What a terrific noise is heard after a while, when the waves splash against the banks! Perhaps a piece of the bank breaks loose and falls into the water. An elephant entering a hut creates havoc within and ultimately shakes it down. The elephant of divine emotion enters the hut of this body and shatters it to pieces. Do you know what actually happens? When a house is on fire, at first a few things inside burn. Then comes the great commotion. Just so, the fire of Knowledge at first destroys such enemies of spiritual of life as passion, anger, and so forth. Then comes the turn of ego. And lastly a violent commotion is seen in the physical frame. (PR to the dying Keshab Chandra Sen, in GSR, 322.)

In order to take full advantage of the dew, the gardener removes the soil from the Basra rose down to the very root. The plant thrives better on account of the moisture. Perhaps that is why you too are being shaken to the very root. (PR to the dying Keshab Chandra Sen, in GSR, 323.)

Doubts – See also Faith

Doubts do not disappear without Self-realization. (PR in GSR, 116.)

All doubts disappear when one realizes the Self. (PR in GSR, 252.)

A man does not have to suffer any more if God, in His Grace, removes his doubts and reveals Himself to him. But this grace descends upon him only after he has prayed to God with intense yearning of heart and practised spiritual discipline. (PR in GSR, 116.)

All doubts disappear when one sees God. It is one thing to hear of God, but quite a different thing to see Him. A man cannot have one hundred per cent conviction through mere hearing. But if he beholds God face to face, then he is wholly convinced. (PR in GSR, 396.)

All doubts disappear after the realization of God. Then the devotee meets the favourable wind. He becomes free from worry. He is like the boatman who, when the favourable wind blows, unfurls the sail, holds the rudder lightly, and enjoys a smoke. (PR in GSR, 311.)

Worthless people do not have any faith. They always doubt. But doubts do not disappear completely till one realizes the Self. (PR in GSR, 252.)

Tell me your doubts. I shall explain everything. (PR in GSR, 271.)

Those who come here will certainly have all their doubts removed. (PR in GSR, 258.)

Dream Instruction

If you ever see me instructing you [in a dream], then know that it is Satchidananda Himself that does so. (PR in GSR, 301.)

Dualities – Virtue and vice

There is no doubt that virtue and vice exist in the world; but God Himself is unattached to them. There may be good and bad smells in the air, but the air is not attached to them. The very nature of God’s creation is that good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, will always exist in the world. (PR in GSR, 246-7.)

Ecstatic Love – See Bhakti Yoga – Ecstatic Love

Ego – See also Jnana Yoga - Knowledge comes after the ego goes, Obstacles – Ego

Ego – “I” and “mine” are the source of ignorance – See also Obstacles – Ego

'I' and 'mine' -- these constitute ignorance. 'My house,' 'my wealth', 'my learning', 'my possessions' -- the attitude which prompts one to say such things comes of ignorance. (PR in GSR, 105.)

'I” and “mine” -- that is ignorance. By discriminating you will realize that what you call “I” is really nothing but Atman. Reason it out. Are you the body or the flesh or something else? At the end you will know that you are none of these. You are free from attributes. Then you will realize that you have never been the doer of any action, that you have been free from virtue and faults alike, that you are beyond righteousness and unrighteousness. (PR in GSR, 208.)

Ego – Is the cause of differentiation or duality

[Virtue and vice] both exist and do not exist. If God keeps the ego in a man, then He keeps in him the sense of differentiation and also the sense of virtue and sin. But in a rare few He completely effaces the ego, and these go beyond virtue and sin, good and bad. As long as a man has not realized God, he retains the sense of differentiation and the knowledge of good and bad. (PR in GSR, 328.)

Ego – Is the source of separation

The ego is like a stick that seems to divide the water in two. It makes you feel that you are one and I am another. (PR in GSR, 387.)

Ego – It does not die altogether even in vijnana

The ego does not vanish altogether. The man coming down from samadhi perceives that it is Brahman that has become the ego, the universe, and all living beings. This is known as vijnana. (PR in GSR, 104.)

Why does a vijnani keep an attitude of love towards God? The answer is that “I-consciousness” persists. It disappears in the state of samadhi, no doubt, but it comes back. In the case of ordinary people the “I” never disappears. You may cut down the aswattha tree, but the next day sprouts shoot up. (PR in GSR, 105.)

You may reason a thousand times, but you cannot get rid of the ego. The ego is like a pitcher, and Brahman like the ocean -- an infinite expanse of water on all sides. The pitcher is set in the ocean. The water is both inside and out; the water is everywhere; yet the pitcher remains. ... As long as the ego remains, “you” and “I” remain. ... The ego cannot be got rid of; so let the rascal remain as the servant of God, the devotee of God. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 708.)

Ego –The ego seems always to return

You may discriminate, saying that the ego is nothing at all; but still it comes, nobody knows from where. A goat's legs jerk for a few moments even after its head has been cut off. Or perhaps you are frightened in a dream; you shake off sleep and are wide awake, but still you feel your heart palpitating. Egotism is exactly like that. You may drive it away, but still it appears from somewhere. Then you look sullen and say: “What! I have not been shown proper respect!” (PR in GSR, 210.)

Ego – God alone is the Doer – See God – God alone is the Doer of all actions

Ego – Ripe vs. unripe ego

The “I” cannot be effaced altogether. You may explain it away through reasoning, but the next moment it reappears, nobody knows from where. It is like a goat that bleats faintly and jerks its legs even after its head has been cut off. But the “I” that God retains in His devotee after he has seen Him is called the “ripe I.” It is like a sword turned into gold by touching the philosopher’s stone; you cannot hurt anybody with it. (PR in GSR, 1019.)

Unless one renounces the ego, one does not receive the grace of God. ... I am not asking you to renounce the "ripe ego", the ego that makes a man feel he is a servant of God or His devotee. Give up the "unripe ego", the ego that creates attachment to "woman and gold". The ego that makes a man feel he is God's servant, His child, is the "ripe ego". It doesn't harm one. (GSR, 790.)

It is good to look upon God as the Master and oneself as His servant. As long as man feels the body to be real, as long as he is conscious of “I” and “you,” it is good to keep the relationship of master and servant; it is not good to cherish the idea of “I am He.” (PR in GSR, 908.)

You see the same room whether you look at it from one side or from the middle of the room. (PR in GSR, 908.)

I am not asking you to give up all of the “I.” You should give up only the unripe “I.” The unripe “I” makes one feel: “I am the doer. These are my wife and children. I am a teacher.” Renounce this “unripe I” and keep the ripe “I,” which will make you feel that you are the servant of God, His devotee, and that God is the Doer and you are His instrument. (PR in GSR, 269.)

Prahlada had two moods. Sometimes he would feel that he was God. In that mood he would say, “Thou art verily I, and I am verily Thou.” But when he was conscious of his ego, he felt that God was the Master and he was His servant. (GSR, 791.)

Ego – The ego of a child

The “ego of a child” is not attached to anything. The child is beyond the three gunas; (1) he is not under the control of any of them. One moment you find him angry; the next moment it is all over. One moment you see him building his play house; the next moment he forgets all about it. Now you see him love his playmates; but if they are out of his sight a few days he forgets all about them. (PR in GSR, 708.)

(1) In Eastern religions, the cosmic qualities of attraction, repulsion, and balance. See Gunas.

Ego – The ego of a servant or devotee

You may reason a thousand times, but you cannot get rid of the ego. The ego is like a pitcher, and Brahman like the ocean -- an infinite expanse of water on all sides. The pitcher is set in the ocean. The water is both inside and out; the water is everywhere; yet the pitcher remains. ... As long as the ego remains, “you” and “I” remain. ... The ego cannot be got rid of; so let the rascal remain as the servant of God, the devotee of God. (PR in GSR, 708.)

It is impossible to get rid of the ego. Therefore it should be made to feel that it is the devotee of God, His servant. (GSR, 788.)

It is good to have a trace of ego, which makes it possible for a man to feel that he is the servant of God. As long as a man thinks that it is he who is doing his duties, it is very good for him to feel that God is the Master and he God’s servant. When one is conscious of doing work, one should establish with God the relationship of servant and Master. (PR in GSR, 280.)

Eight Fetters

There are eight fetters. Shame, hatred, fear, caste, lineage, good conduct, grief, and secretiveness – these are the eight fetters. And they cannot be unfastened without the help of a guru. (PR in GSR, 243-4.)

Enlightenment – Brief glimpses

Now and then man catches a glimpse of his real Self and becomes speechless with wonder. At such times he swims in an ocean of joy. It is like suddenly meeting a dear relative. (PR in GSR, 392-3.)

Enlightenment – Jnana or Brahmajnana – See also The Jnani

On attaining the Knowledge of Brahman and communing with it in nirvikalpa samadhi, one realizes Brahman, the Infinite, without form or shape and beyond mind and words. The nature of Brahman cannot be described. About it one remains silent. Who can explain the Infinite in words? … Once a salt doll (1) went to the ocean to measure its depth. But it could not come back to give a report. (PR in GSR, 218.)

(1) Later Sri Ramakrishna revealed the source of this metaphor: “Still another day [the Mother] showed me an ocean. Taking the form of a salt doll, I was going to measure its depth. While doing this, through the grace of the guru, I was turned to stone.” (PR in GSR, 376.)

How little we know. … If ever a salt doll ventures into the ocean to measure its depth, it cannot come back and give us the information. It melts into the water and disappears. (PR in GSR, 257.)

The king lives beyond the seven gates. At each gate sits a man endowed with great power and glory. At each gate the visitor asks, “Is this the king?" The gate-keeper answers, “No. Not this, not this.” The visitor passes through the seventh gate and becomes overpowered with joy. He is speechless. This time he doesn't have to ask, “Is this the king?” The mere sight of him removes all doubts. (PR in GSR, 218.)

Enlightenment – Jnana – Many do not come back

It is said that there are places near Kedar that are covered with eternal snow; he who climbs too high cannot come back. Those who have tried to find out what there is in the higher regions, or what one feels there, have not come back to tell us about it. (PR in GSR, 217.)

Enlightenment – How many succeed in seeing God?

Out of a hundred thousand kites, at best but one or two break free; And Thou dost laugh and clap Thy hands, O Mother, watching them! (PR in GSR, 818.)

She gives freedom to one out of a hundred thousand. (PR in GSR, 136.)

Innumerable are the living beings. Only one or two among them obtain liberation. (PR in GSR, 818.)

Enlightenment – When will we see Him? – See also Mother, Divine – Enlightenment comes when She withdraws Her veil

It is all decided beforehand by God what each one shall receive. (PR in GSR, 369.)

[God] is constantly attracting us, as a magnet attracts iron. But the iron cannot come to the magnet if it is covered with dirt. When the dirt is washed away, the iron is instantly drawn to the magnet. Weep for God and the tears will wash away the dirt from your mind. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1024.)

Can you weep for Him with intense longing of heart? Men shed a jugful of tears for the sake of their children, for their wives, or for money. But who weeps for God? So long as the child remains engrossed with its toys, the mother looks after her cooking and other household duties. But when the child no longer relishes the toys, it throws them aside and yells for its mother. Then the mother takes the rice-pot down from the hearth, runs in haste, and takes the child in her arms. (PR in GSR, 149.)

Both worldliness and liberation depend on God’s will. It is God alone who has kept man in the world in a state of ignorance; and man will be free when God, of His own sweet will, calls him to Himself. It is like the mother calling the child at meal-time, when he is out playing. When the time comes for setting a man free, God makes him seek the company of holy men. Further, it is God who makes him restless for spiritual life. … When that restlessness comes, man longs for God. (PR in GSR, 225.)

The mother bird doesn’t break the shell until the chick inside the egg is matured. The egg is hatched in the fullness of time. It is necessary to practise some spiritual discipline. The guru no doubt does everything for the disciple; but at the end he makes the disciple work a little himself. When cutting down a big tree, a man cuts almost through the trunk; then he stands aside for a moment, and the tree falls down with a crash. (PR in GSR, 363.)

Enlightenment – All will be liberated some day

Everybody will surely be liberated. (PR in GSR, 98.)

Everyone can attain Knowledge. (PR in GSR, 205.)

Let me tell you that the realization of Self is possible for all, without any exception. (PR in GSR, 256.)

All will surely realize God. All will be liberated. It may be that some get their meal in the morning, some at noon, and some in the evening; but none will go without food. All, without any exception, will certainly know the real Self. (PR in GSR, 818.)

The Mother will not allow any of her children to go hungry. He who is hungry in the morning will be fed in the morning. He whose appetite is aroused late in the evening will be fed in the evening. (PR in RAWSH, 172.)

Enlightenment – It may take lifetimes to achieve

It takes a long time to achieve liberation. A man may fail to obtain it in this life. Perhaps he will realize God after many births. Sages like Janaka performed worldly duties … bearing God in their minds, as a dancing-girl dances, keeping jars or trays on her head. (PR in GSR, 98.)

Enlightenment – Practise is needed

Look here. Only repeating the word “siddhi” will not produce intoxication. You must actually get some hemp, rub it in water, and then drink the solution. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1024-5.)

Enlightenment – Purity is required

God can be seen … through the pure mind and the pure intelligence. Through attachment to “woman and gold” the mind becomes impure. (PR in GSR, 1012.)

God cannot be known by the sense-organs or by this mind; but He can be known by the pure mind, the mind that is free from worldly desires. (PR in GSR, 328-9.)

Pure mind sees God and ordinary mind does not function. (PR in GSR, 687.)

Pure Mind, Pure Buddhi, Pure Atman -- all these are one and the same. (PR in GSR, 802.)

If a man finds a hair in the food he is chewing, he spits out the entire morsel. (PR in GSR, 258.)

Can one not see God as formless Reality? Of course one can. But not if one has the slightest trace of worldliness. The rishis of olden times renounced everything and then contemplated Satchidananda, the Indivisible Brahman. (PR in GSR, 213.)

The truth is that you cannot attain God if you have even a trace of desire. Subtle is the way of dharma. If you are trying to thread a needle, you will not succeed if the thread has even a slight fibre sticking out. (PR in GSR, 769.)

Enlightenment – None can see Him without His grace

None can comprehend Him without His grace. (PR in FMSR, 82.)

Enlightenment – Follow the Relative to the Absolute

A man should reach the Nitya, the Absolute, by following the trail of the Lila, the Relative. It is like reaching the roof by the stairs. After realizing the Absolute, he should climb down to the Relative, and live on that plane in the company of devotees, charging his mind with the love of God. This is my final and most mature opinion. (PR in GSR, 257.)

Enlightenment – The path we follow is unimportant compared with the result

You see, the thing is somehow or other to get into the Lake of the Nectar of Immortality. Suppose one person gets into It by propitiating the Deity with hymns and worship, and you are pushed into It. The result will be the same. Both of you will certainly become immortal. (PR in GSR, 217.)

Enlightenment – The steps followed

Chaitanya, Consciousness, is awakened after Advaita-jnana, the Knowledge of the non-dual Brahman. Then one perceives that God alone exists in all beings as Consciousness. After this realization comes Ananda, Bliss. Advaita, Chaitanya, and Nityananda. (PR in GSR, 272.)

Enlightenment – In the beginning we must struggle

Always keep your mind on God. In the beginning you must struggle a little; later on you will enjoy your pension. (PR in GSR, 210.)

One must be up and doing in the beginning. After that one need not work hard. (PR in GSR, 112.)

Enlightenment – Kumbhaka

The upshot of the whole thing is that, no matter what path you follow, yoga is impossible unless the mind becomes quiet. The mind of the yogi is under his control; he is not under the control of his mind. When the mind is quiet his prana stops functioning. Then one gets kumbhaka. (1) One may have the same kumbhaka through bhaktiyoga as well: the prana stops functioning through love of God too. (PR in GSR, 248.)

