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A Collection of Wisdom of Swami Saradeshananda

Swami Saradananda ((1865–1927) of Sri Ramakrishna Mission was a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrsihna

One’s character is known through one’s performance of small acts. Doing things at one’s own sweet will, heedless of the consequences, is nothing short of the onset of insanity! If you don’t practice restraint now, you would not be able to do it later. Then you would have no option but to idly spend your days. Neither would you be able to meet those small demands of mind nor would you get peace of mind. All the energy will be dissipated through mental disagreements with others. The more your spiritual hunger and the less your craving for other things, the more would be your peace of mind.

People seldom learn without being knocked about in life.

There are two important things in spiritual life — one is the worship of God and the other is the spirit of altruism. It is not actually altruism, rather, it is service, “service to man is service to God”.
Only those can survive, who are of an obliging nature and are satisfied with the minimum that is provided by life.

Pay keen attention to these three — perfect character, regular spiritual practices, and scriptural studies. These three are the pillars of monastic life. As a bird is crippled without any of its two wings and the tail, so is a monk’s life, without any of these three.

Do not clutter the place with things. Things have a way of getting accumulated. At the end, you would find yourself spending your days handling and shifting them.

When a devotee asked him about the spiritual path that was suitable for businesspeople, as they were preoccupied with the running of their business, Saradeshananda said:
What if you manage a business? If one can get God while one is engaged in warfare, then why won’t one reach him if he does business? The Lord himself has said in the Gita: ‘Think of me at all times and fight.’ If not always, at least remember him in the beginning of work and at the end. Who wants him sincerely? We merely say that we want him. If we are eager for his vision, we can feel his presence even while doing work.
What responsibility do we have, if it is God who gives us the propensities for good and evil? In reply to this question by a Brahmachari, Saradeshananda replied:
‘See, my boy, not everyone has the realization that everything is his will. Who believes this? Practically nobody. How many believe even in God? Only to make our conviction strong, there is the necessity of spiritual austerities, of leading a pure life and of the restraint of the senses.’
When two monks came to meet him, Saradeshananda enquired:

‘You have tremendous workload. Do you find time to meditate in the mornings and evenings at least?’ They replied: ‘Sometimes, even that becomes difficult. We don’t know what work would come our way on a particular day.’

On hearing this Saradeshananda said:

Please do some little spiritual practices before going to bed and while getting up in the morning. No matter where you are, you are sure to retire at the end of the day. I have seen that one can utilise those hours just as one pleases. During the times of heightened activities, especially when one is up against obstacles, I have noticed that one can think of God more intensely. At such times, an intense concentration on him is so rapidly achieved that one does not get it even after prolonged hours of japa at other times.

The important thing is to have devotion, faith, and utter dependence on him. The way is sincere wish and intense longing. All the qualities of devotion, faith, and dependence are tested during our work, during the most trying hours of our existence.

The question is: are these qualities increasing or not? Where is it mentioned that his devotees will not suffer? Rather, we find in the scriptures that they are not supposed to be swayed even by excruciating pain: ‘Obtaining which one does not think of any other acquisition to be superior to that, and being established in which one is not perturbed even by great sorrow.’ And there lies the test! You don’t learn unless you’re knocked hard. Harsh reality makes you learn, ‘Not I, but Thou’, and then comes complete surrender to God.