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Sister Devamata Quotes

A small collection of quotes and teachings of Sister Devamata (1867–1942) – associated with Sri Ramakrishna Mission.

Man is free to determine his own action; but he is powerless to control the reaction resulting from it; because that is governed not by the individual, but by the cosmic will.

One force plays throughout Nature, one substance underlies it; and the endless variation apparent everywhere reduces itself to a question of what direction that force takes and what state that substance is in. We have, each one of us, in our hands at this moment the possibilities of the lowest and the highest. Not one is less well equipped than another, not one is lacking in a single element necessary to ultimate attainment. The only task before us is to realize where we stand; and if not desirable, to transform it.

An explanation of the first quote:

"Man is free to determine his own action": This part suggests the idea of human free will, the capacity of individuals to make choices and decisions independent of external constraints. It implies that humans have the ability to choose their actions based on their own thoughts, desires, and values.

"But he is powerless to control the reaction resulting from it": This part introduces the concept of determinism, the idea that events, including human actions and their consequences, are determined by preceding causes and conditions. It suggests that while individuals have agency in choosing their actions, they do not have control over the outcomes or reactions that arise from those actions.

"Because that is governed not by the individual, but by the cosmic will": Here, the phrase "cosmic will" implies a force or power beyond individual human control that governs the outcomes or reactions to human actions. This idea suggests a larger, universal order or set of laws that dictate the consequences of human actions, regardless of individual intentions or desires.

Overall, this statement reflects a complex interplay between human agency, determinism, and the broader forces or laws that shape the outcomes of human actions. It raises questions about the extent of human freedom, the nature of causality, and the relationship between individuals and the larger universe.