(1) Retention of the breath.
Suppose a man is sweeping a courtyard with his broom, and another man comes and says to him: “Hello! So-and-so is no more. He is dead.” Now, if the dead person was not related to the sweeper, the latter goes on with his work, remarking casually: “Ah! That’s too bad. He is dead. He was a good fellow.” The sweeping goes on all the same. But if the dead man was his relative, then the broom drops from his hand. “Ah!” he exclaims, and he too drops to the ground. His prana has stopped functioning. He can neither work nor think. Haven’t you noticed, among women, that if one of them looks at something or listens to something in speechless amazement, the other women say to her, “What? Are you in ecstacy?” In this instance, too, the prana has stopped functioning, and so she remains speechless, with mouth agape. (PR in GSR, 248-9.)

Then comes bhava, intense love. Through bhava a man becomes speechless. His nerve currents are stilled. Kumbhaka comes by itself. It is like the case of a man whose breath and speech stop when he fires a gun. (PR in GSR, 315.)

When Arjuna was about to shoot at the target, the eye of a fish, his eyes were fixed on the eye of the fish, and non nothing else. He didn’t even notice any part of the fish except the eye. In such a state the breathing stops and one experiences kumbhaka. (PR in GSR, 316.)

A man achieves kumbhaka without any yogic exercise if he but weeps for God. The next stage is samadhi. (PR in GSR, 344.)

Enlightenment – After God-realization, many die

After the realization of God, what difference does it make whether the body lives or dies? (PR in GSR, 237.)

None but the Isvarakotis can return to the plane of relative consciousness after attaining samadhi. Some ordinary men attain samadhi through spiritual discipline; but they do not come back. But when God Himself is born as a man, as an Incarnation, holding in His Hand the key to others” liberation, then for the welfare of humanity the Incarnation returns from samadhi to consciousness of the world. (PR in GSR, 237.)

Enlightenment – The realization of God brings everything else

If you realize God, you will get everything else. (PR in GSR, 615.)

A devotee can know everything when God’s grace descends on him. If you but realize Him, you will be able to know all about Him. You should somehow meet the master of a house and become acquainted with him; then he himself will tell you how many houses he owns and all about his gardens and his government securities. (PR in GSR, 374-5.)

What can you understand through reasoning? You will realize everything when God Himself teaches you. Then you will not lack any knowledge. (PR in GSR, 377.)

As long as a man associates himself with upadhis, so long he sees the manifold…; but on attaining Perfect Knowledge, he sees only one Consciousness everywhere. The same Perfect Knowledge, again, makes him realize that the one Consciousness has become the universe and its living beings and the twenty-four cosmic principles. (PR in GSR, 319.)

Enlightenment – After enlightenment, the scriptures are useless

Mother, I don’t know the Vedanta; and Mother, I don’t even care to know. The Vedas and the Vedanta remain so far below when Thou art realized, O Divine Mother! (PR in GSR, 373-4.)

Enlightenment – What God-Vision is like

Do you know what the vision of Divine Consciousness is like? It is like the sudden illumination of a dark room when a match is struck. (PR in GSR, 308.)

Another characteristic of God-vision is that a great spiritual current rushes up along the spine and goes toward the brain. (PR in GSR, 316.)

Enlightenment – God moderates His glory when He appears before the devotee

It is like the sun at dawn. You can easily look at that sun. It doesn’t dazzle the eyes; rather it satisfies them. God becomes tender for the sake of His devotees. He appears before them, setting aside His powers. (PR in GSR, 282.)

Enlightenment – Vijnana – What vijnana is

But there is a stage beyond even Brahmajnana, After jnana comes vijnana. (PR in GSR, 288.)

Seeing Brahman or God in all beings is the last word [in] Sadhana. (PR in SRGM, I, 98.)

What is vijnana? It is knowing God in a special way. The awareness and conviction that fire exists in wood is jnana, knowledge. But to cook rice on that fire, eat the rice, and get nourishment from it is vijnana. To know by one’s inner experience that God exists is jnana. But to talk to Him, to enjoy Him as Child, as Friend, as Master, as Beloved, is vijnana. The realization that God alone has become the universe and all living beings is vijnana. (PR in GSR, 288.)

According to the Vaishnavas ... he who has just set foot on the path may be called a pravartaka. He may be called a sadhaka who has for some time been practising spiritual disciplines, such as worship, japa, meditation, and the chanting of God's name and glories. He may be called a siddha who has known from his inner experience that God exists. ... There is another type, known as the siddha of the siddha, the 'supremely perfect.' It is quite a different thing when one talks to the master intimately, when one knows God very intimately through love and devotion. A siddha has undoubtedly attained God, but the 'supremely perfect' has known God very intimately. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 114.)

It is one thing to hear of God, another thing to see God, and still another thing to talk to God. Some have heard of milk, some have seen it, and some, again, have tasted it. You feel happy when you see milk; you are nourished and strengthened when you drink it. You will get peace of mind only when you have seen God. You will enjoy bliss and gain strength only when you have talked to Him. (PR in GSR, 368.)

Chaitanya, Consciousness, is awakened after Advaita-jnana, the Knowledge of the non-dual Brahman. Then one perceives that God alone exists in all beings as Consciousness. After this realization comes Ananda, Bliss. Advaita, Chaitanya, and Nityananda. (PR in GSR, 272.)

Who is the best devotee of God? It is he who sees, after the realization of Brahman, that God alone has become all living beings, the universe, and the twenty-four cosmic principles. (PR in GSR, 271.)

When the Master inquired whether there was any particular form of God [Sarat, after Swami Saradananda] wished to see, the boy replied that he would like to see God in all the living beings of the world. "But," the Master demurred, "that is the last word in realization. One cannot have it at the very outset." Sarat stated calmly. "I won't be satisfied with anything short of that. I shall trudge on along the path till I attain that blessed state." Sri Ramakrishna was very much pleased. (PR in GSR, 62.)

(1) The state is vijnana.
[Vijnana] is like going up and coming down the stairs after having reached the roof. (PR in GSR, 272.)

A man cannot live on the roof a long time. He comes down again. Those who realize Brahman in samadhi come down also and find that it is Brahman that has become the universe and all its living beings. … The ego does not vanish altogether. The man coming down from samadhi perceives that it is Brahman that has become the go, the universe, and all living beings. This is known as vijnana. (PR in GSR, 104.)

Enlightenment – Vijnana – What the vijnani knows

After reaching God one reaffirms what one formerly denied. … After the realization of God, He is seen in all beings. (PR in FMSR, 116.)

After reaching God one reaffirms what formerly one denied. To extract butter you must separate it from the buttermilk. Then you discover that butter and buttermilk are intrinsically related to one another. They belong to the same stuff. The butter is not essentially different from the buttermilk, nor the buttermilk essentially different from the butter, After realizing God one knows definitely that it is He who has become everything. In some objects He is manifested more clearly, and in other less clearly. (PR in GSR, 320.)

It is the process of evolution and involution. The world, after its dissolution, remains involved in God; and God, at the time of creation, evolves as the world. Butter goes with buttermilk, and buttermilk goes with butter. If there is a thing called buttermilk, then butter also exists; and if there is a thing called butter, then buttermilk also exists. If the Self exists, then the non-Self must also exist. (PR in GSR, 328.)

After separating the butter with great effort – that is to say, after attaining Brahmajnana – you will realize that as long as butter exists, buttermilk also must exist. Wherever there is butter there must be buttermilk as well. As long as one feels that Brahman exists, one must also be aware that the universe, living beings, and the twenty-four cosmic principles exist as well. (PR in GSR, 343.)

The phenomenal world belongs to that very Reality to which the Absolute belongs; again, the Absolute belongs to that very Reality to which the phenomenal world belongs. He who is realized as God has also become the universe and its living beings. One who knows the Truth knows that it is He alone who has become father and mother, child and neighbour, man and animal, good and bad, holy and unholy, and so forth. (PR in GSR, 328.)

When a flood comes from the ocean, all the land is deep under water. Before the flood, the boat could have reached the ocean only by following the winding course of the river. But after the flood, one can row straight to the ocean. One need not take a roundabout course. After the harvest has been reaped, one need not take the roundabout course along the balk of the field. One can cross the field at any point. After the realization of God, He is seen in all beings. (PR in GSR, 320.)

As long as a man associates himself with upadhis, so long he sees the manifold…; but on attaining Perfect Knowledge, he sees only one Consciousness everywhere. The same Perfect Knowledge, again, makes him realize that the one Consciousness has become the universe and its living beings and the twenty-four cosmic principles. (PR in GSR, 319.)

God alone is the Master, and again, He is the Servant. This attitude indicates Perfect Knowledge. At first one discriminates, “Not this, not this,” and feels that God alone is real and all else is illusory. Afterwards the same person finds that it is God Himself who has become all this – the universe, maya, and the living beings. First negation and then affirmation. This is the view held by the Puranas. A vilwa-fruit, for instance, includes flesh, seeds, and shell. You get the flesh by discarding the shell and seeds. But if you want to know the weight of the fruit, you cannot find it if you discard the shell and seeds. Just so, one should attain Satchidananda by negating the universe and its living beings. But after the attainment of Satchidananda one finds that Satchidananda Itself has become the universe and the living beings. It is of one substance that the flesh and the shell and seeds are made, just like butter and buttermilk. It may be asked, “How has Satchidananda become so hard?” This earth does indeed feel very hard to the touch. The answer is that blood and semen are thin liquids, and yet out of them comes such a big creature as man. Everything is possible for God. First of all reach the indivisible Satchidananda, and then, coming down, look at the universe. You will then find that everything is Its manifestation. It is God alone who has become everything. The world by no means exists apart from Him. (PR in GSR, 395.)

Enlightenment – Vijnana – Seeing God in every living being

Do you know what I see? I see that God alone has become everything. Men and animals are only frameworks covered with skin, and it is He who is moving through their heads and limbs. I see that it is God Himself who has become the block, the executioner, and the victim for the sacrifice. ... There sits Latu resting his head on the palm of his hand. To me it is the Lord who is seated in that posture. (PR in GSR, 70-1.)

The Divine Mother revealed to me that men and women in this house were mere masks; inside them was the same Divine Power, Kundalini, that rises up through the six spiritual centres of the body. (PR in GSR, 291.)

It seems to me that men and other living beings are made of leather, and that it is God Himself who, dwelling inside these leather cases, moves the hands, the feet, the heads. I had a similar vision once before, when I saw houses, gardens, roads, men, cattle -- all made of One Substance; it was as if they were all made of wax. I perceived that it was God alone who had become all living beings. They appeared as countless bubbles or reflections in the Ocean of Satchidananada. Again, I find sometimes that living beings are like so many pills made of Indivisible Consciousness. … Again, I perceive that living beings are like different flowers with various layers of petals. (PR in GSR, 357.)

I see the body as a frame made of bamboo strips and covered with a cloth. The frame moves. And it moves because someone dwells inside it. (PR in GSR, 969.)

I see you all as so many sheaths, and the heads are moving. (PR in GSR, 969.)

I would see God in meditation, in the state of Samadhi, and I would see the same God when my mind came back to the world. When looking at this side of the mirror I would see Him alone, and when looking on the reverse side, I saw the same God. (PR in FMSR, 118.)

I see everything like a man with Jaundiced eyes! I see Thee alone everywhere, O Krishna. (PR in GSR, 207.)

Enlightenment – Vijnana – The state of a Paramahamsa – See Paramahansas – The state of a Paramahansa

Enlightenment - Vijnana – Use knowledge to remove ignorance and then throw both away

Both vidya and avidya exist in His maya, but one becomes indifferent to them after realizing God. (PR in GSR, 1016.)

He who is aware of knowledge is also aware of ignorance. … If a thorn has entered your foot, get another thorn and with its help take out the first; then throw away the second also. (PR in GSR, 288.)

When a thorn gets into the sole of your foot, you procure a second thorn. After taking out the first thorn with the help of the second, you throw both thorns away. Likewise, you should procure the thorn of knowledge in order to remove the thorn of ignorance. After destroying ignorance, you should discard both knowledge and ignorance. Then you attain vijnana. (PR in GSR, 911.)

If a thorn enters the sole of your foot, you get another thorn to take out the first one. Afterwards you throw both away. Likewise, one procures the thorn of knowledge to remove the thorn of ignorance; then one goes beyond both knowledge and ignorance. (PR in GSR, 716.)

Enlightenment – Higher states of consciousness hinted at

There is a state of consciousness where the many disappears, and the One, as well; for the many exist as long as the One exists. (PR in GSR, 307.)

Go forward. Beyond the forest of sandal-wood ... are many more valuable things: silver-mines, gold-mines, diamonds, and other gems. (PR in GSR, 434.)

Ever-Perfect Souls – See Devotees – Isvarakotis

Faith – See also Doubts

The most important thing is faith. … If one has faith one has nothing to fear. (PR in GSR, 241.)

One needs faith – faith in the words of the guru, childlike faith. (PR in GSR, 381.)

Through faith alone one attains everything. (PR in GSR, 234.)

One must take the firm attitude: “What? I have chanted the Mother’s name. How can I be a sinner any more? I am Her child, heir to Her powers and glories.” (PR in GSR, 147.)

Once a person has faith he has achieved everything. There is nothing greater than faith. ... If a man has faith, then even if he has committed the most heinous sins ... he will certainly be saved through his faith. Let him only say to God, “O Lord, I will not repeat such an action,” and he need not be afraid of anything. (PR in GSR, 87.)

It is written in the books of the Vaishanava: “God can be attained through faith alone; reasoning pushes Him far away.” Faith alone. (PR in GSR, 310.)

God can be realized by true faith alone. And the realization is hastened if you believe everything about God. The cow that picks and chooses its food gives milk only in dribblets, but if she eats all kinds of plants, then her milk flows in torrents. (PR in GSR, 292.)

A guru said to his disciple, “It is Rama alone who resides in all bodies.” The disciple was a man of great faith. One day a dog snatched a piece of bread from him and started to run away. He ran after the dog, with a jar of butter in his hand, and cried again and again, “O Rama, stand still a minute. That bread hasn’t been buttered.” (PR in GSR, 293.)

Whichever attitude you adopt, you will certainly realize God if you have firm faith. You may believe in God with form or in God without form, but your faith must be sincere and whole-hearted. (PR in GSR, 234.)

The practise of discipline is absolutely necessary. Why shouldn't a man succeed if he practises sadhana? But he doesn't have to work hard if he has real faith -- faith in his guru's words. (PR in GSR, 247.)

Faith! Faith! Faith! Once a guru said to his pupil, “Rama alone has become everything.” When a dog began to eat the pupil’s bread, he said to it: “O Rama, wait a little. I shall butter Your bread.” Such was his faith in the words of his guru. (PR in GSR, 252.)

One should have such burning faith in God that one can say: “What? I have repeated the name of God, and can sin still cling to me? How can I be a sinner any more? How can I be in bondage any more?” If a man repeats the name of God, his body, mind, and everything become pure. Why should one talk only about sin and hell, and such things? Say but once, “O Lord, I have undoubtedly done wicked things, but I won’t repeat them.” And have faith in His name. (PR in GSR, 138.)

What if you are [householders]? Through His grace even the impossible becomes possible. (PR in GSR, 293.)

