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Sri Ramakrishna Quotes - A collection of 108 Quotes of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

This is a collection of Quotes of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. The Sri Ramakrishna Quotes have been collected from various sources including books, newspapers, magazines, Prabuddha Bharata and Vedanta Kesari. Ramakrishna Paramahansa (18 February 1836 – 16 August 1886), born Gadadhar Chatterjee or Gadadhar Chattopadhyay, was the Guru who simplified the teachings of Vedanta and who could boldly announce to the world that he had communion with God just like we talking to another person. 

Attribute to yourselves the bliss of God Consciousness; then you too will experience ineffable joy. The bliss of God-Consciousness always exists in you. It is only hidden by the veiling and projecting power of maya. The less you are attached to the world, the more you love God.

There are signs by which you can know whether a man has truly seen God. One of these is joy; there is no hesitancy in him. He is like the ocean: the waves and sounds are on the surface; below are profound depths.

You talk about the virtues of a person as long as you haven’t seen him, but no sooner does he appear before you than all such talk stops. You are beside yourself with joy simply to be with him. You feel overwhelmed by simply conversing with him. You don’t talk about his virtues any more.

The nearer you approach to God, the more you feel His love. As the river approaches the ocean it increasingly feels the flow of the tides.

Why then do I take care of the body? It is to enjoy God, to sing His name and glories, and to go about visiting His jnanis and bhaktas.

With the dawn of self-knowledge, ignorance about the Self is removed.

Like the Akasha, Brahman is without any modification. Brahman itself is beyond the three gunas. What Brahman is cannot be described. It is beyond words. That which remains after everything is eliminated by the Vedantic process of ‘Not this, not this’, and which is of the nature of Bliss, is Brahman.

The jnani experiences God-Consciousness within himself. To him the whole universe is illusory, like a dream, he is always established in Reality of Self.

Self knowledge is discussed in the Ashtavakra Samhita. The non-dualists say, ‘Soham,’ that is ‘I am the Supreme Self.’ This is the view of the sannyasis of the Vedantic School. According to the non-dualists the Self is unattached. Good and bad, virtue and vice, and the other pairs of opposites, cannot in anyway injure the Self, though they undoubtedly afflict those who have identified themselves with their bodies. Smoke soils the wall, certainly, but it cannot in anyway affect Akasha, space.

Children! Never fight in the name of religion. All of these are true. There is complete harmony in their soul. All of them are based on certain noble principles.

The religions are complementary and not supplementary, different paths leading to the same goal.

Destroy the evil tendencies in man like lust, greed and anger and not the man. These tendencies are the real kafirs and not the man.

In the scriptures you will find the way to realize God. But after getting all the information about the path, you must begin to work, only then can you attain your goal.

Do all your duties in the world, but keep your mind on God.

It is the mind that makes one wise or ignorant, bound or emancipated.

Those who see the Invisible can do the impossible.

If the devotee is sincere, then God, who is the Inner Guide of all, will certainly reveal to the devotee His true nature.

The winds of grace are always blowing but we must raise our sails.

If you meditate on your ideal, you will acquire its nature.

Do all your duties, but keep your mind on God.

If you must be mad, be it not for the things of the world. Be mad with the love of God.

Do not let worldly thoughts and anxieties disturb your mind. Do everything in the proper time, and let your mind be always fixed on God.

You should remember that the heart of the devotee is the abode of God. He dwells, no doubt, in all beings, but He especially manifests Himself in the heart of the devotee. The heart of the devotee is the drawing room of God.

We cannot have the vision of God as long as one has these three - shame, hatred, and fear.

A man must work. Only then can He see God. One cannot develop love of God or obtain His vision without work. Work means meditation, prayer, affirmation and the like. The chanting of God's name and glories is work too. You may also include charity, sacrifice, and so on.

The vijnanis accept both God with form and the Formless, both the Personal God and the Impersonal. … But to tell you the truth, He who is formless is also endowed with form.

