Sthâpakâyacadharmasya, sarva dharma svarûpine Avatâravarishtâya, râmakrishnâyatenamah
“O Ramakrishna, the establisher of religion universal, and the embodiment of all religions, to Thee the noblest of divine incarnations, I offer my salutation.”
– Swami Vivekananda
Today, millions of people find solace in the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna.
His life is interesting and inspiring, as it was a living illustration of the ideas that he preached. The simplicity and universality of his words about the highest truths of spiritual life were punctuated by parables and homely metaphors. His message is not confined to the borders of India or Hinduism alone, but to the whole world.
(“O Lord, your words, like sweet nectar, refresh the afflicted. Your words, which poets have sung in verses, vanquish the sins of the worldly. Blessed are they who hear of you, and blessed indeed are they who speak of you. How great is their reward!”) from Srimad Bhagavatam portrays Sri Ramakrishna.
Now let us enjoy the nectar of Sri Ramakrishna’s words…
“The whole thing is to love God and taste His sweetness. He is sweetness and the devotee is its enjoyer. The devotee drinks the sweet bliss of God.”
The Task before a Devotee
“Two friends went into an orchard. One of them possessing much worldly wisdom immediately began to count the mango trees there and the number of mangoes each tree bore, and to estimate what might be the value of the whole orchard. His companion went to the owner, made friends with him, and then, quietly going to a tree, pluck the fruits and eat them. Whom do you consider to be the wiser of the two? Eat mangoes. It will satisfy your hunger. What is the good of counting the trees and leaves and making calculation? The vain man of intellect busies himself uselessly with finding out the ‘why’ and ‘wherefore’ of creation, while the humble man of wisdom makes friends with the Creator and enjoys His gift of supreme bliss.”
‘Ripe’ Ego and ‘Unripe’ Ego
“There are two types of egos, one ‘ripe’ and the other ‘unripe’. ‘Nothing is mine, whatever I see or feel, or hear, nay, even this body itself, is not mine; I am always eternal, free and all-knowing,’ – such ideas arise from the ‘ripe’ ego. This is my house, this is my child, this is my wife, this is my body,” – thoughts of this kind are the manifestation of the ‘unripe’ ego.”
Obstacles in Spiritual Life
“Water is dried up at once if poured on a heap of ashes. Vanity is like this heap of ashes. Prayer and contemplation produce no effect upon the heart puffed up with vanity.”
“Siddhis or psychic powers must be avoided like filth. These come to us of themselves by virtue of Sadhanas or religious practices, … But he who sets his mind on Siddhis remains stuck therein, and cannot rise higher.”
Selfless Work and God Realization
“Through selfless work, love of God grows in the heart. Then through his grace one realize him in course of time. God can be seen. One can talk to him as I am talking to you.”
“To work without attachment is to work without the expectation of reward or fear of any punishment in this world or the next. Work so done is a means to the end, and God is the end.”
They came to him, attracted by his irresistible spiritual power, people of all classes – men and women, young and old, educated and illiterate, agnostic and orthodox. All felt the radiation of his spirit and were uplifted in his presence. His love for men knew no barriers of race, colour or creed, and he gave without stint to all who sought his counsel and blessing. He specially trained a small band of young monastic disciples, who, at his bidding, took the vows of God-realisation for themselves and of service to humanity. After their Master’s passing away they carried his message to distant countries, across lands and oceans.