Sri Ramakrishna at the Dakshineswar Temple with Rakhal, Ram, Nityagopal, Choudhury, and Others
Practicing spiritual discipline in a solitary place – philosophy – God-realization
Sri Ramakrishna is sitting in his room with the devotees after the midday service. It is 25 February 1883.
Rakhal, Harish, Latu, and Hazra are living with Thakur these days. Ram, Kedar, Nityagopal, M., and other devotees, including Choudhury, have arrived from Calcutta.
Choudhury has recently lost his wife. He has visited Thakur many times to attain peace of mind. He has four university degrees and is employed as a government official.
Sri Ramakrishna (to Ram and other devotees): “Rakhal, Narendra, and Bhavanath are ever-perfect. They have been spiritually awake since birth. They’ve assumed human bodies only to teach others.
“There’s another class of devotees – those who are perfected by God’s grace. All of a sudden God’s grace descends on them and immediately they have His vision and spiritual wisdom. It is like a room which has been lying dark for a thousand years; the very moment a light is brought in, it is lit up. It is not lighted little by little.
“Those who are householders should practice spiritual disciplines. They should go to a solitary place and call upon God with a yearning heart. (To Choudhury) One cannot attain God by learning and scholarship.
“What can one comprehend of God by reasoning? Everyone must do whatever brings loving devotion to His lotus feet.”
Bhishma Deva in tears – victory and defeat – divine eyes and the Gita
“Infinite are God’s glories. How much can you grasp? Can one ever understand the ways of God?
“Bhishma Deva, who was one of the eight Vasus, even he began to shed tears lying on a bed of arrows. He said, ‘How strange! The Lord [Sri Krishna] is a constant companion of the Pandavas, and yet there is no end to their trials and tribulations.’ Who can understand God’s ways?
“A person thinks, ‘I have practiced a little prayer and austerity, so I have won.’ But victory and defeat lie in God’s hands. I saw a prostitute dying in the Ganges and retaining consciousness to the end.”
Choudhury: “How can one see God?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Not with these eyes. God grants divine eyes, and then you have His vision. The Lord gave divine eyes to Arjuna in order to reveal His Universal Form.
“Your philosophy is mere calculating and speculation. It only reasons. You cannot attain God that way.”
Ahetuki bhakti – the main thing is to acquire zealous love and devotion for God
“If you have loving devotion – zealous love and devotion – God cannot remain unmoved.
“How great is God’s fondness for devotion! It can be likened to a cow’s fondness for fodder mixed with oil cake. She just gobbles it down.
“Fervent love and selfless devotion to God, pure love for its own sake – that’s what Prahlada had.
“You may visit a rich man just because you like to see him. When you’re asked if you’d like a favour, you reply, ‘Sir, I want nothing at all. I come just to see you.’ This is called ahetuki bhakti. You ask God for nothing – only to love Him.
“Saying this, Thakur begins to sing:
Whoever wins pure love surpasses all, is adored by all; Such a one triumphs over the three worlds.
Listen, O Chandravali, I shall tell you of pure love: One may gain liberation, but devotion is rare indeed.
Out of love alone did I become King Bali’s doorkeeper in the netherworld.
Only in Vrindavan can pure love be found.
None but the cowherd boys and milkmaids know its secret.
Out of love alone I dwelt in Nanda’s house;
Taking him as My father, I carried his burden upon My head.
Choudhury: “Sir, is it not possible to succeed without a guru?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Sat-chit-ananda Himself is the Guru.
“After one has practiced spiritual disciplines on a corpse and is about to attain the vision of the chosen deity, the guru appears and says, ‘See, here is your ideal.’ And then the guru merges into it. The guru and the chosen deity are one and the same. The guru makes you hold the thread that leads to God. Spiritual aspirants take the ‘vow of the Infinite,’ but perform the worship of Vishnu. In Him are the ‘infinite’ forms of God.”
Harmony of religions according to Sri Ramakrishna
(To Ram and other devotees) “If you ask which form of God should be meditated upon, well you should meditate upon that form you like best. But you must keep in mind that all forms of God are one and the same.
“You must have malice toward none of the forms of God. Shiva, Kali, and Hari – all are indeed only different forms of one and the same God. Blessed is he who knows even one deity.
“Shiva on the outside, Kali in the heart, and Haribol on the lips.
“The body does not survive without a trace of lust, anger, and so forth. You should try to minimize them.
(Thakur points to Kedar) “He’s right. He not only accepts the Absolute, but also God’s divine sport. On the one hand, there is the Absolute and on the other, gods – even divine incarnations.”
Kedar said that God had incarnated Himself in Thakur’s body.
The sannyasin and woman – women devotees
Pointing at Nityagopal, Thakur says to the devotees: “He’s in a very nice mood.”
(To Nityagopal) “Don’t go there too often – you may go once in a while. She may be a devotee, but she’s also a woman. Do be cautious.
“There is a very strict rule for a sannyasin. He must not even see the picture of a woman. This doesn’t apply to householders.
“Even if a woman is a great devotee, it’s not right to associate with her too much. Even if a sannyasin has conquered his passions, this rule must be followed for teaching others.
“Seeing a sadhu renounce sixteen annas, others will learn to renounce. Otherwise, they will sink. A sannyasin is a world teacher.”
. It is considered by Hindus a sign of great spiritual merit and pious living.
. Spontaneous love for God.
. Raga bhakti.
. Sri Krishna.
. A gopi of Vrindavan.
. Raga bhakti.
. Viveka and vairagya.
. Shava sadhana.
. A figure of speech meaning “one hundred percent” (sixteen annas make one rupee).
. Ahetuki bhakti.
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