To His bhaktas [loving devotees of God] He reveals Himself as having a form. It is like a great ocean, an infinite expanse of water, without any trace of shore. Here and there some of the water has been frozen. Intense cold has turned it into ice. Just so, under the cooling influence, so to speak, of the bhakta’s love, the Infinite appears to take a form.

Again, the ice melts when the sun rises; it becomes water as before. Just so, one who follows the path of knowledge — the path of discrimination — does not see the form of God any more. To him everything is formless. The ice melts into formless water with the rise of the Sun of Knowledge.

But mark this: form and formlessness belong to one and the same Reality. … Then one doesn’t feel any more that God is a Person, nor does one see God’s forms. What He is cannot be described. Who will describe Him? He who would do so disappears. He cannot find his ‘I’ any more.

Do you know what I see? I see Him as all. Men and other creatures appear to me only as hollow forms, moving their heads and hands and feet, but within is the Lord Himself.

I have now come to a stage of realization in which I see that God is walking in every human form and manifesting Himself alike through the sage and the sinner, the virtuous and the vicious. Therefore when I meet different people I say to myself, ‘God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.’

Be not a traitor in your thoughts. Be sincere. Act according to your thoughts and you shall surely succeed. Pray with a sincere and simple heart, and your prayers will be heard.

A boat can be in the water, but the water ought not to be in the boat. So the aspirant may live in the world, but the world should find no place in him.

Many say with an appearance of humility, “I am like an earthworm crawling in the dust….” so always believing themselves to be earthworms, they become in time feeble as the worm.

Let not discouragement enter into thy heart; despair is the greatest enemy of our progress. What a man thinks himself to be, that he in fact becomes.

A collection of 108 Quotes of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Once the mind has been trained to fix itself on formed images, it an easily accustom itself to fix on formless realities.

At a certain stage in the path of devotion the religious man finds satisfaction in the Divinity with a form, at another stage in the formless Impersonal.

So long as the bee is outside the petals of the lotus, and has not tasted its honey, it hovers round the flower, emitting its buzzing sound; but when it is inside the flower, it drinks its nectar silently. So long as a man quarrels and disputes about doctrines and dogmas, he has not tasted the nectar of true faith; when he has tasted it he becomes still.

As the water-bird shakes off the water from its wings with a little flutter, as the mudfish lives in the mud without becoming soiled, so should a man remain in the world entirely unaffected by it.

See God in All – I have now come to a stage of realization in which I see that God is walking in every human form and manifesting Himself alike through the sage and the sinner, the virtuous and the vicious. Therefore when I meet different people I say to myself, ‘God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.’

The mind is like milk. If you keep the mind in the world, which is like water, then the milk and water will get mixed. That is why people keep milk in a quiet place and let it set into curd, and then churn butter from it. Then that butter can easily be kept in the water. The mind will float detached on the water of the world.

Knowledge leads to unity. Ignorance to disunity.

As a man thinks, so he becomes.

To drink pure water from a shallow pond one should gently take the water from the surface without disturbing the pond in the least. If it is disturbed, the sediments rise up and make the whole water muddy. If you desire to be pure, have firm faith, and slowly go on with your devotional practices, without wasting your energy in useless scriptural discussions and arguments. Your little brain will otherwise be muddled.

Many are the men who study scriptures and talk of religion, but very few are those who wish to see God or take pains to approach Him.

A washerman keeps a large store of clothes and has a rich wardrobe, but these are not his. As soon as the clothes are washed his wardrobe becomes empty. Men having no original thoughts of their own are like the washerman.

Sunlight is one and the same wherever it falls; but only a bright surface like that of water, or of a mirror or of polished metals, reflects it fully. So is the light Divine. It falls equally and impartially on all hearts but the pure and pious hearts of the good alone receive and reflect that light well.