What can one not achieve through simple faith! Once there was an annaprasana ceremony in a guru’s house. His disciples volunteered, according to their powers, to supply the different articles of food. He had one disciple, a very poor widow, who owned a cow. She milked it and brought the guru a jar of milk. He had thought that she would take charge of all the milk and curd for the festival. Angry at her poor offering, he threw the milk away and said to her, “Go and drown yourself.” The widow accepted this as his command and went to the river to drown herself. But God was pleased with her guileless faith and, appearing before her, said: “Take this pot of curd. You will never be able to empty it. The more curd you pour out, the more will come from the pot. This will satisfy your teacher.” The guru was speechless with amazement when the pot was given to him. After hearing from the widow the story of the pot, he went to the river, saying to her, “I shall drown myself if you cannot show God to me.” God appeared then and there, but the guru could not see Him. Addressing God, the widow said, “If my teacher gives up his body because Thou does not reveal Thyself to him, then I too shall die.” So God appeared to the guru – but only once. Now you see, because of faith in her guru the disciple herself had the vision of God and also showed Him to her teacher. Therefore I say, “Even though my guru frequents a grog-shop, still to me he is the embodiment of Eternal Bliss.” (PR in GSR, 1016.)

[Nag Mahasaya’s] was the faith that would move mountains. He would accept whatever Sri Ramakrishna said as the gospel truth. To him even what Sri Ramakrishna said in jest had a profound significance. (NM, 45.)

Faith – Most people lack faith

People don’t trust a man when he speaks about God. Even if a great soul affirms that he has seen God, still the average person will not accept his words. He says to himself, “If this man has really seen God, then let him show Him to me.” (PR in GSR, 211.)

Faith – Those that lack faith will fail

Nothing whatsoever is achieved by the performance of worship, japa, and devotions, without faith. (PR in GSR, 286.)

The man who says he will not succeed will never succeed. He who feels he is liberated is indeed liberated; and he who feels he is bound verily remains bound. (PR in GSR, 706.)

Family background

Look here, I don’t ordinarily inquire about the family background of anyone who comes here. I only look into his heard and read his feelings. In your case [Tarak, later Swami Shivananda], the very sight of you has made me realize that you belong here, and I have a desire to know something of your father and people at home. (PR in SGS, 6-7.)

Final birth

When a man has performed many good actions in his previous births, in the final birth he becomes guileless. In the final birth he acts something like a madcap. (PR in GSR, 783.)

Formlessness Becomes Form

The vision of the Brahmayoni, the womb of Brahman, came to the Master when he was engaged in sadhana under the vilva-tree of the temple garden. What he saw was a large shining triangle of living light. This was also seen by Swami Vivekananda, much later, who reported it to his guru. “Very good,” said the latter, you have seen the Brahmayoni; I also saw it, but further, I observed its giving birth to innumerable worlds every moment.” (Yohesananada, VSR, 41.)

Once, while I was meditating in the temple, screen after screen of Maya (1) was removed from my consciousness. Mother showed me a Light more brilliant than a million suns. From that Light came forth a spiritual Form. Then this Form melted away into the Light itself. The Formless had taken Form and then melted again into the Formless. (PR in VSR, 86.)

(1) The Mother's illusory power.
I saw everything passing from form to formlessness. (PR in GSR, 933.)

Free Souls – See Realized Souls, Jnanis, Vijnanis, Paramahansas, Classifications of Individuals

Free Will – See also God – Will of God, God – God alone is the Doer of all actions

Is there any one who has free will or anything like that? It is by God’s will alone that everything has always happened and shall happen. Man understands it in the long run. But then something has to be added. Just as, when a cow is tied to a post with a long tether, it can stand at a distance of one cubit from the post, or it can go up to the whole length of the tether according to its choice, so too it is with the free will of man. A man ties a cow with the idea, “Let her lie down, stand or move about as she likes within that area.” Similarly God has give man some power. And He has also given him freedom to utilize it as he likes. That is why man feels himself free. But the rope is fastened to the post. And mark this: If anyone prays to Him in all humility, He may remove him to another place and tie him there; or He may lengthen the tether or even remove it completely from his neck. (PR in SRGM, I, 94.)

As long as a man has not realized God, he thinks he is free. It is God Himself who keeps this error in man. Otherwise sin would have multiplied. Man would not have been afraid of sin, and there would have be punishment for it. (PR in GSR, 211.)

It is God alone who has planted in man’s mind what the “Englishman” calls free will. People who have not realized God would become engaged in more and more sinful actions if God had not planted in them the notion of free will. Sin would have increased if God had not made the sinner feel that he alone was responsible for his sin. Those who have realized God are aware that free will is a mere appearance. In reality man is the machine and God its Operator, man is the carriage and God its Driver. (PR in GSR, 379-80.)

Friends – Associate only with good people

Among human beings, there are the good and the wicked, the holy and the unholy. There are some who are devoted to God, and others who are attached to the world. (PR in GSR, 86.)

Be intimate only with good people; you must keep away from the evil-minded. God is even in the tiger; but you cannot embrace the tiger on that account. (PR in GSR, 84.)

It is said in the scriptures that water is a form of God. But some water is fit to be used for worship, some water for washing the face, and some only for washing plates or dirty linen. This last sort cannot be used for drinking or for a holy purpose. In like manner, God undoubtedly dwells in the hearts of all – holy and unholy, righteous and unrighteous; but a man should not have dealings with the unholy, the wicked, and the impure. He must not be intimate with them. With some of them he may exchange words, but with others he shouldn’t go even that far. He should keep aloof from such people. (PR in GSR, 85.)

[God has created wicked people because] that is His will, His play. In His maya there exists avidya as well as vidya. Darkness is needed too. It reveals all the more the glory of light. There is no doubt that anger, lust, and greed are evils. Why, then, has God created them? In order to create saints. A man becomes a saint by conquering the senses. Is there anything impossible for a man who has subdued the passions? He can even realize God, through His grace. Again, see how His whole play of creation is perpetuated through lust. (PR in GSR, 97.)

Fully-Awakened Souls – See Realized Souls, Jnanis, Vijnanis, Paramahansas

Gayatri Mantra

Repeat the Gayatri mantram every day as much as you can. (PR’s advice to Ganghadar Ghatak, later Swami Akhandananda in RAWSH, 231.)

God – His existence confirmed

God really exists. You don’t see the stars in the day-time, but that doesn’t mean that the stars do not exist. There is butter in milk. But can anybody see it by merely looking at the milk? To get butter you must churn milk in a quiet and cool place. You cannot realize God by a mere wish; you must go through some mental disciplines. (PR in GSR, 48.)

Yes, I have seen God. I have seen Him more tangibly than I am talking to you. … But, my child, who wants to see God? People shed jugs of tears for money, wife, and children. But if they would weep for God for only one day they would surely see Him. (PR in GSR, 57.)

Yes, God can be seen. Can God, whose creation is so beautiful and enchanting, be imperceptible? (PR in TLWG, 81.)

God – God alone is real

God ... alone is real; all else is illusory. (PR in GSR, 95.)

God alone is real and all else is unreal. Water alone is real; its bubbles appear and disappear. They disappear into the very water from which they arise. (GSR, 788.)

God is like an ocean, and living beings are its bubbles. (GSR, 788.)

God – God alone is the Doer of all actions

It is God alone who has planted in man’s mind what the “Englishman” calls free will. People who have not realized God would become engaged in more and more sinful actions if God had not planted in them the notion of free will. Sin would have increased if God had not made the sinner feel that he alone was responsible for his sin. Those who have realized God are aware that free will is a mere appearance. In reality man is the machine and God its Operator, man is the carriage and God its Driver. (PR in GSR, 379-80.)

God alone is the Doer. I say: “O Lord, I do as Thou doest through me. I speak as Thou speakest through me. I am the machine and Thou art the Operator. I am the house and Though art the Indweller. I am the engine and Thou art the Engineer.” (PR in GSR, 209.)

If a man has the firm conviction that God alone is the Doer and he is His instrument, then he cannot do anything sinful. He who has learnt to dance correctly never makes a false step. One cannot even believe in the existence of God until one’s heart becomes pure. (PR in GSR, 220.)

What is knowledge? And what is the nature of the ego? “God alone is the Doer, and none else” – that is knowledge. I am not the doer; I am a mere instrument in His hand. Therefore I say: “O Mother, Thou art the Operator and I am the machine. Thou art the Indweller and I am the house. Thou art the Driver and I am the carriage. I move as Thou movest me. I do as Thou makest me do. I speak as Thou makest me speak. Not I, not I, but Thou, but Thou.” (PR in GSR, 98.)

Only an ignorant person feels that he is the doer. A man verily becomes liberated in life if he feels: 'God is the Doer. He alone is doing everything. I am doing nothing.' Man's sufferings and worries spring only from his persistent thought that he is the doer. (PR in GSR, 142.)

The feeling of “Thee and Thine” is the outcome of Knowledge; “I and mine” comes from ignorance. (PR in GSR, 265.)

“He is the Master, and the universe and all its living beings belong to Him” – that is Knowledge. And “I am the doer,” “I am the guru,” “I am the father” – that is ignorance. “This is my house’ this is my family; this is my wealth; these are my relatives” – this also is ignorance. (PR in GSR, 307.)

’I” and “mine” – that is ignorance. “Thou” and “Thine” – that is Knowledge. A true devotee says: “O God, Thou alone ar the Doer; Thou alone doest all. I am a mere instrument; I do as Thou makest me do. (PR in GSR, 900.)

God – God can be seen

God can be seen. One can talk to Him as I am talking to you. (PR in GSR, 109.)

When the mind is united with God, one sees Him very near, in one's own heart. (PR in GSR, 916.)

As I see this fan, directly before me, in exactly the same manner have I seen God. ... I have seen that He and the one who dwells in my heart are one and the same Person. (PR in GSR, 949.)

God can be realized. Can God, whose glory is so beautiful, be unperceivable? Let anyone verify whether this is true or not. If God is not perceivable, then the scriptures lose their worth. Would you say that the words of the scriptures are all fantasies – that they have been composed like fictions and dramas to mesmerize men of the Kaliyuga? (PR in FMSR, 131.)

God – Seek Him within

The real Christ and Buddha are in us. (1) (PR in LSR, 47.)

(1)Are to be found in the "inner" world of spiritual experience, not in the outer world of matter .

God – With and without form

The formless Deity and God with form may be likened to water and ice. The water freezes into ice. The ice melts into water through the heat of jnana. Water takes the form of ice through the cooling influence of bhakti. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1024.)

But mark this: form and formlessness belong to one and the same Reality. (PR in GSR, 370.)

God with form is as real as God without form. Do you know what describing God as being formless only is like? It is like a man’s playing only a monotone on his flute, though it has seven holes. But on the same instrument another man plays different melodies. Likewise, in how many ways the believers in a Personal God enjoy Him! They enjoy Him through many different attitudes: the serene attitude, the attitude of a servant, a friend, a mother, a husband, or a lover. (PR in GSR, 217.)

You see the same room whether you look at it from one side or from the middle of the room. (PR in GSR, 908.)

God – Is real whether with or without form

The Reality is one. People give It various names. Take the case of a lake with four landing-ghats on its four banks. People who draw water at one ghat call it “jal,” and those who draw water at the second ghat call it “pani.” A the third ghat they call it “water,” and at the fourth “aqua.” But it is one and the same thing: water. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1024.)

God – Nothing Is impossible for Him

Nothing is impossible for God. … Everything is possible for Him. (PR in GSR, 124.)

God – When does He reveal Himself?

God reveals Himself to the devotee who thinks of Him as his nearest and dearest. Because you do not draw response by praying to Him once, you must not conclude that He does not exist. Pray to God, thinking of Him as dearer than your very self. He is much attached to His devotees. He comes to a man even before He is sought. There is none more intimate and affectionate than God. (PR in GSR, 50.)

God favours those who can weep for Him. Tears shed for God wash away the sins of former births. (PR in GSR, 60.)

God – His nature

Brahman is Infinite Being, Infinite Wisdom, Infinite Bliss. In It there exist no delusion, no misery, no disease, no death, no growth, no decay. (PR in GSR, 71.)

God – His nature – God is Everything, Everywhere

That which is Brahman is also Rama, Krishna, and Siva. … There is only One without a second. The Vedas speak of It as “Om Satchidananda Brahma,” the Puranas as “Om Satchidananda Krishna,” and the Trantra as “Om Satchidananda Siva.” (PR in GSR, 290.)

The Divine Mother revealed to me in the Kali temple that it was She who had become everything. She showed me that everything was full of Consciousness. The image was Consciousness, the altar was Consciousness, the water-vessels were Consciousness, the door-sill was Consciousness, the marble floor was Consciousness – all was Consciousness. I found everything inside the room [of the Kali temple] soaked, as it were, in Bliss – the Bliss of God. (PR in GSR, 15.)

All one’s confusion comes to an end if one only realizes that it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer, the good and the bad, the real and the unreal; that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep; and that He is beyond all these. (PR in GSR, 236.)

[One] day I saw rice, vegetables, and other food-stuff, and filth and dirt as well, lying around. Suddenly the soul came out of my body and, like a flame, touched everything. It was like a protruding tongue of fire and tasted everything once, even the excreta. It was revealed to me that all these are one Substance, the non-dual and indivisible Consciousness. (PR in GSR, 282.)

These are very profound words. I feel as if someone were pressing my mouth. … I have seen with my own eyes that God dwells even in the sexual organ. I saw Him once in the sexual intercourse of a dog and a bitch. The universe is conscious on account of the Consciousness of God. Sometimes I find that this Consciousness wriggles about, as it were, even in small fish. (PR in GSR, 260.)

Sometimes I find that the universe is saturated with the Consciousness of God, as the earth is soaked with water in the rainy season. (PR in GSR, 260.)

God – His nature – He is what remains

That which remains after everything is eliminated by the Vedantic process of “Not this, not this,” and which is the nature of Bliss, is Brahman. (PR in GSR, 280.)

God – His nature – He is the Ocean of Immortality

The “Nectar Lake” is the Lake of Immortality. A man sinking in It does not die, but becomes immortal. … God is the Lake of Nectar, the Ocean of Immortality. … Sinking in It, one does not die, but verily transcends death. (PR in GSR, 108.)

God – His nature – Unaffected by gunas

Brahman is always unattached. The three gunas are in It, but It is unaffected by them, just as the wind carries odour yet remains odourless. (PR in GSR, 71.)

In order to meditate on God, one should try at first to think of Him as free from upadhis, limitations. God is beyond upadhis. He is beyond speech and mind. (PR to Manilal Mallik in GSR, 365; TLWG, 87.)

God – His nature – Beyond all dualities

Brahman is beyond knowledge and ignorance, virtue and vice, merit and demerit, cleanliness and uncleanliness. (PR in GSR, 900.)

Brahman is beyond vidya and avidya, knowledge and ignorance. It is beyond maya, the illusion of duality. The world consists of the illusory duality of knowledge and ignorance. It contains knowledge and devotion, and also attachment to “woman and gold”; righteousness and unrighteousness; good and evil. But Brahman is unattached to these. Good and evil apply to the jiva, the individual soul, as do righteousness and unrighteousness; but Brahman is not at all affected by them. (PR in GSR, 101-2.)

Good and bad, virtue and vice, and the other pairs of opposites, cannot in any way injure the Self, though they undoubtedly afflict those who have identified themselves with their bodies. Smoke soils the wall, certainly, but it cannot in any way affect akasa, space. (PR in GSR, 274.)

God – His nature – Beyond modification

Like the akasa, Brahman is without any modification. It has become manifold because of Sakti. Again, Brahman is like fire, which itself has no colour. The fire appears white if you throw a white substance into it, red if you throw a red, black if you throw a black. (PR in GSR, 280.)

God has revealed to me that only the Paramatman, whom the Vedas describe as the Pure Soul, is as immutable as Mount Sumeru, unattached, and beyond pain and pleasure. (PR in GSR, 398.)

God – His nature – Yet He includes changeability and unchangeability

Both changeability and unchangeability belong to one and the same Reality. (PR in GSR, 345.)

God – His nature – Beyond understanding; inscrutable

No one can describe His nature in words. (PR in GSR, 124.)

Thou art beyond the grasp of the intellect. (PR in GSR, 53.)

Can a man ever understand God’s ways? … Sometimes He wakes us up and sometimes He keeps us unconscious. One moment the ignorance [of maya] disappears, and the next moment it covers our mind. If you throw a brick-bat into a pond covered with miss, you get a glimpse of the water. But a few moments later the moss comes dancing back. And covers the water. (PR in GSR, 257.)

What can a man understand of God's activities? The facets of God's creation are infinite. I do not try to understand God's actions at all. I have heard that everything is possible in God's creation, and I try to bear that in mind. Therefore I do not give a thought to the world, but meditate on God alone. (PR in GSR, 259.)

Once, when I was explaining God's actions to someone, God suddenly showed me the lake at Kamarpukur. (1) I saw a man removing the green scum and drinking the water. The water was clear as crystal. God revealed to me that Satchidananda is covered by the scum of maya. He who puts the green scum aside can drink the water. (PR in GSR, 260.)

(1) PR's birthplace.
Who can really know Him? But as for us, it is enough to know as much of Him as we need. What need have I of a whole well of water? One jar is enough for me. (PR in GSR, 329.)

It is said in the scriptures that only those who have been charitable in their former births get money in this life. But to tell you the truth, the world is God’s maya. And there are many confusing things in this realm of maya. One cannot comprehend them. The ways of God are inscrutable indeed. (PR in GSR, 397.)

There is much confusion in this world of His maya. One can by no means say that “this” will come after “that” or “this” will produce “that.” (PR in GSR, 398.)

God – His nature – What God is cannot be described

Brahman is without comparison. It is impossible to explain Brahman by analogy. (PR in GSR, 307.)

What Brahman is cannot be described in words. ... One cannot describe in words the joy of play and communion with Satchidananda. He alone knws, who has realized it. (PR in GSR, 900.)

When the “I” disappears, what is remains. That cannot be described in words. (PR in GSR, 915.)

Nobody knows what remains after the “I” disappears. Nobody can express it in words. That which is remains. (PR in GSR, 758.)

If you ask me what Brahman is like, all I can say is that It cannot be described in words. Even when one has realized Brahman, one cannot describe It. If someone asks you what ghee is like, your answer will be, “Ghee is like ghee.” The only analogy for Brahman is Brahman. Nothing exists besides It. (PR in GSR, 920.)

Somebody once said that everything in the world has been made impure, like food that has touched the tongue, and that Brahman alone remains undefiled. The meaning is this: All scriptures and holy books – the Vedas, the Puranas, the Trantras, and so forth – may be said to have been defiled because their contents have been uttered by the tongues of men; but what Brahman is no tongue has yet been able to describe. Therefore Brahman is still undefiled. (PR in GSR, 900.)

Brahman is beyond words and thought. However great a man may be, how much can he know of Brahman? Sukadeva and sages like him may have been big ants; but even they at the most could carry away eight or ten grains of sugar. (PR in GSR, 102.)

Suppose a man has seen the ocean, and somebody asks him, "Well, what is the ocean like?" The first man opens his mouth as wide as he can and says: "What a sight! What tremendous waves and sounds!" The description of Brahman in the sacred books is like that. ... Suka and other sages stood on the shore of this Ocean of Brahman and saw and touched the water. According to one school of thought they never plunged into it. Those who do cannot come back to the world again.

Once a salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean. (All laugh.)

It wanted to tell others how deep the water was. But this is could never do, for no sooner did it get into the water than it melted. Now who was there to report the ocean's depth? (PR in GSR, 102-3.)

What Brahman is cannot be described, Even he who knows It cannot talk about It. There is a saying that a boat, once reaching the “black waters” of the ocean, cannot come back. (PR in GSR, 268.)

Once four friends, in the course of a walk, saw a place enclosed by a wall. The wall was very high. They all became eager to know what was inside. One of them climbed to the top of the wall. What he saw on looking inside made him speechless with wonder. He only cried, “Ah! Ah!” and dropped in. He could not give any information on what he saw. The others, too, climbed the wall, uttered the same cry, “Ah! Ah!, and jumped in. Now who could tell what was inside? (PR in GSR, 268.)

God – Form and formlessness are both true – See also Personal God

You believe in God without form; that is quite alright. But never for a moment think that this alone is true and all else false. Remember that God with form is just as true as God without form. But hold fast to your own conviction. (PR to Mahendranath Gupta, or “M,” in GSR, 80.)

Kabir used to say: “God with form is my Mother, the Formless God my Father. Whom should I blame? Whom should I adore? The two sides of the scale are even.” (PR in GSR, 233-4.)

Whichever attitude you adopt, you will certainly realize God if you have firm faith. You may believe in God with form or in God without form, but your faith must be sincere and whole-hearted. (PR in GSR, 234.)

Under the cooling influence, so to say, of the deep love of Its worshipper, the Infinite reduces Itself to the finite and appears before the worshipper as God with form. Again, as on the rising of the sun, the ice melts away, so, on the awakening of Knowledge, God with form melts away into the same Infinite and Formless. (PR in GSR, 802.)

God reveals Himself in many ways: sometimes as man [an avatar], sometimes in other divine forms made of Spirit. One must believe in divine forms. (PR in GSR, 798.)

No one can say with finality that God is only 'this' and nothing else. He is formless, and again He has forms. For the bhakta He assumes forms. But He is formless for the jnani, that is, for him who looks on the world as a mere dream. The bhakta feels that he is one entity and the world another. Therefore God reveals Himself to him as a Person. But the jnani -- the Vedantist, for instance -- always reasons, applying the process 'Not this, not this'. Through his discrimination he realizes, by his inner perception, that the ego and the universe are both illusory, like a dream. Then the jnani realizes Brahman in his own consciousness. He cannot describe what Brahman is. (PR in GSR, 148.)

God – Between light and darkness

[Brahman] is between light and darkness. It is Light, but not the light that we perceive, not material light. (PR in GSR, 307.)

God – Looks at a man’s heart

Verily, the Lord looks into a man’s heart and does not judge him by what he does or where he lives. (PR in GSR, 204.)

God – Will of God

One should be aware that everything happens by the will of Rama. (PR in GSR, 245.)

God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will. (PR in GSR, 236.)

Everything depends on the will of God. The world is His play. He has created all these different things – great and small, strong and weak, good and bad, virtuous and vicious. This is all His maya, His sport. (PR in GSR, 211.)

Both worldliness and liberation depend on God’s will. It is God alone who has kept man in the world in a state of ignorance; and man will be free when God, of His own sweet will, calls him to Himself. It is like the mother calling the child at meal-time, when he is out playing. When the time comes for setting a man free, God makes him seek the company of holy men. Further, it is God who makes him restless for spiritual life. … When that restlessness comes, man longs for God. (PR in GSR, 225.)

Do you know the attitude of one who has realized God? He feels: “I am the machine, and Thou, O Lord, art the Operator. I am the house and Thou art the Indweller. I am the chariot and Thou art the Driver. I move as Thou movest me; I speak as Thou makest me speak.” (PR in GSR, 211.)

God laughs on two occasions. He laughs when two brothers divide land between them. They put a strong across the land and say to each other, “This side is mine, and that side is yours.” God laughs and sayus to Himself, “Why, this whole universe is Mine; and about a little clod they say, ‘This side is mine, and that side is yours.’” God laughs again when the physician says to the mother weeping bitterly because of her child’s desperate illness: “Don’t be afraid, mother, I shall cure your child.” The physician does not know that no one can save the child if God wills that he should die. (PR in GSR, 324.)

God – God’s grace

Why shouldn’t one be able to lead a spiritual life in the world? But it is extremely difficult. … There are many ties on a worldly man. There is no way for him to get rid of them except through the grace of God. (PR in GSR, 1016.)

They are heroes indeed who can pray to God in then midst of worldly activities. They are like men who strive for God-realization while carrying heavy loads on their heads. Such men are real heroes. You may say that this is extremely difficult. But is there anything, however hard, that cannot be achieved through God’s grace? His grace makes even the impossible possible. If a lamp has been brought into a room that has been dark a thousand years, does it illumine the room little by little? The room is lighted all at once. (PR in GSR, 1014-5.)

Is it possible to obtain God’s grace just like that? A beggar may get a penny, if he asks for it. But suppose he asks you right off for his train fare. How about that? (PR in GSR, 351.)

Yes, it is true. Through the grace of God some may get both jnana and bhakti. (PR in GSR, 351.)

God – God and His name are identical

God and His name are identical. … There is no difference between Rama and His holy name (PR in GSR, 222.)

God-Intoxication – See Bhakti-Yoga – God-intoxication

God’s Grace – See God – God’s grace

God-Realized Souls – See Realized Souls, Jnanis, Vijnanis, Paramahansas

Goodness

Do you know the nature of a good man? He never troubles others. He doesn’t harass people. The nature of some people is such that when they go to a feast they want special seats. A man who has true devotion to God never makes a false step, never gives trouble to others for nothing. It is not good to live in the company of bad people. A man should stay away from them and thus protect himself. (PR in GSR, 281.)

Guilelessness

A guileless man easily realizes God. (PR in GSR, 258.)

Gunas – All three must be transcended if one is to know God

Under the spell of maya man forgets his true nature. He forgets that he is heir to the infinite glories of his Father. This divine maya is made up of the trhee gunas. And all three are robbers; for they rob man of all his treasures and make him forget his true nature. The three gunas are sattva, rajas, and tamas. Of these, sattva alone points the way to God. But even sattva cannot take a man to God. (PR in GSR, 218.)

Brahman is beyond the three gunas. It is beyond Prakriti. (PR in GSR, 267.)

It is extremely difficult to go beyond the three gunas. One cannot reach that state without having realized God. (PR in GSR, 269.)

None of the three gunas can reach Truth; they are like robbers, who cannot come to a public place for fear of being arrested. … Listen to a story. Once a man was going through a forest, when three robbers fell upon him and robbed him of all his possessions. One of the robbers said, “What's the use of keeping this man alive?” So saying, he was about to kill him with his sword, when the second robber interrupted him, saying, “Oh no! What is the use of killing him? Tie him hand and foot and leave him here.” The robbers bound his hand and feet and went away. After a while the third robber returned to the man: “Ah, I am sorry. Are you hurt? I will release you from your bonds.” After setting the man free, the thief said: “Come with me. I will take you to the public highway.” After a long time they reached the road. Then the robber said: “Follow this road. Over there is your house.” At this the man said: “Sir, you have been very good to me. Come with me to my house.” “Oh no!” the robber replied. “I can't go there. The police will know it.” This world itself is the forest. The three robbers prowling here are sattva, rajas, and tamas. It is they who rob a man of the Knowledge of Truth. Tamas wants to destroy him. Rajas binds him to the world. But sattva rescues him from the clutches of rajas and tamas. Under the protection of sattva, man is rescued from anger, passion, and the other evil effects of tamas. Further, sattva loosens the bonds of the world. But sattva also is a robber. It cannot give him the ultimate Knowledge of Truth, though it shows him the road leading to the Supreme Abode of God. Setting him on the path, sattva tells him: “Look yonder. There is your home.” Even sattva is far away from the Knowledge of Brahman. (PR in GSR, 267-8.)

Gunas – Tamas – See also Devotees – Tamasic type

Tamas … destroys. (PR in GSR, 219.)

Egotism is of the nature of tamas. (PR in GSR, 630.)

Gunas – Rajas – See Devotees – Rajasic type

Gunas – Sattva – See Devotees – Sattvic type

Guru – Accepts the disciple’s karma

If I awaken their spiritual consciousness I shall have to accept the burden of their sins. (PR in GSR, 970.)

Guru – One must get instruction from a guru

One must get instruction from a guru. (PR in GSR, 292.)

Only if the guru himself has attained Perfect Knowledge can he show they way. (PR in GSR, 346.)

Guru – Only the guru can remove the eight fetters

There are eight fetters. Shame, hatred, fear, caste, lineage, good conduct, grief, and secretiveness – these are the eight fetters. And they cannot be unfastened without the help of a guru. (PR in GSR, 243-4.)

Guru – Ultimately God is the Guru

Before you came here, you didn’t know who you were. Now you will know. It is God who, as the guru, makes one know. (PR in GSR, 359.)

He who is the Lord of the Universe will teach everyone. He alone teaches us, who has created this universe; who has made the sun and the moon, men and beasts, and all other beings; who has provided means fro their sustenance; who has given children parents and endowed them with love to bring them up. The Lord has done so many things – will He not show people the way to worship Him? If they need teaching, then He will be the Teacher. He is our Inner Guide. (PR in GSR, 80.)

One must not look on one’s guru as a mere human being: it is Satchidananda Himself who appears as the guru. When the disciple has the vision of the Ishta, through the guru’s grace, he finds the guru merging in Him. (PR in GSR, 1016.)

Satchidananda alone is the Guru. If a man in the form of a guru awakens spiritual consciousness in you, then know for certain that it is God the Absolute who has assumed that human form for your sake. The guru is like a companion who leads you by the hand. After the realization of God, one loses the distinction between the guru and the disciple. … The relationship between them remains as long as the disciple does not see God. (PR in GSR, 217.)

Guru – Treat the Guru as God

The Guru is all in all. There is no one higher than the Guru. (PR in SGS, 20.)

It is Satchidananda that comes to us in the form of the guru. If a man is initiated by a human guru, he will not achieve anything if he regards his guru as a mere man. The guru should be regarded as the direct manifestation of God. Only then can the disciple have faith in the mantra given by the guru. Once a man has faith he achieves all. (PR in GSR, 292.)

[Nag Mahasaya] would accept whatever Sri Ramakrishna said as the gospel truth. To him even what Sri Ramakrishna said in jest had a profound significance. (NM, 45.)

Guru – One must have faith in the words of the guru

One needs faith – faith in the words of the guru, childlike faith. (PR in GSR, 381.)

One must not look on one’s guru as a mere human being: it is Satchidananda Himself who appears as the guru. When the disciple has the vision of the Ishta, through the guru’s grace, he finds the guru merging in Him. (PR in GSR, 1016.)

One should have faith in the holy name given by the guru and with it practice spiritual discipline. It is said that the pearl oyster makes itself ready for the rain that falls when the star Svati is in the ascendant. Taking a drop of that rain, it dives into the fathomless depths of the ocean and remains there until the pearl is formed. (PR in GSR, 1017.)

What can one not achieve through simple faith! Once there was an annaprasana ceremony in a guru’s house. His disciples volunteered, according to their powers, to supply the different articles of food. He had one disciple, a very poor widow, who owned a cow. She milked it and brought the guru a jar of milk. He had thought that she would take charge of all the milk and curd for the festival. Angry at her poor offering, he threw the milk away and said to her, “Go and drown yourself.” The widow accepted this as his command and went to the river to drown herself. But God was pleased with her guileless faith and, appearing before her, said: “Take this pot of curd. You will never be able to empty it. The more curd you pour out, the more will come from the pot. This will satisfy your teacher.” The guru was speechless with amazement when the pot was given to him. After hearing from the widow the story of the pot, he went to the river, saying to her, “I shall drown myself if you cannot show God to me.” God appeared then and there, but the guru could not see Him. Addressing God, the widow said, “If my teacher gives up his body because Thou does not reveal Thyself to him, then I too shall die.” So God appeared to the guru – but only once. Now you see, because of faith in her guru the disciple herself had the vision of God and also showed Him to her teacher. Therefore I say, “Even though my guru frequents a grog-shop, still to me he is the embodiment of Eternal Bliss.” (PR in GSR, 1016.)

