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Swan Symbolism in the Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

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.

Again, the world is a mixture of milk and water, the bliss of God-Consciousness and the pleasure of sense-enjoyment. Be a swan and drink the milk, leaving the water aside.

If you put a mixture of milk and water before the swan, it will leave the water and drink only the milk.

Haven’t you noticed the gait of a swan? It goes straight ahead in one direction. So it is with genuine devotees: they go toward God alone. They seek nothing else; they enjoy nothing else.

A Paramahamsa is always conscious that God alone is real and all else illusory. Only the swan has the power to separate milk from a mixture of milk and water. The swan’s tongue secretes an acid that separates the milk from the mixture. The Paramahamsa also possesses such a juice; it is his ecstatic love for God. That separates the Real from the mixture of the Real and the unreal. Through it one becomes aware of God and sees Him.

Source - The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa