Sri Ramakrishna     131 posts


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Pandit Shiva Nath Shastri, the Minister of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, writes thus in ' The Modern Review, Nov., 1910, of a meeting with Sri Ramakrishna:

A Christian preacher of Bhowanipur, who was my personal friend, once accompanied me on my visit to Ramakrishna. When I introduced my friend to him, I said - "Today I bring a Christian preacher to you, who having heard of you from me, was very eager to see you." Whereupon the Saint bowed his head to the ground and said,"I bow again and again at the feet of Jesus."

Then took the following conversation:

My Christian friend: How is it, sir, that you bow at the feet of Christ? What do you think of Him?

Ramakrishna: Why, I look upon Him as an Incarnation of God.

My friend: Incarnation of God! Will you kindly explain what you mean by it?

Ramakrishna: An Incarnation like our Rama or Krishna. Don't you know there is a passage in the Bhagavata where it is said that the Incarnations of Vishnu or the Supreme Being are innumerable?

My Friend: Please explain further; I do not quite understand it.

Ramakrishna: Just take the case of the ocean. It is a wide and almost infinite expanse of water. But owing to special causes, in special parts of this wide sea, the water becomes congealed into ice.
When reduced to ice it can be easily manipulated and applied to special uses. An Incarnation is something like that. Like that infinite expanse of water, there is the Infinite Power, immanent in matter and mind, but for some special purposes, in special regions, a portion of that Infinite Power, as it were, assumes a tangible shape in history, that is what you call a great man; but he is, properly speaking, a local manifestation of the all-pervading Divine Power; in other words, an Incarnation of God. The greatness of men is essentially the manifestation of Divine Energy.

My friend: I understand your position, though we do not quiet agree with it. (Then turning to me) - I should like to know what my Brahmo friends would say to this.

Ramakrishna: Don't talk of them, they do not see it in that light.

Myself (addressing Ramakrishna): Who told you, sir, that we do not believe that the greatness of the great teachers of humanity was a Divine communication, and in that sense they were Incarnations of a Divine Idea?

Ramakrishna: Do you really believe it to be so? I did not know that. Think not that Rama and Sita, Krishna and Radha, were mere allegories and not historical personages; or that the scriptures are true only in their inner or esoteric meaning. Nay, there must have been human beings of flesh and blood who personified the ideals of Rama and Sita, and because they were also divinities, their lives can be interpreted both historically and allegorically.

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A man cannot easily get rid of the ego and the consciousness that the body is the soul. It becomes possible only when, through the grace of God, he attains samadhi—nirvikalpa samadhi, jada samadhi.

In the top of the head is the seventh plane. When the mind rises there, one goes into samadhi. Then the Brahmajnani directly perceives Brahman.

When I was ten or eleven years old and lived at Kamarpukur, I first experienced samadhi. As I was passing through a paddy-field, I saw something and was overwhelmed. 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.

It is said in the Vedas that a man experiences samadhi when his mind ascends to the seventh plane. The ego can disappear only when one goes into samadhi. Where does the mind of a man ordinarily dwell? In the first three planes. These are at the organs of evacuation and generation, and at the navel. Then the mind is immersed only in worldliness, attached to 'woman and gold'. A man sees the light of God when his mind dwells in the plane of the heart. He sees the light and exclaims: 'Ah! What
is this? What is this?' The next plane is at the throat. When the mind dwells there he likes to hear and talk only of God. When the mind ascends to the next plane, in the forehead, between the eyebrows, he sees the form of Satchidananda and desires to touch and embrace It. But he is unable to do so. It
is like the light in a lantern, which you can see but cannot touch. You feel as if you were touching the light, but in reality you are not. When the mind reaches the seventh plane, then the ego vanishes completely and the man goes into samadhi.

After I had experienced samadhi, my mind craved intensely to hear only about God. I would always search for places where they were reciting or explaining the sacred books, such as the Bhagavata, the Mahabharata, and the Adhyatma Ramayana.

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SRI RAMAKRISHNA was sitting on the small couch in his room. Rakhal, M., and several other devotees were present. A special worship of Kali had been performed in the temple the previous night. In connexion with the worship a theatrical performance of the Vidyasundar had been staged in the natmandir. The Master had watched a part of it that morning. The actors came to his room to pay him their respects. The Master, in a happy mood, became engaged in conversation with a fair complexioned young man who had taken the part of Vidya and played his part very well.