Guru – Everyone wants to be a guru; no one wants to be a disciple

All want to be the guru, but very few want to be the disciple. But you know, the rain-water doesn’t collect on a high mound; it collects in low land, in a hollow. (PR in GSR, 1017.)

Everyone wants to be a teacher, but a disciple is hard to find. (PR in GSR, 794.)

Guru – Not everyone can be a guru – See Preachers and Teachers

Guru – Follow his or her instructions

One should follow the instructions of the guru; if one follows a devious path, one will suffer in trying to retrace one’s steps. (PR in GSR, 98.)

Guru – If one receives the guru’s grace, he has nothing to fear

If one receives the guru's grace, one has nothing to fear. ... He will let you know who you are and what your real nature is. If the devotee practises spiritual discipline a little, the guru explains everything to him. Then the disciple understands for himself what is real and what is unreal. God alone is real, and the world is illusory. (PR in GSR, 232-3.)

All the knots of ignorance come undone in the twinkling of an eye, through the guru’s grace. (PR in GSR, 298.)

Guru – The guru will deliver the devotee when the time is right

The mother bird doesn’t break the shell until the chick inside the egg is matured. The egg is hatched in the fullness of time. It is necessary to practise some spiritual discipline. The guru no doubt does everything for the disciple; but at the end he makes the disciple work a little himself. When cutting down a big tree, a man cuts almost through the trunk; then he stands aside for a moment, and the tree falls down with a crash. (PR in GSR, 363.)

Guru – Sri Ramakrishna providing opportunities to serve him

After a while he said: “Oh, it’s so hot. Why don’t you dip the fan in water?” “Ah!” I said. “You have your fancies, too!” The Master smiled and drawled out, “And – why – not?” “Very well!” I said. “Have your full measure of them. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1025.)

[Sri Ramakrishna] said to M: “My legs are aching. Please stroke them gently.” Thus, out of his infinite compassion, the Master allowed his disciple to render him personal service. (PR in GSR, 238.)

Gurus – Tota Puri

Whatever is within the domain of maya is unreal. Give it up. Destroy the prison-house of name and form and rush out of it with the strength of a lion. Dive deep in search of the Self and realize It through samadhi. You will find the world of name and form vanishing into void, and the puny ego dissolving in Brahman-Consciousness. (Totapuri in GSR, 28.)

Healing Powers – Power to heal himself

After hearing [Sri Ramakrishna complain of the pain of his fractured wrist], Tarak [later Swami Shivananda] remarked, “Why don’t you cure yourself? You can certainly heal yourself if you so wish.” “Yes, so I can!” replied the Master, and then after keeping silent for a moment he added, “No, aches and pains of sickness are preferable. Sickness scares away worldly people visiting her with ulterior motives, and I am left alone.” (PR in SGS, 14.)

Heart – The abode of God

The heart of the devotee is the abode of God. He dwells, no doubt, in all beings, but He especially manifests Himself in the heart of the devotee. A landlord may at one time or another visit all parts of his estate, but people say he is generally to be found in a particular drawing-room. The heart of the devotee is the drawing-room of God. (PR in GSR, 133.)

Hindu Trinity – Only Brahman exists

Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute is one, and one only. But it is associated with different limiting adjuncts on account of the different degrees of Its manifestation. That is why one finds various forms of God. The devotee sings, “O my Divine Mother, Thou art all these!” (PR in GSR, 277.)

Nothing exists except the One. That One is the Supreme Brahman. So long as He keeps the “I” in us, He reveals to us that it is He who, as the Primal Energy, creates, preserves, and destroys the universe. (PR in GSR, 242.)

Brahman and the Primal Energy at first appear to be two. But after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman one does not see the two. Then there is no differentation; it is One, without a second -- Advaita -- non-duality. (Ramakrisha in GSR, 242.)

Hindu Trinity – Brahman and Sakti are one

That which is unmoving also moves. Just now you are still, but a few moments later the same you will be engaged in action. (PR in GSR, 812.)

Brahman and Sakti are identical. If you accept the one, you must accept the other. It is like fire and its power to burn. If you see the fire, you must recognize its power to burn also. You cannot think of fire without its power to burn, nor can you think of its power to burn without fire. You cannot conceive of the sun’s rays without the sun, nor can you conceive of the sun without its rays. What is milk like? Oh, you say, it is something white. You cannot think of the milk without the whiteness, and again, you cannot think of the whiteness without the milk. Thus one cannot think of Brahman without Sakti, or of Sakti without Brahman. One cannot think of the Absolute without the Realtive, or of the Relative without the Absolute. The Primordial Power is ever at play. She is creating, preserving, and destroying in play, as it were. This Power is called Kali. Kali is verily Brahman, and Brahman is verily Kali. It is one and the same Reality. When we think of It as inactive, that is to say, not engaged in the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, then we call It Brahman. But when It engages in these activities, then we call it Kali or Sakti. The Reality is one and the same; the difference is in name and form. It is like water, called in different languages by different names, such as “jal,” “pani,” and so forth. There are three or four ghats on a lake. The Hindus, who drink water at one place, call it “jal.” The Mussulmans at another place call it “Pani.” And the English at a third place call it “water.” All three denote one and the same thing, the difference being in the name only. In the same way, some address the Reality as “Allah,” some as “God,” some as “Brahman,” some as “Kali,” and others by such names as “Rama,” “Durga,” “Hari.” (PR in GSR, 134-5.)

If you are aware of the Male Principle, you cannot ignore the Female Principle. He who is aware of the father must also think of the mother. (PR in GSR, 321.)

He who is Brahman is addressed as the Mother. .. What is called Brahman in the Vedas is addressed by [Ramprasad in his devotional songs] as the Mother. He who is attributeless also has attributes. He who is Brahman is also Sakti. When thought of as inactive, He is called Brahman, and when thought of as the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, He is called the Primordial Energy, Kali. (PR in GSR, 107.)

Brahman and Sakti are identical, like fire and its power to burn. When we talk of fire we automatically mean also its power to burn. Again, the fire's power to burn implies the fire itself. If you accept the one you must accept the other. (PR in GSR, 108.)

Brahman and Sakti are, in fact, not different. That which is the Blissful Mother is, again, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. They are like the gem and its luster. When one speaks of the luster of the gem, one thinks of the gem; and again, when one speaks of the gem, one refers to its luster. Once cannot conceive of the luster of the gem without thinking of the gem, and one cannot conceive of the gem without thinking of its luster. (PR in GSR, 277.)

Brahman and Sakti are identical, like fire and its power to burn. When a man thinks of fire, he must also think of its power to burn. Again, when he thinks of the power to burn, he must also think of fire. Further, Brahman and Sakti are like milk and its whiteness, water and its wetness. (PR in GSR, 287.)

Brahman and Sakti are like the snake and its wriggling motion, and thinking of its wriggling motion, one must think of the snake. (PR in GSR, 290.)

Water is water whether it is calm or full of waves and bubbles. The Absolute alone is the Primordial Energy, which creates, preserves, and destroys. (PR in GSR, 277-8.)

That which is Brahman is also Kali, the Adyashati, who creates, preserves, and destroys the universe. He who is Krishna is the same as Kali. The root is one – all these are His sport and play. (PR in GSR, 1012.)

hen I think of the Supreme Being as inactive -- neither creating nor preserving nor destroying --, I call Him Brahman or Purusha, (1) the Impersonal God. When I think of Him as active -- creating, preserving, and destroying --, I call him Sakti or Maya or Prakriti, the Personal God. But the distinction between them does not mean a difference. The Personal and the Impersonal are the same thing, like milk and its whiteness, the diamond and its lustre, the snake and its wriggling motion. It is impossible to conceive of the one without the other. The Divine Mother and Brahman are one. (PR in GSR, 32.)

blockquote>(1) Supreme Person.

When the Godhead is thought of as creating, preserving, and destroying, It is known as the Personal God, Saguna Brahman, or the Primal Energy, Adyasakti. Again, when It is thought of as beyond the three gunas, then it is called the Attributeless Reality, Nirguna Brahman, beyond speech and thought; this is the Supreme Brahman, Paramatman. (PR in GSR, 218.)

However] it will not do to simply express that idea in words. Only when you assimilate it will all be well with you. (PR in GSR, 311.)

Hindu Trinity – The Creation of Sakti from Brahman

When there were neither the creation, nor the sun, the moon, the planets, and the earth, and when darkness was enveloped in dakrness, then the Mother, the Formless One, Maha-Kali, the Great Power, was one with Maha-Kala, the Absolute. (PR in GSR, 135.)

Brahman ... first manifested as a twin principle -- half man and half woman -- just to show that It was both Purusha (1) and Prakriti (2). Descending a step lower, It separated into Purusha and Prakriti as distinct entities. (PR in LSR, 382.)

(1) Here, the Cosmic Male.

(2) Here, the Cosmic Female.

Hindu Trinity – The universe composed of Brahman (or Siva) and Sakti

One day [the Mother] showed me Siva and Sakti everywhere. Everywhere I saw the communion of Siva and Sakti. Siva and Sakti existing in all living things – men, animals, trees, plants. I saw Them in the communion of all male and female elements. (PR in GSR, 376.)

Hindu Trinity – Active it is Sakti; passive it is Brahman – See also Yogamaya

It is like water, sometimes still and sometimes covered with waves. (PR in GSR, 283.)

Kali stands on the bosom of Siva; Siva lies under Her feet like a corpse; Kali looks at Siva. All this denotes the union of Purusha and Prakriti. Purusha is inactive; therefore Siva lies on the ground like a corpse. Prakriti performs all Her activities in conjunction with Purusha. Thus She creates, preserves, and destroys. That is also the meaning of the conjoined images of Radha and Krishna. (PR, GSR, 271.)

Kala, Siva, is Brahman. That which sports with Kala is Kali, the Primal Energy. Kali moves even the Immutable. (PR in GSR, 380.)

Hindu Trinity – With form it is Sakti; without form it is Brahman – See also Yogamaya

That which is Syama is also Brahman. That which has form, again, is without form. That which has attributes, again, has no attributes. Brahman is Sakti; Sakti is Brahman. They are not two. These are only two aspects, male and female, of the same Reality, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss-Absolute. (PR, GSR, 271.)

Hindu Trinity – Brahman and Atman are one

The Transcendental Being and the being within are one and the same. There is one indivisible Absolute Existence. (PR in GSR, 71.)

Hindu Trinity – Brahman realized through Atman alone

Atman cannot be realized through this mind; Atman is realized through Atman alone. (PR in GSR, 802. Pure Mind, Pure Buddhi, Pure Atman -- all these are one and the same. (PR in GSR, 802.)

Hindu Trinity – Sakti identified as cosmic vibration Om

O Mother! O Embodiment of Om! (PR in GSR, 299.)

Holy Man – Signs

A man cannot recognize a holy person unless he is holy himself. (PR in GSR, 366.)

He who has surrendered his body, mind, and innermost self to God is surely a holy man. He who has renounced “woman and gold” is surely a holy man. He is a holy man who does not regard woman with the eyes of a worldly person. He never forgets to look upon a woman as his mother, and to offer her his worship if he happens to be near her. The holy man constantly thinks of God and does not indulge in any talk except about spiritual things. Furthermore, he serves all beings, knowing that God resides in everybody’s heart. These, in general, are the signs of a holy man. (PR in GSR, 327.)

Householders – The whole case

For the householders Sri Ramakrishna did not prescribe the hard path of total renunciation. He wanted them to discharge their obligations to their families. Their renunciation was to be mental. Spiritual life could not be acquired by flying away from responsibilities. A married couple should live like brother and sister after the birth of one or two children, devoting their time to spiritual talk and contemplation. He encouraged the householders, saying that their life was, in a way, easier than that of a monk, since it was more advantageous to fight the enemy from inside a fortress than in an open field. He insisted, however, on their repairing into solitude every now and then to strengthen their devotion and faith in God through prayer, japa and meditation. He prescribed for them the companionship of sadhus. He asked them to perform their worldly duties with one hand, while holding to God with the other, and to pray to God to make their duties fewer and fewer so that in the end they might cling to Him with both hands. He would discourage in both the householders and the celibate youths any lukewarmness in their spiritual struggles. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 47-8.)

[A visitor:] Sir, can one realize God while leading the life of a householder? Master (with a smile): Why not? Live in the world like a mudfish. The mudfish lives in the mud but itself remains unstained. Or live in the world like a loose woman. She attends her household duties, but her mind is always on her sweetheart. Do your duties in the world, fixing your mind on God. But this is extremely difficult. … The craving for worldly things, which is chronic in man, is like the patient's craving for water. There is no end to this craving. … There is so much confusion in the world. If you go this way, you are threatened with a shovel; if you go that way, you are threatened with a broomstick; again, in another direction, you are threatened with a shoe-beating. Besides, one cannot think of God unless one lives in solitude. The goldsmith melts gold to make ornaments. But how can he do his work well if he is disturbed again and again. Suppose you are separating rice from bits of husk. You must do it all by yourself. Every now and then you have to take the rice in your hand to see how clean it is. But how can you do you work well if you are called away again and again? A devotee: What then is the way [for a householder], sir? Master: There is a way. One succeeds if one develops a strong spirit of renunciation. Give up at once, with determination, what you know to be unreal. … You have to spend a few days in solitude. If you touch the “granny’ (1) you are safe. Turn yourself into gold and then live wherever you please. After realizing God and divine love in solitude, one may live in the world as well. (PR in GSR, 246.)

(1) An allusion to the game of “hide and seek.”

Householders – Pros

Those who still have a few worldly experiences to enjoy should lead a householder’s life and pray to God. (PR in GSR, 244.)

Householders – Pros - True householder devotees are heroes

They are heroes indeed who can pray to God in then midst of worldly activities. They are like men who strive for God-realization while carrying heavy loads on their heads. Such men are real heroes. You may say that this is extremely difficult. But is there anything, however hard, that cannot be achieved through God’s grace? His grace makes even the impossible possible. If a lamp has been brought into a room that has been dark a thousand years, does it illumine the room little by little? The room is lighted all at once. (PR in GSR, 1014-5.)

Your life will be a true ideal for the householders. (PR to Nag Mahasaya in NM, 46.)

Do I look down on worldly people? Of course not. When I see them, I apply the Knowledge of Brahman, the Oneness of Existence. Brahman Itself has become everything; all are Narayana Himself. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 710.)

Householders – Pros - Fighting from within the fortress

What harm is there in remaining as a householder? Only keep the mind fixed on God. The life of a householder is like fighting from within the fortress. (PR in NM, 46.)

You are talking about leading a householder's life. Suppose you are a householder. It rather helps you in the practice of spiritual discipline. It is like fighting from inside a fort. (PR in GSR, 244.)

Householders – Cons - Their path is extremely difficult

Alas, he is married! … Ah me! He even has children. (PR, of Mahendranath Gupta, or “M,” in GSR, 79.)

Why shouldn’t one be able to lead a spiritual life in the world? But it is extremely difficult. … There are many ties on a worldly man. There is no way for him to get rid of them except through the grace of God. (PR in GSR, 1016.)

Worldly duties bring much worry and anxiety along with them (PR in GSR, 314.)

