Selections from the Teachings of
Sri Ramakrishna - 2




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For first half of Sri Ramakrishna's Teachings, go here

Contents

Karma – Sin begets its own result
Karma – We must exhaust our prarabdha karma
Karma - God can lessen the effects of karma
Karma Yoga
Karma Yoga – See God as the Doer
Karma Yoga – Work without selfish motive
Karma Yoga – Spend money for a noble cause, rather than accumulating
Karma Yoga – Daya vs. maya
Karma Yoga – Gift of knowledge and devotion superior to gift of food
Karma Yoga – First realize God
Karma Yoga – Karma yoga vs. bhakti yoga
Knowledge – See Jnana Yoga, Perfect Knowledge
Kumbhaka – See Enlightenment - Kumbhaka
Kundalini – Chakra system
Kundalini – Its awakening is the beginning of spiritual consciousness
Kundalini – The lower three centres
Kundalini – Anahata, Fourth, or Heart Chakra
Kundalini – Vassudha, Fifth, or Throat Chakra
Kundalini – Ajna, Sixth, or Brow Chakra
Kundalini – Sahasrara, Seventh, or Crown Chakra
Kundalini – Its modes of traveling up the spine
Law, Divine – God never humiliates a righteous being
Longing
Longing – When does it arise?
Longing – Yearn for God with a sincere heart
Longing – Signs that God-Realization is not far off
Longing – The worldly man’s longing is momentary
Lust and Greed – See Obstacles – Lust and Greed
Mahabhava – Sri Ramakrishna manifested all nineteen emotions
Mantras
Maya – See Obstacles – Maya
Meditation
Meditation - How to meditate
Meditation – Where shall we meditate?
Meditation – When shall we meditate?
Meditation – How shall we meditate?
Meditation – Jnanic meditation
Mind – Bondage and liberation are of the mind only
Moderation – See Obstacles – Excess
Money
Monks – See Sannyasis
Mother, Divine – Her nature – See also Hindu Trinity
Mother, Divine – She alone binds and releases from bondage – See also Enlightenment – How many succeed in seeing God?
Mother, Divine – It is God alone who has become Her
Mother, Divine – She is the Primal Energy, Movement
Mother, Divine – She has created this world and pervades it; again She destroys it
Mother, Divine – Microcosm and macrocosm rest in Her
Mother, Divine – Source of the gunas
Mother, Divine – Source of vidya and avidya
Mother, Divine – No word of blasphemy may be spoken against her
Mother, Divine – Accept Her existence
Mother, Divine – She guards the door to the formless God
Mother, Divine – Is worship of Her easy or difficult?
Mother, Divine – Rely on Her entirely
Mother, Divine – When She appears
Mother, Divine – Enlightenment comes when She withdraws Her veil
Name and Fame – What can be accomplished through them?
Name of God – See Chanting the Name of God, God – God and His name are identical
Non-dualism – Grace of God needed to realize illusoriness of world
Non-injury (ahimsa)
Obstacles – Maya
Obstacles – Maya – Composed of vidya and avidya
Obstacles – Maya – Maya is nothing but egotism
Obstacles – Upadhis
Obstacles – Eight fetters
Obstacles – Egotism and vanity – Wash it away with tears of devotion - See also Jnana Yoga - Knowledge comes after the ego goes
Obstacles – Excess
Obstacles – Desires and attachments
Obstacles – Desire for name and fame
Obstacles – Impurities
Obstacles – Lust and greed
Obstacles – Lust
Obstacles – Greed
Obstacles – Sexuality – See also Continence – Its benefits, Householders - Sexuality
Obstacles – Worry and anxiety
Obstacles – Shrewdness
Obstacles – Anger
Obstacles – Narrow-mindedness
Obstacles – Hypocrisy
Obstacles – Fault-finding
Obstacles – Sin
Om – The Pranava or Sound Brahman
Om – The Sound Brahman Creating, Preserving and Destroying
Paramahansas – See also Vijnanis
Paramahansas – Total renunciation
Paramahansas – Beyond the gunas
Paramahansas – The state of a Paramahamsa
Paramahansas – Sees that the opposites all proceed from God
Paramahansa – Generally refrains from activity
Paths – The journey is long
Paths – Paths are many; God is one
Paths – Love, knowledge, and their combination
Paths – Righteousness and wickedness
Peace – Where you find peace is the end
Perfect Knowledge
Personal God – Brahman is Sakthi
Personal God – Krishna is Brahman
Personal God – Leads to Impersonal God
Power of Attorney – See Surrender to God – Give God your power of attorney
Prayer
Prayer – What we should pray for
Prayer – Make your demands of God
Preacher
Pundits – See Scholarship – Pundits
Purity – A prerequisite for enlightenment
Purity – Necessary for Vision of God
Purpose of Creation
Purpose of Life
Purpose of Life – Life is a Lila or Divine Play
Radha
Ramakrishna, Sri – Defining Spiritual Experiences – Early age
Ramakrishna, Sri – Defining Spiritual Experiences – Early Experiences of the Divine Mother
Ramakrishna, Sri – Defining Spiritual Experiences – Period of God-Intoxication
Ramakrishna, Sri – Defining spiritual experiences – Nirvikalpa samadhi
Ramakrishna, Sri – Defining spiritual experiences - Attainment of vijnana
Ramakrishna, Sri – Taught by inner guru, the sannyasin; no inherent need for outer Gurus
Ramakrishna, Sri – Outward signs and manifestations
Ramakrishna, Sri – Paths travelled to enlightenment
Ramakrishna, Sri – His visions of God
Ramakrishna, Sri – Details of his process while seeing visions
Ramakrishna, Sri – Not all visions can be communicated
Ramakrishna, Sri – Other things he holds back
Ramakrishna, Sri – Visions do not make him vain
Ramakrishna, Sri – Remain in Bhavamukha
Ramakrishna, Sri – Synoptic descriptions of his character
Ramakrishna, Sri – Thinks only of God
Ramakrishna, Sri – Attitude of a child to its Mother
Ramakrishna, Sri – Two states of mind
Ramakrishna, Sri – Samadhis and Ecstacies
Ramakrishna, Sri – His discrimination and renunciation
Ramakrishna, Sri – Asks for bhakti rather than jnana
Ramakrishna, Sri – God speaks and acts through him
Ramakrishna, Sri – How he works
Ramakrishna, Sri – Awakens spirituality
Ramakrishna, Sri – Bestows or promises illumination
Ramakrishna, Sri – His assurance to devotees
Ramakrishna, Sri – Timing of spread of his message
Ramakrishna, Sri – Future predictions
Ramakrishna, Sri – Summaries of his philosophy
Ramakrishna, Sri – Derivation of name
Ramakrishna, Sri – Marriage to Sarada Devi
Ramakrishna, Sri – Learning and education
Ramakrishna, Sri – Source of his homely metaphors and unfailing wisdom
Ramakrishna, Sri – Repetitiveness
Ramakrishna, Sri – Mode of dress
Ramakrishna, Sri – Yearning for devotees
Ramakrishna, Sri – Ways of sizing them up
Ramakrishna, Sri – Meetings with
Ramakrishna, Sri – First impressions of him
Ramakrishna, Sri – Backstage glimpses
Ramakrishna, Sri – Arm injury
Ramakrishna, Sri – Throat cancer – Its meaning
Ramakrishna, Sri – Throat cancer - Impact on his teaching
Ramakrishna, Sri – Throat cancer – Sri Ramakrishna experiences no pain
Ramakrishna, Sri – Throat cancer – Attempts made to have him ask the Mother for remission
Ramakrishna, Sri – Survives death
Ramakrishna, Sri – My experiences are for others to refer to
Ramakrishna, Sri – Hides his attainment and identity
Ramakrishna, Sri – Intimations that he is an Avatar
Ramakrishna, Sri – Indications that He is an Avatar - Incarnation of Rama
Ramakrishna, Sri – Indications that He is an Avatar - Incarnation of Chaitanya, Nityananda, and Advaita
Ramakrishna, Sri – Others’ estimations of Him
Ramakrishna, Sri – The mechanics of his Incarnation
Ramakrishna, Sri – His constitutional sensitivity
Ramakrishna, Sri – His humility
Ramakrishna, Sri – His love
Ramakrishna, Sri – His compassion
Ramakrishna, Sri – Wishes fulfilled
Ramakrishna, Sri – Psychic powers
Ramakrishna, Sri – Miracles
Ramakrishna, Sri – Why he salutes everyone
Ramakrishna, Sri – Eating habits
Ramakrishna Order
Realized Souls – See also Classifications of Individuals, Jnanis, Vijnanis, Paramahansas
Reincarnation
Religion
Religions – In India
Religions – Everyone feels that only his own religion is true
Religions – God provides different forms of worship
Religions – All paths lead to God – See Paths – All paths lead to God
Renunciation
Renunciation – Not for everyone
Renunciation – What need we renounce?
Retirement
Rituals – Don’t go to excess
Rituals – Only necessary in the beginning
Rituals – When the need to perform them ceases
Rituals – God makes up for deficiencies in worship
Sadhakas – See Classifications of Individuals
Sadhana – See Spiritual Discipline
Sages – Three classes – See Classifications of Individuals
Samadhi
Samadhi – There are many kinds
Samadhi – Unmana samadhi
Samadhi – Worldly people may experience it briefly
Sannyasis
Sannyasis - The character of a true renunciate
Sannyasis – Beware of lust
Sannyasis – Total renunciation appropriate
Scholarship
Scholarship - Pundits
Schools of Thought – Vedanta and Puranas
Self – Identified with body
Selfless Service (Karma Yoga)
Sexuality – See Obstacles – Sexuality, Continence – Its benefits
Sin – See Obstacles - Sin
Solitude – See Householders – Spend some time in solitude
The Soul – Individual and Supreme
The Spiritually-Awakened – See also Bound Souls, The Fully-Awakened, The Jnani, and The Vijnani
Spiritual Discipline
Spiritual Discipline – Some effort is required
Spiritual Discipline – The ever-free need not exert themselves
Spiritual Discipline – Practice rather than beg
Spiritual Discipline - Always remember God
Spiritual Discipline – Ways of remembering God
Spiritual Discipline – The less people know of your spiritual life the better
Spiritual Discipline – As the aspirant progresses, activities lessen
Spiritual Practice – Stages
Spiritualism – Impact of mediumship
Spirituality - Signs
Suffering
Supernatural Powers (Siddhis)
Surrender to God – Give God your power of attorney
Surrender to God – Cling to His Lotus Feet
Tantra
Teachers
Truth – Adherence to truth leads to God
Turn from the world to God
Universe – As above so below; as without, so within
Upadhis – See Obstacles – Upadhis
Vedanta – Their essence
Vijnana – What is vijnana? (A state higher then Brahmajnana) – See also Knowledge and The Jnani
Vijnana – See Enlightenment – Vijnana
Vijnanis – See also Jnanis, Paramahansas
Vision of God – Characteristics
Visions of God – Seen when the kundalini reaches the seventh chakra
Visions of God – Seen with special organs
Visions of God– Effect of seeing it
Visions of God – Their reality
Visions of God – Visions of the Divine Mother
Virtue and Vice – See Dualities – Virtue and vice
Vivekananda, Swami
Vivekananda, Swami – Sri Ramakrishna’s charge to him
Vivekananda, Swami – Sri Ramakrishna’s instructions
Vivekananda, Swami – Sri Ramakrishna transmits power
The West
“Woman and Gold” – The meaning of the term
Wicked Souls
Women
Women – Must discriminate
Women – Men should not hate women
Word, Keeping one’s
Work or Action (Karma)
The World - It is impermanent
The World – Real as long as the “I” exists
Worldliness – The craving of the worldly is endless
Worldliness – The mind soaked in worldliness
The World’s Creation
The World’s Dissolution
Worldly Talk
Worldly people – No interest in God
Worship – Selfish worship gradually transforms
Yoga – Hatha Yoga vs. Raja Yoga
Yoga – The yogi’s sadhana
Yoga – The yogi’s nature
Yoga – Yogamaya or union
Yoga – The yogi does not come back after union
Yogis – Types – See Classifications of Individuals - Typologies



Karma – Sin begets its own result

Man reaps the harvest of his own actions. (PR in GSR, 208.)

Man must reap the fruit of his own karma. (PR in GSR, 237.)

Good produces good, and bad produces bad. (PR in GSR, 250.)

Sin begets its own result. This is God's law. Won’t you burn your tongue if you chew a chilli? In his youth Mathur led a rather fast life; so he suffered from various diseases before his death. (PR in GSR, 97.)

Everyone must reap the result of his past karma. One must admit the influence of tendencies inherited from past births and the result of prarabdha karma. (PR in GSR, 275.)

If you commit a sin, you must bear its fruit. But one who attained perfection, realized God, cannot commit sin. An expert singer cannot sing a false note. A man with a trained voice sings the notes correctly. (PR in GSR, 369.)

All actions drop away of themselves [when one achieves divine love]. The fruit of action does not touch him. (PR in GSR, 251.)

When a man merges himself in God, he can no longer retain wicked or sinful tendencies. (PR in GSR, 252.)

Karma – We must exhaust our prarabdha karma

One must reap the result of the prarabdha karma. The body remains as long as the results of past actions do not completely wear away. Once a blind man bathed in the Ganges and as a result was freed from all sins. But his blindness remained all the same. (All laugh.)

It was because of his evil deeds in his past birth that he had to undergo that affliction. (PR in GSR, 276.)

Karma - God can lessen the effects of karma

The effect of karma wears away if one takes refuge in God. (PR in GSR, 817.)

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

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.)

Karma Yoga

Through selfless work, love of God grows in the heart. Then, through His grace, one realizes Him in the course of time. (PR in GSR, 109.)

Some persons must perform selfless work for a long time before they can practise dispassion and direct their minds to the spiritual idea and at last be absorbed in God. (PR in GSR, 267.)

Don’t go out of your way to look for [good] works. Undertake only those works that present themselves to you and are of pressing necessity – and those also in a spirit of detachment. (PR in GSR, 142.)

People who carry to excess the giving of alms, or the distributing of food among the poor, fall victims to the desire of acquiring name and fame. (PR in GSR, 142.)

It is not good to become involved in many activities. That makes one forget God. (PR in GSR, 142.)

Work is only a means to the realization of God. (PR in GSR, 143.)

It will be very good if you can do all these things in a spirit of detachment. But that is very difficult. Whatever you may do, you must always remember that the aim of this life of yours is the attainment of God and not the building of hospitals and dispensaries. Suppose God appeared before you and said to you, “Accept a boon from me.” Would you then ask him, “O God, build me some hospitals and dispensaries”? Or would you not rather pray to him: “O God, may I have pure love at your Lotus Feet! May I have your uninterrupted vision!” Hospitals, dispensaries, and all such things are unreal. Furthermore, after realizing God one feels that he alone is the doer and we are but his instrument. Then why should we forget him and destroy ourselves by being involved in too many activities? After realizing him, one may, through his grace, become his instrument in building many hospitals and dispensaries. (PR to Shambhu Charan Mallick, in TLWG, 75.)

Karma Yoga – See God as the Doer

Oh, you have written those teachings? Very good. Listen, if you think that you have written them you will get very little response from others; but if you think that the Lord is working through you then it will be in great demand. (PR to Ram Chandra Datta, in TLWG, 89.)

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.)

Karma Yoga – Work without selfish motive

But work without any selfish motive is good. It does not create any worry. But it is very difficult to be totally unselfish. We may think that our work is selfless, but selfishness comes, unknown to us, from no one knows where. But if a man has undergone great spiritual discipline, then as a result of it he may be able to do work without any selfish motive. After the vision of God a man can easily do unselfish work. In most cases action drops away after the attainment of God. (PR in GSR, 314.)

Karma Yoga – Spend money for a noble cause, rather than accumulating

If a man has money, he should give it to remove the sorrows and sufferings that come to his notice. (PR in GSR, 379.)

Ram [Chandra Datta] … had heard the Master cautioning the devotees about money: Just as water under a bridge is constantly flowing and as a result never becomes stagnant and foul, so also the money earned by a real devotee should be spent for a noble cause rather than be accumulated. The desire for accumulation breeds the poison of attachment. Ram, therefore, did not save his earnings, but spent money freely for the good of others, especially for the poor, the needy, and the afflicted. He helped many students financially, even to the extent of providing free board and lodging in his own home. (TLWG, 86.)

Karma Yoga – Daya vs. maya

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.)

Daya springs from sattva. (PR in GSR, 267.)

Karma Yoga – Gift of knowledge and devotion superior to gift of food

The gift of knowledge and devotion is far superior to the gift of food. Therefore Chaitanyadeva distributed bhakti to all, including the outcaste. (PR in GSR, 379.)

Karma Yoga – First realize God

First realize God, see Him by means of spiritual discipline. If He imparts power, then you can do good to others; otherwise not. (PR in GSR, 142.)

Work is only a means to the realization of God. (PR in GSR, 143.)

Karma Yoga – Karma yoga vs. bhakti yoga

I said to Sambhu [Mallick], “Suppose God appears before you; then will you ask Him to build hospitals and dispensaries for you?” A Lover of God never says that. He will rather say: “O Lord, give me a place at Thy Lotus Feet. Keep me always in Thy company. Give me sincere and pure love for Thee.” (PR in GSR, 143.)

Karmayoga is very hard indeed. … Nowadays man’s life is centred on food alone. … In the Kaliyuga the best way is bhaktiyoga, the path of devotion – singing the praises of the Lord, and prayer. The path of devotion alone is the religion for this age. (PR in GSR, 143.)

Knowledge – See Jnana Yoga, Perfect Knowledge

Kumbhaka – See Enlightenment - Kumbhaka

Kundalini – Chakra system

Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna are the three principal nerves. All the lotuses are located in the Sushumna. They are formed of Consciousness, like a tree made of wax – the branches, twigs, fruits, and so forth all of wax. The Kundalini lies in the lotus of the Muladhara. That lotus has four petals. The Primordial Energy resides in all bodies as the Kundalini. She is like a sleeping snake coiled up. (PR in GSR, 362-3.)

There is much similarity between the seven “planes” described in the Vedanta and the six “centres” of Yoga. The first three planes of the Vedas may be compared to the first three Yogic centres, namely, Muladhara, Svadisthana, and Manipura. With ordinary people the mind dwells in these three planes, at the organs of evacuation and generation and at the navel. (PR in GSR, 245.)

Do you know what the six centres are like? They are the “lotuses” in the subtle body. The yogis see them. They are like the fruits and leaves of a wax tree. (PR in GSR, 352.)

Kundalini – Its awakening is the beginning of spiritual consciousness

A man's spiritual consciousness is not awakened unless his Kundalini is aroused. The Kundalini dwells in the Muladhara. (1) When it is aroused, it passes along the Sushumna nerve, goes through the centres of Svadhisthana, Manipura, (2) and so on, and at last reaches the head. (PR in GSR, 830.)

(1) Or first chakra.
(2) Second and third chakras.

The Kundalini is speedily awakened if one follows the path of bhakti. God cannot be seen unless She is awakened. Sing earnestly and secretly in solitude. (PR in GSR, 363.)

One's spiritual consciousness is not awakened by the mere reading of books. One should also pray to God. The Kundalini is aroused if the aspirant feels restless for God. To talk of Knowledge from mere study and hearsay! What will that accomplish? (PR in GSR, 830.)

After great effort and spiritual practice the Kundalini is awakened. According to the yogis there are three nerves in the spinal coilumn: Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. Along the Sushumna are six lotuses, or centres, the lowest being known as the Muladhara. Then come successively Svadisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha, and Ajna. These are the six centres. The Kundalini, when awakened, passes through the lower centres and comes to the Anahata, which is at the heart. It stays there. At that time the mind of the aspirant is withdrawn from the three lower centres. He feels the awakening of Divine Consciousness and sees Light. In mute wonder he sees that radiance and cries out: “What is this? What is this?” (PR in GSR, 499.)

The awakening of the Kundalini is the beginning of spiritual consciousness, and its union with Siva in the Sahasrara, ending in samadhi [absorption in God], is the consummation. (Swami Nikhilananda in GSR, 22.)

Kundalini – The lower three centres

The mind of a worldly man generally moves among the three lower centres: those at the navel, at the sexual organ, and at the organ of evacuation. (PR in GSR, 499.)

The first three planes of the Vedas may be compared to the first three Yogic centres, namely, Muladhara, Svadhisthana, and Manipura. With ordinary people the mind dwells in these three planes, at the organs of evacuation and generation and at the navel. (PR in GSR, 245.)

Kundalini – Anahata, Fourth, or Heart Chakra

The Kundalini, when awakened, passes through the lower centres and comes to the Anahata, which is at the heart. It stays there. At that time the mind of the aspirant is withdrawn from the three lower centres. He feels the awakening of Divine Consciousness and sees Light. In mute wonder he sees that radiance and cries out: “What is this? What is this?” (PR in GSR, 499.)

When the mind ascends to the fourth plane, the centre designated in Yoga as Anahata, it sees the individual soul as a flame. (1) Besides, it sees light. At this the aspirant cries: “Ah! What is this?” (PR in GSR, 245.)

(1) The Self, Christ, or Atman. Cf. John Ruusbroec: “It is Christ, the light of truth, who says, "See," and it is through him that we are able to see, for he is the light of the Father, without which there is no light in heaven or on earth. … This is the Son of God, in whom a person becomes able to see and to contemplate eternal life. (John Ruusbroec in JR, 74 and 147.)

Kundalini – Vassudha, Fifth, or Throat Chakra

The centre known as Visuddha is the fifth plane. This centre is at the throat and has a lotus with sixteen petals. When the Kundalini reaches this plane, the devotee longs to talk and hear only about God. Conversation in worldly subjects, on [lust and greed], causes him great pain. He leaves a place where people talk of these matters. (PR in GSR, 499.)

When the mind rises to the fifth plane, the aspirant wants to hear only about God. This is the Visuddha centre of Yoga. The sixth plane and the centre known by the yogi as Ajna are one and the same. When the mind rises there, the aspirant sees God. But still there is a barrier between God and the devotee. It is like the barrier of glass in a lantern, which keeps one from touching the light. (PR in GSR, 245.)

This is known as the vision of Satchidananda, the Formless Brahman. The Kundalini, rising above the Visuddha chakra, enables one to see everything as akasa. (PR in GSR, 263.)

Kundalini – Ajna, Sixth, or Brow Chakra

The sixth plane and the centre known by the yogi as Ajna are one and the same. When the mind rises there, the aspirant sees God. But still there is a barrier between God and the devotee. It is like the barrier of glass in a lantern, which keeps one from touching the light. (PR in GSR, 245.)

Then comes the sixth plane, corresponding to the centre known as Ajna. This centre is located between the eyebrows and it has a lotus with two petals. When the Kundalini reaches it, the aspirant sees the form of God. But still there remains a slight barrier between the devotee and God. It is like a light inside a lantern. You may think you have touched the light, but in reality you cannot because of the barrier of glass. (PR in GSR, 499-500.)

Kundalini – Sahasrara, Seventh, or Crown Chakra

After passing the six centres the aspirant arrives at the seventh plane. ... The individual soul and the Supreme Soul become one. The aspirant goes into samadhi. His consciousness of the body disappears. He loses the knowledge of the outer world. He does not see the manifold any more. His reasoning comes to a stop. (PR in GSR, 245.)

The king dwells in the inmost room of the palace, which has seven gates. The visitor comes to the first gate. There he sees a lordly person with a large retinue, surrounded on all sides by pomp and grandeur. The visitor asks his companion, “Is he the king?” “No,” says his friend with a smile.

At the second and the other gates, he repeats the same question to his friend. He finds that the nearer he comes to the inmost part of the palace, the greater is the glory, pomp, and grandeur. When he passes the seventh gate he does not ask his companion whether it is the king; he stands speechless at the king's immeasurable glory. He realizes that he is face to face with the king. He hasn't the slightest doubt about it. (PR in GSR, 836.)

And last of all is the seventh plane, which, according to Tantra, is the centre of the thousand-petalled lotus. When the Kundalini arrives there, the aspirant goes into samadhi. In that lotus dwells Satchidananda Siva, the Absolute. There Kundalini, the awakened Power, unites with Siva. This is known as the union of Siva and Sakti. (PR in GSR, 500.)

After passing through the six centres, the jiva goes beyond the realm of maya and becomes united with the Supreme Soul. This is the vision of God. (PR in GSR, 243.)

Kundalini – Its modes of traveling up the spine

Sometimes I feel the rising of the spiritual current inside me, as though it were the creeping of an ant. Sometimes it feels like the movement of a monkey jumping from one branch to another. Again, sometimes it feels like a fish swimming in water. Only he who experiences it knows what it is like. (PR in GSR, 237.)

Like the slow creeping of an ant, the Mahavayu rises from centre to centre. When it reaches the Sahasrara one goes into samadhi. One feels the rising of the Great Energy, as though it were the movement of an ant. (PR in GSR, 950.)

Law, Divine – God never humiliates a righteous being

This is the law of God, that He never humiliates a righteous person. Such a man is victorious everywhere. (PR in TLWG, 181.)

Longing

What is the use of going to Benares if one does not feel restless for God? And if one feels that longing, then this very place is Benares.

They make so many pilgrimages and repeat the name of God so much, but why do they not realize anything? It is because they have no longing for God. God reveals Himself to the devotee if only he calls upon Him with a longing heart. (PR in GSR, 306.)

One attains God when one feels yearning for Him. An intense restlessness is needed. Through it the whole mind goes to God. (PR in GSR, 337.)

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.)

Longing – When does it arise?

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.)

A man does not feel restless for God until all his worldly desires are satisfied. He does not remember the Mother of the Universe until his share of the enjoyment of “woman and gold” is completed. A child absorbed in play does not seek his mother. But after his play is over, he says, “Mother! I must go to my mother.” (PR in GSR, 385.)

You will feel restless for God when your heart becomes pure and your mind free from attachment to the things of the world. (PR in GSR, 375.)

It is God who makes him restless for spiritual life. … When that restlessness comes, man longs for God. (PR in GSR, 225.)

The fact is that one does not feel the longing to know or see God as long as one enjoys worldly objects. The child forgets everything when he plays with his toys. Try to cajole him away from play with a sweetmeat; you will not succeed. He will eat only a bit of it. When he relishes neither the sweetmeat nor his play, then he says, “I want to go to my mother.” He doesn’t care for the sweetmeat any more. If a man whom he doesn’t know and has never seen says to the child, “Come along; I shall take you to your mother,” the child follows him. The child will go with anyone who will carry him to his mother.

The soul becomes restless for God when one is through with the enjoyment of worldly things. Then a person has only one thought – how to realize God. He listens to whatever anyone says to him about God. (PR in GSR, 272.)

Longing – Yearn for God with a sincere heart

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.)

One's spiritual consciousness is not awakened by the mere reading of books. One should also pray to God. The Kundalini is aroused if the aspirant feels restless for God. To talk of Knowledge from mere study and hearsay! What will that accomplish? (PR in GSR, 830.)

Who really wants God – who wants to realize Him? Everyone is moving about with the idea that God cannot be comprehended. If a man who sincerely craves for God, cries with the prayer, “Please bless me with Your vision,” God will surely appear before him. (PR in FMSR, 131.)

Cry to the Lord with an intensely yearning heart and you will certainly see Him. People shed a whole jug of tears for wife and children. They swim in tears for money. But who weeps for God? (PR in GSR, 83.)

One must be restless for God. If a son clamours persistently for his share of the property, his parents consult with each other and give it to him even though he is a minor. God will certainly listen to your prayers if you feel restless for Him. Since He has begotten us, surely we can claim our inheritance from Him. He is our own Father, our own Mother. (PR in GSR, 384.)

One must childlike faith – and the intense yearning that a child feels to see its mother. That yearning is like the red sky in the east at dawn. After such a sky the sun must rise. Immediately after that yearning one sees God. (PR in GSR, 337-8.)

Longing is like the rosy dawn. After the dawn out comes the sun. Longing is followed by the vision of God. (PR in GSR, 83.)

God reveals Himself to a devotee who feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions: the attraction of worldly possessions for the worldly man, the child’s attraction for its mother, and the husband’s attraction for the chaste wife. If one feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions, then through it one can attain Him. (PR in GSR, 83.)

Love God even as the mother loves the child, the chaste wife her husband, and the worldly man his wealth. Add together these three forces of love, these three powers of attraction, and give it all to God. Then you will certainly see Him. (PR in GSR, 83.)

It is necessary to pray to Him with a longing heart. The kitten knows only how to call its mother, crying “Mew, mew!” It remains satisfied wherever its mother puts it. And the mother cat puts the kitten sometimes in the kitchen, sometimes on the floor, and sometimes on the bed. When it suffers it cries only, “Mew, mew!” That’s all it knows. But as soon as the mother hears this cry, wherever she may be, she comes to the kitten. (PR in GSR, 83.)

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 FMSR, 83.)

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.)

One should weep for God. When the impurities of the mind are thus washed away, one realizes God. The mind is like a needle covered with mud, and God is like a magnet. The needle cannot be united with the magnet unless it is free from mud. Tears wash away the mud, which is nothing but lust, anger, greed, and other evil tendencies, and the inclination to worldly enjoyments as well. As soon as the mud is washed away, the magnet attracts the needle, that is to say, man realizes God. (PR in GSR, 98.)

He who from the depth of his soul seeks to know God will certainly realize Him. He must. He alone who is restless for God and seeks nothing but Him will certainly realize Him. (PR in GSR, 777.)

God cannot be seen without yearning of heart, and this yearning is impossible unless one has finished with the experiences of life. Those who live surrounded by “woman and gold,” (1) and have not yet come to the end of their experiences, do not yearn for God. (PR in GSR, 1011.)

(1) Lust and greed or money and sex. To women he might say “men and gold.” Cf. PR in GSR, 64.)

One should cry for God … like a child. That is what it means to be restless for God. One doesn’t enjoy play or food any longer. After one’s experiences of the world are over, one feels this restlessness and weeps for God. (PR in GSR, 1011.)

One must become mad with love in order to realize God. (1) ... 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.)

(1) Ramakrishna is remarking on the intensity of one's feelings rather than on the insanity of one's actions.

Longing – Signs that God-Realization is not far off

The man in whom longing for God manifests its glories is not far from attaining Him. What are the glories of that longing? They are discrimination, dispassion, compassion for living beings, serving holy men, loving their company, chanting the name and glories of God, telling the truth, and the like. When you see those signs of longing in an aspirant, you can rightly say that for him the vision of God is not far to seek. (PR in GSR, 202-3.)

Longing – The worldly man’s longing is momentary

The worldly man's yearning for God is momentary. It lasts as along as a drop of water in a red-hot frying pan. (PR in GSR, 220.)

[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.)

Lust and Greed – See Obstacles – Lust and Greed

Mahabhava – Sri Ramakrishna manifested all nineteen emotions

The manifestation in the same individual of the nineteen different kinds of emotion for God is called, in the books of bhakti, mahabhava. An ordinary man takes a whole lifetime to express even a single one of these. But in this body [meaning himself] there has been a complete manifestation of all nineteen. (PR in GSR, 25.)

My son, who calls you a mad man? These are not symptoms of madness. You are passing through the rare spiritual experience known as mahabhava, which explains your present state of body and mind. … The devotional scriptures have recorded two instances of such experience, namely, those of Sri Radha and Sri Chaitanya. (Bhairavi Brahmani in (PR IN FMSR, 10.)

Mahabhava is a divine ecstacy; it shakes the body and mind to their very foundation. It is like a huge elephant entering a small hut. The house shakes to its foundations. Perhaps it falls to pieces. (PR in GSR, 747.)

Mantras

In this Kali Yuga a Gopala mantram [a name of Baby Krishna] or a Kali mantram produces quick results. (PR in TLWG, 143.)

Maya – See Obstacles – Maya

Meditation

One cannot meditate unless God wills it. One can meditate when God makes it possible for one to do so. (PR in GSR, 280.)

Meditation - How to meditate

To meditate, you should withdraw within yourself or retire to a secluded corner or to the forest. (PR in GSR, 81.)

Meditation – Where shall we meditate?

One can meditate [in the heart] or in the Sahasrara. ... You may meditate wherever you like. Every place is filled with Brahman-Consciousness. (PR in GSR, 403.)

In the Sahasrara, Siva manifests Himself in a special manner. The aspirant should meditate on Him. The body is like a tray; the mind and buddhi are like water. The Sun of Satchidananda is reflected in this water. Meditating on the reflected sun ones sees the Real Sun through the grace of God. (PR in GSR, 344.)

Meditation – When shall we meditate?

It is good to meditate in the small hours of the morning and at dawn. One should also meditate daily after dusk. (PR in GSR, 258.)

Meditation – How shall we meditate?

In meditation one must be absorbed in God. By merely floating on the surface of the water, can you reach the gems lying at the bottom of the sea? (PR in GSR, 124.)

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. But it is very difficult to achieve perfection in this form of meditation.

But it is easy to meditate on an Incarnation – God born as man. 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.)

By meditating on God with form one speedily acquires devotion; then one can meditate on the formless God. It is like throwing a letter away, after learning its contents, and then setting out to follow its instructions. (PR in GSR, 353.)

Meditation – Jnanic meditation

Nangta (1) used to tell me how a jnanis meditates: Everywhere is water; all the regions above and below are filled with water; man, like a fish, is swimming joyously in that water. In real meditation you will actually see all this. (PR in GSR, 915.)

(1) Nangta means “the naked one” and refers to Sri Ramakrishna’s Vedantic guru, Totapuri.

Look at the fish. Meditating on the formless God is like swimming joyfully like these fish, in the Ocean of Bliss and Consciousness. (PR in GSR, 256.)

Mind – Bondage and liberation are of the mind only

It is all a question of the mind. Bondage and liberation are of the mind alone. The mind will take the colour you dye it with. It is like white clothes just returned from the laundry. If you dip them in red dye, they will be red. If you dip them in blue or green, they will be blue or green. They will take only the colour you dip them in, whatever it may be. … If you are in bad company, then you will talk and think like your companions. On the other hand, when you are in the company of devotees, you will think and talk only of God. (PR in GSR, 138.)

Bondage is of the mind, and freedom is also of the mind. A man is free if he constantly thinks: “I am a free soul. How can I be bound, whether I live in the world or the forest? I am a child of God, the King of Kings. Who can bind me?” ….by repeating with grit and determination, “I am not bound. I am free,” one really becomes so – one really becomes free.” (PR in GSR, 138.)

The wretch who constantly says, “I am bound, I am bound,” only succeeds in being bound. He who says day and night, “I am a sinner. I am a sinner” verily becomes a sinner. (PR in GSR, 138.)

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.)

Moderation – See Obstacles – Excess

Money

Many people regard money as their life-blood. But however you may show love for money, one day, perhaps, every bit of it will slip from your hand. ... They alone make good use of their money who spend it for the worship of God or the service of holy men and devotees. Their money bears fruit. (PR in GSR, 958.)

Some people pride themselves on their riches and power – their wealth, honour, and social position. But these are only transitory. Nothing will remain with you at death. (PR in GSR, 316.)

But it isn’t good to have [too] much money. I find that Jadu Mallick is drowned in worldliness. It is because he has too much money. (PR in GSR, 362.)

Money enables a man to get food and drink, build a house, worship the Deity, sever devotees and holy men, and help the poor when he happens to meet them. Money is not meant for luxuries or creature comforts or for buying a position in society. (PR in GSR, 285.)

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.)

Shall I tell you the truth? Man loves his own riches, and so he thinks that God loves His, too. He thinks that God will be pleased if we glorify His riches. … What riches can you offer God? To Him these are mere dust and straw. (PR in GSR, 321.)

Can you ever bring God under control through wealth? He can be tamed only through love. What does He want? Certainly not wealth! He wants from His devotees love, devotion, feeling, discrimination, and renunciation. (PR in GSR, 322.)

Master: Do you feel attracted to money and treasures?

M: No, sir. But I think of earning money in order to be free from anxiety, to be able to think of God without worry.

Master: Oh, that’s perfectly natural. (PR to Mahendanath Gupta, in GSR, 300.)

One must not be proud of one’s money. If you say that you are rich, then one can remind you that there are richer men than you, and others richer still, and so on. At dusk the glow-worm comes out and thinks that it lights the whole world. But its pride is crushed when the stars appear in the sky. They stars feel that they give light to the earth. But when the moon rises the stars fade in shame. The moon feels that the world smiles at its light and that it lights the earth. Then the eastern horizon becomes red, and the sun rises. The moon fades and after a while is not longer seen.

If wealthy people would think that way, they would get rid of their pride in their wealth. (PR in GSR, 316-7.)

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.)

Monks – See Sannyasis

Mother, Divine – Her nature – See also Hindu Trinity

Whatever we see or think about is the manifestation of the glory of the Primordial Energy, the Primal Consciousness. Creation, preservation, and destruction, living beings and the universe, and further, meditation and the meditator, bhakti and prema – all these are manifestations of the glory of that Power. (PR in GSR, 290.)

Wherever you see actions, like creation, preservation, and dissolution, there is the manifestation of Sakti. (PR in GSR, 277.)

She is full of bliss. (PR in GSR, 136.)

She is the Mother of the Universe. It is She who creates and preserves the world, who always protects Her children, and who grants whatever they desire: dharma, artha, kama, moksha. A true son cannot live away from his mother. The mother knows everything. The child only eats, drinks, and makes merry; he doesn’t worry himself about the things of the world. (PR in GSR, 312.)

You see [the Divine Mother] as black because you are far away from Her. The water of a lake appears black from a distance. Go near and take the water in your hand, and you will see that it has no colour at all. Similarly, the sky looks blue from a distance. But look at the atmosphere near you; it has no colour. The nearer you come to God, the more you will realize that He has neither name nor form. If you move away from the Divine Mother, you will find Her blue like the grass-flower. Is Syama male or female? A man once saw the image of the Divine Mother wearing a sacred thread. He said to the worshipper: “What? You have put the sacred thread on the Mother’s neck!” The worshipper said: “Brother, I see that you have truly known the Mother. But I have not yet been able to find out whether She is male or female; that is why I have put the sacred thread on Her image.” (PR in GSR, 271.)

Who but Siva has beheld Her as She really is? (PR in GSR, 106.)

Mother, Divine – She alone binds and releases from bondage – See also Enlightenment – How many succeed in seeing God?

By Her maya worldly people become entangled in “woman and gold,” and again, through Her grace they attain their liberation. She is called the Saviour, and the Remover of the bondage that binds the world. (PR in GSR, 136.)

Mother, Divine – It is God alone who has become Her

God Himself is Mahamaya. (PR in GSR, 116.)

O Mother, Thou art verily Brahman, and Thou art verily Sakti. Thou art Purusha (1) and Thou art Prakriti. (2) ... Thou art the Absolute, and Thou dost manifest Thyself as the Relative. (PR in GSR, 123.)

(1) The Supreme Person; i.e., Brahman.
(2) Prakriti = Procreatrix = Creator, Nature.

Mother, Divine – She is the Primal Energy, Movement

The Divine Mother [is] the Primal Energy. (PR in GSR, 116.)

The Divine Mother [is] the Cosmic Power itself. (PR in GSR, 116.)

The Primordial Power is ever at play. She is creating, preserving, and destroying in play, as it were. (PR in GSR, 134.)

Mother, Divine – She has created this world and pervades it; again She destroys it

After the creation the Primal Power dwells in the universe itself. She brings forth this phenomenal world and then pervades it. In the Vedas creation is likened to the spider and its web. The spider brings the web out of itself and then remains in it. God is the container of the universe and also what is contained in it. (PR in GSR, 135.)

After the destruction of the universe, at the end of a great cycle, the Divine Mother garners the seeds for the next creation. She is like the elderly mistress of the house, who has a hotchpotch-pot in which she keeps different articles for household use. (PR in GSR, 135.)

After the destruction of the universe, my Divine Mother, the Embodiment of Brahman, gathers together the seeds for the next creation. (PR in GSR, 135.)

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.)

Mother, Divine – Microcosm and macrocosm rest in Her

The macrocosm and the microcosm rest in the Mother's womb; Now do you see how vast it is? (PR in GSR, 106.)

Mother, Divine – Source of the gunas

You [to Haladhari] say Mother is Tamasic. Is that so! Mother is all – She has become the three gunas and again she is pure sattvaguna. (After Haladhari had called Kali a tamasic deity, in VSR, 22.)

Mother, Divine – Source of vidya and avidya

Sakti alone is the root of the universe. That Primal Energy has two aspects: vidya (1) and avidya. (2) Avidya deludes. Avidya conjures up [lust and greed], which casts the spell. Vidya begets devotion, kindness, wisdom, and love, which lead one to God. (PR in GSR, 116.)

(1) Knowledge of the Real.
(2) Ignorance of the Real.

Mother, Divine – No word of blasphemy may be spoken against her

Let him say to me whatever he wants. Has he said anything to the person who is within me? I hope he has not said those abusive words to my blissful Mother. (1) (PR when told a bohemian disciple had said abusive words about him, in RAWSH, 170.)

(1) Cf. Jesus’ statement regarding the Holy Ghost, the Christian term for the Divine Mother:

All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (Jesus in Matthew 12:31-2.)

Mother, Divine – Accept Her existence

You should accept the Divine Mother, the Primal Energy. Brahman is not different from Its Sakti. What is Brahman is also Sakti. (PR in GSR, 269.)

Mother, Divine – She guards the door to the formless God

One must propitiate the Divine Mother, The Primal Energy, in order to obtain God’s grace. God Himself is Mahamaya, who deludes the world with Her illusion and conjures up the magic of creation, preservation, and destruction. She has spread this veil of ignorance before our eyes. We can go into the inner chamber only when She lets us pass through the door. Living outside, we see only outer objects, but not that Eternal Being, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. (PR in GSR, 116.)

Mother, Divine – Is worship of Her easy or difficult?

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

One acquires love and devotion quickly by calling on God as Mother. (PR in GSR, 1017.)

The worship of Sakti is extremely difficult. It is no joke. I passed two years as the handmaid and companion of the Divine Mother. (PR in GSR, 116.)

Mother, Divine – Rely on Her entirely

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.)

If someone relies on the Mother and depends entirely on Her he will have nothing to fear, he will have no problem at all. (PR in FMSR, 152-3.)

Mother, Divine – When She appears

The Divine Mother, Jagaddhatri, reveals Herself in the heart of one who can control the mind, which may be compared to an elephant. (PR in GSR, 270.)

Mother, Divine – Enlightenment comes when She withdraws Her veil

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.” (PR in GSR, 290.)

Name and Fame – What can be accomplished through them?

What will you achieve through mere public lectures? The vulture undoubtedly soars high, but its eyes are fixed on the charnel-pit. The rocket undoubtedly shoots up into the sky, but the next moment it falls to the ground. (PR in GSR, 1017.)

Why do you write about me in your paper? You cannot make a man great by writing about him in books and magazines. If God makes a man great, then everybody knows about him even though he lives in a forest. When flowers bloom in the deep woods, the bees find them, but the flies do not. What can man do? Don’t look up to him. Man is but a worm. The tongue that praises you today will abuse you tomorrow. I don’t want name and fame. May I always remain the humblest of the humble and the lowliest of the lowly. (PR in GSR, 1020.)

I only eat and drink and sing God’s name. I know nothing of crowds [that Keshab Chandra Sen predicts will come to Dakshineswar]. … I am the dust of the dust of everybody’s feet. If anyone is gracious enough to come here, he is welcome. (PR in GSR, 1010.)

Now overlook all desires for name and fame and plunge headlong into spiritual disciplines. Never rest content until the realization of God has become an accomplished fact. (PR in RAWSH, 172.)

Name of God – See Chanting the Name of God, God – God and His name are identical

Non-dualism – Grace of God needed to realize illusoriness of world

It is not so easy … to realize the illusoriness of the world. Study alone does not help one very much. The grace of God is required. Mere personal effort is futile. A man is a tiny creature after all, with very limited powers. But he can achieve the impossible if he prays to God for His grace. (PR to Harinath, later Swami Turiyananda, in GSR, 62.)

Non-injury (ahimsa)

A man living in society should make a show of tamas to protect himself from evil-minded people. But he should not harm anybody in anticipation of harm likely to be done to him. (PR in GSR, 85.)

You must hiss at wicked people. You must frighten them lest they should do you harm. But never inject your venom into them. One must not injure others. (PR in GSR, 86.)

Obstacles – Maya

Man dwells in the realm of maya. Maya does not permit him to see God. It has made him a victim of ignorance. (PR in GSR, 269.)

One cannot see God unless maya steps aside from the door. Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita were walking together. Sita walked in the middle, and Lakshmana followed them. But Lakshmana could not see Rama because Sita was between them. In like manner, man cannot see God because maya is between them. (To Mani Mallick) But maya steps aside from the door when God shows His grace to the devotee. When the visitor stands before the door, the door-keeper says to the master, “Sir, command us, and we shall let him pass.” (PR in GSR, 243.)

On account of Maya, Satchidananda is not seen. Though now and then one may get a glimpse of It, again Maya covers It. (PR in GSR, 831.)

Maya won’t allow us to know the will of God. On account of God’s maya the unreal appears as real. The world is unreal. This moment it exists and the next it disappears. But on account of His maya it seems to be real. It is only through his maya that the ego seems to be the doer. Furthermore, on account of this maya a man regards his wife and children, his brother and sister, his father and mother, his house and property, as his very own. (PR in GSR, 1013.)

As long as you live inside the house of maya, as long as there exists the cloud of maya, you do not see the effect of the Sun of Knowledge. Come outside the house of maya, ... and then the Sun of Knowledge will destroy ignorance. (PR in GSR, 583.)

If maya is once recognized, it feels ashamed of itself and takes to flight. A man put on a tiger skin and tried to frighten another man. But the latter said: “Ah, I recognize you! You are our Hare.” At that the man dressed in the skin went away smiling to frighten someone else. (PR in GSR, 336.)

Obstacles – Maya – Composed of vidya and avidya

It is maya that deludes. Only a few become spiritually awakened and are not deluded by the spell of maya. (PR in GSR, 206.)

Through ignorance man forgets God and speaks always of “I” and “mine.” He sinks down and down, entangled in maya, deluded by “woman and gold.” Maya robs him of his knowledge to such an extent that he cannot find the way of escape, though such a way exists. (PR in GSR, 325.)