MASTER (to the actor): "Your acting was very good. If a person excels in singing, music, dancing, or any other art, he can also quickly realize God provided he strives sincerely.

"Just as you practise much in order to sing, dance, and play on instruments, so one should practise the art of fixing the mind on God. One should practise regularly such disciplines as worship, japa, and meditation.

"Are you married? Any children?"

ACTOR: "Yes, sir. I had a girl who died. Another child has been born."

MASTER: "Ah! A death and a birth, and all so quickly! You are so young! There is a saying: 'My husband died just after our marriage. There are so many nights for me to weep!' You are no doubt realizing the nature of worldly happiness. The world is like a hog plum. The hog plum has only pit and skin, and after eating it you suffer from colic.

"You are an actor in the theatre. That's fine. But it is a very painful profession. You are young now; so you have a full, round face. Afterwards there will be hollows in your cheeks. Almost all actors become like that; they get hollow cheeks and big bellies. (Laughter.)

"Why did I stay to watch your performance? I found the rhythm, the music, and the melody all correct. Then the Divine Mother showed me that it was God alone who acted in the performance in the roles of the players."

ACTOR: "Sir, what is the difference between lust and desire?"

MASTER: "Lust is like the root of the tree, and desires are branches and twigs.

"One cannot completely get rid of the six passions: lust, anger, greed, and the like. Therefore one should direct them to God. If you must have desire and greed, then you should desire love of God and be greedy to attain Him. If you must be conceited and egotistic, then feel conceited and egotistic thinking that you are the servant of God, the child of God.

"A man cannot see God unless he gives his whole mind to Him. The mind is wasted on 'woman and gold'. Take your own case. You have children and are occupied with the theatre. The mind cannot he united with God on account of these different activities.

"As long as there is bhoga, there will be less of yoga. Furthermore, bhoga begets suffering. It is said in the Bhagavata that the Avadhuta chose a kite as one of his twenty-four gurus. The kite had a fish in its beak; so it was surrounded by a thousand crows. Whichever way it flew with the fish, the crows pursued it crying, 'Caw! Caw!' When all of a sudden the fish dropped from its beak, the crows flew after the fish, leaving the kite alone.

"The 'fish' is the object of enjoyment. The 'crows' are worries and anxiety. Worries and anxiety are inevitable with enjoyment. No sooner does one give up enjoyment than one finds peace.

"What is more, money itself becomes a source of trouble. Brothers may live happily, but they get into trouble when the property is divided. Dogs lick one another's bodies; they are perfectly friendly. But when the householder throws them a little food, they get into a scrap.

"Come here now and then. (Pointing to M. and the others) They come here on Sundays and other holidays."

ACTOR: "We have holidays for three months, during the rainy and harvest seasons. It is our good fortune to be able to visit you. On our way to Dakshineswar we heard of two persons — yourself and Jnanarnava."

MASTER: "Be on friendly terms with your brothers. It looks well. You must have noticed in your theatrical performance that if four singers sing each in a different way, the play is spoiled."

ACTOR: "Yes, sir. Many birds are trapped in a net; if they all fly together and drag the net in one direction, then many of them may be saved. But that doesn't happen if they try to fly in different directions.

"One also sees in a theatrical performance a person keeping a pitcher of water on his head and at the same time dancing about."

MASTER: "Live in the world but keep the pitcher steady on your head; that is to say, keep the mind firmly on God.

"I once said to the sepoys from the barracks: 'Do your duty in the world but remember that the "pestle of death" will some time smash your hand. Be alert about it.'

"In Kamarpukur I have seen the women of carpenter families making flattened rice with a husking-machine. One woman kicks the end of the wooden beam, and another woman, while nursing her baby, turns the paddy in the mortar dug in the earth. The second woman is always alert' lest the pestle of the machine should fall on her hand. With the other hand she fries the soaked paddy in a pan. Besides, she is talking with customers; she says: 'You owe us so much money. Please pay it before you go.' Likewise, do your different duties in the world, fixing your mind on God. But practice is necessary, and one should also be alert. Only in this way can one safeguard both — God and the world."

ACTOR: "Sir, what is the proof that the soul is separate from the body?"

MASTER: "Proof? God can be seen. By practising spiritual discipline one sees God, through His grace. The rishis directly realized the Self. One cannot know the truth about God through science. Science gives us information only about things perceived by the senses, as for instance: this material mixed with that material gives such and such a result, and that material mixed with this material gives such and such a result.

"For this reason a man cannot comprehend spiritual things with his ordinary intelligence. To understand them he must live in the company of holy persons. You learn to feel the pulse by living with a physician."

ACTOR: "Yes, sir. Now I understand."

MASTER: "You must practise tapasya. Only then can you attain the goal. It will avail you nothing even if you learn the texts of the scriptures by heart. You cannot become intoxicated by merely saying 'siddhi' over and over. You must swallow some.

"One cannot explain the vision of God to others. One cannot explain conjugal happiness to a child five years old."

ACTOR: "How does one realize the Atman?"

MASTER (to the actor): "You asked me about Self-realization. Longing is the means of realizing Atman. A man must strive to attain God with all his body, with all his mind, and with all his speech. Because of an excess of bile one gets jaundice. Then one sees everything as yellow; one perceives no colour but yellow. Among you actors, those who take only the roles of women acquire the nature of a woman; by thinking of woman your ways and thoughts become womanly. Just so, by thinking day and night of God one acquires the nature of God.

"The mind is like white linen just returned from the laundry. It takes on the colour you dip it in."

ACTOR : "But it must first be sent to the laundry."

MASTER: "Yes. First is the purification of the mind. Afterwards, if you direct the mind to the contemplation of God, it will be coloured by God-Consciousness. Again, if you direct the mind to worldly duties, such as the acting of a play, it will be coloured by worldliness."

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I wept before the Mother and prayed. “O Mother, please tell me, please reveal to me what the yogis have realized through yoga and the jnanis through discrimination.” And the Mother has revealed everything to me. She reveals everything if the devotee cries to Her with a yearning heart. She has shown me everything that is in the Vedas, the Vedanta, the Puranas, and the Tantra.”

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 water was Consciousness, the altar was Consciousness, the water vessels were Consciousness, the doorsill was Consciousness, the marble floor was Consciousness-all was Consciousness.

I found everything inside the room soaked, as if 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.

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291. Q: Why do not worldly men give up everything to find God?

A: Can an actor coming on the stage throw off his mask at once? Let worldly men play out their part, and in time they will throw off their false appearance.

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897.The Lord, being pleased with Prahlada's* prayers and hymns, asked him what boon he desired.

He replied, "Lord, forgive those who oppressed me; in punishing them Thou wilt be punishing Thyself, for verily Thou abides in everything."

* - From ' Upanishads '

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' Body Transient '

546. The body is transient and unimportant. Why then is it so much looked after ? The virtuous cannot but take care of the body, the temple of the soul in which God has manifested Himself or which has been blessed by God's advent.

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389. The true devotee says, "Lord, I am the Yantra (machine), Thou art the Yantri (engineer); I am the room, Thou art the tenant; I am the chariot, Thou art the charioter; I speak just as Thou makest me speak; I act as Thou makest me act; I behave as Thou makest me behave."

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385. Why does a Bhakta forsake everything for the sake of God ?

The insect flies from darkness as soon as it sees the light; the ant loses its life in the syrup, but never leaves it. So the Bhakta cleaves unto God for ever, and leaves all else.

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' Advice To the Religious Teacher '

202. If you go on preaching without a commission from God, it will all be powerless and none will listen. One must first attain God by devotion or otherwise, and then, if one receives His word one may teach and preach anywhere and everywhere. For thus only one gets power and strength; and then only can one rightly perform the responsible duties of the preacher.

203. One ray of light from my Divine Mother, who is the Goddess of Wisdom, has power to turn the most learned scholar into the veriest worm that crawls upon earth.

- From " Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna " Advaita Ashrama

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' Advice To the Religious Teacher '

201. Do you, O preacher, carry the badge of authority? As the humblest subject wearing the badge of the King is heard with respect and awe, and can quell a riot by showing his badge, so must you first, O preacher, obtain order and inspiration from God Himself. So long as you have not this, you may preach all your life, but it will all be mere waste of breath.

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' Analysis Shows Ego a Non-Entity '

79. Even when we are blinded by the fulfillment of every worldly desire there may rise in us the question, "Who am I who enjoy all this?"
This may be the moment in which begins a revelation of the secret.

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275. If you desire to live in the world unattached, you should first practice devotion in solitude for some time —a year, six months, a month, or at least twelve days. During this period of retirement, you should constantly meditate upon God and pray to Him for Divine love. You should think that there is nothing in the world which you may call your own

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God is in all men, but all men are not in God; that is why we suffer.

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Longing is like the rosy dawn. After the dawn out comes the sun. Longing is followed by the vision of God.

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If you first fortify yourself with the true knowledge of the Universal Self, and then live in the midst of wealth and worldliness, surely they will in no way affect you.

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Swami Turiyananda was very frank and truthful. But his candour in pointing out a person's defects often proved painful. One day he came across this verse of the Bhagavata: "Realizing the universe as one in the aspect of Purusha and prakriti, never praise or blame the action of others". Then he read the commentary on that verse: "If accidentally the teeth bite the tongue, hurt and cut it, do people take a piece of stone and break the teeth? No, because the teeth belong to the same person to whom the tongue belongs. Since the one Lord who is in me also resides in others, it is improper to find fault with them." This teaching made a deep impression on Swami Turiyananda; thereafter, he became gentler in correcting those in his charge.

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When divine vision is attained, all appear equal; and there remains no distinction of good and bad, or of high and low.

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431. Mere possession of wealth does not make a man rich. The sign of a rich man's house is that a light burns in each room. The poor cannot afford the oil, therefore they do not arrange for many lights.
This temple of the body should not be kept in darkness; the lamp of knowledge must be lighted in it. "Lighting the lamp of knowledge in your room, look upon the face of the Mother Divine." Everyone can attain to knowledge. There is the individualized self and there is the higher Self. Every individual is connected with the higher Self. There is a gas connection in every house, and gas can be had from the Gas Company. Only one has to apply to the proper quarters, and the supply will be arranged. Then you will have gas-light in your room (Laughter)

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Religion is Realization

430. Q. Where is God? How can we reach Him?

A. There are pearls in the sea; but you must dive again and again, until you find them. So God is in the world, but you will have to persevere, to see Him.

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Samskaras

429. How strong is the influence of Samskara (past impression or tendency)!
In a certain place there were seated some Sannyasins, when a young woman chanced to pass by. All continued as before to meditate upon God, except one person, who looked on her with a glance of his eyes. This man, who was attracted by female beauty, had formerly been a house-holder, and the father of three children when he became a Sannyasin.

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426. Many come to me , and some, I have observed, are anxious to listen to my words. But there are others who seem restless in my presence. They say to their friends in whispers, " Let us go! Let us go ! Won't you come? Well, if you mean to stay, we had better go to the boat and wait there for you!" Therefore I say that time is an important factor in all matters.
Spiritual awakening is very much a question of time. The teacher is a mere help.

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Spiritual Awakening a Question of Time

425. So long as the mind is unsteady and fickle, it availeth nothing, even though a man has got a good Guru and the company of holy men.

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256. As an unchaste woman, busily engaged in household affairs, is all the while thinking of her secret lover, so do you, O man of the world, perform your round of worldly duties, but let your heart be fixed always on God.

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255. As the street minstrel with one hand plays the guitar and with the other strikes a drum, while at the same time he sings a song, so, do you, O world-bound soul, perform all your worldly duties with your hands, never forgetting to repeat and glorify the name of the Lord with all your heart.

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254. The alligator loves to swim on the surface of the water, but is obliged to remain beneath for fear of the hunter. Yet, whenever he finds an opportunity, he rises with a deep whizzing noise, and swims happily on the watery expanse. O man, entangled in the meshes of the world, you too are anxious to swim on the surface of the Ocean of Bliss, but are prevented by the importunate demands of your family! Yet be of good cheer! Whenever you find any leisure, call eagerly upon your God, pray to Him earnestly, and tell Him all your sorrows. In due time, He will surely emancipate you, and enable you to swim happily upon the Ocean of Bliss.

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