He who will learn to swim must attempt swimming for some days. None can venture to swim in the sea after a single day’s practice. So if you want to swim in the sea of Brahman, you must take many ineffectual attempts at first before you can successfully swim therein at last.

The new-born calf feels unsteady and tumbles down scores of times before it learns to stand steady. So in the path of devotion slips are many and frequent until success is finally achieved.

The fire made by burning bamboo is soon extinguished unless kept alive by constant blowing.

Uninterrupted devotion is necessary to keep alive the fire of spirituality.

An ecstatic lover of God enjoys Him in different ways. Sometimes he says, ‘O God, You are the lotus and I am the bee, or You are the Ocean of Satchidananda and I am the fish.’ At other times the lover of God says, 'I am your dancing-girl.' He dances and sings before Him. He thinks of himself as the friend of God and sometimes as His handmaiden. He looks on God sometimes as a child, as did Yashoda, and sometimes as husband or sweetheart, as did the ‘gopis.’

Man's ego itself is Maya. It is the veil that shuts the light.

A poor devotee points to the sky and says, ‘God is up there.’ An average devotee says, ‘God dwells in the heart as the Inner Master.’ The best devotee says, ‘God alone is and everything I perceive is a form of God.’

When a man is on the plains, he sees the lowly grass and the might pine and says “How big is the tree and how small is the grass!” But when he climbs the mountain and looks down from its high peak, the grass and the tree blend into one indistinguishable mass of greenness.

So, in the sight of worldly men there are differences of rank and one is a king and another cobbler; one is a father and another is a son; and so on.

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

I cannot stand anyone calling me guru. It irritates me. Who is the guru? Satchidananda (God) alone is the guru.

Work with your hands, but let your mind remain at His (God) feet.

Lust and greed are at the root of worldliness.

This world is a slippery place. Unless one is careful one is apt to fall. If you control the tongue and the sexual instinct, you will live happily wherever you may be.

When the goal of spiritual life is reached, there remains only compassion in the heart.

Make your lips and your heart the same. – Be sincere in every way.

A poor woodcutter met a holy man who blessed him just saying ‘Go forward’. The woodcutter went farther than usual into the forest and found sandalwood forest! He became rich by selling that. Again the woodcutter thought, ‘The holy man told me to go forward. Why should I stop at sandalwood?’ He then went further and found silver mine. When he went further, he found gold and diamond mines too in course of time. Similarly, a spiritual aspirant also should go deeper and deeper into his mind to finally find his immortal Self, the greatest of all treasures!

The mind is like a needle covered with mud, and God is like a magnet. The needle cannot be united with the magnet unless it is free from mud.

Sugar and sand are mixed together, but the ant rejects the sand and carries away the grains of sugar. So the holy Saints and pious men successfully sift the good from the bad.

There are pearls in the deep sea, but you must overcome all dangers to get them. If you fail to get at them by a single dive, do not conclude that the sea is without them. Dive again and again, and you are sure to be rewarded in the end. So also in the quest for the Lord, if your first attempt to see Him proves fruitless, do not lose heart.

If there is a small hole at the bottom of a jar of water, the whole water will lead out. Similarly if there is the smallest tinge of worldliness in the aspirant all his spiritual exertions will come to naught.

It is the mind that makes one wise or ignorant, bound or emancipated. One is holy because of his mind, one is wicked because of his mind, one is a sinner because of his mind, and it is the mind that makes one virtuous. So one whose mind is always fixed on God requires no other practices, devotion or spiritual exercises.

The winds of grace blow all the time. All we need to do is set our sails.

Worldly people have no grit. If they succeed in an undertaking, it is all right, but if they don’t succeed, it scarcely bothers them at all. When they need water they begin to dig a well. But as soon as they strike a stone they give up digging there and begin at another place. How can they succeed in getting water unless they continue to dig persistently where they started?

He who has surrendered his mind, heart, and soul to God is a spiritual seeker. He who has given up lust and gold is a spiritual seeker. He looks upon women as his mother and accordingly worships them. A sadhu always thinks of God and serves all, knowing that God is in everything.

Do all your duties, but keep your mind on God. Live with all - with wife and children, father and mother and serve them. Treat them as if they were very dear to you, but know in your heart of hearts they do not belong to you.

God cannot be realized if there is the slightest attachment to the things of the world. A thread cannot pass through the eye of a needle if the tiniest fiber sticks out.

He is born in vain who, having attained the human birth, so difficult to get, does not attempt to realize God in this very life.

Repeat God's name and sing His glories, and keep holy company; and now and then visit God's devotees and holy men. The mind cannot dwell on God if it is immersed day and night in worldliness, in worldly duties and responsibilities. It is most necessary to go into solitude now and then and think of God.

You should always discriminate between the real and the unreal. God alone is real, the Eternal substance: All else is unreal, that is, impermanent. By discriminating thus, one should shake off impermanent objects from the mind.

The point is to love God even as the mother loves her child, the chaste wife her husband, and the worldly man his wealth. Add together these three forces of love, these three powers of attraction, and give it all to God. Then you will certainly see Him.

Do not care for doctrines, do not care for dogmas, or sects, or churches or temples; they count for little compared with the essence of existence within each man, which is spirituality; and the more that this is developed in a person, the more powerful is that one for the good. Earn that first, acquire that, and criticize no one, for all doctrines and creeds have some good in them. Show by your lives that religion does not mean words, or names, or sects, but that it means spiritual realization. Only those can understand who have felt. Only those that have attained spirituality can communicate it to others, can be great teachers of mankind. They alone are the powers of light.

God alone does everything, He is the Operator and man the machine. Vedanta philosophy gives an illustration.

Suppose you are cooking rice in a pot, with potato, eggplant, and other vegetables. After a while they begin to jump about in the pot. They seem to say with pride: 'We are moving! We are jumping!'

The children see it and think the potatoes, eggplant, and rice are alive and so they jump that way.

But the elders, who know, explain to the children that the vegetables and the rice are not alive; they jump not of themselves, but because of the fire under the pot; if you remove the burning wood from the hearth, then they will move no more.

Likewise the pride of man, that he is the doer, springs from ignorance.

Men are powerful because of the power of God.

The puppets dance well on the stage when pulled by a wire, but they cannot move when the wire snaps.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa quotes – the Elephant, the Blind Men and God

Some blind men happened to come across an elephant. Someone told them what it was and asked them to describe it as it seemed to them. The one who touched the leg said that it was like a column. The second one felt its ear and said it is like a winnowing fan. Similarly, those who had touched its trunk or belly gave different opinions. So with God, everyone conceives Him according to his experience.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Quotes on True Teacher or Guru

He alone is the true teacher who is illumined by the light of true knowledge.

When the jar is full, it does not make a noise anymore. So the man of realization too does not talk much. But what then about Narada and others? Yes, Narada, Sukadeva and a few others like them came down several steps after the attainment of Samadhi, and out of mercy and love they taught mankind.

Rain water falling upon the roof of a house flows down to the ground through sprouts shaped grotesquely like a tiger’s head. One gets the impression that the water comes from the tiger’s mouth, but in reality it descends from the sky. In the same way the holy teachings that come from the mouths of godly men seem to be uttered by those men themselves, while in reality they proceed from God.
Bees come of themselves to the full-blown flower when the breeze wafts its fragrance all around. Ants come of themselves to the spot where sweets are placed. No one needs to invite the bee or the ant. So when a man becomes pure and perfect, the sweet influence of his character spreads everywhere, and all who seek the Truth are naturally drawn towards him. He need not go in search of an audience to listen to him.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa on Simplicity as a Path to Divine Realization

Till one becomes simple like a child one cannot get divine illumination. Forget all the worldly knowledge that you have acquired and become as ignorant of it as a child, then you will get the knowledge of the Truth.

Simple mindedness takes one easily to God. If a person is simple, spiritual instructions easily fructify in him, as seeds germinate easily and grow to bear fruit soon when sown in tiled soil free from stones.
Always you must discriminate in your mind between the true and the false, the eternal and transient; and then leaving aside all that is transient, you should fix your mind upon that alone which is eternal.

Sri Ramakrishna Quotes on the Presence of God in Temples and Sacred Places

Know that there must be manifestation of God in places where countless people have practiced austerity. From time immemorial numberless devotees and men of realization have come to these holy places to have the vision of God. Therefore, God, though equally present everywhere, manifests Himself especially in these places in the same way as water can be had anywhere by digging in the ground, but where there is a tank or a lake, one has not to dig for water, but can get it whenever one likes.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa on Bhakti

It is a rare thing – this love of God. Bhakti can arise only when there is wholehearted devotion to God. Pure Bhakti is difficult to obtain. Through Bhakti the mind and soul must be absorbed in God. Then comes Bhava – the higher form of Bhakti.

Devotion to God increases in the same proportion as attachment to the objects of the senses decreases.

If once man gains love of God, if once the chanting of His holy name begins to thrill the devotee with joy, what effort is needed for the control of passions afterwards? The control comes of itself.

Shri Ramakrishna on Avatar or Divine Incarnation

Think not that Rama and Sita, Krishna and Radha are mere allegories and not historical personages, or that the scriptures are true only in their inner or esoteric meaning. Nay, those personages were human beings of flesh and blood just as you are; but because they were divinities, their lives can be interpreted both historically and allegorically. The Avataras are to Brahman what waves are to the ocean.

Sri Ramakrsihna Quotes on Pilgrimages

Pilgrimages, without love and devotion to God, carry no reward. With devotion within your heart, it is not absolutely necessary that you must visit holy places….

As cows after eating their fill of fodder lie quietly down at a place and chew the cud, so after visiting a holy spot or a place of pilgrimage, you must take hold of the holy thoughts that rise in the mind there, sit down in a solitary spot and think of them till you become immersed in them. You must not let them slip off from your mind as soon as you turn away from those places, and attach yourselves to sense-pursuits. In that case the divine thoughts bring no lasting effect on the mind.

He is formless and with form and many are His forms which no one knows - Sri Ramakrishna Thoughts

Two persons were hotly disputing as to the color of a chameleon. One said, ‘The chameleon on the palm tree is of a beautiful red color.’ The other, contradicting him, said, ‘You are mistaken, the chameleon is not red but blue.’ Not being able to settle the matter by arguments, both went to the person who always lived under that tree and had watched the chameleon in all its phases of color.
One of them said, “Sir, is not the chameleon on that tree of a red color?’ The person replied ‘Yes, it is.’ The other disputant said, ‘I am sure it is not red, it is blue.’ The person said ‘Yes, it is.’ The person who resided under the tree knew that chameleon is an animal that constantly changes its color.
The Sat-Chit-Ananda likewise has countless forms. The devotee who has seen God in one aspect only, knows Him in that aspect alone. But he who has seen Him in manifold aspects is alone in a position to say, “All these forms are of one God and God is multiform.’ He is formless and with form and many are His forms which no one knows.

God is One But He Is Worshipped In Different Ages Under Different Names -Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Be not like the frog in the well. The frog in the well knows nothing bigger and grander than its well. So are all bigots. They do not see anything better than their own creed.

In a potter’s shop, there are vessels of different shapes and forms – pots, jars, dishes, plates etc., but all are made of the same clay. So God is one, but He is worshipped in different ages and climes under different names and aspects.

One can ascend to the top of a house by means of a ladder or a bamboo or a staircase or a rope; so too, diverse are the ways of approaching God and each religion in the world shows one of the ways.