There are two aspects of maya: vidya and avidya. Avidya deludes one with worldliness, and vidya – wisdom, devotion, and the company of holy men – leads one to God.

He who has gone beyond maya, through the grace of God, views alike both vidya and avidya. Worldly life is a life of enjoyment. After all, what is there to enjoy in “woman and gold’? As soon as a sweetmeat has gone down the throat, one doesn’t remember whether it tasted sweet or sour. (PR in GSR, 1014.)

Obstacles – Maya – Maya is nothing but egotism

Maya is nothing but the egotism of the embodied soul. This egotism has covered everything like a veil. “All troubles come to an end when the ego dies.” ... This maya, that is to say, the ego, is like a cloud. The sun cannot be seen on account of a thin patch of cloud; when that disappears one sees the sun. If by the grace of the guru one's ego vanishes, then one sees God. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 168-9.)

Obstacles – Upadhis

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.)

The more you rid yourself of upadhis, the nearer you will feel the presence of God. Rain water never collects on a high mound; it collects only in low land. Similarly, the water of God’s grace cannot remain on the high mound of egotism. Before God one should feel lowly and poor. (PR in GSR, 1010.)

Can’t you sleep without your fish-basket? Once a fishwife was a guest in a gardener’s house. She was asked to sleep in a room full of flowers. But she couldn’t get any sleep there. (All laugh.)

She was restless and began to fidget about. The gardener called to her: “Hello, there! Why aren’t you asleep?” “Oh, I don’t know,” said the fishwife. “There are flowers here. The smell keeps me awake. Can’t you bring me my fish-basket?” She sprinkled a little water in the basket, and when she smelled the fish she fell asleep. (All laugh heartily.) (PR in GSR, 1011.)

Obstacles – Eight fetters

Surrender yourself completely to God, and set aside all such things as fear and shame. Give up such feelings as, “What will people think of me if I dance in the ecstacy of God’s holy name?” The saying, “One cannot have the vision of God as along as one has these three – shame, hatred, and fear,” is very true. Shame, hatred, fear, caste, pride, secretiveness, and the like are so many bonds. Man is free when he is liberated from all these. (PR in GSR, 315.)

One does not succeed [in achieving Self-Knowledge or Union] as long as one has these three: shame, hatred, and fear. (PR in GSR, 131.)

Obstacles – Egotism and vanity – Wash it away with tears of devotion - See also Jnana Yoga - Knowledge comes after the ego goes

Who, then, is a devotee? He whose mind dwells on God. But this is not possible as long as one has egotism and vanity. The water of God's grace cannot collect on the high mound of egotism. It runs down. (PR in GSR, 111.)

All our suffering is due to this 'I'. (PR in GSR, 105.)

'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.)

Level the mound of “I” to the ground by dissolving it with tears of devotion. (PR in GSR, 385.)

Really and truly I have no pride – no, not even the slightest bit. (PR in GSR, 261.)

Upon my words, I don’t feel vanity even in the slightest degree. (PR in GSR, 260.)

It is futile to be egotistic. ... You may be a judge or anybody else, but it is all for two days only. Therefore you should give up vanity and pride. (PR in GSR, 630.)

One should be extremely careful. Even clothes create vanity. I notice that even a man suffering from an enlarged spleen sings Nidhu Babu’s light songs when he is dressed up in a black-bordered cloth. There are men who spout English whenever they put on high boots. And when an unfit person puts on an ochre robe he becomes vain; the slightest sign of indifference to him arouses his anger and pique. (PR in GSR, 1010-11.)

You are a deputy magistrate. Remember that you have obtained your position through the grace of God. Do not forget Him, but remember that all men must one day walk down the same path. We stay in the world only a couple of days. (PR in GSR, 209.)

Obstacles – Excess

Don’t eat too much, and give up this craze for outer cleanliness. People with a craze do not attain Knowledge. Follow conventions only as much as necessary. Don’t go to excess. (PR to Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 360.)

Obstacles – Desires and attachments

When bound by ties one is jiva, and when free from ties one is Siva. (PR in GSR, 315.)

One attains this state immediately after freeing oneself of all grief and desire. (PR in GSR, 357.)

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.)

So long as a man has even the slightest desire, he must be born again and again. When he gets rid of all desires, then he is liberated. (PR in GSR, 940.)

A man can realize his Inner Self through sincere prayer. But to the extent that he has the desire to enjoy worldly objects, his vision of the Self becomes obstructed. (PR in GSR, 256.)

The roof can be reached only when all desires are done away with. The shopkeeper does not go to bed before finishing his accounts. He goes to sleep only when his accounts are finished. (PR in GSR, 272.)

You have seen peasants bringing water to the sugarcane fields. The fields have ridges on all sides tom prevent the water from leaking out, but those are made of mud and often have holes here and there. The peasants work tremendously hard to draw water along the drains but it leaks out through the holes and doesn’t reach the destination. Desires are like the holes. Your practise of austerities and your calling on God practically go in vain, for the holes of your desires sap them up. Minds freed from worldly desires naturally look towards God. Faith and devotion to God will find the way out of the bush. (PR in FMSR, 113.)

Obstacles – Desire for name and fame

People who carry to excess the giving of alms, or the distributing of food among the poor, fall victims to the desire of acquiring name and fame. (PR in GSR, 142.)

Obstacles – Impurities

One should be careful about anger, passion, and greed. (PR in GSR, 97.)

Don’t you know that when one thinks of God one should be freed from all ties? From our very birth we have the eight fetters of hatred, shame, lineage, pride of good conduct, fear, secretiveness, caste and grief. The sacred thread reminds me that I am a Brahmin and therefore superior to all. When calling on the Mother one has to set aside all such ideas. (PR in GSR, to Hriday, explaining why he lays aside the sacred thread when meditating on the Mother, 13.)

Direct the six passions to God. The impulse of lust should be turned into the desire to have intercourse with Atman. Feel angry at those who stand in your way to God. Feel greedy for Him. If you must have the feeling of I and mine, the associate it with God. Say, for instance, “My Rama, my Krishna.” If you must have pride, then feel like Bibhishana, who said, “I have touched the feet of Rama with my head; I will not bow this head before anyone else.” (PR in GSR, 220.)

One should weep for God. When the impurities of the mind are thus washed away, one realizes God. The mind is like a needle covered with mud, and God is like a magnet. The needle cannot be united with the magnet unless it is free from mud. Tears wash away the mud, which is nothing but lust, anger, greed, and other evil tendencies, and the inclination to worldly enjoyments as well. As soon as the mud is washed away, the magnet attracts the needle, that is to say, man realizes God. (PR in GSR, 98.)

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 his passions? (PR in GSR, 97.)

Obstacles – Lust and greed

The two obstacles to spiritual life are “woman” and “gold.” (PR in GSR, 247.)

Maya is nothing but woman and gold [i.e., lust and greed]. A man living in its midst gradually loses his spiritual alertness. He thinks all is well with him. The scavenger carries a tub of night-soil on his head, and in course of time loses his repulsion to it. (PR in GSR, 131.)

Pray to God, “O God, keep my mind away from ‘woman and gold.’” (PR in GSR, 292.)

Maya is nothing but “woman” and “gold.” A man attains yoga when he has freed his mind from these two. The Self – the Supreme Self – is the magnet; the individual self is the needle. The individual self experiences the state of yoga when it is attracted by the Supreme Self to Itself. But the magnet cannot attract the needle if the needle is covered with clay; it can draw the needle only when the clay is removed. The clay of “woman” and “gold” must be removed. … Weep for God with a longing heart. Tears shed for Him will wash away the clay. (PR in GSR, 343-4.)

Some are born with the characteristics of the yogi; but they too should be careful. It is “woman and gold” alone that is the obstacle; it makes them deviate from the path of yoga and drags them into worldliness. Perhaps they have some desire for enjoyment. After fulfilling their desire, they again direct their minds to God and thus recover their former state of mind, fit for the practice of yoga. (PR in GSR, 112.)

“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.)

The term “woman and gold”, which has been used throughout in a collective sense, occurs again and again in the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna to designate the chief impediments to spiritual progress. This favourite expression of the Master, “kaminikanchan”, has often been misconstrued. By it he meant only “lust and greed”, the baneful influence of which retards the aspirant’s spiritual growth. He used the word “kamini”, or “woman”, as a concrete term for the sex instinct when addressing his man devotees. He advised women, on the other hand, to shun “man”. “Kanchan”, or “gold”, symbolized greed, which is the other obstacle to spiritual life.

Sri Ramakrishna never taught his disciples to hate any woman, or womankind in general. This can be seen clearly by going through all his teachings under this head and judging them collectively. The Master looked on all women as so many images of the Divine Mother of the Universe. He paid the highest homage to womankind by accepting a woman as his guide while practising the very profound spiritual disciplines of Tantra. His wife, known and revered as the Holy Mother, was his constant companion and first disciple. At the end of his spiritual practice he literally worshipped his wife as the embodiment of the Goddess Kali, the Divine Mother. After his passing away, the Holy Mother became the spiritual guide not only of a large number of householders, but also of many monastic members of the Ramakrishna Order. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 82.)

The mind becomes very much distracted if one lives long in the midst of “woman and gold.” Therefore one must be very careful. (PR in GSR, 210.)

Many rice merchants place parched rice at the front entrance to keep rats from entering the storeroom. As soon as the rats come, they eat the parched rice instead of the bags of rice inside. The rats do not even smell the rice in the storerooms. In the same way, the Divine Mother has kept man deluded with many tempting things – lust and gold. Man cannot go beyond them and get to the rice bags – i.e., God. This world is like a labyrinth. Once one enters it, one finds it difficult to get out. With human birth there comes an opportunity to escape. But of what avail is it? Man forgets all, busying himself with things pertaining to the senses. (PR in RAWSH, 205.)

A man who has tasted even a drop of God’s ecstatic love looks on “woman and gold” as most insignificant. He who has tasted syrup made from sugar candy regards a drink made from treacle as a mere trifle. One gradually obtains that love for God if one but prays to Him with a yearning heart and always chants His name and glories. (PR in GSR, 341.)

One cannot obtain the Knowledge of Brahman unless one is extremely cautious about women. (1) Therefore it is very difficult for those who live in the world to get such Knowledge. However clever you may be, you will stain your body if you live in a sooty room. The company of a young woman evokes lust even in a lustless man.

But 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. Yes, you may enjoy a sweetmeat once in a while. (Mahimacharan laughs.) It is not so harmful for a householder.

But it is extremely harmful for a sannyasi. He must not look even at the portrait of a woman. … A sannyasi must not sit near a woman and talk to her, even if she is intensely pious. No, he must not talk to a woman even though he may have controlled his passion.

A sannyasi must renounce both “woman and gold.” As he must not look even at the portrait of a woman, so also he must not touch gold, that is to say, money. It is bad for him even to keep money near him, for it brings in its train calculation, worry, insolence, anger, and such evils. …

Why all these strict rules for a sannyasi? It is for the welfare of mankind as well as for his own good. A sannyasi may himself lead an unattached life and may have controlled his passion, but he must renounce “woman and gold” to set an example to the world.

A man will have the courage to practise renunciation if he sees one hundred per cent renunciation in a sannyasi. Then only will he try to give up “woman and gold.” If a sannyasi does not set this example, then who will? (PR in GSR, 387.)

(1) That is, sex. If Sri Ramakrishna were talking to a woman, he would in all likelihood have said “men.”

Obstacles – Lust

Attachment to “woman” diverts one from the way leading to God. Man doesn’t know what it is that causes his downfall. …Women keep men deluded. Captain says, “My wife is full of wisdom.” The man possessed by a ghost does not realize it. He says, “Why, I am all right!” (PR in GSR, 247.)

Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? You have children, and still you enjoy intercourse with your wife. Don’t you hate yourself for thus leading an animal life? Don’t you hate yourself for dallying with a body which contains only blood, phlegm, filth and excreta? He who contemplates the Lotus Feet of God looks on even the most beautiful woman as mere ash from the cremation ground. To enjoy a body which will not last and which consists of such impure ingredients as intestines, bile, flesh and bone! Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? (PR to Mahendranath Gupta, in GSR 341.)

In that state [i.e,. of perfection] a devotee has not the slightest trace of lust. (PR in GSR, 377.)

Obstacles – Greed

Some people pride themselves on their riches and power – their wealth, honour, and social position. But these are only transitory. Nothing will remain with you at death. (PR in GSR, 316.)

One must not be proud of one’s money. If you say that you are rich, then one can remind you that there are richer men than you, and others richer still, and so on. At dusk the glow-worm comes out and thinks that it lights the whole world. But its pride is crushed when the stars appear in the sky. They stars feel that they give light to the earth. But when the moon rises the stars fade in shame. The moon feels that the world smiles at its light and that it lights the earth. Then the eastern horizon becomes red, and the sun rises. The moon fades and after a while is not longer seen.

If wealthy people would think that way, they would get rid of their pride in their wealthy. (PR in GSR, 316-7.)

Obstacles – Sexuality – See also Continence – Its benefits, Householders - Sexuality

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.)

If a man enjoys the Bliss of God, he doesn't enjoy the world. Having tasted divine bliss, he finds the world insipid. ... Can worldly pleasures and sex pleasures be compared to the bliss of God? If a man once tastes that bliss, he runs after it ever afterwards. It matters very little to him then whether the world remains or disappears. (PR in GSR, 756-7.)

Almost all have been caught in the snare of sex attraction. Only a few have been saved by the Divine Mother. (PR in RAWSH, 199.)

Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? You have children, and still you enjoy intercourse with your wife. Don’t you hate yourself for thus leading an animal life? Don’t you hate yourself for dallying with a body which contains only blood, phlegm, filth and excreta? He who contemplates the Lotus Feet of God looks on even the most beautiful woman as mere ash from the cremation ground. To enjoy a body which will not last and which consists of such impure ingredients as intestines, bile, flesh and bone! (PR to Mahendranath Gupta, in GSR 341.)

Obstacles – Worry and anxiety

A kite swooped down and snatched a fish. At the sight of the fish, about a thousand crowds chased the kite and made a great noise with their cawing. … As the kite began to fly about in confusion, lo, the fish dropped from its mouth. The crows at once let the kite alone and flew after the fish. Thus relived of its worries, the kite sat on a branch of a tree and thought: “That wretched fish was at the root of all my troubles. I have now got rid of it and therefore I am at peace.”

The Avadhuta learnt this lesson from the kite, that as long as a man has the fish, that is, worldly desires, he must perform actions and consequently suffer from worry, anxiety, and restlessness. No sooner does he renounce these desires than his activities fall away and he enjoys peace of soul. (PR in GSR, 314.)

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.)

My nature is that of a kitten. It only cries, “Mew, mew!” The rest it leaves to its mother. The mother cat puts the kitten sometimes in the kitchen and sometimes on the master’s bed. The young child wants only his mother. He doesn’t know how wealthy his mother is, and he doesn’t even want to know. He knows only, “I have a mother; why should I worry?” Even the child of the maidservant knows that he has a mother. If he quarrels with the son of the master, he says: “I shall tell my mother. I have a mother.” My attitude, too, is that of a child. (PR in GSR, 299.)

Obstacles – Shrewdness

You are a shrewd man. You do a thing after much calculation. You are like the Brahmin who selects a cow that eats very little, supplies plenty of dung, and gives much milk. … I now understand your nature. It is half warm and half cold. You are devoted to God and also to the world. (PR in GSR, 264.)

Obstacles – Anger

It is not lust alone that one should be afraid of in the life of the world. There is also anger. Anger arises when obstacles are placed in the way of desire. (PR in GSR, 247.)

A worldly man should hiss, but he shouldn’t pour out his venom. He mustn’t actually injure others. But he should make a show of anger to protect himself from his enemies. Otherwise they will injure him. But a sannyasi need not even hiss. (PR in GSR, 247.)

Obstacles – Narrow-mindedness

It is not enough to believe that all is possible in God’s creation. Never allow the thought to cross your mind that your ideas aree the only true ones, and that those of othersa re false. Then God will explain everything. (PR in GSR, 259.)

Obstacles – Hypocrisy

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.)

The trees suck water through their roots, unperceived. Likewise, some people show a religious nature outwardly but secretly enjoy lustful things. Don’t be a hypocrite. (PR in RAWSH, 36.)

Make your mind and speech one and you will attain everything. Do not limit … [spiritual practice] to restraining the senses. Many other excellent qualities will be reflected in your life. (PR in RAWSH, 171.)

Obstacles – Fault-finding

Don’t find fault with anyone, not even an insect. As you pray to God for devotion, so also pray that you may not find fault with anyone. (PR in FMSR, 117.)

Obstacles – Sin

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. (PR in GSR, 220.)

You see, sin flies away when love of God grows in a man’s heart, even as the water of the reservoir dug in a meadow dries up under the heat of the sun. But 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.)

Sins are like a mountain of cotton. Even as a tiny spark of fire can reduce to ashes the mountain-high cotton, so does a little of divine grace [reduce] heaps of sin. (Swami Shivananda quoting Sri Ramakrishna in SGS, 55.)

God favours those who cry for Him. Tears thus shed wash away the sins of former births. (Swami Shivananda quoting Sri Ramakrishna, SGS, 8.)

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.)

Om – The Pranava or Sound Brahman

The sound Om is Brahman. The rishis and sages practised austerity to realize that Sound-Brahman. After attaining perfection one hears the sound of this eternal word rising spontaneously from the navel. (PR in GSR, 404.)

[Sri Ramakrishna's] ears ... were bringing him nothing but Brahman in those days. Om, the pranava -- the “unstruck sound” - he heard going on continuously everywhere in the universe. (VSR, 41.)

One attains the Absolute by going beyond the universe and its created beings conjured up by maya. By passing beyond the Nada (1) one goes into samadhi. By repeating “Om” one goes beyond the Nada and attains samadhi. (PR in GSR, 263.)

(1) The Word-Brahman or Om.

Om – The Sound Brahman Creating, Preserving and Destroying

I give the illustration of the sound of a gong: “tom,” t-o-m. It is the merging of the Lila (1) in the Nitya: (2) the gross, the subtle, and the causal merge in the Great Cause; waking, dream, and deep sleep merge in Turiya. (3) The striking of the gong is like the falling of a heavy weight into a big ocean. Waves begin to rise: the Relative rises from the Absolute; the causal, subtle, and gross bodies appear out of the Great Cause; from Turiya emerge the states of deep sleep, dream, and waking. These waves arising from the Great Ocean merge again in the Great Ocean. From the Absolute to the Relative, and from the Relative to the Absolute. Therefore I give the illustration of the gong's sound, “tom.” I have clearly perceived all these things. It has been revealed to me that there exists an ocean of Consciousness without limit. From It come all things of the relative plane, and in It they merge again. Millions of Brahmandas (4) rise in that Chidakasa (5) and merge in It again. All this has been revealed to me. (PR in GSR, 653.)

(1) Impermanent, temporal, or relative plane.
(2) Permanent, eternal, or absolute plane.
(3) The fourth state beyond waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep: Brahman.
(4) Worlds. Literally, "eggs of Brahma," the creator. Brahma is a personification of the Mother's power of creation.
(5) Absolute consciousness.

Paramahansas – See also Vijnanis

Who may be called a paramahamsa? He who, like a swan, can take the milk from a mixture of milk and water, leaving aside the water. He who, like an ant, can take the sugar from a mixture of sugar and sand, leaving aside the sand. (PR in GSR, 370.)

Paramahansas – Total renunciation

Paramahansas may not lay things up. (PR in GSR, 250.)

Paramahansas – Beyond the gunas

A Paramahamsa is beyond the three gunas. Though they exist in him, yet they are practically non-existent. Like a child, he is not under the control of any of the gunas. That is why Paramahamsa allow small children to come near them – in order to assume their nature. (PR in GSR, 250.)

Paramahansas – The state of a Paramahamsa

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.)

Attainment of Chaitanya, Divine Consciousness, is not possible without the knowledge of Advaita, Non-Duality. After realizing Chaitanya one enjoys Nityananda, Eternal Bliss. One enjoys this bliss after attaining the state of a Paramahamsa. (PR in GSR, 308.)

I saw the paramahamsa who stayed under the banyan tree walking thus with just such a smile [as I have now]. Am I too in that state of mind? (PR in GSR, 357.)

The paramahamsa is but a child. (PR in GSR, 357.)

No sooner did the Master hear the words “the yogis who have attained samesightedness” than he stood up and went into samadhi…. Speechless, the devotees looked at this yogi who had himself attained the state of samesightedness. (PR in GSR, 388.)

Paramahansas – Sees that the opposites all proceed from God

A Paramahamsa sees that it is God who gives us evil tendencies as well as good tendencies. Haven’t you noticed that there are both sweet and bitter fruits? … The Paramahamsa realizes that all these – good and bad, virtue and vice, real and unreal – are only the glories of God’s maya. But these are very deep thoughts. One realizing this cannot keep an organization together or anything like that. (PR in GSR, 250.)

Paramahansa – Generally refrains from activity

In the case of a paramahamsa, like Sukadeva, all karmas – all puja, japa, tarpan, sandhya, and so forth – drop away. In this state a man communes with God through the mind alone. Sometimes he may be pleased to perform outward activities for the welfare of mankind. But his recollection and contemplation of God remain uninterrupted. (PR in GSR, 388.)

Paths – The journey is long

The further one advances in one direction, the more the opposite recedes. That is to say, as soon as you walk ten feet towards the east, you leave behind your present position by the same distance. (PR in FMSR, 131.)

Paths – Paths are many; God is one

As many faiths, so many paths. (PR in RAWSH, 15.)

If people feel sincere longing, they will find that all paths lead to God. (PR in GSR, 222.)

If a man prays to Thee with a yearning heart, he can reach Thee, through Thy grace, by any path. (PR in GSR, 93.)

The believers in the formless God and the worshippers of God with form are all, without exception, going towards God alone. The jnani, the yogi, the bhakta – all, without exception, are seeking Him alone. The follower of the path of knowledge calls Him “Brahman.” The yogi calls Him “Atman” or “Paramatman.” The bhakta calls Him “Bhagavan.” (PR in GSR, 374.)

He who is called Brahman by the jnanis is known as Atman by the yogis and as Bhagavan by the bhaktas. The same brahmin is called priest, when worshipping in the temple, and cook, when preparing a meal in the kitchen. (PR in GSR, 133.)

I had to practise each religion for a time -- Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Furthermore, I followed the paths of the Saktas, Vaishnavas, and Vedantists. I realized that there is only one God toward whom all are travelling; but the paths are different. (PR in GSR, 129.)

God can be realized through all paths. It is like your coming to Dakshineswar by carriage, by boat, by steamer, or on foot. You have chosen the way according to your convenience and taste; but the destination is the same. Some of you have arrived earlier than others; but all have arrived. (PR in GSR, 1010.)

One may have … single-minded devotion to one’s own religion; but one should not on that account hate other faiths. On the contrary, one should have a friendly attitude toward them. (PR in GSR, 223.)

All religions and all paths call upon their followers to pray to one and the same God. Therefore one should not show disrespect to any religion or religious opinion. (PR in GSR, 306.)

The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole. (PR in GSR, 111.)

Every religion has errors. Everyone thinks that his watch alone gives the correct time. It is enough to have yearning for God. It is enough to love Him and feel attracted to Him. Don’t you know that God is the Inner Guide. He sees the longing of our heart and the yearning of our soul. Suppose a man has several sons. The older boys address him distinctly as “Baba” or “Papa,” but the babies can at best call him “Ba” or Pa.” Now will the father be angry with those who address him in this indistinct way? The father knows that they too are calling him, only they cannot pronounce his name well. All children are the same to the father. Likewise, the devotees call on God alone, though by different names. They call on one Person only. God is one, but His names are many. (PR in GSR, 112.)

I have practiced all religions – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity – and I have also followed the paths of the different Hindu sects. I have found that it is the same God toward whom all are directing their steps, though along different paths. You must try all beliefs and traverse all the different ways once. Wherever I look, I see men quarrelling in the name of religion – Hindus, Mohammedans, Brahmos, Vaishnavas, and the rest. But they never reflect that He who is called Krishna is also called Siva, and bears the name of the Primal Energy, Jesus, and Allah as well – the same Rama with a thousand names. A lake has several ghats. At one, the Hindus take water in pitchers and call it “jal”; at another the Mussalmans take water in leather bags and call it “pani.” At a third the Christians call it “water,” Can we imagine that it is not “jal,” but only “pani” or “water’? How ridiculous! The substance is One under different names, and everyone is seeking the same substance; only climate, temperament, and name create differences. Let each man follow his own path. If he sincerely and ardently wishes to know God, peace be unto him! He will surely realize Him. (PR in GSR, 35.)

God is everybody’s Beloved, just as the moon is dear to every child. Everyone has the same right to pray to Him. Out of His grace He reveals Himself to all who call upon Him. (PR in GSR, 37.)

The worshippers of Vishnu and the worshippers of Sakti will all ultimately reach one and the same goal: the ways may be different. The true Vaishnavas do not criticize the Saktas. (PR in GSR, 370-1.)

It is not good to feel that one’s own religion alone is true and all others are false. God is one only and not two. Different people call on Him by different names: some as Allah, some as God, and others as Krishna, Siva, and Brahman. It is like the water in a lake. Some drink it at one place and call it “jal,” others at another place and call it “pani,” and still others at a third place and call it “water.” The Jindus call it “jal,” the Christians “water,” and the Mussalmans “pani.” But it is one and the same thing. Opinions are but paths. Each religion is only a path leading to God, as rivers come from different directions and ultimately become one in the one ocean.

The Truth established in the Vedas, the Puranas, and the Tantras is but one Satchidananda. In the Vedas It is called Brahman, in the Puranas It is called Krishna, Rama, and so on, and in the Tantras, it is called Siva. The one Satchidananda is called Brahman, Krishna, and Siva. (PR in GSR, 264-5.)

Paths – Love, knowledge, and their combination

Perfect jnana and perfect bhakti are one and the same thing. (PR in GSR, 811.)

Mother dear, grant me knowledge and devotion. I don’t want anything else. (PR in RAWSH, 234.)

[One can realize God] by directing your love to Him and constantly reasoning that God alone is real and the world illusory. The aswattha tree alone is permanent and its fruit is transitory. (PR in GSR, 220.)

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.)

Knowledge and love – both are paths leading to God. Those who follow the path of love have to observe a little more outer purity. But the violation of this by a man following the path of knowledge cannot injure him. It is destroyed in the fire of knowledge. Even a banana tree is burnt up when it is thrown into a roaring fire. (PR in GSR, 238.)

Paths – Righteousness and wickedness

There are two paths: the path of righteousness and the path of wickedness. One should follow the path of righteousness. (PR in GSR, 258.)

Peace – Where you find peace is the end

Where you find peace, there is the end. (PR in GSR, 800.)

Perfect Knowledge

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.)

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

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.)

The characteristic of a man of Perfect Knowledge is that he doesn’t keep a single book with him. He carries all his Knowledge at the tip of his tongue. (PR in GSR, 342-3.)

Personal God – Brahman is Sakthi

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.)

That which is Brahman is also Kali, the Mother, the primal Energy. When inactive It is called Brahman. Again, when creating, preserving, and destroying, It is called Sakti. Still water is an illustration of Brahman. The same water, moving in waves, may be compared to Sakti, Kali. What is the meaning of Kali? She who communes with Maha-Kala, the Absolute, is Kali. She is formless and, again, She has forms. (PR in GSR, 634.)

Personal God – Krishna is Brahman

Krishna is none other than Satchidananda, the Indivisible Brahman. The water of the ocean looks blue from a distance. Go near it and you will find it colourless. He who is endowed with attributes is also without attributes. The Absolute and the Relative belong to the same Reality. (PR in GSR, 1012.)

Personal God – Leads to Impersonal God

Siva says to him, "This is My aspect with form, My embodiment in maya. I assume this form for the sake of the devotees. Now look. I am merging in the indivisible Satchidananda!" Uttering these words, Siva withdraws His form and enables the dying person to see Brahman. (PR in GSR, 584.)

Power of Attorney – See Surrender to God – Give God your power of attorney

Prayer

A man can realize his Inner Self through sincere prayer. But to the extent that he has the desire to enjoy worldly objects, his vision of the Self becomes obstructed. (PR in GSR, 256.)

One should pray to God with a longing heart. God certainly listens to prayer if it is sincere. (PR in GSR, 256-7.)

Prayer – What we should pray for

One should always pray that one’s attachment to the world may disappear and one’s love for God’s Lotus Feet may grow. (PR in GSR, 1017.)

There are two entities: jivatma, the individual soul, and Paramatma, the Supreme Soul. Through prayer all individual souls can be united to the Supreme Soul. Every house has a connection for gas, and gas can be obtained from the main storage-tank of the Gas Company. Apply to the Company, and it will arrange for your supply of gas. Then your house will be lighted. (PR in GSR, 205.)

Prayer – Make your demands of God

Feel piqued at God and say to Him: “You have created me. Now you must reveal Yourself to me.” (PR in GSR, 242.)

Again, I would say to [the Divine Mother]: “O Lord of the lowly! O Lord of the universe! Surely I am not outside Thy universe. I am bereft of knowledge. I am without discipline. I know nothing. Thou must be gracious and reveal Thyself to me.” (PR in GSR, 384.)

Preacher

It is very difficult to preach religion. It is not possible to do so without receiving the commandment of God. The permission of God is necessary. … If, after realizing God, a man gets His command and becomes a preacher or teacher, then that preaching or teaching does no harm. His “I” is not “unripe”; it is “ripe.” (PR in GSR, 269.)

Pundits – See Scholarship – Pundits

Purity – A prerequisite for enlightenment

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.)

The mind is everything. It is like a white cloth just returned from the laundry. It will take any colour you dye it with. Knowledge is of the mind, and ignorance is also of the mind. When you say that a certain person has become impure, you mean that impurity has coloured his mind. (PR in GSR, 1012.)

One cannot even believe in the existence of God until one’s heart becomes pure. (PR in GSR, 220.)

Purity – Necessary for Vision of God

Only the pure in heart see God. (PR in GSR, 98.)

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.)

Purpose of Creation

It is the godhead that become these two [God and the devotee] in order to enjoy Its own bliss. (PR in TLWG, 126.)

Purpose of Life

The only purpose of life is to realize God. (PR in GSR, 273.)

The vision of God is the only goal of human life. (PR in GSR, 331.)

When Siva realizes his own Self, He dances about in joy exclaiming, “What am I! What am I!” (PR in GSR, 393.)

Without the realization of God everything is futile. This is the great secret. (PR in GSR, 95.)

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.)

Purpose of Life – Life is a Lila or Divine Play

Devotee: Why has God put us in the world? Master: To perpetuate His creation. It is His will, His maya. He has deluded man with “woman and gold.”

Devotee: Why has He deluded us? Why has He so willed?

Master: If but once He should give man a taste of divine joy, then man would not care to lead a worldly life. The creation would come to an end. (PR in GSR, 385.)

It is His will that we should run about a little. Then it is great fun. God has created the world in play, as it were. This is called Mahamaya, the Great Illusion. Therefore one must take refuge in the Divine Mother, the Cosmic Power Itself. It is She who has bound us with the shackles of illusion. The realization of God is possible only when those shackles are severed. (PR in GSR, 116.)

[It] is Her will [to keep us bound to the world]. She wants to continue playing with Her created beings. In a game of hide-and-seek, the running about stops if in the beginning all the players touch the “granny.” If all touch her, then how can the game go on? That displeases Her. Her pleasure is in continuing the game. …

It is as if the Divine Mother said to the human mind in confidence, with a sign from Her eye, “Go and enjoy the world.” How can one blame the mind? The mind can disentangle itself from worldliness if, through Her grace, She makes it turn toward Herself. Only then does it become devoted to the Lotus Feet of the Divine Mother. (PR in GSR, 136-7.)

The Primordial Power is ever at play. She is creating, preserving, and destroying in play, as it were. (PR in GSR, 134.)

The Divine Mother is always playful and sportive. This universe is her play. She is self-willed and must always have Her own way. (PR in GSR, 136.)

Radha

It is impossible to describe the heavenly beauty and sweetness of Radha. Her very appearance showed that she had completely forgotten herself in her passionate attachment to Krishna. (PR in GSR, 25.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Defining Spiritual Experiences – Early age

[ At the age of six or seven:] One morning … I took some puffed rice in a small basket and was eating it while I walked along the narrow ridges of the rice fields. In one part of the sky a beautiful black cloud appeared, heavy with rain. I was watching it and eating the rice. Very soon the cloud covered almost the whole sky. And then a flock of cranes came flying. They were as white as milk against that black cloud. It was so beautiful that I became absorbed in the sight. Then I lost consciousness of everything outward. I fell down and the rice was scattered over the ground. Some people saw this and came and carried me home. (PR in RAWSH, 13.)

Since that day I have been an altogether different man. I began to see another person within me. (PR in VSR, 9.)

[Around age nine] he so gave his heart and soul to the worship [of Raghuvir or Rama] that the stone image very soon appeared to him as the living Lord of the Universe. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 5.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Defining Spiritual Experiences – Early Experiences of the Divine Mother

"I felt as if my heart were being squeezed like a wet towel. I was overpowered with a great restlessness and a fear that it might not be my lot to realize Her in this life. I could not bear the separation from Her any longer. Life seemed to be not worth living. Suddenly my glance fell on the sword that was kept in the Mother's temple. I determined to put an end to my life. When I jumped up like a madman and seized it, suddenly the blessed Mother revealed Herself. The buildings with their different parts, the temple, and everything else vanished from my sight, leaving no trace whatsoever, and in their stead I saw a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Consciousness. As far as the eye could see, the shining billows were madly rushing at me from all sides with a terrific noise, to swallow me up! I was panting for breath. I was caught in the rush and collapsed, unconscious. What was happening in the outside world I did not know; but within me there was a steady flow of undiluted bliss, altogether new, and I felt the presence of the Divine Mother." On his lips when he regained consciousness of the world was the word "Mother". (PR in GSR, 13-4.)

The first glimpse of the Divine Mother made him the more eager for Her uninterrupted vision. He wanted to see Her both in meditation and with eyes open. But the Mother began to play a teasing game of hide-and-seek with him, intensifying both his joy and his suffering. Weeping bitterly during the moments of separation from Her, he would pass into a trance and then find Her standing before him, smiling, talking, consoling, bidding him be of good cheer, and instructing him. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 14.)

“As soon as I lost consciousness on account of unbearable anguish I saw that form of the Mother consisting of Consciousness with hands that give boons and freedom from fear -- the form that smiled, spoke and consoled and taught me in endlessly." ... Where previously in vision he would see a hand or a foot or the face of the Divine Mother, now he saw Her full figure, smiling, talking. Where he used to see a beam of light from her eyes, touching upon the food offering, now he saw Her actually eat the food. Where he had been seeing the living Presence in the [temple] image, now he saw no image: he saw the Divine Mother Herself, all Consciousness. "I put the palm of my hand near Her nostrils and felt that Mother was actually breathing. ... I heard from my room that Mother, merry like a little girl, was going upstairs, Her anklets making jingling sounds. I came up to test it and found that She, with hair dishevelled, was actually standing on the verandah of the upper floor of the temple, looking now at Calcutta, now at the Ganga." The Master tells us that he would go into samadhi uttering the word “Ma,” ... that this utterance drew the Mother of the Universe to him like fishermen drawing in the catch with their nets. (PR in VSR, 13-4 and 17.)

During this period of spiritual practice he had many uncommon experiences. While he sat to meditate. ... from a sea of translucent mist he would behold the Mother rising, first Her feet, then Her waist, body, face, and head, finally Her whole person; he would feel Her breath and hear Her voice. ... After the [image of the] Mother had been put to sleep at night [in the temple], from his own room he would hear Her ascending to the upper storey of the temple with the light steps of a happy girl, Her anklets jingling. Then he would discover Her standing with flowing hair, Her black form silhouetted against the sky of the night, looking at the Ganges or at the distant lights of Calcutta. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 14.)

I do not know what these things are. I am ignorant of mantras and the scriptures. Teach me, Mother, how to realize Thee. Who else can help me? Art thou not my only refuge and guide? (PR in GSR, 15.)

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.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Defining Spiritual Experiences – Period of God-Intoxication

Oh, what a state God kept me in at that time! One experience would hardly be over before another overcame me. It was like the movement of the husking machine: no sooner is one end down than the other goes up. 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 outer 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 VSR,15.)

I found everything inside the room soaked, as it were, in Bliss – the Bliss of Satchidananda. I saw a wicked man in front of the Kali Temple; but in him also I saw the power of the Divine Mother vibrating. That was why I fed a cat with the food that was to be offered to the Divine Mother saying, “Wilt Thou take it, Mother?” I clearly perceived that the Divine Mother Herself had become everything – even the cat. (PR in VSR, 16; GSR , 345-6.)

No sooner had I passed through one spiritual crisis than another took its place. It was like being in the midst of a whirlwind – even my sacred thread was blown away. I could seldom keep hold of my dhoti [cloth]. Sometimes I would open my mouth, and it would be as if my jaws reached from heaven to the underworld. “Mother!” I would cry desperately. I felt I had to pull her in, as a fisherman pulls in fish with his dragnet. A prostitute walking the street would appear to me to be Sita, going to meet her victorious husband. An English boy standing cross-legged against a tree reminded me of the boy Krishna, and I lost consciousness. Sometimes I would share my food with a dog. My hair became matted. Birds would perch on my head and peck at the grains of rice which had lodged there during the worship. Snakes would crawl over my motionless body.

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.)

His physical condition began to deteriorate from this time. … It was now 1858. (Yogeshananda in VSR, 18-9.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Defining spiritual experiences – Nirvikalpa samadhi

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.)

After the initiation, [my guru] began to teach me the various conclusions of the Advaita Vedanta and asked me to withdraw the mind completely from all objects and dive deep into the Atman. But in spite of all my attempts I could not altogether cross the realm of name and form and bring my mind to the unconditioned state. I had no difficulty in taking the mind from all the objects of the world. But the radiant and too familiar figure of the Blissful Mother, the Embodiment of the Essence of Pure Consciousness, appeared before me as a living reality. Her bewitching smile prevented me from passing into the Great Beyond. Again and again I tried, but She stood in my way every time. In despair I said to Nangta: (1) “It is hopeless. I cannot raise my mind to the unconditioned state and come face to face with Atman.” He grew excited and sharply said: “What? You can't do it? But you have to.” He cast his eyes around. Finding a piece of glass he took it up and stuck it between my eyebrows. “Concentrate the mind on this point!” he thundered. Then with stern determination I again sat to meditate. As soon as the gracious form of the Divine Mother appeared before me, I used my discrimination as a sword and with it clove Her in two. The last barrier fell. My spirit at once soared beyond the relative plane and I lost myself in samadhi. (PR in GSR, 29.)

(1) Tota Puri, Vedantic guru of Sri Ramakrishna.

For six months at a stretch … I remained in the state from which ordinary men can never return: generally the body falls off, after three weeks, like a sere leaf. I was not conscious of day and night. Flies would enter my mouth and nostrils just as the do a dead body’s, but I did not feel them. My hair became matted with dust. (PR in GSR, 32.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Defining spiritual experiences - Attainment of vijnana

In the nirvikalpa Samadhi Sri Ramakrishna had realized that Brahman alone is real and the world illusory. By keeping his mind six months on the plane of the non-dual Brahman, he had attained to the state of the vijnani, the knower of truth in a special and very rich sense, who sees Brahman not only in himself and in the transcendental Absolute, but in everything of the world. In this state of vijnana, sometimes bereft of body-consciousness, he would regard himself as God’s devotee, servant, or child. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 38.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Taught by inner guru, the sannyasin; no inherent need for outer Gurus

A young man, a sannyasin who resembled Ramakrishna, would come out from within him, in season and out of season, as the Master put it, to instruct him on all matters. Sometimes with open eyes, sometimes with eyes closed in vision he would see this figure, whose significance he explained to his disciples in this way: “When he emerged, sometimes I had a little consciousness and, at other times, lost it altogether and lay inert, seeing and hearing only his actions and words; then when he re-entered this gross body, I regained full consciousness. The Brahmani, Totapuri, and others came and taught me what I had already kinown [from him]. From this it seems that they came as Gurus in my life in order that the authority of the scriptures, such as the Vedas, might be maintained by my honouring their injunctions. No other reason can be found for accepting the “naked one” and others as Gurus.” (Yogeshananda in VSR, 23-4.)

One of the illustrations he used so tellingly when his disciples came was that of the small balance scale, which has a large needle above a smaller one. The two come together when a balance is struck. The mind – the lower needle – he said, must not move away from God – the higher needle. This sannyasin would sometimes appear sitting near him with a trident in hand, warning the Master that if the lower needle moved away from the upper, that weapon would pierce his breast. (Yogeshananda in VSR, 25.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Outward signs and manifestations

When I first had my exalted state of mind, my body would radiate light. My chest was always flushed. Then I said to the Divine Mother: “Mother, do not reveal Thyself outwardly. Please go inside.” That is why my complexion is so dull now. If my body were still luminous, people would have tormented me; a crowd would always have thronged here. Now there is no outer manifestation. That keeps weeds away. Only genuine devotees will remain with me now. (PR in GSR, 831-2.)

In those days the Master remained almost always in an ecstatic state. He would lose consciousness of the world at the slightest suggestion from outside. But for scant conversation with visiting devotees, he remained in an indrawn mood and was unable to perform his daily worship and devotions. (Mahendrananth Gupta in GSR, 295.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Paths travelled to enlightenment

I had to practise each religion for a time -- Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Furthermore, I followed the paths of the Saktas, Vaishnavas, and Vedantists. I realized that there is only one God toward whom all are travelling; but the paths are different. (PR in GSR, 129.)

One day in the Panchavati he was just sitting with open eyes, not meditating, when a remarkable shining figure of a woman appeared before him, lighting everything around him. The external world did not disappear on this occasion, but remained as background to this scene. The Master made much of this, describing it as the first vision of its kind, coming without previous suggestion. … Looking graciously as the Master, she was approaching him from the north with a slow, grave gait. Not yet knowing who she was, he watched wonderingly. “A black-faced monkey came suddenly,” he relates, “nobody knew whence, and sat at her feet, and someone within my mind exclaimed, “Sita, Sita who was all sorrow, all her life, Sita the daughter of King Janaka, Sita to whom Rama was her very life!” Saying “Mother” repeatedly I was about to fling myself at her feet when she quickly came and entered this [his body], Overwhelmed with joy and wonder, I lost all consciousness and fell down.” (Yogeshananda in VSR, 20-1.)

I stood near the edge of the boat and went into samadhi. ... I saw Siva standing on that ghat, embodying in Himself all the seriousness of the world. At first I saw Him standing at a distance; then I saw Him approaching me. At last He merged in me. (PR in GSR, 803.)

God talked to me. It was not merely His vision. Yes, He talked to me. Under the banyen-tree. I saw Him coming from the Ganges. Then we laughed so much! By way of playing with me He cracked my fingers. ...

For three days I wept continuously. And He revealed to me what is in the Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras, and the other scriptures. (PR in GSR, 830.)

I saw everything passing from form to formlessness. (PR in GSR, 933.)

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 jiva (1) 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 tapas (2) for many lives. (VSR, 64.)

(1) Individual soul.
(2) Austerities.

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.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Details of his process while seeing visions

Formerly I was in such an exalted state of mind that I could all these [visions] with my naked eyes, but now I see them in samadhi. (PR in GSR, 332.)

You must have noticed that when I see certain people I jump up with a start. Do you know why? A man feels that way when he sees his own people after a long time. (PR in GSR, 332.)

It was revealed to me in a flash. I didn’t calculate about it. It was shown to me that each plant was a bouquet adorning the Universal Form of God. That was the end of my plucking flowers. (PR in GSR, 396.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Not all visions can be communicated

These are very profound words. I feel as if someone were pressing my mouth. (PR in GSR, 260.)

I want to tell you the things I saw, but I cannot. (PR in GSR, 933.)

I had many mystic experiences, but I cannot reveal their contents. Under the bel-tree I had many flaming visions. There I practised the various sadhanas prescribed in the Tantras.

... M. sat motionless as a picture on canvas, hearing about these unique visions of the Master. The other devotees were also spellbound. There was a dead silence in the room. (PR in GSR, 814.)

"Today," [Sri Ramakrishna] said..., "I shall tell you everything and not keep anything secret." He clearly described the yogic centres of the body and their corresponding experiences up to the throat. Then pointing to the spot between the eyebrows, he said, "When the mind reaches this point one catches a vision of the Paramatman, the Supreme Self, and falls into samadhi. There only a thin transparent veil separates the Supreme Self and the individual self. Next one --" and into samadhi he passed. Coming down a little he tried again to describe it, and was again in samadhi. Finally with tears in his eyes the Master said...,

"You see, ... something rises with a tingling sensation from the feet to the head. So long as it does not reach the head I remain conscious, but the moment it does so, I am dead to the outside world. There is no seeing or hearing any more, not to mention speaking. Who could speak? The very idea of “I” and “you” vanishes. While that power is going up I feel like telling you everything -- my visions and all. Until it comes here (the heart) or at most here (the throat), speaking is possible and I do speak; but when it goes beyond the throat, someone stops my mouth, as it were. As I think over what I will say, up goes the mind at a bound, and there is an end to the matter!" (PR in VSR, 123-4.)

"So long as [the Kundalini] does not reach the brain, I remain conscious, but the moment it does so, I am dead to the outside world. Even the functions of the eyes and the ears come to a stop, and speech is out of the question. Who should speak? The very distinction between “I” and “thou” vanishes. Sometimes I think I shall tell you everything about what I see and feel when that mysterious power rises up through the spinal column. When it has come up to this, or even this (pointing to the heart and throat), somebody stops my mouth, as it were, and I am adrift. I make up my mind to relate to you what I feel when the Kundalini goes beyond the throat, but as I think over it, up goes the mind at a bound, and there is an end to the matter." Many a time did the Master attempt to describe this state, but failed every time. One day he was determined to tell and went on until the power reached the throat. Then pointing to the sixth centre, opposite the junctyion of the eyebrows, he said, "When the mind reaches this point one catches a vision of the Paramatman and falls into Samadhi. Only a thin, transparent veil intervenes between the Jiva and the Paramatman. He then sees like this --" and as he attempted to explain it in detail he fell into Samadhi. When his mind came down a little he tried again, and again he was immersed in Samadhi! After repeated attempts he said with tears in his eyes, "Well, I sincerely wish to tell you everything, but [the Divine Mother] won't let me do so. She gagged me!" (PR in LSR, 107-8.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Other things he holds back

I do not tell you everything. If I did would you come here any more? (PR to Mahendrananth Gupta in GSR, 334.)

I shall have to be born once more. Therefore I am not giving all knowledge to my companions. (With a smile.)

Suppose I give you all knowledge; will you then come to me again so willingly? (PR in GSR, 359.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Visions do not make him vain

Well, I see so many visions, but I never feel vain about them. … Upon my words, I don’t feel vanity even in the slightest degree. (PR in GSR, 260.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Remain in Bhavamukha

[Haladhari causes Sri Ramakrishna to doubt whether his visions are real.] With sobs I prayed to the Mother, “Canst Thou have the heart to deceive me like this because I am a fool?” A stream of tears flowed from my eyes. Shortly afterwards I saw a volume of mist rising from the floor with flowing beard, calm, highly expressive, and fair. Fixing its gaze steadily upon me, it said solemnly, “Remain in bhavamukha, on the threshold of relative consciousness.” This it repeated three times and then it gently disappeared in the mist, which itself dissolved. The vision reassured me. (PR in GSR, 17.)

What I saw some time afterwards was a fog-like mist rising suddenly from the floor and filling some of the space in front of me. Then I saw in that mist a beautiful living face of golden complexion, with beard reaching to the breast. The figure looked steadfastly at me and said with a profound voice, “My child, remain in bhavamukha.” He repeated those words thrice and dissolved in the mist, and the mist too vanished into the void. (PR in VSR, 23.)

The Divine Mother asked Sri Ramakrishna not to be lost in the featureless Absolute but to remain in bhavamukha, on the threshold of relative consciousness, the border line between the Absolute and the Relative. He was to keep himself at the “sixth centre” of Tantra, from which he could see not only the glory of the seventh, but also the divine manifestations of the Kundalini in the lower centres. He gently oscillated back and forth across the dividing line. Ecstatic devotion to the Divine Mother alternated with serene absorption in the Ocean of Absolute Unity. He thus bridged the gulf between the Personal and the Impersonal, the immanent and the transcendent aspects of Reality. This is a unique experience in the recorded spiritual history of the world. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 30-1.)

Now and then I forget Her command and suffer. Once I broke my teeth because I didn’t remain in bhava. So I shall remain in bhava unless I receive a revelation from heaven or have a direct experience to the contrary. I shall follow the path of love. (PR in VSR, 24.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Synoptic descriptions of his character

His God-intoxicated state of mind, his intense love of spiritual life, his burning faith, his intimate communion with God, and his respect for women, whom he regarded as veritable manifestations of the Divine Mother, together with the unsullied purity of his character, his complete renunciation of worldly talk, his love and respect for all religious faiths, and his eagerness to meet devotees of all creeds, attracted the members of the Brahmo Samaj to him. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 311-2.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Thinks only of God

I do not enjoy anything but God. This is what God has ordained for me. (PR in GSR, 747.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Attitude of a child to its Mother

One should assume a particular attitude toward God while praying to Him – the attitude of friend or servant or son or “hero.”

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.)

The Mother has put me in such a state of mind that I cannot hide anything from anyone. Mine is the condition of a child. (PR in GSR, 390.)

Why do I become impatient when I am ill? Because the Mother has placed me in the state of a child. The child depends entirely on its mother. (PR in GSR, 393.)

My nature is that of a kitten. It only cries, “Mew, mew!” The rest it leaves to its mother. The mother cat puts the kitten sometimes in the kitchen and sometimes on the master’s bed. The young child wants only his mother. He doesn’t know how wealthy his mother is, and he doesn’t even want to know. He knows only, “I have a mother; why should I worry?” Even the child of the maidservant knows that he has a mother. If he quarrels with the son of the master, he says: “I shall tell my mother. I have a mother.” My attitude, too, is that of a child. (PR in GSR, 299.)

Mother, how many things people say about Thee! But I don’t understand any of them. I don’t know anything, Mother. I have taken refuge at Thy feet. I have sought protection in Thee. O Mother, I pray only that I may have pure love for Thy Lotus Feet, love that seeks no return. And Mother, do not delude me with Thy world-bewitching maya. I seek Thy protection. I have taken refuge in Thee. (PR in GSR, 299.)

O Mother, … I have taken refuge in Thee. Teach me what to do and what to say. Thy will is paramount everywhere and is for the good of Thy children. Merge my will in Thy will and make me Thy instrument. (PR in GSR, 15.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Two states of mind

Siva has two states of mind. First, the state of samadhi, when He is transfixed in the Great Yoga. He is then Atmarama, satisfied in the Self. Second, the state when He descends from samadhi and keeps a trace of ego. Then He dances about, chanting, “Rama, Rama!” (PR in GSR, 345.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Samadhis and Ecstacies

The state of samadhi is certainly inspired by love. (PR in GSR, 348.)

I shan’t be able to see everything even if I go [to the religious art exhibition]. Perhaps my eyes will fall on some certain thing and I shall become unconscious. Then I shall not be able to see the rest. [At the zoo] I went into samadhi at the sight of a lion, for the carrier of the Mother awakened in my mind the consciousness of the Mother Herself. In that state who could see the other animals. I had to return home after seeing only the lion. (PR in GSR, 391.)

The Master went into deep samadhi. His body was motionless; he sat with folded hands as in his photograph. Tears of joy flowed from the corners of his eyes. After a long time his mind came down to the ordinary plane of consciousness. He mumbled something, of which only a word now and then could be heard by the devotees in the room., He was saying: "Thou art I, and I am Thou -- Thou eatest -- Thou -- eat! ... What is this confusion Thou has created?" ... There was complete silence in the room. The eager and unsatiated eyes of the devotees were fixed on the Master, a God-man of infinite moods. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 207.)

In the twinkling of an eye Sri Ramakrishna goes into deep samadhi. An amazing transformation takes place in the Master before the very eyes of the devotees. His face shines with a heavenly light. His two hands are raised in the posture of granting boons and giving assurance to the devotees; it is the posture one sees in images of the Divine Mother. His body is motionless; he has no consciousness of the outer world. He sits facing the north. Is the Divine Mother of the Universe manifesting Herself through his person? Speechless with wonder, the devotees look intently at Sri Ramakrishna, who appears to them to be the embodiment of the Divine Mother Herself. (PR in GSR, 928.)

As he uttered the words "Eternal Consort of my soul" and "Govinda", the Master again went into samadhi. There was complete silence in the room. The eager and unsatiated eyes of the devotees were fixed on the Master, a God-man of infinite moods. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 207-8.)

At these words the Master went into deep samadhi. After a short while he regained consciousness of the sense world. Then he suddenly stood up, overpowered by his spiritual mood, and sang improvised lines with the professionals, thinking himself to be the milkmaid of Vrindavan gone mad with the beauty of Sri Krishna’s form. (PR in GSR, 212.)

At the mere mention of Krishna and Arjuna the Master went into samadhi. In the twinkling of an eye his body became motionless and his eyeballs transfixed, while his breathing could scarcely be noticed. Navadvip [Goswami] and his son and the other devotee looked at the Master in mute wonder. (PR in GSR, 255.)

I go into an ecstatic mood when I stand in a big meadow. I feel like a fish released from a bowl into a lake. (PR in GSR, 238.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – His discrimination and renunciation

One day Mathur [Nath Biswa, Dakshineswar temple proprietor] presented a very expensive shawl to the Master. Sri Ramakrishna cheerfully accepted it, put it on, and walked around the temple garden, showing it off to people like a jubilant boy. He did not forget to mention the price, which was one thousand rupees at the time. But after a short while his mood changed. His discriminating mind started to ponder: “What is there in this shawl? Nothing but sheep’s wool. Like everything else it is a modification of matter. It protects one from the cold, no doubt, but this can be done as well by a blanket or a quilt. And like other material things it does not help one to realize God. Rather it makes the owner assume an air of superiority. He thinks himself rich and is proud.” This idea was unbearable to Sri Ramakrishna. Immediately he threw the shawl on the dusty ground and began to trample and spit on it. (TLWG, 24.)

Once the idea came to me to put on a very expensive robe embroidered with gold and to smoke a silver hubble-bubble. Mathur Babu sent me the new robe and the hubble-bubble. I put on the robe. I also smoked the hubble-bubble in various fashions. Sometimes I smoked it reclining this way, and sometimes that way, sometimes with head up, and sometimes with head down. Then I said to myself, “O mind, this is what they call smoking a silver hubble-bubble.” Immediately I renounced it. I kept the robe on my body a few minutes longer and then took it off. I began to trample it underfoot and spit on it, saying, “So this is an expensive robe! But it only increases a man’s rajas.” (PR in TLWG, 25.)

One day I saw in front of me money, a shawl, a tray of sandesh, and two women. I asked my mind, “Mind, do you want any of these?” I saw the sandesh to be mere filth. One of the women had a big ring in her nose. I could see both their inside and outside – entrails, filth, bone, flesh and blood. The mind did not want any of these – money, shawl, sweets, or women. It remained fixed at the Lotus Feet of God. (PR in GSR, 378.)

I was shown much respect as the guru of Keshab Sen. They presented me with mangoes, but I couldn’t carry them home. A sannyasi cannot lay things up. (PR in GSR, 379.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Asks for bhakti rather than jnana

I don’t want liberation; I want love of God. (PR in GSR, 912.)

Mother, don’t make me unconscious through the Knowledge of Brahman. Don’t give me Brahmajnana, Mother. Am I not Your child, and naturally timid? I must have my Mother. A million salutations to the Knowledge of Brahman! Give it to those who want it. (PR in GSR, 66.)

O Mother! Let me remain in contact with men! Don’t make me a dried-up ascetic. I want to enjoy Your sport in the world. (PR in GSR, 66.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – God speaks and acts through him

The soul-stirring words of Srimad Bhagavata as they were being expounded by Pandit Vaishnavacharan moved Sri Ramakrishna so much that he was overpowered by divine emotion. Almost unaware of what he was doing, he rushed forward and stood on the piece of carpet regarded as Chaitanya’s seat. Though shocked at this unprecedented incident, the audience watched in amazement. Sri Ramakrishna, with his hands raised, stood motionless, his eyes fixed on the tip of his nose and with his breathing almost suspended. His beaming face raidiated an unspeakable joy which touched the hearts of all those present. (Swami Prabhananda in (PR IN FMSR, 51.)

You and I are one. Let your life in this world be deep in devotion to me, and pass your days for the good of mankind. The devotees will come. (The Divine Mother speaks to PR, as reported in TLWG, xiii.)

"There is no outsider here. (1) The other day, when Harish was with me, I saw Satchidananda (2) come out of this sheath. It said, “I incarnate myself in every age.” I thought that I myself was saying these words out of mere fancy. I kept quiet and watched. Again Satchidananda Itself spoke, saying, “Chaitanya, (3) too, worshipped Sakti.”"

The devotees listened to these words in amazement. Some wondered whether God Himself was seated before them in the form of Sri Ramakrishna. The Master paused for a moment. Then he said, addressing M., "I saw that it is the fullest manifestation of Satchidananda; but this time the Divine Power is manifested through the glory of sattva." (PR in GSR, 720.)

(1) I.e., in this body.
(2) Brahman or God the Father.
(3) Like Ramakrishna, Sri Chaitanya was an avatar or Incarnation of God. Sri Chaitanya lived in the 16th Century, north of Calcutta.

Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna went into a spiritual mood and said to Dr. Sarkar: "Mahindra Babu, what is this madness of yours about money? Why such attachment to wife? Why such longing for name and fame? Give up all these, now, and direct your mind to God with whole-souled devotion. Enjoy the Bliss of God."

Dr. Sarkar sat still without uttering a word. The devotees also remained silent. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 915.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – How he works

I should like to visit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar a few times more. The painter first draws the general outlines and then puts in the details and colours at his leisure. The moulder first makes the image out of clay, then plasters it, then gives it a coat of whitewash, and last of all paints it with a brush. All these steps must be taken successively. (PR in GSR, 112.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Awakens spirituality

The holy dust of your feet can turn scores of fools into Pandits like me. (Pundit Padmalochan in (PR IN FMSR, 20.)

A mere touch [from me] is enough to awaken their spirituality. (PR in FMSR, 139.)

The Master was still in an abstracted mood and said to Adhar, "My son, meditate on the Deity whose name you chanted." With these words he touched Adhar's tongue with his finger and wrote something on it. Did the Master thereby impart spirituality to Adhar? (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 273.)

Muttering something to himself, with his eyes fixed on me, he slowly drew near me.... In the twinkling of an eye, he placed his right foot on my body. At his touch, I had an entirely new experience. With my eyes wide open, I saw that the walls and everything else in the room were whirling around, vanishing into nothingness; the whole universe, together with my own individuality, was about to be lost in an all-encompassing, mysterious Void. I was terribly frightened and thought I must be facing death -- for the loss of my individuality meant nothing less than that to me. I couldn't control myself: I cried out, "What are you doing to me! I have my parents at home!" At this, he laughed aloud. Stroking my chest, he said, "All right, that's enough for now. Everything will come in time." The wonderful thing was, as soon as he'd said that, the whole experience came to an end. I was myself again. And everything inside and outside the room was just as it had been before." (Swami Vivekananda in TSV, xxv.)

“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.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Bestows or promises illumination

What more shall I say? I bless you all. Be illumined! (PR to his devotees on “Kalpataru Day,” 1 January 1886, in GSR, 70.)

You will get results very soon. If you practise a little, then someone will come forward to help you. … The time is ripe for you. The mother bird does not break the shell of the egg until the right time arrives. (PR to the meditating Mahendranath Gupta, in GSR, 331.)

You have seen me, fed me, and served me. What else do you need? Don’t worry. The thousand-petalled lotus of your seventh plane [sahasrara] will bloom at the time of your death. (PR to Yogin-Ma, in TLWG, 147.)

Narendra, consumed with a terrific fever for realization, complained to the Master that all the others had attained peace and that he alone was dissatisfied. The Master asked what he wanted. Narendra begged for samadhi, so that he might altogether forget the world for three or four days at a time. "You are a fool," the Master rebuked him. "There is a state even higher than that. Isn't it you who sing, “All that exists art Thou'? (1) First of all settle your family affairs and then come to me. You will experience a state even higher than samadhi." (Nikhilananda, GSR, 70.)

(1) One seeing that God is all that exists is a vijnani, a level beyond a Brahmajnani.

One day when Narendra was on the ground floor, meditating, the Master was lying awake in his bed upstairs. In the depths of his meditation Narendra felt as though a lamp were burning at the back of his head. Suddenly he lost consciousness. It was the yearned-for, all-effacing experience of nirvikalpa samadhi, when the embodied soul realizes its unity with the Absolute. ... After [a] long period Narendra regained full consciousness. Bathed in peace, he went to the Master, who said, "Now the Mother has shown you everything." (PR in GSR, 71-2.)

Had this body been allowed to last a little longer, many more souls would have been illumined. … But Mother has ordained otherwise. She will take me away lest, finding me guileless and foolish, people should take advantage of me and persuade me to bestow on them the rare gifts of spirituality. (PR in GSR, 71.)

While [Ram Chandra Datta] was still on the verandah he noticed that the Master was coming out of his room. Sri Ramakrishna suddenly came up to Ram and asked, “Well, what do you want?” Ram was utterly amazed. He felt as if his whole body was charged with electricity. Although he realized that Sri Ramakrishna was standing in front of him like a kalpataru (wish-fulfilling tree), ready to grant any boon that he wanted, he was at a loss to know what to ask from the Master. … Finally, overwhelmed with emotion, Ram replied: “Lord, I don’t know what to ask for. You decide for me.” “Give me back the mantram I gave you in the dream,” said Sri Ramakrishna as he entered into samadhi. Immediately Ram prostrated himself before the Master and offered the mantram mentally at his feet like a flower. Sri Ramakrishna touched Ram’s head with his right foot and Ram also lost outward consciousness. He did not know how long they stayed in that state. Gradually the Master came back to the normal plane of consciousness and took his foot away. Ram stood up. “If you wish to see anything,” said the Master to Ram, “look at me.” Ram looked and saw that Sri Ramakrishna had taken the form of his Chosen Deity, the form of God that was dearest to his heart. Then Sri Ramakrishna told him: “You do not need to practise any more spiritual disciplines. Just come here and see me now and then, and bring with you a pice worth of something as a present.” (Of Ram Chandra Datta in TLWG, 85.)

She felt that there was no need of worshipping the stone symbol [of Raghuvira] any further, for she had been blessed with the vision of the living Raghuvira in the person of Sri Ramakrishna. (Of the Bhairavi Brahmani in (PR IN FMSR, 12.)

According to Akshay Kumar Sen, Padmalochan was blessed with a vision of his Chosen Deity, Mother Kali, in the person of Sri Ramakrishna. ((PR IN FMSR, 24.)

One day in the later part of her life, while repeating her mantram she saw Lord Rama in front of her. As she was about to take the dust of his feet, she saw her beloved guru, Ramakrishna, in place of Ramachandra. Then the Master said to Her, smiling, “Now you know who I am.” (Nistarini Ghosh in TLWG, 249.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – His assurance to devotees

Hold on to me. (PR in FMSR, 3.)

If you cannot remember God, think of me. That will do. (PR in RAWSH, 36; also in TLWG, 69.)

If you have devotion for “this,” everything will come to you automatically. (NM, 49.)

If you love “this” [pointing to himself], everything will be all right. (PR to Durga Charan Nag in TLWG, 217.)

Remember me once a day if you can do nothing else. PR to Navagopal Ghosh in TLWG, 241.)

Some way will be found for you to have peace of mind, if you have faith in me. (PR in GSR, 903.)

Inside this man [meaning Sri Ramakrishna] is the real Jewel. (PR in GSR, 308.)

The Master … said he would reveal himself to all that take refuge in him – reveal himself at least on their last day. He will draw all to himself. (Sri Sarada Devi in RAWSH, 29.)

At the devotees” last moment I shall have to appear before them. Otherwise, how will they get liberation? (PR to Yogin-ma, in TLWG, 147.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Timing of spread of his message

It is not the right time to spread the message of this place [meaning, his message] through lecturing and newspapers. The power and ideas which are within this body will automatically spread all over in the course of time. Hundreds of Himalayas will not be able to suppress that power. (PR top Keshab Chandra Sen who asked permission to publicize the former’s teachings, in RAWSH, 10.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Future predictions

I shall have to be born once more. Therefore I am not giving all knowledge to my companions. (With a smile.)

Suppose I give you all knowledge; will you then come to me again so willingly? (PR in GSR, 359.)

You will see how in the course of time I will be worshipped in every house. You will see everyone accepting this [meaning himself]. This is surely going to happen. (PR in RAWSH, 29.)

[The Master] said that he would live for another hundred years in a subtle body, in the hearts of the devotees. He further said that he would have many devotees among white people. (Sri Sarada Devi in RAWSH, 30.)

I was in the land of the white people. Their skin is white, their hearts are white, and they are simple and sincere. It is a very beautiful country. I think I shall go there. (PR after coming down from samadhi in RAWSH, 38.)

The Master said he would come again after a hundred years. Meanwhile, for those hundred years he would live in the hearts of those who love him. Standing on the semicircular verandah of Dakshineswar, the Master said this, pointing towards the northwest. (Sri Sarada Devi in RAWSH, 31.)

On a certain occasion the Master, standing on the semi-circular verandah of his room, said that he would be born again after a hundred years. (TLWG, 65.)

Once I went to Cossipore garden, but I found so many visitors there that I could not go upstairs [where the Master’s room was]. I waited for some time and then Gurumaharaj sent down one of his photographs, saying, “Tell her to be content with looking at this today.” Later he told me, in referring to the picture, that it would “travel in railway carriages and on ocean steamers and by bearers, and that people would carry it in their pockets and even on their watch chains.(Nistarini Ghosh in TLWG, 246.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Summaries of his philosophy

Do not care for doctrines, do not care for dogmas, or sects, or churches or temples; they count for little compared with the essence of existence in each man which is spirituality, and the more that this is developed in a man, the more powerful he is for good. Earn that first, acquire that, and criticize no one, for all doctrines and creeds have some good in them. Show by your lives that religion does not mean words, nor names, nor sects, but that it means spiritual realization. Only those can understand who have felt. Only those that have attained to spirituality can communicate it to others, can be great teachers of mankind. They alone are the powers of light. (1) (Swami Vivekananda in MM, 67.)

(1) It is not clear whether these are the actual words of Paramahamsa Ramakrishna or if they are Swami Vivekananda’s own words, recreating the essence of PR’s philosophy. Its context in Swamiji’s lecture suggests the latter.

Ramakrishna, Sri – Derivation of name

No definite information is available as to the origin of this name [Ramakrishna]. Most probably it was given by Mathur Babu, as Ramlal, Sri Ramakrishna’s nephew, has said, quoting the authority of his uncle, Sri Ramakrishna, himself. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 10fn.)

Swami Saradananda feels that Tota Puri gave Gadadhar the famous name of Ramakrishna when he initiated him into Sannyasa (Great Master, 254.)

Some others hold that Mathurnath Biswas was the first to use that name. Still others think it was the Bhairavi Brahmani. But a specific mention of Ramakrishna Bhattacharya as a priest of the Kali temple in the trust deed executed by Rani Rasmani on 18 Feb. 1861, sets at rest the first and last of the three, at least. It is quite probable that his parents gave him the name. (Swami Prabhananda in (PR IN FMSR, 37.)

The wisdom of his protégé impressed the preceptor so much that [Tota Puri] began addressing [Sri Ramakrishna] as Paramahamsa and this name became very popular later on. (PR in FMSR, 36.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Marriage to Sarada Devi

What does it matter? He only may be regarded as really established in Brahman whose renunciation, detachment, discrimination and knowledge remain intact in all respects in spite of his wife being with him. (Tota Puri when learning that his new disciple, Sri Ramakrishna, was already married, in (PR IN FMSR, 34.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Learning and education

While I was at school, arithmetic would throw me into confusion. (PR in GSR, 240.)

One day [Ramakrishna's elder brother, Ramkumar] took the boy aside and admonished him for his apathy towards education and his general indifference.

"Brother, what shall I do with a mere bread-winning education?" was the spirited reply.... "I would rather acquire that wisdom which will illumine my heart and getting which one is satisfied forever." (PR in LSR, 34.)

Brother, what shall I do with a mere bread-winning education? I would rather acquire that wisdom which will illumine my heart and give me satisfaction forever. (Sri Ramakrishna to his older brother Ramkumar, who was concerned that the former was neglecting his education, in GSR, 6.)

I don’t know much about what is good and what is bad. I do what God makes me do and speak what He makes me speak. (PR in GSR, 1013.)

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.)

I have not read; But I have heard the learned. I have made a garland of their knowledge, wearing it round my neck, and I have given it as an offering at the feet of the Mother. (PR in GSR, on the source of his seemingly-inexhaustible knowledge, 33.)

If you get a tiny ray of light from the Divine Mother, it makes all learning pale into insignificance. (PR in RAWSH, 190.)

“O Mother, I am a fool. Please teach me what is contained in the Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras, and the other scriptures.” The Mother said to [Sri Ramakrishna], “The essence of the Vedanta is that Brahman alone is real and the world illusory.” (VSR, 14.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Source of his homely metaphors and unfailing wisdom

One day [the Sikh soldiers who guarded the magazine north of the Kali Temple] asked, “How should a person live in the world so that he may realize God?” I immediately saw before my eyes a picture of a husking machine. Paddy was being husked and one person was carefully pushing the paddy into the mortar where the pestle was falling. As soon as I saw it, I realized that the Mother was explaining to me that one should live in the world as cautiously as that. Just as the person who sits near the mortar and pushes the paddy is always careful that the pestle does not fall on his hand, so a person engaged in worldly activities should always take care that he does not get entangled in them, by being conscious that the worldly affairs are not his. It is only then that he can escape bondage without being hurt and lost. As soon as I saw the picture of the husking machine, Mother raised this idea in my mind, and I then told it to the soldiers. They were highly pleased to hear it. Such pictures come before me when I talk to people. (PR in RAWSH, 166.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Repetitiveness

Hriday used to say to me: “Uncle, please don’t give out your stock of instructions all at once. Why should you repeat the same things over and over again?” I would reply: “You fool, what’s that to you? These are my words and if I like I shall repeat them a hundred thousand times. You keep quiet!” (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1025-6.)

M: Yes, sir. I know that story.

Master: It is not enough to know it. One must assimilate its meaning. (PR in GSR, 350.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Mode of dress

When the samadhi was over, he began to pace the room and with boths hands pulled up the cloth he was wearing, till it reached his waist. One end of it was trailining on the floor and the other was hanging loose.

Nudging my companion, I whispered, “See how nicely he wears his cloth!”

A moment later he threw away the cloth, with the words, “Ugh! What a nuisance! Off with it!”

He began to pace up and down the room naked. … A few minutes later he sat down, still naked, on the northern end of his cot, facing the west, and asked me, “Well, do you consider me ungentlemanly?”

Myself: “Of course not. You are a perfect gentleman. But why do you ask me that?”

Master: “You see, Shivanath and others don’t think I am a gentleman. When they come I have to wrap a cloth or something around me.” (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1026.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Yearning for devotees

Where can a man of Samadhi rest his mind after coming down from the plane of Samadhi? That is why he feels the need of seeking the company of pure-hearted devotees, endowed with Sattva and freed from attachment to women and gold. How else could such a person occupy himself in the relative plane of consciousness? (PR in FMSR, 116.)

Do you understand me? … Alas! To whom shall I tell all this? Who will understand me? (PR in GSR, 71.)

Without desires the body cannot live. (Smiling.)

I had one or two desires. I prayed to the Mother, “O Mother, give me the company of those who have renounced ‘woman and gold.’” I said further: “I should like to enjoy the society of Thy jnanis and bhaktas. So give me a little strength that I may walk hither and thither and visit those people.” But she did not give me the strength to walk. (PR in GSR, 397.)

Why then do I take care of the body? It is to enjoy God, to sing His name and glories, and to go about visiting His jnanis and bhaktas. (PR in GSR, 397.)

Why do you bring such worthless, wayward people here? I cannot do so much. Let there be at the most one fourth or so of a seer of water to one seer of milk; my eyes are burning with smoke as I continue pushing the fuel into the fire. If you like, go and give personally. I cannot do so much pushing of fuel into the fire; don’t bring such people any nmore. (PR to the Divine Mother in FMSR, 114.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Ways of sizing them up

Sri Ramakrishna ... could see into a man's innermost thoughts. (Mahendanath Gupta in GSR, 233.)

I know the nature of a man by a mere look. I know who is good and who is bad; who is of noble descent and who is not; who is a man of knowledge and who is one of devotion; who will realize God and who will not. (PR in FMSR, 96.)

While I was talking to Devendra [Devendranath Tagore], I suddenly got into that state of mind in which I can see a man as he really is. I was convulsed with laughter inside. In that state I regard scholars and the book-learned as mere straw. … I found that Devendra had combined both yoga and bhoga in his life. Though he was a Jnani, yet he was pre-occupied with worldly life. (PR in FMSR, 41.)

Yes, I can see inside him through his eyes as one can see objects in a room through the glass door. (PR in GSR, 95.)

A man dresssed in an ochre robe entered the room and greeted the Master. Privately he was in the habit of criticizing Sri Ramakrishna; so at the sight of him Balaram laughed. Sri Ramakrishna could read a man's mind. He said to Balaram: "Never mind. Let him say I am a cheat." (GSR, 799.)

Tears of repentance or sorrow flow from the corners of the eyes nearest the nose … those of joy from the outer corners of the eyes. (PR in RAWSH, 234.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Meetings with

Please do not force anybody to come here. Nothing happens except at the right time. (PR in GSR, 809.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – First impressions of him

There came one morning … a disorderly looking young man, insufficiently clad and with manners less than insufficient…. His appearance was so unpretending and simple, and he spoke so little at his introduction that we did not take much notice of him at first. But soon he began to discourse in a sort of half-delirious state, becoming now and then quite unconscious. What he said, however, was so profound and beautiful that we seen perceived that he was no ordinary man. (Pratap Chandra Majumdar of the Brahmo Samaj in FMSR, 89n.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Backstage glimpses

Many people visit the temple garden at Dakshineswar. If I see some among the visitors indifferent to God, I say to them, “You had better sit over there.” Or I sometimes say, “Go and see the beautiful buildings.” (Laughter.)

(PR in GSR, 145.)

Sometimes I find that the devotees of God are accompanied by worthless people. Their companions are immersed in gross worldliness and don’t enjoy spiritual talk at all. Since the devotees keep on, for a long time, talking with me about God, the others become restless. Finding it impossible to sit there any longer, they whisper to their devotee friends: “When shall we be going? How long will you stay here?” The devotees say: “Wait a bit. We shall go after a little while.” Then the worldly people say in a disgusted tone: “Well, then, you can talk. We shall wait for you in the boat.” (All laugh.)

(PR in GSR, 145-6.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Arm injury

Since my arm was injured a deep change has come over me. I now delight only in the Naralila, the human manifestation of God. Nitya and Lila. The Nitya is the Indivisible Satchidananda, and the Lila, or Sport, takes various forms, such as the Lila as God, the Lila as the deities, the Lila as man, and the Lila as the universe.

Vaischnavcharan used to say that one has attained Perfect Knowledge if one believes in God sporting as man. I wouldn’t admit I then. But now I realize that he was right. … It is God Himself who is sporting in the form of man. (PR in GSR, 392.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Throat cancer – Its meaning

Perhaps there is a meaning in what has happened to my throat [referring to his throat cancer]. This has happened lest I should make myself light before all; lest I should go to all sorts of places and sing and dance. (PR in GSR, 826.)

I have been suffering for all of you. I have taken upon myself the miseries of the whole world. (PR in RAWSH, 27.)

The Divine Mother has shown me that people are getting rid of their sins by touching my feet. I am absorbing the results of their sinful actions, so I am suffering from this terrible cancer. (PR in RAWSH, 222.)

I came into this world secretly with a few close devotees, and now Ram [Ram Chandra Datta] is spreading my name. He brings all sorts of people here and asks me to touch and bless them. How much burden can I carry? I got this disease by taking the sins of these people upon myself. Look, I shall not stay in this world longer. (PR in RAWSH, 55-6.)

The people whose karma I have taken think that they are attaining salvation through their own strength. They do not understand that it is because I have taken their karma on me. (PR in RAWSH, 157.)

Once his elder brother was drinking water while delirious. The Master snatched the glass out of his hand after he had drunk just a little. The brother became angry and said: “You have stopped me from drinki8ng water. You will also suffer likewise. You will also feel such pain in your throat.” The Master said: “Brother, I did not mean to injure you. You are ill. Water will harm you. That is why I have taken the glass away. Why have you, then, cursed me in this manner?” The brother said, weeping: “I do not know, Brother. Those words have come from my mouth. They cannot but bear fruit.” At the time of his illness, the Master told me, “I have got this ulcer in my throat because of that curse.” (Sarada Devi in RAWSH, 278.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Throat cancer - Impact on his teaching

I do not care. I will give up twenty thousand such bodies to help one man. (PR when asked to cease teaching because it worsened his condition, in RAWSH, 16.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Throat cancer – Sri Ramakrishna experiences no pain

O mind! Forget the body, forget the sickness, and remain merged in Bliss. (PR in GSR, 71.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Throat cancer – Attempts made to have him ask the Mother for remission

The mind has been given to the Lord. Do you mean to say that I should take it back and put it upon the body which is but a mere cage of the soul. (MM, 63.)

I said to Her: “Mother, I cannot swallow food because of my pain. Make it possible for me to eat a little.” She pointed you all out to me and said: “What? You are eating enough through all these mouths. Isn’t that so?” I was ashamed and could not utter another word. (PR having asked the Mother to lessen his pain, at the earnest request of Narendra, in GSR, 69-70.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Survives death

I have only passed from one room to another. (PR to Sarada Devi after his mahasamadhi in GSR, 73.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – My experiences are for others to refer to

Everything I have earned in the shape of realizations is for the sake of you all. (PR to Baburam, later Swami Premananda, in GSR, 60.)

My experiences are for others to refer to. (PR in GSR, 747.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Hides his attainment and identity

No one can know Father if he doesn’t allow himself to be known. (Mathur Nath Biswas in TLWG, 30.)

What a mean-spirited fellow you must be to extol me thus before these rich men! You have seen their costly apparel and their gold watches and chains, and your object is to get from them as much money as you can. What do I care about what they think of me? (Turning to the gentlemen.)

No, my friends, what he has told you about me is not true. It was not love of God that made me absorbed in God and indifferent to external life. I became positively insane for some time. The sadhus who frequented this temple told me to practice many things. I tried to follow them, and the consequence was that my austerities drove me to insanity. (PR in GSR, 44.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Intimations that he is an Avatar

I am seeing many forms of God. Among them I find this one also [meaning his own form]. (PR in GSR, 941.)

You say that by mere sadhana one can attain a state of mind like mine. But it is not so. There is something special here (referring to himself). (PR in GSR, 830.)

Nowadays I do not find my “I”; I see that it is God alone who resides in this sheath. (PR in GSR, 846.)

I feel that it is the Divine Mother Herself (1) who dwells in this body and plays with the devotees. (PR in GSR, 831.)

(1) Who is also Brahman.

It is He alone who dwells here.... (PR in GSR, 825.)

It is God alone who exists in this [meaning his body]. That is why so many people are feeling more and more attracted to it. … This attraction, this pull, is the attraction of God and of none else. (PR in FMSR, 139.)

I shall make the whole thing public before I go. (PR in GSR, 70.)

Once my father went to Gaya. There Raghuvir [Rama] said to him in a dream, “I shall be born as your son.” (PR in GSR, 359.)

I have become! I am here! (PR in GSR, 357.)

He who was Rama and Krishna is now, in this body, Ramakrishna – but not in your Vedantic sense. (PR, in answer to a stray thought in Narendra’s mind, shortly before his death, in GSR, 72.)

The Master asked [Purna], “What do you think of me?” Filled with devotion, Purna replied without hesitation, “You are God himself. Come to earth in flesh and blood.” Sri Ramakrishna was delighted with his answer. He blessed Purna wholeheartedly and gave him some secret spiritual instructions and a mantram. After returning to Dakshineswar, Sri Ramakrishna said to his disciples, “Well, Purna is a mere boy and his intellect has not yet matured. How then could he recognize me as an Incarnation of God? … It is definitely due to the good impressions accumulated during previous lives that the picture of untarnished truth spontaneously appears to their pure Sattvic minds.” (PR in TLWG, 389.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Indications that He is an Avatar - Incarnation of Rama

The Master sometimes said to his disciples that within “this” (the body) were two persons: one, the devotee, and the other His Lord. Could we say, about the vision of Sita, that when the devotee in Sri Ramakrishna was about to prostrate himself before this form which he recognized as the Mother, that very figure [Sita] seems to have recognized, so to say, in Sri Ramakrishna the Lord, Source, and Goal of her own existence [Rama], and lost herself therein? (Yogeshananda in VSR, 21-2.)

One day in the later part of her life, while repeating her mantram she saw Lord Rama in front of her. As she was about to take the dust of his feet, she saw her beloved guru, Ramakrishna, in place of Ramachandra. Then the Master said to Her, smiling, “Now you know who I am.” (Nistarini Ghosh in TLWG, 249.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Indications that He is an Avatar - Incarnation of Chaitanya, Nityananda, and Advaita

In me alone are embodied Advaita, Chaitanya, and Nityananda. I am all these three. (PR in GSR, 983.)

Once he was invited to attend a theatrical performance given by Keshab’s Samaj. One of the members of the Samaj, in talking with the Master, said, “Keshab is such a great lover of God. He must be an incarnation of Lord Gauranga [Chaitanya], and Pratap Majumdar is always his companion, so he must be an incarnation of Nityananda. Now who are you?” The Master clasped his hands, bowed his head, and replied, “I am their servant.” When Keshab heard of this conversation he turned to the man and said, “You fool! How could you talk in such a senseless way?” (1) (Swami Ramakrishnananda in RAWSH, 146.)

(1) Note Swami Turiyananda’s version of this incident: “Once a Brahmo devotee referred to Keshab Chandra Sen and Pratap Majumdar, in their very presence, saying that they were like Gauranga and Nityananda. Sri Ramakrishna was nearby. Keshab asked him, ‘What then are you?’ Sri Ramakrishna at once replied, ‘I am the dust of your feet.’ At this Keshab said, ‘He is never to be caught napping.’” (Swami Turiyananda in RAWSH, 193.)

I have committed a sin. Failing to recognize this great man I had called him names. I did not know that Sri Chaitanya has reincarnated again and had taken his seat at the Harisabha. (Bhagvandas Babaji, after being visited by Sri Ramakrishna, whom he had criticized for occupying Chaitanya’s seat while in trance, in (PR IN FMSR, 56.)

To Mathuranath [Biswas, proprietor of Dakshineswar] Bhagavandas said: “He is not only a great man, he is Sri Chaitanya reincarnated. As good luck would have it, I met him today. (Bhagavandas Babaji in (PR IN FMSR, 57.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Others’ estimations of Him

The Bhairavi, being conversant with the scriptures, studied minutely the behaviour of Sri Ramakrishna and compared it with that recorded in the scriptures. This knowledge, fortified by her own visions, led her ot proclaim that only an Incarnation of God was capable of such spiritual manifestations. In fact she was the first to declare on the basis of full scriptural authority that Sri Ramakrishna was, like Sri Chaitanya, an Incarnation of God. ((PR IN FMSR, 13.)

“The concept of incarnation is a trifling one. You are the one who creates incarnations of God. Well, if anyone challenges my statement I am prepared to defend it on the strength of holy texts.” He went on to say, “Your experiences have gone far beyond what is recorded in the Vedas and Puranas.” (OF Pundit Padmalocan in (PR IN FMSR, 21.)

Just fancy, he too says so! Well, I am glad to learn that after all it is not a disease. (PR in GSR, upon being called an Incarnation of God by the Brahmani, Vaishnavcharan, and now Gauri, 19.)

Well, it is you who say so, but, believe me, I know nothing about it. (PR in GSR, after the Brahmani, Vaishnavcharan and Gauri have declared PR to be an Incarnation of God, 20.)

Many persons like Padmalochan, who spent their whole lives in the study of such things, came here and called me an incarnation. (PR in FMSR, 24.)

I consider you to be Chaitanya. (Ram Chandra Datta in TLWG, 83.)

Master: Well,, after seeing all this, how do you feel?

M: I feel that Christ, Chaitanya, and yourself – all three are one and the same.

Master: Yes, yes! One! One! It is indeed one. Don’t you see that it is He alone who dwells here in this way? (PR in TLWG, 195.)

M. (smiling) "You are as infinite as He of whom we have been talking [i.e., Krishna]. Truly, no one can fathom your depth."

Master (smiling): "Ah! I see you have found [me] out." (1) (PR in GSR, 128.)

(1) It is very likely that the real exchange between Mahendranath Gupta and Sri Ramakrishna is happening below words, that the Master is reading M's thoughts and heart as Jesus read the minds of others, something Sri Ramakrishna was fully capable of. Thus: “Sri Ramakrishna ... could see into a man's innermost thoughts.” (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 233.)And: “I can see inside [a man] through his eyes, as one can see the objects in a room through the glass door.” (PR in GSR, 94.)

I have committed a sin. Failing to recognize this great man I had called him names. I did not know that Sri Chaitanya has reincarnated again and had taken his seat at the Harisabha. (Bhagvandas Babaji, after being visited by Sri Ramakrishna, whom he had criticized for occupying Chaitanya’s seat while in trance, in (PR IN FMSR, 56.)

To Mathuranath [Biswas, proprietor of Dakshineswar] Bhagavandas said: “He is not only a great man, he is Sri Chaitanya reincarnated. As good luck would have it, I met him today. (Bhagavandas Babaji in (PR IN FMSR, 57.)

Spellbound, they looked on a great yogi, his face lighted with a divine smile, his countenance radiating love, his eyes sparkling with joy -- a man who had renounced all for God and who knew nothing but God. Unceasing words of wisdom flowed from his lips. (PR in GSR, 134.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – The mechanics of his Incarnation

Here are two beings. One is She and the other is Her devotee. It is the latter who broke his arm, and it is he again who is now ill. (PR in GSR, 71.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – His constitutional sensitivity

Emboldened by the Master’s words, Bhagavati approached and saluted him, touching his feet. Like a man stung by a scorpion, Sri Ramakrishna stood up and cried outy, “Govinda! Govinda!” A big jar of Ganges water stood in a corner of the room. He hurried there, panting, and washed with the holy water the spot the maidservant had touched. The devotes in the room were amazed to see this incident. Bhagavati sat as if struck dead. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 234-5.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – His humility

If any good comes from my lips, it is the Mother who speaks; what have I to do with it? (MM, 48.)

Do they think they will enhance my glory that way? One of them is an actor on the stage and the other a physician. What do they know about Incarnations? Why, years ago pundits like Gauri and Vaishnavcharan declared me to be an Avatar. They were great scholars and knew what they said. But that did not make any change in my mind. (PR in GSR, on praise of himself as an Avatar, 20.)

I am the most insignificant of the insignificant, the lowliest of the low. I am the servant of the servants of God. Krishna alone is great. (PR in GSR, 1012.)

Once he was invited to attend a theatrical performance given by Keshab’s Samaj. One of the members of the Samaj, in talking with the Master, said, “Keshab is such a great lover of God. He must be an incarnation of Lord Gauranga [Chaitanya], and Pratap Majumdar is always his companion, so he must be an incarnation of Nityananda. Now who are you?” The Master clasped his hands, bowed his head, and replied, “I am their servant.” When Keshab heard of this conversation he turned to the man and said, “You fool! How could you talk in such a senseless way?” (Swami Ramakrishnananda in RAWSH, 146. PR has confided that he is an Incarnation of Chaitanya, Nityananda, and Advaita.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – His love

He alone knew how to love. Worldly people only make a show of love for selfish ends. (Swami Vivekananda of PR in GSR, 60.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – His compassion

Let me be condemned to be born over and over again, even in the form of a dog, if I can be of help to a single soul. (PR in GSR, 67.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Wishes fulfilled

In those days [during his sadhana at Dakshineswar] whatever desire arose in my mind would come to pass. I planted a tulsi-grove in the Panchavati in order to practise japa and meditation. I wanted very much to fence it around with bamboo sticks. Soon afterwards a bundle of bamboo sticks and some string were carried by the flood-tide of the Ganges right in front of the Panchavati. A temple servant noticed them and joyfully told me. (PR in GSR, 332.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Psychic powers

Sri Ramakrishna … could read a man’s inmost thoughts. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 115.)

The other day I went to Calcutta. As I drove along the streets in the carriage, I observed that everyone’s attention was fixed on low things. Everyone was brooding over his stomach and running after nothing but food. Everyone’s mind was turned to “woman and gold.” I saw only one or two with their attention fixed on higher things, with their minds turned to God. (PR in GSR, 281.)

Krishna said to Arjuna, “Brother, you will not realize Me if you possess even one of the eight siddhis.” … Therefore I prayed to the Divine Mother for pure love only, a love that does not seek any return. I never asked for occult powers. (PR in GSR, 308.)

I never ask the Divine Mother to give me the power of healing. I pray to Her only for pure love. (PR in GSR, 324.)

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.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Miracles

It was about 1:30 P.M. and none of us had had any food. The Master was hungry. He asked the boatman to anchor the boat at Baranagore ghat and then asked me to buy some sweets from a nearby market. Golap-ma had four pice with he which she gave me. I immediately went to the market and bought some chanar murki [small sweet cheese balls]. The Master took the packet of sweets from my hand and joyfully ate them all. He then … drank some water from the river with his hands. He showed his satisfaction. The Master knew that the three of us were hungry, but without sharing any sweets he had eaten everything. It was amazing though that as soon as he showed his satisfaction, our own stomachs felt full. We looked at each other silently. Then the Master smiled and like a boy began to make jokes – continuing all the way to Dakshineswar. We all got out of the boat, and later the three of us discussed among ourselves what happened and realized that it was a miracle. (PR in RAWSH, 221.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Why he salutes everyone

I have to return your salutes because the Mother has placed me in a state in which I see God in everything.

You see, one cannot exclude even a wicked person. A tulsi-leaf, however dry or small, can be used for worship in the temple. (PR in GSR, 393.)

Ramakrishna, Sri – Eating habits

In my present state of mind I can eat a little fish soup if it has been offered to the Divine Mother beforehand. I can’t eat any meat, even if it is offered to the Divine Mother; but I taste it with the end of my finger lest She should be angry. (PR in GSR, 131.)

Ramakrishna Order

Sri Ramakrishna realized the wish of the Divine Mother that through him She should found a new Order, consisting of those who would uphold the universal doctrines illustrated in his life. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 39.)

I see that preparations are going on for a grand renunciation. (PR in GSR. 944.)

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

Those who are firmly established in God may do as well without the [company of] devotees. This is true of those who feel the presence of God both within and without. Sometimes they don’t enjoy the devotees’ company. You don’t whitewash a wall inlaid with mother of pearl – the lime won’t stick. (PR in GSR, 380.)

Free souls are not under the control of “woman and gold.” There are some silk worms that cut through the cocoon they have made with such great care. But they are few and far between. (PR in GSR, 206.)

Fully awakened souls are beyond virtue and vice. They realize that it is God who does everything. (PR in GSR, 201.)

Reincarnation

It is not right to try to know these things [like the reality of reincarnation] at the beginning. First of all realize God; then He Himself will let you know whatever you desire. (PR in GSR, 912.)

As long as you do not feel that God is the Master, you must come back to the world, you must be born again and again. There will be no rebirth when you can truly say, “O God, Thou art the Master.” As long as you cannot say, “O Lord, Thou alone art real,” you will not be released from the life of the world. This going and coming, this rebirth, is inevitable. There will be no liberation. (PR in GSR, 308.)

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. … Birds and monks do not hoard. (PR in GSR, 314.)

Religion

Religion can be given and taken more tangibly, more really than anything else in the world. (MM, 53.)

Religions – In India

The Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Religion declared by the rishis, will alone endure [in India]. But there will also remain some sects like the Brahmo Samaj. Everything appears and disappears through the will of God. (PR in GSR, 378.)

Religions – Everyone feels that only his own religion is true

Mother, everyone says, “My watch alone is right.” The Christians, the Brahmos, the Hindus, the Mussalmans, all say, “My religion alone is true.” But, Mother, the fact is that nobody’s watch is right. Who can truly understand Thee? (PR in GSR, 93.)

Religions – God provides different forms of worship

God Himself has provided different forms of worship. He who is the Lord of the Universe has arranged all these forms to suit different men in different stages of knowledge. 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 in GSR, 81.)

Religions – All paths lead to God – See Paths – All paths lead to God

Renunciation

Is it possible to reach God without renunciation? Renunciation of lust and greed is the most essential prerequisite for entering into spiritual life. What is there in the world except anguish, misery, and trouble? Tell me, who is happy in the world? If you seek the world and long for sense objects, the world will drag you down. But if you seek God and renounce everything for him, God will lift you up and your consciousness will be filled with unending bliss. (PR in RAWSH, 172.)

[To the Europeanized Kristodas Pal, who disparaged renunciation in Sri Ramakrishna’s presence:] You man of poor understanding! … You dare to slight in these terms renunciation and piety, which our scriptures describe as the greatest of all virtues! After reading two pages of English, you think you have come to know the world! You appear to think you are omniscient. Well, have you seen those tiny crabs that are born in the Ganges just when the rains set in? In this big universe you are even less significant than one of those small creatures. How dare you talk of helping the world? The Lord will look to that. You haven’t the power in you to do it. … Can you explain to me how you can work for others? I know what you mean by helping them. To feed a number of persons, to construct a road or dig a well – isn’t that all? These are good deeds, no doubt, but how trifling in comparison with the vastness of the universe! How far can a man advance in this line? How many people can you save from famine? Malaria has ruined a whole province; what could you do to stop its onslaught? God alone looks after the world. Let a man first realize Him; then, and then alone, may he think of doing good to others. A man should first be purged of all egotism. Then alone will the Blissful Mother ask him to work for the world. (PR in GSR, 54.)

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.)

One can realize God through intense renunciation. But the soul must be restless for Him, as restless as one feels for a breath of air when one's head is pressed under water. (PR in GSR, 680.)

How can one attain yoga? By completely renouncing attachment to worldly things. The mind must be pure and without blemish, like the telegraph wire that has no defect.

One must not cherish any desire whatever. 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.)

There is an ocean of difference between a real all-renouncing devotee of God and a householder devotee. (PR IN FMSR, 43.)

Renounce everything and call on God. He alone is real; all else is illusory. Without the realization of God everything is futile. This is the great secret. (PR in GSR, 95.)

Don’t trust a sadhu if he keeps bag and baggage with him and a bundle of clothes with many knots. I have seen such sadhus under the banyan tree in the Panchavati. Two or three of them were seated there. One was picking over lentils, some were sewing their clothes, and all were gossiping about a feast they had enjoyed in a rich man’s hoiuse. They said among themselves, “That rich man spent a hundred thousand rupees on the feast and fed the sadhus sumptuously with cake, sweets, and many such delicious things.” (All laugh.)

(PR in GSR, 314-5.)

I renounced these three: land, wife, and wealth. (PR in GSR, 378.)

I was shown much respect as the guru of Keshab Sen. They presented me with mangoes, but I couldn’t carry them home. A sannyasi cannot lay things up. (PR in GSR, 379.)

Renunciation – Not for everyone

Why should everybody renounce? Is renunciation possible except in the fullness of time? The time for renunciation comes when one reaches the limits of enjoyment. Can anybody force himself into renunciation? (PR in GSR, 1014.)

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.)

Renunciation – What need we renounce?

What is the matter with fish and betel leaf? They aren’t harmful. The renunciation of “woman and gold” is the true renunciation. (PR in GSR, 200.)

Retirement

When one grows old one should retire … and devote oneself to the thought of God. (PR in GSR, 392.)

Rituals – Don’t go to excess

People with a craze for ritual purity do not attain knowledge. Follow conventions only as much as necessary. Don’t go to excess. (PR in FMSR, 115.)

Rituals – Only necessary in the beginning

One should pass through these disciplines in the beginning. Later one does not need the rituals of formal worship or to follow the injunctions. (PR in GSR, 217.)

Rituals – When the need to perform them ceases

Formal worship drops away after the vision of God. (PR in VSR, 19.)

When, hearing the name of Hari or Rama once, you shed tears and your hair stands on end, then you may know for certain that you do not have to perform ... devotions ... any more. Then only will you have a right to renounce rituals; or rather, rituals will drop away of themselves. Then it will be enough if you repeat only the name of Rama or Hari, or even simply Om. (PR in GSR, 77.)

The Sandhya merges in the Gayatri, and the Gayatri merges in Om. (PR in GSR, 77.)

It was revealed to me in a flash. I didn’t calculate about it. It was shown to me that each plant was a bouquet adorning the Universal Form of God. That was the end of my plucking flowers. (PR in GSR, 396.)

Rituals – God makes up for deficiencies in worship

Suppose there is an error in worshipping the clay image; doesn't God know that through it He alone is being evoked? He will be pleased with that very worship. Why should you get a headache over it? (PR to Mahendranath Gupta, or “M,” in GSR, 80.)

Sadhakas – See Classifications of Individuals

Sadhana – See Spiritual Discipline

Sages – Three classes – See Classifications of Individuals

Samadhi

In samadhi one forgets the world. When the mind comes down a little, I say to the Divine Mother: “Mother, please cure me of this. I want to talk to people.” (PR in GSR, 237.)

Samadhi – There are many kinds

There are many kinds of samadhi. (PR in GSR, 237.)

Generally speaking there are two kinds of samadhi. First, sthita or jada samadhi: one attains it by following the path of knowledge -- as a result of the destruction of the ego through reasoning. Second, bhava samadhi: one attains this by following the path of bhakti. In this second samadhi a trace of ego remains, like a line, in order to enable the devotee to enjoy God, to taste His lila. (PR in GSR, 812.)

Samadhi – Unmana samadhi

There is another kind of samadhi, called unmana samadhi. One attains it by suddenly gathering the dispersed mind. … It is the sudden withdrawal of the dispersed mind to the Ideal. But that samadhi does not last long. Worldly thoughts intrude and destroy it. The yogi slips down from his yoga. … Such is the effect of brooding on worldly objects that it makes the yogi stray from the path of yoga. (PR in GSR, 350.)

Samadhi – Worldly people may experience it briefly

Worldly people may now and then experience samadhi. The lotus blooms, no doubt, when the sun is up; but its petals close again when the sun is covered by a cloud. Worldly thought is the cloud. (PR in GSR, 351.)

Sannyasis

By leading a householder's life a man needlessly dissipates his mental powers. The loss he thus incurs can be made up if he takes to monastic life. The first birth is a gift of the father; then comes the second birth, when one is invested with the sacred thread. There is still another birth at the time of being initiated into monastic life. (PR in GSR, 247.)

Sannyasis - The character of a true renunciate

The mind becomes very much distracted if one lives long in the midst of “woman and gold.” Therefore one must be very careful. But monks do not have much to fear. The real sannyasi lives away from “woman and gold.” Therefore through the practise of spiritual discipline he can always fix his mind on God.

True sannyasis, 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.)

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 on a sweetmeat. (PR in GSR, 244.)

Sannyasis – Beware of lust

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.)

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.)

Even if a woman is pure as gold and rolls on the ground for love of God, it is dangerous for a monk to look at her. (PR to Hariprasanna, later Swami Vijnanananda, in GSR, 63.)

One cannot obtain the Knowledge of Brahman unless one is extremely cautious about women. (1) Therefore it is very difficult for those who live in the world to get such Knowledge. However clever you may be, you will stain your body if you live in a sooty room. The company of a young woman evokes lust even in a lustless man.

But 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. Yes, you may enjoy a sweetmeat once in a while. (Mahimacharan laughs.)

It is not so harmful for a householder.

But it is extremely harmful for a sannyasi. He must not look even at the portrait of a woman. … A sannyasi must not sit near a woman and talk to her, even if she is intensely pious. No, he must not talk to a woman even though he may have controlled his passion.

A sannyasi must renounce both “woman and gold.” As he must not look even at the portrait of a woman, so also he must not touch gold, that is to say, money. It is bad for him even to keep money near him, for it brings in its train calculation, worry, insolence, anger, and such evils. …

Why all these strict rules for a sannyasi? It is for the welfare of mankind as well as for his own good. A sannyasi may himself lead an unattached life and may have controlled his passion, but he must renounce “woman and gold” to set an example to the world.

A man will have the courage to practise renunciation if he sees one hundred per cent renunciation in a sannyasi. Then only will he try to give up “woman and gold.” If a sannyasi does not set this example, then who will? (PR in GSR, 387.)

(1) That is, sex. If Sri Ramakrishna were talking to a woman, he would in all likelihood have said “men.”

Sannyasis – Total renunciation appropriate

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.)

To the young men destined to be monks he pointed out the steep path of renunciation, both external and internal. They must take the vow of absolute continence and eschew all thought of greed and lust. By the practice of continence, aspirants develop a subtle nerve through which they understand the deeper mysteries of God. For them self-control is final, imperative and absolute. The sannyasis are teachers of men, and their lives should be totally free from blemish. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 48.)

Real men are dead to the world though living. (PR in GSR, 49.)

A sannyasi should renounce the world both inwardly and outwardly. (PR in GSR, 215.)

Janaka fenced with two swords, the one of Jnana and the other of karma. The sannyasi renounces action; therefore he fences with one sword only, that of knowledge. (PR in GSR, 387.)

There are four stages of life: brahmacharya, garhasthya, vanaprastha, and sannyasi. During the first three stages a man has to perform his worldly duties. The sannyasi carries only his staff, water-pot, and begging bowl. He too may perform certain nityakarma, but his mind is not attached to it; he is not conscious of doing such work. Some sannyasis perform nityakarma to set an example to the world. (PR in GSR, 388.)

Scholarship

It is not right to try to know these things [like the reality of reincarnation] at the beginning. First of all realize God; then He Himself will let you know whatever you desire. (PR in GSR, 912.)

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.)

Too much study of the scriptures does more harm than good. The important thing is to know the essence of the scriptures. After that, what is the need of books? One should learn the essence and then dive deep in order to realize God. (PR in GSR, 255.)

What will a man gain by knowing many scriptures? The one thing needful is to know how to cross the river of the world. God alone is real and all else is illusory. (PR in GSR, 392.)

There is nothing in mere scholarship. The object of study is to find means of knowing God and realizing Him. (PR in GSR, 104.)

Mere reading of the scripture is not enough. A person cannot understand the true significance of the scriptures if he is attached to the world. (PR in GSR, 200.)

As long as you are at a distance from the market-place you only hear an indistinct roar. ... One cannot get true feeling about God from the study of books. (PR in GSR, 645.)

If you get a tiny ray of light from the Divine Mother, it makes all learning pale into insignificance. (PR in RAWSH, 190.)

After the realization of God, how far below lie the Vedas, the Vedanta, the Purana, the Tantra! (PR in FMSR, 118.)

Scholarship - Pundits

Don’t mix intimately with Brahmin pundits. Their only concern is to earn money. I have seen Brahmin priests reciting the Chandi while performing the swastyayana. It is hard to tell whether they are reading the sacred book or something else. They turn half the pages without reading them. (All laugh.)

(PR in GSR, 292.)

Mere pundits, devoid of divine love, talk incoherently. Pundit Samadhyayi once said, in the course of his sermon, “God is dry. Make Him sweet by your love and devotion.” Imagine! To describe Him as dry, whom the Vedas declare as the Essence of Bliss! It makes one feel that the pundit didn’t know what God really is. That was why his words were so incoherent. (PR in GSR, 316.)

You may learn a great deal from books; but it is all futile if you have no love for God and no desire to realize Him. (PR in GSR, 368.)

Mere pundits are like diseased fruit that becomes hard and will not ripen at all. Such fruit has neither the freshness of green fruit nor the flavour of ripe. Vultures soar very high in the sky, but their eyes are fixed on rotten carrion on the ground. The book-learned are reputed to be wise, but they are attached to “woman and gold.” Like the vultures, they are in search of carrion. They are attached to the world of ignorance. Compassion, love of God, and renunciation are the glories of true knowledge. (PR in GSR, 101.)

There is a big difference between a scholar and a holy man. The mind of a mere scholar is fixed on “woman and gold,” but the sadhu’s mind is on the Lotus Feet of Hari. A scholar says one thing and does another. But it is quite a different matter with a sadhu. The words and actions of a man who has given his mind to the Lotus Feet of God are altogether different. (PR in GSR, 296.)

One ray of light from the Goddess of Wisdom stuns a thousand scholars. (PR in GSR, 393.)

Schools of Thought – Vedanta and Puranas

There are two schools of thought: the Vedanta and the Purana. According to the Vedantic this world is a “framework of illusion,” that is to say, it is all illusory, like a dream. But according to the Purana, the books of devotion, God Himself has become the twenty-four cosmic principles. Worship God both within and without. (PR in GSR, 243.)

Self – Identified with body

Mother, what people call man is only a pillow-case, nothing but a pillow-case. Consciousness I Thine alone. (PR in GSR, 225.)

Selfless Service (Karma Yoga)

Your activities are inspired by sattva. Though they are rajasic, they are influenced by sattva. Compassion springs from sattva. Though work for the good of others belongs to rajas, yet this rajas has sattva for its basis and is not harmful. Suka and the other sages cherished compassion in their minds to give people religious instruction, to teach them about God. You are distributing food and learning. That is good too. If these activities are done in a selfless spirit they lead to God. But most people work for fame or to acquire merit. Their activities are not selfless. (PR to Vidyasagar in GSR, 101.)

Sexuality – See Obstacles – Sexuality, Continence – Its benefits

Sin – See Obstacles - Sin

Solitude – See Householders – Spend some time in solitude

The Soul – Individual and Supreme

There are two entities: jivatma, the individual soul, and Paramatma, the Supreme Soul. Through prayer all individual souls can be united to the Supreme Soul. Every house has a connection for gas, and gas can be obtained from the main storage-tank of the Gas Company. Apply to the Company, and it will arrange for your supply of gas. Then your house will be lighted. (PR in GSR, 205.)

The Spiritually-Awakened – See also Bound Souls, The Fully-Awakened, The Jnani, and The Vijnani

It is maya that deludes. Only a few become spiritually awakened and are not deluded by the spell of maya. They do not come under the control of “woman and gold.” (PR in GSR, 206.)

Yes, [performing only virtuous actions] is also a path, meant for worldly-minded people. But those whose spiritual consciousness has been awakened, who have realized that God alone is real and all else illusory, cherish a different ideal. They are aware that God alone is the Doer and others are His instruments.

Those whose spiritual consciousness has been awakened never make a false step. They do not have to reason in order to shun evil. They are so full of love of God that whatever action they undertake is a good action. (PR in GSR, 201.)

In some people spiritual consciousness has already been awakened. But they have special marks. They do not enjoy hearing or talking about anything but God. They are like the chatak, which prays for rain-water though the seven oceans, the Ganges, the Jamuna, and the rivers near it are all filled with water. It won’t drink anything but rain-water, even though its throat is burning with thirst. (PR in GSR, 205.)

Spiritual Discipline

Spiritual discipline is necessary in order to see God. (PR in GSR, 238.)

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.)

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.)

One needs sadhana. Mere study of the scriptures will not do. ... The almanac may forecast twenty measures of rain; but you don't get a drop by squeezing its pages. (PR in GSR, 779-80.)

You must practice spiritual discipline a little. It will not do to simply say that milk contains butter. You must let the milk set into curd and then churn it. Only then can you get butter from it. (PR in GSR, 241.)

You must try a little. Only then will the guru reveal the Truth. (PR in RAWSH, 196.)

Spiritual discipline is necessary. You want to eat rice; suppose you sit down somewhere and say, “Wood contains fire and fire cooks rice.” Can saying it cook the rice? You must get two pieces of wood and by rubbing them together bring out the fire. (PR in GSR, 368.)

Through the practise of spiritual discipline one attains perfection, by the grace of God. But one must also labour a little. Then one sees God and enjoys bliss. If a man hears that a jar filled with gold is buried at a certain place, he rushes there and begins to dig. He sweats as he goes on digging. After much digging he feels the spade strike something. Then he throws away the spade and looks for the jar. At the sight of the jar he dances for joy. Then he takes up the jar and pours out the gold coins. He takes them into his hand, counts them, and feels the ecstacy of joy. Vision – touch –enjoyment. Isn’t it so? (PR in GSR, 363.)

God really exists. You don’t see the stars in the daytime, but that does not mean that they do not exist. Look, there is butter in milk; but can anybody find it by merely looking at the milk? To get butter you must churn the milk in a quiet and cool place before the sun rises. If you want to catch fish in a tank, you should find out from those who have already caught fish in that tank what variety of fish is available and what kind of bait should be used. Similarly you have to inquire about God. A man angling in a pond has to wait patiently for a long time till he finds the float moving. This shows him that there are fish in the pond. Gradually the float sinks under water and with one pull of the rod he lands the fish. Similarly you cannot realize God by mere wish; you must go through some mental disciplines. Believing the words of a Sadhu you have to hold the mind as the angler holds his rod. Hang from it the hook of prana. Fasten on this devotion to the Lord’s name as bait, and then wait patiently till you find thoughts of God stirring on the surface of the mind-lake. Subsequently you will be blessed by the vision of Him. (PR in FMSR, 130-1.)

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.)

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.)

It is no doubt the elephant’s nature to smear his body with dust and mud, even after his bath. But he cannot do so if the mahut takes him into the stable immediately after his bath. (PR in GSR, 912.)

Even the Divine Mother had to practise austere sadhana to obtain Siva as Her husband. She practised the panchatapa. She would also immerse Her body in water in wintertime, and look fixedly at the sun. Krishna Himself had to practise much sadhana. (PR in GSR, 814.)

Spiritual Discipline – Some effort is required

He does not give one more power, if the little that is given is not properly used. This is why individual effort and perseverance are necessary. Don’t you see, everyone has to make some effort, however small, before he gets God’s grace? When one does so, the experiences due to be undergone in ten lives will come to fruition in one, and man will attain to spiritual realization immediately. But one has to make some effort. (PR, SRGM, I, 94.)

Spiritual Discipline – The ever-free need not exert themselves

It is … 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. (PR in GSR, 249.)

Spiritual Discipline – Practice rather than beg

Everything I have earned in the shape of realizations is for the sake of you all. So get rid of the idea of begging, which alienates by creating a distance. Rather realize your kinship with me and gain the key to all the treasures. (PR to Baburam, later Swami Premananda, in GSR, 60.)

Spiritual Discipline - Always remember God

Whether you live in the world or elsewhere, always fix your mind on God. (PR in GSR, 242.)

Spiritual Discipline – Ways of remembering God

Repeat God’s name and sing His glories, and keep holy company; and now and then visit God’s devotees and holy men. (PR to Mahendranath Gupta, or "M," in GSR, 81.)

Spiritual Discipline – The less people know of your spiritual life the better

The less people know of your spiritual life, the better it will be for you. Devotees endowed with sattva meditate in a secluded corner or in a forest, or withdraw into them mind. Sometimes they meditate inside the mosquito net. (PR in GSR, 292.)

Spiritual Discipline – As the aspirant progresses, activities lessen

At the beginning of spiritual life the devotee should observe such rites as pilgrimage, putting a string of beads around his neck, and so forth. But outward ceremonies gradually drop off as he attains the goal, the vision of God. Then his only activity is the repetition of God’s name, and contemplation and meditation on Him.

The pennies equivalent to sixteen rupees make a great heap. But sixteen silver coins do not look like such a big amount. Again, the quantity becomes much smaller when you change the sixteen rupees into one gold mohur. And if you change the gold into a tiny piece of diamond, people hardly notice it. (PR in GSR, 305.)

Spiritual Practice – Stages

The first stage is that of the beginner. He studies and hears. Second is the stage of the struggling aspirant. He prays to God, meditates on Him, and sings His name and glories. The third stage is that of the perfect soul. He has seen God, realized Him directly and immediately in his inner Consciousness. Last is the stage of the supremely perfect, like Chaitanya. Such a devotee establishes a definite relationship with God, looking on Him as his Son or Beloved. (PR in GSR, 344.)

Spiritualism – Impact of mediumship

My boy, if you think always of ghosts you will become a ghost, and if you think of God you will become God. Now, which do you prefer? (PR to Niranjan, later Swami Niranjanananda in GSR, 60.)

Spirituality - Signs

You see, you have certain good signs. I know them by looking at a person’s forehead, his eyes and so on. (PR in GSR, 79.)

Suffering

You may ask, “How, then, can one explain misery and sin and unhappiness?” The answer is that these apply only to the jiva. Brahman is unaffected by them. There is poison in a snake, but though others may die if bitten by it, the snake itself is not affected by the poison. (PR in GSR, 102.)

Supernatural Powers (Siddhis)

People practise various Tantrik disciplines to acquire supernatural powers. How mean such people are! … One cannot get rid of maya as long as one exercises supernatural powers. And maya begets egotism. (PR in GSR, 285.)

Shame! Shame! Fie on your supernatural powers. Do not use them again. People will exploit you and disturb your spiritual life. Please don’t pay any heed top those powers. Otherwise your mind will fall to a lower state. (PR to Chinu Shankari, who had acquired some spiritual powers and used them, in RAWSH, 35.)

Surrender to God – Give God your power of attorney

Surrender everything at the feet of God. What else can you do? Give Him the power of attorney. Let Him do whatever He thinks best. If you rely on a great man, he will never injure you. (PR in GSR, 369.)

Give God the power of attorney. Let Him do whatever He wants. Be like a kitten and cry to Him with a fervent heart. (PR in GSR, 344.)

Give your power of attorney to God. … Let His Will be done. (PR in GSR, 209.)

Give me your power of attorney. Henceforth I assume responsibility for you. You need not do anything. (PR to Girish Ghosh in GSR, 52.)

Why don’t you give your power of attorney to God? Rest all your responsibilities on Him. If you entrust an honest man with your responsibilities, will he misuse his power over you? God alone knows whether or not He will punish you for your sins. (PR in GSR, 901.)

Some way will be found for you to have peace of mind, if you have faith in me. (PR in GSR, 903.)

A typhoid patient in a delirious state clamours to take gallons of water and heaps of rice. But the physician pays no heed to these entreaties, nor does he prescribe medicine at the patient’s dictation. He knows what he is doing. (PR in TLWG, 82.)

You may think that everything is going to be over. But God will not release you as long as the slightest trace of your illness is left. You simply cannot leave the hospital if your name is registered there. As long as the illness is not perfectly cured, the doctor won’t give you a permit to go. Why did you register your name in the hospital at all? (PR to Keshab Chandra Sen, in GSR, 322.)