It is difficult to lead the life of a a householder in a spirit of detachment. Once Pratap said to me: “Sir, we follow the example of King Janaka. He led the life of a householder in a detached spirit. “ … I said to him: “Can one be like King Janaka merely by wishing it? How many austerities he practised in order to acquire divine knowledge! He practised the most intense form of asceticism for many years and only then returned to the life of the world. (PR in GSR, 313.)

The world is a place of terror. Even a detached householder has to be careful. (PR in GSR, 250.)

I have seen householder devotees filled with spiritual emotion while performing their daily worship. ... But afterwards they become their old selves again. They display their rajasic and tamasic natures. (PR in GSR, 250.)

Householders – Face a similar task to monks

The lesson of the Gita is: “O man, renounce everything and seek God alone.” Whether a man is a monk or a householder, he has to shake off all attachment from his mind. (PR in GSR, 104-5.)

In a word, “woman and gold” is the covering of maya. There is no harm in chewing betel-leaf, eating fish, smoking, or rubbing the body with oil. What will one achieve by renouncing only these things? The one thing needful is the renunciation of “woman and gold.” That renunciation is the real and supreme renunciation. Householders should go into solitude now and then, to practise spiritual discipline in order to cultivate devotion to God; they should renounce mentally. But the sannyasi should renounce both mentally and physically. (PR in GSR, 291.)

Householders – Non-dualistic attitude inappropriate

The non-dualists say, “Soham”, that is, “I am the Supreme Self.” … But this is not the right attitude for householders, who are conscious of doing everything themselves. That being so, how can they declare, “I am That, the actionless Supreme Self’? (PR in GSR, 274.)

In the Kaliyuga, man, being totally dependent on food for life, cannot altogether shake off the idea that he is the body. In this state of mind it is not proper for him to say, “I am He.” When a man does all sorts of worldly things, he should not say “I am Brahman.” Those who cannot give up attachment to worldly things, and who find no means to shake off the feeling of “I,” should rather cherish the idea: “I am God’s servant. I am His devotee.” One can also realize God following the path of devotion. (PR in GSR, 103.)

Householders – Too much reasoning will spoil the mind

It is not good to reason too much. First comes God and then the world. Realize God first; then you will know all about his world. (PR in GSR, 375.)

Through too much reasoning your spiritual life will be injured; you will at last become like Hazra. (1) … Everything can be achieved through bhakti alone. Those who want the Knowledge of Brahman will certainly achieve that also by following the trail of bhakti. (PR in GSR, 376.)

(1) A dry intellectual.

Householders – Total renunciation may be inappropriate

Bees accumulate their honey by days of hard labour. But they cannot enjoy their honey, for a man soon breaks the comb and takes it away. The Avadhuta learnt this lesson from the bees, that one should not lay things up. Sadhus should depend one hundred per cent on God. They must not gather for the morrow. But this does not apply to the householder. He must bring up his family; therefore it is necessary for him to provide. Birds and monks do not hoard. Yet birds also hoard after their chicks are hatched: they collect food in their beaks fro their young ones. (PR in GSR, 314.)

One cannot renounce by the mere wish. There are prarabdha karma – inherited tendencies – and the like. (PR in GSR, 336.)

I ask people to live in the world and at the same time fix their minds on God. I don't ask them to give up the world. I say, “Fulfil your worldly duties and also think of God.” (PR in GSR, 828.)

Why should you renounce everything? You are all right as you are, following the middle path -- like molasses partly solid and partly liquid. Do you know the game of nax? Having scored the maximum number of points, I am out of the game. I can’t enjoy it. But you are very clever. Some of you have scored ten points, some six, and some five. You have scored just the right number; so you are not out of the game like me. The game can go on. I tell you the truth: there is nothing wrong in your being in the world. But you must direct your mind toward God; otherwise you will not succeed. Do your duty with one hand and with the other hold to God. After the duty is over, you will hold to God with both hands. (PR in GSR, 137-8.)

Why should everybody renounce? On the other hand, can it be the will of God that all should revel in “woman and gold” like dogs and jackals? Has He no other wish? (PR in GSR, 1013.)

You are a goswami. It is your duty to officiate as priest in the temple. You cannot renounce the world; otherwise, who would look after the temple and its services? You have to renounce mentally. It is God Himself who has kept you in the world to set an example to men. You may resolve in your mind a thousand times to renounce the world, but you will not succeed. God has given you such a nature and you must perform your worldly duties. (PR to Navadvip Goswami, in GSR, 255.)

Those who have not yet come to the end of their enjoyments should not renounce the world. … You should renounce the world only in mind. But a sannyasi should renounce the world both inwardly and outwardly. (PR in GSR, 215.)

Those who still have a few worldly experiences to enjoy should lead a householder's life and pray to God. ... But it is quite different with sannyasis. A bee lights on flowers and nothing else. ... A real sannyasi will not enjoy any kind of bliss except the Bliss of God. The bee lights only on flowers. The real monk is like a bee, whereas the householder devotee is like a common fly, which lights on a festering sore as well as a sweetmeat. (PR in GSR, 244.)

You should live in the world in a spirit of detachment. You will no doubt have dirt on your body, but you must shake it off as the mudfish shakes off the mud. (PR in GSR, 747.)

Householders – For a few householders, total renunciation may become desirable

One can realize God if one feels intense dispassion for worldly things. A man with such dispassion feels that the world is like a forest on fire. He regards his wife and children as a deep well. If he really feels that kind of dispassion, he renounces home and family. It is not enough for him to live in the world in a spirit of detachment. (PR in GSR, 336.)

Householders – Spend some time in solitude

Why shouldn’t one be able to realize God in this world? King Janaka had such realization. … But one cannot be a King Janaka all of a sudden. Janaka at first practised much austerity in solitude. (PR in GSR, 139.)

It is extremely difficult to practise spiritual discipline and at the same time lead a householder’s life. There are many handicaps: disease, grief, poverty, misunderstanding with one’s wife, and disobedient, stupid, and stubborn children. I don’t have to give you a list of them. But still there is a way out. One should pray to God, going now and then into solitude, and make efforts to realize Him. … Whenever you have leisure, go into solitude for a day or two. At that time don’t have any relations with the outside world and don’t hold any conversation with worldly people on worldly affairs. You must live either in solitude or in the company of holy men. (PR in GSR, 326.)

Even if one lives in the world, one must go into solitude now and then. It will be of great help to a man if he goes away from his family, lives alone, and weeps for God even for three days. Even if he thinks of God for one day in solitude, when he has the leisure, that too will do him good. People shed as whole jug of tears for wife and children. But who cries for the Lord? (PR in GSR, 139-40.)

Is there, then, no hope for householders? Certainly there is. They must practise spiritual discipline in solitude for some days. Thus they will acquire knowledge and devotion. Then it will not hurt them to lead the life of the world. But when you practise discipline in solitude, keep yourself entirely away from your family. You must not allow your wife, son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, friends, or relatives near you. While thus practicing discipline in solitude, you should think: “I have no one else in the world. God is my all.” You must also pray to Him, with tears in your eyes, for knowledge and devotion. If you ask me how long you should live in solitude away from your family, I should say that it would be good for you if you could spend even one day in such a manner. Three days at a time are still better. One may live in solitude for twelve days, a month, three months, or a year, according to one’s convenience and ability. One hasn’t much to fear if one leads the life of a householder after attaining knowledge and devotion. (PR in GSR, 313.)

The world is water and the mind milk. If you pour milk into water they become one; you cannot find the pure milk any more. But turn the milk into curd and churn it into butter. Then, when that butter is placed in water, it will float. So, practice spiritual discipline in solitude and obtain the butter of knowledge and love. Even if you keep that butter in the water of the world the two will not mix. The butter will float. (PR in GSR, 82.)

Living in solitude now and then, repeating God’s name and singing His glories, and discriminating between the Real and the unreal – these are means to employ to see Him. (PR in GSR, 83.)

One doesn’t really need to study the different scriptures. If one has no discrimination, one doesn’t achieve anything through mere scholarship, even though one studies all the six systems of philosophy. Call on God, crying to Him secretly in solitude. He will give you all that you need. (PR in GSR, 292.)

Spiritual aspirants must go into solitude now and then. After acquiring love of God in solitude, they may live in the world. If one is wearing a pair of shoes, one can easily walk over thorns. (PR in GSR, 241.)

By meditating on God in solitude the mind acquires knowledge, dispassion, and devotion. But the very same mind goes downward if it dwells in the world. (PR in GSR, 82.)

You have to spend a few days in solitude. If you touch the “granny’ (1) you are safe. Turn yourself into gold and then live wherever you please. After realizing God and divine love in solitude, one may live in the world as well. (PR in GSR, 246.)

(1) An allusion to the game of “hide and seek.”
Either he should think of God in solitude day and night, or he should live with holy men. The mind left to itself gradually dries up. Take a jar of water, for instance. If the jar is set aside, the water dries up little by little. But that will not happen if the jar is kept immersed in the Ganges. The iron becomes red in the furnace of a smithy. Take it out and it becomes black as before. Therefore the iron must be heated in the furnace now and then. (PR in GSR, 1019.)

The mind cannot dwell on God if it is immersed day and night in worldliness, in worldly duties and responsibilities; it is most necessary to go into solitude now and then and think of God. To fix the mind on God is very difficult, in the beginning, unless one practices meditation in solitude. When a tree is young, it should be fenced all around; otherwise it may be destroyed by cattle. (PR in GSR, 81.)

One must go into solitude to attain ... divine love. To get butter from milk you must let it set into curd in a secluded spot: if it is too much disturbed, milk won't turn into curd. Next, you must put aside all other duties, sit in a quiet spot, and churn the curd. Only then do you get butter. (PR in GSR, 82.)

The world is water and the mind milk. If you pour milk into water they become one; you cannot find the pure milk any more. But turn the milk into curd and churn it into butter. Then, when that butter is placed in water, it will float. So, practice spiritual discipline in solitude and obtain the butter of knowledge and love. Even if you keep that butter in the water of the world the two will not mix. The butter will float. (PR in GSR, 82.)

Living in solitude now and then, repeating God’s name and singing His glories, and discriminating between the Real and the unreal – these are means to employ to see Him. (PR in GSR, 83.)

From time to time [a worldly person] should live in the company of holy men, and from time to time go into solitude to meditate on God. Furthermore, he should practice discrimination and pray to God, “Give me faith and devotion.” (PR in GSR, 87.)

Householders – Live in the company of holy men

From time to time [a worldly person] should live in the company of holy men, and from time to time go into solitude to meditate on God. Furthermore, he should practice discrimination and pray to God, “Give me faith and devotion.” (PR in GSR, 87.)

Prayer and the company of holy men [is the way for the bound soul]. You cannot get rid of an ailment without the help of a physician. But it is not enough to be in the company of religious people only for a day. You should constantly seek it, for the disease has become chronic. Again, you can’t understand the pulse rightly unless you live with a physician. Moving with him constantly, you learn to distinguish between the pulse of phlegm and the pulse of bile. (PR in GSR, 96.)

The worldly man must constantly live in the company of holy men. It is necessary for all, even sannyasis. But it is especially necessary for the householder. His disease has become chronic because he has to live constantly in the midst of “woman and gold.” (PR in GSR, 344.)

Why shouldn’t it be possible for a householder to give his mind to God? But the truth is that he no longer has his mind with him. If he had it, then he could certainly offer it to God. But, alas, the mind has been mortgaged – mortgaged to “woman and gold.” So it is necessary for him constantly to live in the company of holy men. When he gets back his own mind, then he can devote it to spiritual practice; but first it is necessary to live constantly with the guru, wait on him, and enjoy the company of spiritual people. Either he should think of God in solitude day and night, or he should live with holy men. The mind left to itself gradually dries up. Take a jar of water, for instance. If the jar is set aside, the water dries up little by little. But that will not happen if the jar is kept immersed in the Ganges. The iron becomes red in the furnace of a smithy. Take it out and it becomes black as before. Therefore the iron must be heated in the furnace now and then. (PR in GSR, 1019.)

[Holy company] begets yearning for God. It begets love of God. Nothing whatsoever is achieved in spiritual life without yearning. By constantly living in the company of holy men, the soul becomes restless for God. This yearning is like the state of mind of a man who has someone ill in the family. His mind is in a state of perpetual restlessness, thinking how the sick person may be cured. Or again, one should feel a yearning for God like the yearning of a man who has lost his job and is wandering from one office to another in search of work. If he is rejected at a certain place which has no vacancy, he goes there again the next day and inquires, “Is there any vacancy today?” (PR in GSR, 96.)

There is another benefit from holy company. It helps one cultivate discrimination between the Real and the unreal. God alone is the Real, that is to say, the Eternal Substance, and the world is unreal, that is to say, transitory. As soon as a man finds his mind wandering away to the unreal, he should apply discrimination. The moment an elephant stretches out its trunk to eat a plantain-tree in a neighbour’s garden, it gets a blow from the iron goad of the driver. (PR in GSR, 97.)

Householders – But live in the world detached

Live in the world like a mudfish. The mudfish lives in the mud but itself remains unstained. Or live in the world like a loose woman. She attends her household duties, but her mind is always on her sweetheart. Do your duties in the world, fixing your mind on God. (PR in GSR, 246.)

A true devotee has no desire. He does not care for money. Money comes to him of itself. The Gita describes such a devotee as “content with what comes to him without effort.” A good Brahmin, without any personal motive, can accept food even from the house of an untouchable. He does not desire it; it comes of its own accord. (PR in GSR, 336.)

Householders – They must perform their duties

All, without exception, perform work. Even to chant the name and glories of God is work, as is the meditation of the non-dualist on 'I am He'. Breathing is also an activity. There is no way of renouncing work altogether. So do your work, but surrender the result to God. (PR in GSR, 113-4.)

You should say to Him, ‘O God, make my worldly duties fewer and fewer; otherwise, O Lord, I find that I forget Thee when I am involved in too many activities.’ (PR in GSR, 142.)

To him who says, “I am He” the world appears to be a dream. His mind, his body, even his ego are dreams to him. Therefore he cannot perform worldly duties. So it is very good for the householder to look on himself as the servant and on God as the Master. (PR in GSR, 370.)

But it will not do for the sadhaka to renounce duties. He should perform his duties, such as worship, japa, meditation, prayer, and pilgrimage. (PR in GSR, 111.)

Perform your duties in an unselfish spirit ... without desiring any result. (PR in GSR, 113.)

Now go home and live there. Let them know that you belong to them. But you must remember in your heart of hearts that you do not belong to them nor they to you. (PR to Mahendranath Gupta, after the latter stayed at Dakshineswar for an extended period, in GSR, 382.)

Householders – How long must they perform worldly duties?

How long should a man perform his duties? As long as he has not attained God. Duties drop away after the realization of God. Then one goes beyond good and evil. The flower drops off as soon as the fruit appears. The flower serves the purpose of begetting the fruit. (PR in GSR, 367.)

The more you advance toward God, the less he will give you worldly duties to perform. (PR in GSR, 367.)

The blossom drops off when the fruit appears. One doesn't have to do one's duty after the attainment of God, nor does one feel like doing it then. ... As you advance nearer and nearer to God, he will reduce your activities little by little. Have no fear. Finish the few duties you have at hand, and then you will have peace. (PR in GSR, 114.)

Householders – How much attention should go to worldly duties?

At Kamarpukur I have seen the women of the carpenter families selling flattened rice. Let me tell you how alert they are while doing their business. The pestle of the husking-machine that flattens the paddy constantly falls into the hole of the mortar. The woman turns the paddy in the hole with one hand and with the other holds her baby on her lap as she horses it. In the mean time customers arrive. The machine goes on pounding the paddy, and she carries on her bargains with her customers. … You see, she has all these things to do at the same time – nurse the baby, turn the paddy as the pestle pounds it, take the flattened rice out of the hole, and talk to the buyers. This is called the yoga of practice. Fifteen parts of her mind out of sixteen are fixed on the pestle of the husking machine, lest it should pound her hand. With only one part of her mind she nurses the baby and talks to the buyers. Likewise, he who leads the life of a householder should devote fifteen parts of his mind to God; otherwise he will face ruin and fall into the clutches of Death. He should perform the duties of the world with only one part of the mind. (PR in GSR, 367-8.)

Householders – They owe a debt to the chaste spouse and religious family

Paramahansas may not lay things up; but this rule does not apply to householders. They must provide for their families. (PR in GSR, 250.)

[A man] has a debt to his wife. She must be supported. If the wife is chaste, the husband must provide for her after his death. (PR in GSR, 828.)

A householder has his duties to discharge, his debts to pay: his debt to the gods, his debt to his ancestors, his debt to the rishis, and his debt to his wife and children. If a wife is chaste, then her husband should support her; he should also bring up their children until they are of age. (PR in TLWG, 144-5.)

The householder should pacify his wife and the other members of his family. He should provide them with food and other necessities. Thus he removes the obstacles to his practice of spiritual discipline. (PR in GSR, 244.)

It is permissible to [make an effort to make more money] to maintain a religious family. You may try to increase your income, but in an honest way. The goal of life is not the earning of money, but the service of God. Money is not harmful if it is devoted to the service of God. (PR in GSR, 114.)

Householders – Give up the spouse who stands in the way of spirituality

M. (To the Master): “What should one do if one’s wife says: ‘You are neglecting me. I shall commit suicide.’” Master: “Give up such a wife if she proves an obstacle in the way of spiritual life. Let her commit suicide or do anything else she likes. The wife that hampers her husband’s spiritual life is an ungodly wife.” … “But if a man has sincere love for God, then all come under his control – the king, wicked persons, and his wife. Sincere love of God on the husband’s part may eventually help the wife to lead a spiritual life. If the husband is good, then through the grace of God the wife may also follow his example.” (PR in GSR, 126.)

Householders – Their practice is inconsistent and lukewarm

Keshab, once I went to your temple. In the course of your preaching I heard you say, “We shall dive into the river of devotion and go straight to the Ocean of Satchidananda.” At once I looked up [at the gallery where Keshab’s wife and the other ladies were sitting] and thought, “Then what will become of these ladies? You see, Keshab, you are householders. How can you reach the Ocean of Satchidananda all at once? You are like a mongoose with a brick tied to its tail. When something frightens it, it runs up the wall and sits on a niche. But how can it stay there any length of time. The brick pulls it down and it falls to the floor with a thud. You may practice a little meditation, but the weight of wife and children will pull you down. You may dive into the river of devotion, but you must come up again. You will alternatively dive and come up. How can you dive and disappear once and for all? (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1022.)

It is not best to tell householders about the sorrows of life. They want bliss. Those who suffer from chronic poverty can go without food for a day or two. But it is not wise to talk about the sorrows and miseries of life to who who suffer if their food is delayed a few minutes. (PR in GSR, 224.)

People worship God to win money or a lawsuit. That is not good. (PR in GSR, 336.)

Householders – They grieve their loss

House, wife, and children are all transitory; they have only a momentary existence. The palm-tree alone is real. One or two fruits have dropped off. Why lament? (PR in GSR, 209.)

Householders – They should contribute to monks and devotees

One should give something to monks and devotees. Those who have the means should help such persons when they meet them. (PR in GSR, 361.)

Householders – Constant practice is essential

If worldly life is so difficult, then what is the way? The way is constant practice. … An immoral woman goes on performing her household duties, but all the time her mind dwells on her sweetheart. (PR in GSR, 1014.)

[To receive God’s grace] constantly you have to chant the name and glories of God and give up worldly thoughts as much as you can. With the greatest effort you may try to bring water into your field for your crops, but it may all leak out through holes in the ridges. Then all your efforts to bring the water by digging a canal will be futile. (PR in GSR, 375.)

How long does the bee buzz around? So long as it isn’t sitting on a flower. But it will not do for the sadhaka to renounce duties. He should perform his duties, such as worship, japa, meditation, prayer, and pilgrimage. (PR in GSR, 111.)

Householders – Have faith in the word of the guru – See also Guru – One must have faith in the words of the guru

Faith in the guru’s words [is the way for a householder]. You should depend on his instruction. Do your duties in the world, holding fast to his words, like a person whirling round and holding fast to a pillar.

Householders – Cling to God

It is very difficult to do one’s duty in the world. If you whirl round too fast you feel giddy and faint; but there is no such fear if you hold on to a post. Do your duty, but do not forget God. (PR in GSR, 1014.)

What if you are [householders]? Through His grace even the impossible becomes possible. (PR in GSR, 293.)

Householders – Develop devotion before entering the world

Before breaking open the jack-fruit you should rub your hands with oil in order to protect them from the sticky juice. Likewise, protect yourself with the oil of devotion; then the world will not cling to you and you will not be affected by it. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1025.)

If bricks and tiles are burnt after their trade-mark has been stamped on them, they retain the mark for ever. Similarly, man should be stamped with God before entering the world. Then he will not become attached to worldliness. (PR in GSR, 61-2.)

Be turned into gold by touching the philosopher’s stone. After that you may remain buried underground a thousand years; when you are taken out you will still be gold. (PR in GSR, 313.)

Householders – Realize God before entering the world

One need not be afraid of the world after one has had the vision of God. Both vidya and avidya exist in His maya, but one becomes indifferent to them after realizing God. One understands it rightly after attaining the state of a paramahamsa. Only a swan can discard the water and drink the milk from a mixture of milk and water. A robin cannot do so. (PR in GSR, 1016.)

There is no hope for a worldly man if he is not sincerely devoted to God. But he has nothing to fear if he remains in the world after realizing God. Nor need a man ... fear ... if he attains sincere devotion by practising spiritual discipline now and then in solitude. (PR in GSR, 126.)

One can very well live in the world after realizing God. Why don’t you first touch the “granny” and then play hide-and-seek? (PR in GSR, 1011.)

Even after attaining Knowledge through the guru’s grace, one can very well live in the world as a jivanmukta. (PR in GSR, 233.)

Yes, after realizing God, one can also get, if one so desires, dharma, artha, and kama, which are necessary for leading the worldly life.; (PR in GSR, 327.)

Householders – Marriage and family

Rama accepted the life of a householder and married to fulfil that mission. (PR in GSR, 350.)

What if you have married? Haven’t I too married? What is there to be afraid of in that? … If this [meaning himself] is propitious, then even a hundred thousand marriages cannot injure you. If you desire to lead a householder’s life, then bring your wife here one day, and I shall see that she becomes a real companion in your spiritual progress. But if you want to lead a monastic life, then I shall eat up your attachment to the world. (PR to Jogindranath, later Swami Jogananda, in GSR, 61.)

Let men cast their own lives in this mould and fashion an image of purity and perfect beauty. (PR on his marriage with Sarada Devi, in RAWSH, 171.)

When you feed your child, you should feel that you are feeding God. You should look on your father and mother as veritable manifestations of God and the Divine Mother, and serve them as such. (PR in GSR, 326.)

If a man enters the world after realizing God, he does not generally keep up physical relations with his wife. Both of them are devotees; they love to talk only of God and pass their time in spiritual conversation. They serve other devotees of God, for they know that God alone has become all living beings; and knowing this, they devote their lives to the service of others. (PR in GSR, 326.)

[Householders like this] can be found, though they may be very rare. Worldly people cannot recognize them. In order to lead such a life both husband and wife must be spiritual. It is possible to lead such a life if both of them have tasted the Bliss of God. God’s special grace is necessary to create such a couple; otherwise there will always be misunderstanding between them. In that case the one has to leave the other. Life becomes very miserable if husband and wife do not agree. The wife will say to her husband day and night: “Why did my father marry me to such a person? I can’t get enough to eat or to feed my children. I haven’t received a single piece of jewelry from you. How happy you have made me! Ah! You keep your eyes closed and mutter the name of God! Now do give up all these crazy ideas.” (PR in GSR, 326.)

Householders – Sexuality – See also Continence – Its benefits, Obstacles - Sexuality

It is not so harmful for a householder who follows the path of knowledge to enjoy conjugal happiness with his own wife now and then. He may satisfy his sexual impulse like any other natural impulse. (PR in GSR, 387.)

He who is a hero lives with a woman but does not indulge in physical pleasures. Talk to your wife only about God. (PR in GSR, 966.)

If a man enters the world after realizing God, he does not generally keep up physical relations with his wife. (PR in GSR, 326.)

Householders – They fail to arrive at discrimination

You say that God wants everybody to lead a worldly life. But why don’t you see it as God’s will when your wife and children die? Why don’t you see His will in poverty, when you don’t have a morsel to eat? (PR in GSR, 1013.)

Householders – Advice on how they may see God

Since you are going to lead a householder’s life, create a roseate intoxication in your mind with the thought of God. You will be doing your duties, but let that pleasant intoxication remain with you. You cannot, of course, like Sukadeva, be so inebriated with the thought of God that you will lie naked and unconscious. As long as you have to live in the world, give God the power of attorney. Make over all your responsibilities to Him; let Him do as He likes. Live in the world as a maidservant in a rich man’s house. She bathes her master’s children, washes them, feeds them, and takes affectionate care of them in many ways, as if they were her own children; but in her heart she knows very well that they do not belong to her. No sooner is she dismissed than all is over; she has no more relationship with the children. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1025.)

Householders devoted to God live in the world like a maidservant, who performs her duties for her master but always keeps her mind fixed on her own native village; that is to say, they do their duties in the world keeping their minds on God. Anyone leading a worldly life is sure to come in contact with its dirt; but a householder who is a true devotee of God lives like the mudfish, which, though remaining in mud, is not stained by it. (PR in GSR, 1017.)

The mind cannot dwell on God if it is immersed day and night in worldliness, in worldly duties and responsibilities; it is most necessary to go into solitude now and then and think of God. To fix the mind on God is very difficult, in the beginning, unless one practices meditation in solitude. When a tree is young, it should be fenced all around; otherwise it may be destroyed by cattle. (PR in GSR, 81.)

Do all your duties, but keep your mind on God. Live with all -- with wife and children, father and mother -- and serve them. Treat them as if they were dear to you, but know in your heart of hearts that they do not belong to you. (PR in GSR, 81.)

If you enter the world without first cultivating love for God, you will be entangled more and more. You will be overwhelmed with its danger, its grief, its sorrows. And the more you think of worldly things, the more you will be attached to them. (PR in GSR, 81-2.)

First rub your hands with oil and then break open the jack-fruit; otherwise they will be smeared with its sticky milk. First secure the oil of divine love, and then set your hands to the duties of the world. (PR in GSR, 82.)

One must go into solitude to attain ... divine love. To get butter from milk you must let it set into curd in a secluded spot: if it is too much disturbed, milk won't turn into curd. Next, you must put aside all other duties, sit in a quiet spot, and churn the curd. Only then do you get butter. (PR in GSR, 82.)

There is another way: earnestly praying to God. God is our very own. We should say to Him: “O God, what is Thy nature? Reveal Thyself to me. Thou must show Thyself to me; for why else has Thou created me?” (PR in GSR, 96.)

We should force our demands on God. He is our Father and Mother, isn’t He? If the son demands his patrimony and gives up food and drink in order to enforce his demand, then the parents hand his share over to him three years before the legal time. Or when the child demands some pice from his mother, and says over and over again: “Mother, give me a couple of pice. I beg you on my knees!” – then the mother, seeing his earnestness, and unable to bear it any more, tosses the money to him. (PR in GSR, 96-7.)

Let the boat be in the water, but let there be no water in the boat; let an aspirant live in the world, but let there be no worldliness in him. (PR in TLWG, 189.)

If worldly life is so difficult, then what is the way? The way is constant practice. … An immoral woman goes on performing her household duties, but all the time her mind dwells on her sweetheart. But one needs spiritual discipline to acquire such a state of mind; one should pray to God in solitude every now and then. It is possible to perform worldly duties after obtaining love for God. If you try to break a jackfruit, your hands will be smeared with its sticky juice. But that won’t happen if, beforehand, you rub them with oil. (PR in GSR, 1014.)

Those who have the time must meditate and worship. But those who cannot possibly do so must bow down whole-heartedly to God twice a day. He abides in the hearts of all; He knows that worldly people have many things to do. What else is possible for them? You don’t have time to pray to God; therefore give Him the power of attorney. But all is in vain unless you attain God and see Him. (PR in GSR, 385.)

Householders – Sri Ramakrishna’s prayer to the Mother

Mother, may those who come to You have all their desires fulfilled! But please don’t make them give up everything at once, Mother. Well, You may do whatever You like in the end. If You keep them in the world, Mother, then please reveal Yourself to them now and then. Otherwise, how will they live? How will they be encouraged if they don’t see You once in a while? (PR in GSR, 381.)

Humility

By being lowly one can rise high. (PR in GSR, 204.)

Mere possession of money does not make a nobleman. (PR in GSR, 205.)

Hypocrisy – See Obstacles - Hypocrisy

Image Worship

What is wrong with image worship? … How long do small girls play with their dolls? As long as they are not married and do not live with their husbands. After marriage they pout the dolls away in a box. What further need is there of worshipping the image after the vision of God? (PR in GSR, 337.)

As a custard apple made of pith inspires the thoughts of a true custard apple, similarly the images of gods and goddesses stimnulate thoughts of the real sport of God. God is omnipotent, everything is possible for Him. (PR in FMSR, 129.)

Ignorance

Do you know what ignorance means? It is the feeling: “This is my house; these are my relatives; I am the doer; and the household affairs go on smoothly because I manage them.” But to feel, “I am the servant of God, His devotee, His son” – that is a good attitude. (PR in GSR, 1019.)

Illness

The attributes of matter are superimposed on Spirit, and the attributes of Spirit are superimposed on matter. Therefore when the body is ill a man says, “I am ill.” (PR in GSR, 969.)

Impurities – See Obstacles – Impurities

Incarnations of God – See Avatars

Isvarakotis – See Devotees – Isvarakotis (The Ever-Free)

Japa – See Bhakti Yoga – Repeat His name and sins will disappear

Jesus – See Christ

Jnana Yoga– The Path of Knowledge

The jnani, sticking to the path of knowledge, always reasons about the Reality, saying, “Not this, not this.” Brahman is neither “this” nor “that”; It is neither the universe nor its living beings. Reasoning in this way, the mind becomes steady. Then it disappears and the aspirant goes into samadhi. This is the Knowledge of Brahman. It is the unwavering conviction of the jnani that Brahman alone is real and the world illusory. All these names and forms are illusory, like a dream. What Brahman is cannot be described. One cannot even say that Brahman is a Person. This is the opinion of the jnanis, the followers of Vedanta philosophy. (PR in GSR, 133.)

The jnanis, who adhere to the non-duialistic philosophy of Vedanta, say that the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, the universe itself and all its living beings, are the manifestations of Sakti, the Divine Power. If you reason it out, you will realize that all these are as illusory as a dream. Brahman alone is the Reality, and all else is unreal. Even this very Sakti is unsubstantial, like a dream. But though you reason all your life, unless you are established in samadhi, you cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of Sakti. Even when you say, “I am meditating,” or “I am contemplating,” still you are moving in the realm of Sakti, within its power. (PR in GSR, 134.)

Jnana Yoga– Knowing God through jnana yoga is difficult

To know God through jnana and reasoning is extremely difficult. (PR in GSR, 94.)