Surrender to God – Cling to His Lotus Feet

Hold fast to God. What if the world is like a forest of thorns. Put on shoes and walk on the thorns. (PR in GSR, 714.)

Take shelter at His feet. He will give you right understanding. He will take entire responsibility for you. Then you will get rid of the typhoid [of worldliness]. Can one ever know God with such a mind as this? Can one pour four seers of milk into a one-seer pot? Can we ever know God unless He lets us know Him? Therefore I say, take shelter in God. Let Him do whatever He likes. He is self-willed. What power is there in man? (PR in GSR, 329.)

Tantra

[The Tantra] is a very difficult path and often causes the aspirant’s downfall. (PR in GSR, 123.)

Teachers

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

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

Anyone and everyone cannot be a guru. A huge timber floats on the water and can carry animals as well. But a piece of worthless wood sinks, if a man sits on it, and drowns him. Therefore in every age God incarnates Himself as the guru, to teach humanity. Satchidananda alone is the guru. (PR in GSR, 98.)

There is no use in merely making a noise if you want to establish the Deity in the shrine of your heart, if you what to realize God. First of all purify the mind. In the pure heart God takes His seat. One cannot bring the holy image into the temple if the droppings of bats are all around. The eleven bats are our eleven organs: five of action, five of perception, and the mind.

First of all invoke the Deity, and then give lectures to your heart’s content. First of all dive deep. Plunge to the bottom and gather up the gems. Then you may do other things. But nobody wants to plunge. People are without spiritual discipline and prayer, without renunciation and dispassion. They learn a few words and immediately start to deliver lectures. It is difficult to teach others. Only if a man gets a command from God, after realizing Him, is he entitled to teach. (PR in GSR, 125-6.)

To teach others, one must have a badge of authority; otherwise teaching becomes a mockery. A man who is himself ignorant starts out to teach others – like the blind leading the blind! Instead of doing good, such teaching does harm. After the realization of God one obtains an inner vision. Only then can one diagnose a person's spiritual malady and give instruction.

Without the commission from God, a man becomes vain. He says to himself, 'I am teaching people.' This vanity comes from ignorance, for 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. …

First realize God, see Him by means of spiritual discipline. If He imparts power, then you can do good to others; otherwise not. (PR in GSR, 142.)

He who receives authority from God also receives power from Him. Only then can he perform the difficult task of a teacher. (PR in GSR, 168.)

People won't listen to you without such authority. Such teaching has no force behind it. One must first of all attain God through spiritual discipline or some other means. Thus armed with authority from God, one can deliver lectures. (PR in GSR, 168.)

He who receives authority from God also receives power from Him. (PR in GSR, 168.)

Truth – Adherence to truth leads to God

By adhering to truth one attains God. (PR in GSR, 749.)

Dwell in the truth and you will certainly realize God. (PR To Mahendranath Gupta, in GSR, 261.)

It is said that truthfulness alone constitutes the spiritual discipline of the Kaliyuga. If a man clings tenaciously to truth he ultimately realizes God. Without this regard for truth, one gradually loses everything. If by chance I say that I will go to the pine-grove, I must go there even if there is no further need of it, lest I lose my attachment to truth. After my vision of the Divine Mother, I prayed to Her, taking a flower in my hands: “Mother, here is Thy knowledge and here is The ignorance. Take them both and give me only pure love. Here is Thy holiness and here is Thy unholiness. Take them both, Mother, and give me pure love. Here is Thy good and here is Thy evil. Take them both, Mother, and give me pure love. Here is Thy righteousness and here is Thy unrighteousness. Take them both, Mother, and give me pure love.” I mentioned all these, but I could not say: “Mother, here is Thy truth and here is Thy falsehood. Take them both.” I gave up everything at Her feet but could not bring myself to give up truth. (PR in GSR, 312.)

Turn from the world to God

Realizing the spiritual unity of India and Asia, Narendra discovered the distinctive characteristics of Oriental civilization: renunciation of the finite and communion with the Infinite. (Nikhilananda in VYW, 41.)

Universe – As above so below; as without, so within

Whatever is in the microcosm is also in the macrocosm. (PR in GSR, 389.)

Upadhis – See Obstacles – Upadhis

Vedanta – Their essence

The Divine Mother has revealed to me the essence of the Vedanta. It is that Brahman alone is real and the world illusory. (PR in GSR, 255.)

Vijnana – What is vijnana? (A state higher then Brahmajnana) – See also Knowledge and The Jnani

What is vijnana? It is to know God distinctly by realizing His existence through an intuitive experience and to speak to Him intimately. (PR in GSR, 781.)

To know many things is ignorance. To know that God dwells in all beings is knowledge. And what is vijnana? It is to do God in a special manner, to converse with Him and feel Him to be one’s own relative.

To know that there is fire in wood is knowledge. But to make a fire with that wood, cook food with that fire, and become healthy and strong from that food is vijnana. (PR in GSR, 911.)

Vijnana – See Enlightenment – Vijnana

Vijnanis – See also Jnanis, Paramahansas

The vijnani ... realizes that the steps [leading to the roof, by which he ascended to God] are made of the same materials as the roof: bricks, lime, and brick-dust. That which is realized intuitively as Brahman, through the eliminating process of “Not this, not this,” is then found to have become the universe and all its living beings. The vijnani sees that the Reality which is nirguna, without attributes, is also saguna, with attributes. (PR in GSR, 103-4.)

The vijnani sees that Brahman is immoveable and actionless, like Mount Sumeru. This universe consists of the three gunas – sattva, rajas, and tamas. They are in Brahman. But Brahman is unattached. The vijnani further sees that what is Brahman is the Bhagavan, the Personal God. He who is beyond the three gunas is the Bhagavan, with His six supernatural powers. Living beings, the universe, mind, intelligence, love, renunciation, knowledge – all these are the manifestations of His power. (PR in GSR, 104.)

The most advanced devotees say that He Himself has become all this -- the twenty-four cosmic principles, the universe, and all living beings. (PR in GSR, 133.)

The characteristic of a man of Perfect Knowledge is that he doesn’t keep a single book with him. He carries all his Knowledge at the tip of his tongue. (PR in GSR, 342-3.)

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.)

Vision of God – Characteristics

There are certain characteristics of God-vision. … One sees light, feels joy, and experiences the upsurge of a great current in one’s chest, like the bursting of a rocket. (PR in VSR, 8-9.)

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

One characteristic of God-realization is that the activities of a man with such realization gradually drop away. (PR in GSR, 308.)

Who sees whom? Is God outside you, that you can see Him? One sees only oneself. (PR in GSR, 288.)

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.)

Visions of God – Seen when the kundalini reaches the seventh chakra

After passing through the six centres, the jiva goes beyond the realm of maya and becomes united with the Supreme Soul. This is the vision of God. (PR in GSR, 243.)

Visions of God – Seen with special organs

Devotees acquire a “love body,” and with its help they see the Spirit-form of the Absolute. (PR in GSR, 217.)

God cannot be seen with these physical eyes. In the course of spiritual discipline one gets a 'love body', endowed with 'love eyes', 'love ears', and so on. One sees God with those 'love eyes'. (1) One hears the voice of God with those 'love ears'. One even gets a sexual organ made of love. ... With this 'love body' the soul communes with God.

But this is not possible without intense love of God. (PR in GSR, 115.)

(1) Cf. Walt Whitman, speaking of the Holy Spirit's transformative effect on him:

... With her presence she endowed
Him with new senses, faculties and powers,
That far surpassed the limits of the old.
Walt Whitman in Bucke, Cosmic Consciousness, 64.)

Visions of God – Effect of seeing it

Man, deluded by woman and gold [i.e., lust and greed], forgets God. But to one who has seen the beauty of God, even the position of Brahma, the Creator, seems insignificant. (PR in GSR, 710.)

Visions of God – Their reality

God talked to me. It was not merely His vision. Yes, He talked to me. Under the banyen-tree. I saw Him coming from the Ganges. Then we laughed so much! By way of playing with me He cracked my fingers. ...

For three days I wept continuously. And He revealed to me what is in the Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras, and the other scriptures. (PR in GSR, 830.)

[Haladhari causes Sri Ramakrishna to doubt whether his visions are real.] With sobs I prayed to the Mother, “Canst Thou have the heart to deceive me like this because I am a fool?” A stream of tears flowed from my eyes. Shortly afterwards I saw a volume of mist rising from the floor with flowing beard, calm, highly expressive, and fair. Fixing its gaze steadily upon me, it said solemnly, “Remain in bhavamukha, on the threshold of relative consciousness.” This it repeated three times and then it gently disappeared in the mist, which itself dissolved. The vision reassured me. (PR in GSR, 17.)

Turiyananda has told us that whenever Maharaj (1) entered any shrine he would be filled with ecstatic devotion for that particular aspect of God to which the temple was dedicated, and that, ultimately he would have direct vision of the living deity within that temple. In later years, when Maharaj was asked by a disciple if the gods and goddesses are real, he answered: "The one Godhead has many spiritual forms. All these forms are real. A seer can see them and talk to them." (Prabhavananda in EC, 44.)

(1) Swami Brahmananda.

Visions of God– Visions of the Divine Mother

Suddenly, in one dazzling moment, [Totapuri] (1) sees on all sides the presence of the Divine Mother. She is in everything; She is everything. She is in the water; She is on land. She is the body; She is the mind. She is pain; She is comfort. She is knowledge; She is ignorance. She is life; She is death. She is everything that one sees, hears, or imagines. She turns "yea" into "nay"; and "nay" into "yay". Without Her grace no embodied being can go beyond Her realm. Man has no free will. He is not even free to die. Yet, again, beyond the body and mind She resides in her Transcendental, Absolute aspect. She is the Brahman that Totapuri has been worshipping all his life. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 31.)

(1) Totapuri was Sri Ramakrishna's Vedantic guru.

Virtue and Vice – See Dualities – Virtue and vice

Vivekananda, Swami

Ah! You have come very late. Why have you been so unkind as to make me wait all these days? My ears are tired of hearing the futile words of worldly men. Oh, how I have longed to pour my spirit into the heart of someone fitted to receive my message! (PR to Narendra, later Swami Vivekananda, in GSR, 57.)

Absorbed one day, in samadhi, Ramakrishna had found that his mind was soaring high, going beyond the physical universe of the sun, moon, and stars, and passing into the subtle region of ideas. As it continued to ascend, the forms of gods and goddesses were left behind, and it crossed the luminous barrier separating the phenomenal universe from the Absolute, entering finally the transcendental realm.

There Ramakrishna saw seven venerable sages absorbed in meditation. These, he thought, must have surpassed even the gods and goddesses in wisdom and holiness, and as he was admiring their unique spirituality he saw a portion of the undifferentiated Absolute become congealed, as it were, and take the form of a Divine Child.

Clambering upon the lap of one of the sages and gently clasping his neck with His soft arms, the Child whispered something in his ear, and at this magic touch the sage awoke from meditation. He fixed his half-open eyes upon the wondrous Child, who said in great joy: 'I am going down to Earth. Won't you come with me?'

With a benign look the sage expressed assent and returned into deep spiritual ecstasy. Ramakrishna was amazed to observe that a tiny portion of the sage, however, descended to earth, taking the form of light, which struck the house in Calcutta where Narendra's family lived, and when he saw Narendra for the first time, he at once recognized him as the incarnation of that sage. He also admitted that the Divine Child who brought about the descent of the rishi [or sage] was none other than himself. (Swami Nikhilananda, trans. VIV, 14.)

Vivekananda, Swami – Sri Ramakrishna’s charge to him

Take care of these boys. (PR’s last words to Naren, later Swami Vivekananda, in GSR, 72.)

I leave these young men in your charge. See that they develop their spirituality and do not return home. (PR to Narendra, later Swami Vivekananda, in GSR, 70.)

Vivekananda, Swami – Sri Ramakrishna’s instructions

Now the Mother has shown you everything. But this revelation will remain under lock and key, and I shall keep the key. When you have accomplished the Mother’s work you will find the treasure again. (PR in GSR, 72.)

Vivekananda, Swami – Sri Ramakrishna transmits power

Some days later, Narendra (1) being alone with the Master, Sri Ramakrishna looked at him and went into samadhi. Narendra felt the penetration of a subtle force and lost all outer consciousness. Regaining presently the normal mood, he found the Master weeping.

Sri Ramakrishna said to him: "Today I have given you my all and I am now only a poor fakir, possessing nothing. By this power you will do immense good in the world, and not until it is accomplished will you return." (2) Henceforth the Master lived in the disciple. (Swami Nikhilananda in GSR, 72.)

(1) Later Swami Vivekananda.
(2) Return to India from America and Great Britain.

The West

They [people in the West] also will worship me. … They also are Mother’s children. (PR in RAWSH, 201.)

[The Master] said that he would have many devotees among white people. (Sri Sarada Devi in RAWSH, 30.)

I was in the land of the white people. Their skin is white, their hearts are white, and they are simple and sincere. It is a very beautiful country. I think I shall go there. (PR after coming down from samadhi in RAWSH, 38; also in TLWG, 64.)

“Woman and Gold” – The meaning of the term

The term “woman and gold”, which has been used throughout in a collective sense, occurs again and again in the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna to designate the chief impediments to spiritual progress. This favourite expression of the Master, “kaminikanchan”, has often been misconstrued. By it he meant only “lust and greed”, the baneful influence of which retards the aspirant’s spiritual growth. He used the word “kamini”, or “woman”, as a concrete term for the sex instinct when addressing his man devotees. He advised women, on the other hand, to shun “man”. “Kanchan”, or “gold”, symbolized greed, which is the other obstacle to spiritual life.

Sri Ramakrishna never taught his disciples to hate any woman, or womankind in general. This can be seen clearly by going through all his teachings under this head and judging them collectively. The Master looked on all women as so many images of the Divine Mother of the Universe. He paid the highest homage to womankind by accepting a woman as his guide while practising the very profound spiritual disciplines of Tantra. His wife, known and revered as the Holy Mother, was his constant companion and first disciple. At the end of his spiritual practice he literally worshipped his wife as the embodiment of the Goddess Kali, the Divine Mother. After his passing away, the Holy Mother became the spiritual guide not only of a large number of householders, but also of many monastic members of the Ramakrishna Order. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 82.)

In The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna the Master is often quoted as saying, “Women and gold is maya,” and this is a shock to many women readers. Yogin-Ma associated very closely with the Master [and said:]. … “When strangers casually reading the life of Sri Ramakrishna, jump to the conclusion that he did not like women, we simply lauigh.” (Yogin-ma in TLWG, 147.)

Wicked Souls

A certain person comes here, but I can’t eat any food that he brings. He works in an office at a salary of twenty rupees and earns another twenty by writing false bills. I can’t utter a word in his presence, because he tells lies. Sometimes he stays here two or three days without going to his office. Can you guess his purpose? It is that I should recommend him to someone for a job somewhere else. (PR in GSR, 130.)

Women

Women must be unassuming. Modesty is the ornament of women. (PR in RAWSH, 35.)

Women – Must discriminate

Suppose someone you know takes great pains to help you on all occasions, but you feel that it is because he is under the spell of your beauty, which he is too weak to break. Would you be kind to the man? Would you, on the other hand, deal a hard kick to his chest and stay away from him? So you see, you cannot always be kind to all persons, under all conditions. There must be a limit, and you must discriminate. (PR, warning women to avoid the snares of men, in RAWSH, 180.)

Women – Men should not hate women

Why should you hate women? They are the manifestations of th Divine Mother. Regard them as your own mother and you will never feel their evil influence. The more you hate them, the more you will fall into their snares. (PR to Harinath, later Swami Turiyananda, in GSR, 62.)

As there are women endowed with vidyasakti, so also there are women with avidyasakti. A woman endowed with spiritual attributes leads a man to God, but a woman who is the embodiment of delusion makes him forget God and drowns him in the ocean of worldiness. (PR in GSR, 216.)

Word, Keeping one’s

The words of a man are like the tusks of the elephant: they come out but do not go back. A man must be true to his word. (PR in GSR, 264.)

Work or Action (Karma)

The world is our field of activity. We are born here to perform certain duties. People have their homes in the country but come to Calcutta for work.

It is necessary to do a certain amount of work. This is a kind of discipline. But one must finish it speedily. (PR in GSR, 209.)

When love of God is awakened, work drops away of itself. If God makes some men work, let them work. It is now time for you to give up everything. Renounce all and say, “O mind, may you and I alone behold the Mother, letting no one else intrude.” (PR in GSR, 315.)

Actions drop away when one realizes God, as the flower drops of itself when the fruit appears. (PR in GSR, 335.)

The World - It is impermanent

You all know from your experience how impermanent the world is. Look at it this way. How many people have come into the world and again passed away! People are born and they die. This moment the world is and the next it is not. It is impermanent. Those you think top be your very own will not exist for you when you close your eyes in death. (PR in GSR, 325.)

The world is not impermanent if one lives there after knowing God. (PR in GSR, 325.)

If you but realize God, you won’t see the world as unsubstantial. He who has realized God knows that God Himself has become the world and all living beings. (PR in GSR, 326.)

The World – Real as long as the “I” exists

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.)

Worldliness – The craving of the worldly is endless

The disease of worldliness is like typhoid. And there are a huge jug of water and a jar of savoury pickles in the typhoid patient’s room. If you want to cure him of his illness, you must remove him from that room. The worldly man is like that typhoid patient. The various objects of enjoyment are the huge jug of water, and the craving for enjoyment is his thirst. The very thought of pickles makes the mouth water; you don’t have to bring them near. And he is surrounded with them. The companionship of woman is the pickles. Hence treatment in solitude is necessary. (PR in GSR, 140.)

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. (PR in GSR, 246.)

The world is like a pickled hog plum: one craves for it. But what is there in a hog plum? Only skin and pit. And if you eat it you will have colic. (PR in GSR, 911.)

Almost everyone is satisfied simply by seeing the garden. Only one or two look for its owner. People enjoy the beauty of the world; they do not seek its Owner. (PR in GSR, 244.)

The mind soaked in worldliness may be compared to a wet match-stick. You won’t get a spark, however much you may rub it. (PR in GSR, 242.)

Spiritual practice with a view to winning a lawsuit an d earning money, or to helping others win in court and acquire property, shows a very mean understanding. (PR in GSR, 285.)

The other day I went to Calcutta. As I drove along the streets in the carriage, I observed that everyone’s attention was fixed on low things. Everyone was brooding over his stomach and running after nothing but food. Everyone’s mind was turned to “woman and gold.” I saw only one or two with their attention fixed on higher things, with their minds turned to God. (PR in GSR, 281.)

The World’s Creation

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.)

All elements finally merge in akasa. Again, at the time of creation, akasa evolves into mahat and mahat into ahamkara. In this way the whole world-system is evolved. It is the process of involution and evolution. (PR in GSR, 395.)

The World’s Dissolution

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.)

Worldly Talk

Give up worldly talk altogether. Don't talk about anything whatever but God. If you see a worldly person coming near you, leave the place before he arrives. You have spent your whole life in the world. You have seen that it is all hollow. Isn't that so? God alone is Substance, all else is illusory. God alone is real, and all else has only a two-days existence. (PR in GSR, 911.)

Worldly people – No interest in God

Worldly people will never listen to you if you ask them to renounce everything and devote themselves whole-heartedly to God. (PR in GSR, 146.)

Sometimes I find that the devotees of God are accompanied by worthless people. Their companions are immersed in gross worldliness and don’t enjoy spiritual talk at all. Since the devotees keep on, for a long time, talking with me about God, the others become restless. Finding it impossible to sit there any longer, they whisper to their devotee friends: “When shall we be going? How long will you stay here?” The devotees say: “Wait a bit. We shall go after a little while.” Then the worldly people say in a disgusted tone: “Well, then, you can talk. We shall wait for you in the boat.” (All laugh.)

(PR in GSR, 145-6.)

Worship – Selfish worship gradually transforms

One must pray to God without any selfish desire. But selfish worship, if practised with perseverance, is gradually turned into selfless worship. (PR in GSR, 379.)

Yoga – Hatha Yoga vs. Raja Yoga

There are two kinds of yoga: hathayoga and rajayoga. The hathayogi practices physical exercises. His goal is to acquire supernatural powers: longevity and the eight psychic powers. These are his aims. But the aim of rajayoga is the attainment of devotion, ecstatic love, knowledge, and renunciation. Of these two, rajayoga is the better. (PR in GSR, 244-45.)

A man practising hathayoga dwells a great deal on his body. He washes his intestines by means of a bamboo tube through his anus. He draws ghee and milk through his sexual organ. He learns how to manipulate his tongue by performing exercises. He sits in a fixed posture and now and then levitates. All these are actions of prana. (PR in GSR, 330.)

The Vedantists do not accept hathayoga. (PR in GSR, 330.)

There is also rajayoga. Rajayoga describes how to achieve union with God through the mind – by means of discrimination and bhakti. This yoga is good. Hathayoga is not good. The life of a man in the Kaliyuga is dependent on food. (PR in GSR, 331.)

Yoga – The yogi’s sadhana

The yogi seeks to realize the Paramatman, the Supreme Soul. He withdraws his mind from sense-objects and tries to concentrate it on the Paramatman. Therefore, during the first stage of his spiritual discipline, he retires into solitude and with undivided attention practices meditation in a fixed posture. (PR in GSR, 134.)

Yoga – The yogi’s nature

The mind of the yogi is always fixed on God, always absorbed in the Self. You can recognize such a man by merely looking at him. His eyes are wide open, with an aimless look, like the eyes of the mother bird hatching her eggs. Her entire mind is fixed on the eggs, and there is a vacant look in her eyes. (PR in GSR, 113.)

Yoga – Yogamaya or union

Take a pair of scales, for example. If a weight is placed on one side, the lower needle moves away from the upper one. The lower needle is the mind, and the upper one God. The meeting of the two is yoga.

Unless the mind becomes steady there cannot be yoga. It is the wind of worldliness that always disturbs the mind, which may be likened to a candle-flame. If that flame doesn't move at all, then one is said to have attained yoga. (PR in GSR, 113.)

[Yogamaya] signifies the yoga, or union, of Purusha and Prakriti. Whatever you perceive in the universe is the outcome of this union. Take the image of Siva and Kali. 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. On account of that union, again, the images are slightly inclined toward each other.

To denote this union, Sri Krishna wears a pearl in His nose, Radha a blue stone in hers. Radha has a fair complexion, bright as the pearl. Sri Krishna’s is blue. For this reason Radha wears the blue stone. Further, Krishna’s apparel is yellow, and Radha’s blue. (PR in GSR, 271.)

Yoga – The yogi does not come back after union

The yogi’s path is different. He does not come back after reaching the Paramatman, the Supreme Soul. He becomes united with it. (PR in GSR, 396.)

Yogis – Types – See Classifications of Individuals - Typologies

Zeal

As the tiger devours other animals, so does the “tiger of zeal for the Lord” eat up lust, anger, and the other passions. Once this zeal grows in the heart, lust and the other passions disappear. The gopis of Vrindavan had that state of mind because of their zeal for Krishna. (PR in GSR, 206.)

Links

For second half of Sri Ramakrishna's Teachings, go here

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.

Links

For first half of Sri Ramakrishna's Teachings, go here

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