According to [Vedantic teachers], one must first practise spiritual discipline: self-restraint, self-control, forbearance, and the like. Their aim is to attain Nirvana. They are followers of Vedanta. They constantly discriminate, saying, “Brahman alone is real, and the world illusory.” But this is an extremely difficult path. If the world is illusory, then you too are illusory. The teacher who gives the instruction is equally illusory. His words, too, are as illusory as a dream. But this experience is beyond the reach of the ordinary man. Do you know what it is like? If you burn camphor, nothing remains. When wood is burnt at least a little ash is left. Finally, after the last analysis, the devotee goes into Samadhi. Then he knows nothing whatsoever of “I,” “you,” or the universe. (PR in GSR, 266.)

Jnana Yoga– Knowledge comes after worldliness goes

An aspirant cannot succeed in this form of spiritual discipline [jnana yoga] if his mind is stained with worldliness even in the slightest degree. The mind must withdraw totally from all objects of form, taste, smell, touch, and sound. Only thus dos it become pure. (PR in GSR, 350.)

One becomes established in samadhi when one is completely rid of worldliness. (PR in GSR, 350.)

Jnana Yoga- Knowledge comes after body-consciousness goes

If a man truly realizes that the body and the world are unreal, then his soul attains samadhi. (PR in GSR, 782.)

Jnana Yoga- Knowledge comes after attachment to the world goes

A man cannot acquire the Knowledge of Brahman unless he completely rids himself of his attachment to the world. (PR in GSR, 307.)

There must be complete renunciation, both inner and outer. You cannot succeed in this path if you have the slightest trace of worldliness. (PR in GSR, 354.)

To the jnanis the waking state is no more real than the dream state. (PR in GSR, 236.)

Jnana Yoga- Knowledge comes after ego goes

It is on account of the ego that one is not able to see God. In front of the door of God's mansion lies the stump of ego. One cannot enter the mansion without jumping over the stump. (GSR, 790.)

As long as God keeps the awareness of “I” in us, so long do sense-objects exist; and we cannot very well speak of the world as a dream. (PR in GSR, 243.)

A man attains [God-Realization] as soon as his mind is annihilated. With the annihilation of the mind dies the ego, which says “I,” “I.” (PR in GSR, 776.)

Is it an easy thing to obtain the Knowledge of Brahman? It is not possible unless the mind is annihilated. (PR in GSR, 776.)

A man attains Brahmajnana as soon as his mind is annihilated. With the annihilation of the mind dies the ego, which says “I,” “I.” (PR in GSR, 776.)

Ignorance lasts as long as one has ego. There can be no liberation as long as the ego remains. “O God, Thou art the Doer and not I” -- that is knowledge. (PR in GSR, 204.)

On account of the barrier of ego one does not see God. (PR in GSR, 630.)

A man achieves neither Knowledge nor liberation as long as he has egotism. He comes back again and again into the world. (PR in GSR, 633.)

A man is able to see God as soon as he gets rid of ego and other limitations. He sees God as soon as he is free of such feelings as “I am a scholar,” “I am the son of such and such a person,” “I am wealthy,” “I am honourable,” and so forth. (PR in GSR, 363.)

The aspirant does not attain the Knowledge of Brahman as long as he is conscious of his ego. The ego comes under one's control after one has obtained the Knowledge of Brahman and seen God. Otherwise the ego cannot be controlled. It is difficult to catch one's own shadow. But when the sun is overhead the shadow is within a few inches of the body. (PR in GSR, 430.)

As long as the slightest trace of ego remains, one lives within the jurisdiction of the Adyashakti [primal power]. One is under Her sway. One cannot go beyond Her. (PR in GSR, 460.)

You may reason a thousand times, but you cannot get rid of the ego. The ego is like a pitcher, and Brahman like the ocean -- an infinite expanse of water on all sides. The pitcher is set in the ocean. The water is both inside and out; the water is everywhere; yet the pitcher remains. ... As long as the ego remains, “you” and “I” remain. ... The ego cannot be got rid of; so let the rascal remain as the servant of God, the devotee of God. (PR in GSR, 708.)

When He completely effaces the ego, then what is remains. That cannot be described by the tongue. (PR in GSR, 801.)

According to the Vedanta one has to know the real nature of one’s own Self. But such knowledge is impossible without the renunciation of the ego. The ego is like a stick that seems to divide the water in two. It makes you feel that you are one and I am another. When the ego disappears in samadhi, then one knows Brahman to be one’s own inner consciousness. (PR in GSR, 387.)

Jnana Yoga– God alone is the Doer – See God- God alone is the Doer of all actions

Jnana Yoga– God alone is the Possessor

O God, to Thee belongs all – body, mind, house, family, living beings, and the universe. All these are Thine. Nothing belongs to me. (PR in GSR, 266.)

Jnana Yoga– The waves belong to the Ganges

It is not good for ordinary people to say, “I am He.” The waves belong to the water. Does the water belong to the waves? (PR in GSR, 248.)

The waves are part of the Ganges, but the Ganges is not part of the waves. (PR in GSR, 812.)

Jnana Yoga– Use knowledge to remove ignorance

This universe is created by the Mahamaya of God. Mahamaya contains both vidyamaya, the illusion of knowledge, and avidyamaya, the illusion of ignorance. Through the help of vidyamaya one cultivates such virtues as the taste for holy company, knowledge, devotion, love, and renunciation. Avidyamaya consists of the five elements and the objects of the five senses – form, flavour, smell, touch, and sound. These make one forget God. (PR in GSR, 216.)

[God created avidya because] that is His play. The glory of light cannot be appreciated without darkness. Happiness cannot be understood without misery. Knowledge of good is possible because of knowledge of evil. Further, the mango grows and ripens on account of the covering skin. You throw away the skin when the mango is fully ripe and ready to be eaten. It is possible for a man to attain gradually to the Knowledge of Brahman because of the covering skin of maya. Maya in its aspects of vidya and avidya may be likened to the skin of then mango. Both are necessary. (PR in GSR, 216.)

If a thorn enters the sole of your foot, you get another thorn to take out the first one. Afterwards you throw both away. Likewise, one procures the thorn of knowledge to remove the thorn of ignorance; then one goes beyond both knowledge and ignorance. (PR in GSR, 716.)

Jnana Yoga– After the attainment of Knowledge, scriptures are superfluous

One should hear the scriptures during the early stages of spiritual discipline. After attaining God there is no lack of knowledge. Then the Divine Mother supplies it without fail. (1) (PR in GSR, 200.)

(1) Jesus also said that the Holy Spirit, which Sri Ramakrishna calls the Divine Mother, would bring all things to remembrance. (John 14:26.)

Jnana Yoga– Eating mangoes or counting the branches

Pasupati: "Sir, what do you think of Theosophy and Spiritualism? Are these true? What do you think of the solar plane, the lunar plane, the stellar plane?" Master: "My dear sir, I don't know about these things. Why bother about them so much? You have come to the orchard to eat mangoes. Enjoy them. What is the use of your calculating how many mango-trees there are, how many millions of branches , how many billions of leaves? ... Once a man's inner spirit is awakened, once he succeeds in knowing God, he doesn't feel the desire even to know all this rubbish." (PR in GSR, 819.)

Jnana Yoga– The futility of reasoning

A man sees a thing in one way through reasoning and in an altogether different way when God Himself shows it to him. (PR in GSR, 346.)

What can you understand through reasoning? You will realize everything when God Himself teaches you. Then you will not lack any knowledge. (PR in GSR, 377.)

Jnanis – The man or woman of Knowledge - See also Realized Souls, Vijnanis, Paramahansas

Compassion, love of God, and renunciation are the glories of true knowledge. (PR in GSR, 101.)

After having the vision of God man is overpowered with bliss. He becomes silent. Who will speak? Who will explain? (PR in GSR, 217.)

Man becomes silent when It is attained. Then the 'I', which may be likened to a salt doll, melts in the Ocean of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute and becomes one with It. Not the slightest trace of distinction is left. (PR in GSR, 148.)

The rishis of old attained the Knowledge of Brahman. One cannot have this so long as there is the slightest trace of worldliness. How hard the rishis laboured! Early in the morning they would go away from the hermitage, and would spend the whole day in solitude, meditating on Brahman. They kept their minds aloof from the objects of sight, hearing, touch, and other things of a worldly nature. Only thus did they realize Brahman as their own inner consciousness. (PR in GSR, 103.)

After the vision of Brahman a man becomes silent. He reasons about It as long as he has not realized It. If you heat butter in a pan on the stove, it makes a sizzling sound as long as the water it contains has not dried up. But when no trace of water is left the clarified butter makes no sound. If you put an uncooked cake of flour in that butter it sizzles again. But after the cake is cooked all sound stops. Just so, a man established in samadhi comes down to the relative plane of consciousness in order to teach others, and then he talks about God. The bee buzzes as long as it is not sitting on a flower. It becomes silent when it begins to sip the honey. But sometimes, intoxicated with the honey, it begins to buzz again [a joking reference to his ecstatic moods perhaps]. (PR in GSR, 103.)

The goldsmith is up and doing while melting god. As long as the gold hasn’t melted, he works the bellows with one hand, moves the fan with the other, and blows through a pipe with his mouth. But the moment the gold melts and is poured into the mould, he is relived off all anxiety. (PR in GSR, 200) A man who has seen God sometimes behaves like a madman: he laughs, weeps, dances, and sings. Sometimes he behaves like a child, a child five years old -- guileless, generous, without vanity, unattached to anything, not under the control of any of the gunas, always blissful. Sometimes he behaves like a ghoul: he doesn't differentiate between things pure and things impure; he sees no difference between things clean and things unclean. And sometimes he is like an inert thing, staring vacantly: he cannot do any work; he cannot strive for anything. (PR in GSR, 265.)

A man who has realized God shows certain characteristics. He becomes like a child or a madman or an inert thing or a ghoul. Further, he is firmly convinced that he is the machine and God is its Operator, that God alone is the Doer and all others are His instruments. (PR in GSR, 245.)

When [the mind] becomes pure, one … realizes: “God alone is the Doer, and I am His instrument.” One does not feel oneself to be absolutely necessary to other either in their misery or in their happiness. (PR in GSR, 350.)

Jnanis – Having attained God, all their worldly desires end

A man gets rid of all desires when he has Perfect Knowledge. He becomes like a child five years of age. (PR in GSR, 346.)

He becomes like a child five years old, not under the control of any of the gunas. (PR in GSR, 347.)

Yes, the jnani gets rid of all desire. If any is left, it does not hurt him. At the touch of the philosopher’s stone the sword is transformed into gold. Then that sword cannot do any killing. Just so, the jnani keeps only a semblance of anger and passion. They are anger and passion only in name and cannot injure him. (PR in GSR, 347.)

After I had experienced samadhi, my mind craved intensely to hear only about God. I would always search for places where they were reciting or explaining the sacred books, such as the Bhagavata, the Mahabharata, and the Adyatma Ramayana. (PR in GSR, 117.)

Jnanis – God can keep a jnani in the world too

God, if he so desires, can keep a jnani in the world too. (PR in GSR, 343.)

After attaining Brahmajnana, one does not have to discriminate, even about food. The rishis of olden times, endowed with the Knowledge of Brahman and having experienced divine bliss, ate everything, even pork. (PR in GSR, 388.)

Jnanis – Reaches the roof of the house – See also The Vijnani

The jnani gives up his identification with worldly things, discriminating, “Not this, not this.” Only then can he realize Brahman. It is like reaching the roof of the house by leaving the steps behind, one by one. (PR in GSR, 103.)

Jnanis – Body usually drops off after 21 days

A man cannot preserve his body after attaining Brahmajnana. The body drops off in twenty-one days. (PR in GSR, 354.)

Those who retain their bodies, even after attaining Brahmajnana, … teach others. Divine Incanrations belong to this class. (PR in GSR, 354.)

Kaliyuga

he fact is that in the Kaliyuga one cannot wholly follow the path laid down in the Vedas. (PR in GSR, 297.)

The path of the Vedas is not meant for the Kaliyuga. The path of the Trantra is efficacious. (PR in GSR, 311.)

It is extremely difficult to perform the rites enjoined in the Vedas. Further, at the present time people lead the lives of slaves. (1) It is said that those who serve others for twelve years or so become slaves. They acquire the traits of those they serve. While serving their masters they acquire the rajas, the tamas, the spirit of violence, the love of luxury, and the other traits of their masters. (PR in GSR, 297.)

(1) A possible reference to the British Raj.

In the Kaliyuga, man, being totally dependent on food for life, cannot altogether shake off the idea that he is the body. In this state of mind it is not proper for him to say, “I am He.” (PR in GSR, 103.)

One should constantly repeat the name of God. The name of God is highly effective in the Kaliyuga. The practice of yoga is not possible in this age, for the life of man depends on food. (PR in GSR, 241.)

It is said that, in the Kaliyuga, if a man can weep for God one day and one night, he sees Him. (PR in GSR, 241.)

In this kali yuga God’s name is the essential thing. Chanting God’s name will bring the results of meditation, worship, and sacrifice. (PR in RAWSH, 53.)

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Bibliography

AG: Chetanananda, Swami. Avadhuta Gita. The Song of the Ever-Free. Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1988.

BG: Prabhavananda, Swami, and Christopher Isherwood, trans. Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944.

BTE: Anon. A Bridge to Eternity. Sri Ramakrishna and His Monastic Order. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1986.

CJD: Prabhavananda, Swami, and Christopher Isherwood. Shankara's Crest-Jewel of Discrimination. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1975; c1947.

EC: Prabhavananda, Swami. The Eternal Companion. Brahmananda. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1970; cl944.

FMSR: Prabhananda, Swami. First Meetings with Sri Ramakrishna. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1987.

GDI: Ramakrishnananda, Swami. God and Divine Incarnations.Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1986.

GSR: Nikhilananda, Swami, trans. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942.

HIN: Nikhilananda, Swami. Hinduism. Its Meaning for the Liberation of the Spirit. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1968.

HTKG: Prabhavananda, Swami and Christopher Isherwood, trans. How to Know God. The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1953.

LBD: Abhedananda, Swami. Life Beyond Death. Calcutta: Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, 1989; c1944.

LSR: Anon. Life of Sri Ramakrishna. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1977; c1924.

RAWSH: Swami Chetanananda, ed. and trans. Ramakrishna as We Saw Him. St Louis: Vedanta Society of St. Louis, 1990.

RVW: Usha, Brahmacharini. A Ramakrishna-Vedanta Wordbook. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1971; c1962.

SDGS:Swami Vividishanananda. The Saga of a Great Soul. (Glimpses into the life and work of Maharpurush Maharaj, Swami Shivananda, a great disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1986.

SRBP: Smaranananda, Swami. Sri Ramakrishna. A Biography in Pictures. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1981.

SRGM: Saradananda, Swami. Sri Ramakrishna, the Great Master. Madras, Sri Ramakrishna Math, 2 vols, 1979-83.

ST: Ritajananda, Swami. Swami Turiyananda. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1973.

TLG: Swami Chetanananda. They Lived with God. St. Louis: Vedanta Society of St. Louis, 1989.

UPAN: Prabhavananda, Swami and Frederick Manchester, trans. The Upanishads. Breath of the Eternal. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1957; c1948.

VIV: Nikhilananda, Swami, trans. Vivekananda: The Yogas and Other Works. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1953.

VSR: Yogeshananda, Swami. The Visions of Sri Ramakrishna.Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1980.

WSEW: Ghanananda, Swami and Sir John Stewart-Wallace, editorial advisers. Women Saints East and West. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1955.

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