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Sri Ramakrishna Wise Words

This is a collection of wise words and thoughts of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ((18 February 1836 – 16 August 1886). The Sri Ramakrishna sayings have been collected from various sources including books, newspapers, magazines, Prabuddha Bharata and Vedanta Kesari. 

You shall have to banish your ego completely from the heart. If you have the egoistic feeling, ‘I am the doer,’ you can never see God.

One attains God when one feels yearning for Him. An intense restlessness is needed. Through it the whole mind goes to God.

Everything can be realized simply through love of God. If one is able to love
God, one does not lack anything.

Do not be in a hurry, but progress each at his own pace! You are sure to arrive at your destination, so there is no need to run! But you must not stop!

At a distance from the market, we hear only a loud buzzing noise; but entering the market, we hear it no longer, and instead we hear the bargains that are being carried on. Similarly, so long as a person is far away from God, he cannot but be in the midst of the confusion of scholarship, vain argument and discussion; but once he approaches God, all arguments and discussions cease, and he gains a clear and vivid insight of the mysteries of God.

God cannot be seen with these physical eyes. In the course of spiritual discipline one gets a ‘love body,’ endowed with ‘love eyes,’ ‘love ears,’ and so on . . . With this love body the soul communes with God.

Bodies are like pillowcases. It doesn’t matter whether they remain or drop off…

If you keep your heart immersed always in the ocean of divine love, your heart is sure to remain ever full to overflowing with the waters of the divine love…

Occult powers are heaps of rubbish…

Live in the world like a dead leaf. As a dead leaf is carried by the wind into a house or on the roadside and has no choice of its own, so let the wind of the Divine Will blow you wherever it chooses…

Think of vast ocean filled with water on all sides. A jar is immersed in it. There is water both inside and outside the jar; but the water does not become one unless the jar is broken…What is the jar? It is the I-consciousness – the ego.

When one’s mind becomes pure, then that mind itself becomes the guru.

Once a sincere devotee set out on a pilgrimage to the temple of Jagannath in Puri. He did not know the way; he went west instead of south. He no doubt strayed from the right path, but he always eagerly asked people the way, and they gave him the right directions, saying, ‘This is not the path; follow that one.’ At last the devotee was able to get to Puri and worship the Deity. So you see, even if you are ignorant, someone will tell you the way if you are earnest.

Whatever one does one must do wholeheartedly in order to enjoy. The Lord looks at a person’s heart and sincerity, and not at the amount of time he puts into his spiritual practice.

As various ornaments having different forms and names, are made out of the same lump of gold, so in different ages and countries, under different names and forms one God is worshipped. However various the fashions of His worship, though some love to call Him father, and others Mother, yet it is one God who is worshipped under so many names, in all these ways.

God is the inner guide. He sees the longing of our heart and the yearning of our soul. Suppose a man has several sons. The older boys address him distinctly as ‘baba’ or ‘papa’, but the babies can at call him ‘Ba’ or ‘Pa.’ Now will the father be angry with those who address him in this indistinct way? The father knows that they too are calling him, only they cannot pronounce his name well. All children are the same to the father. Likewise, the devotees call on God alone, though by different names. They call on one Person only. God is one, but His names are many.

Before visiting a servant’s house to receive his hospitality, a king sends there the necessary articles like seats, ornaments and food from his own stores so that the servant may be enabled to receive his master properly and show him due honour. In the same manner the God sends love, and faith, into the yearning hearts of the
devotees before He makes His advent in them.

You cannot get rid of work, because Nature will lead you on to it. That being so let all work be done as it ought to be. If work is done unattached, it will lead to God. To work without any attachment is to work without the expectation of any reward or fear or any punishment in this world or the next. Work so done is a means to the end, and God is the end.

Charity, compassion, kindness towards others, etc., are good if practiced without attachment.

After installing God on the lotus of your heart, you must keep the lamp of remembering Him ever burning. While engaged in the affairs of the world, you should constantly turn your gaze inwards and see whether the lamp is burning or not.

You must hold on to that what you believe.

Speaking the truth is the austerity of the age of Kali (Kali Yuga). The other austerities are not easy to practice in this age.

By sticking to truth, one attains God.

The mind is like a white laundered cloth, whichever color you dye it in it takes up the same.

A little child only wants its mother. It doesn’t know of her riches. It doesn’t even want to know. All it knows is that it has a mother.

Maya may be compared to a snake that is active and moving, while Brahman is like the snake absolutely still. Maya is the name of the manifested powers of the Absolute and Immovable Reality which is called Brahman.

In the course of his instruction of his disciple, the Guru raised two fingers by which he meant the duality of ‘Brahman and Maya’, then lowering one finger, he taught him that when Maya vanishes, nothing of the universe remains but the one Absolute Brahman.

He who tries to give an idea of God by mere book learning, is like the man who tries to give an idea of Kashi by means of a map or picture.

He who has realized Brahman can only say Brahman is everywhere.

You shall have to banish your ego completely from the heart. If you have the egoistic feeling, ‘I am the doer,’ you can never see God.

One attains God when one feels yearning for Him. An intense restlessness is needed. Through it the whole mind goes to God.

Everything can be realized simply through love of God. If one is able to love
God, one does not lack anything.

Do not be in a hurry, but progress each at his own pace! You are sure to arrive at your destination, so there is no need to run! But you must not stop!

The jiva is nothing but the embodiment of Satchidananda. But since Maya, or ego, has created various upaadhis (masks of names and forms), he has forgotten his real Self.

When one attains perfect knowledge, then one finds that dying and killing are one and same thing, that is to say, both are unreal.

Remember that daya, compassion, and Maya attachment, are two different things. Attachment means the feeling of ‘my-ness’ toward one’s relatives…Compassion is the love one feels for all beings of the world. It is an attitude of equality…But one thing should be remembered: Maya keeps us in ignorance (of our divine nature) and entangles us in the world, whereas daya makes our hearts pure and gradually unties our bonds and attachments.

All paths ultimately lead to the same Truth.

Pray to God with a longing heart. He will surely listen to your prayer if it is sincere.

It is the mind that becomes at last the spiritual teacher and acts as such. A human teacher imparts a Mantra to the ear; the divine Teacher imparts it to the soul.

When a man has true knowledge he feels that everything is filled with Consciousness.

Recognize all as manifestation of God and serve them as such.

Heinous sins — the sins of many births and accumulated ignorance—all disappear in the twinkling of an eye through the grace of God. When light enters a room that  has been kept dark, does a thousand year’s darkness go little by little or instantly? Of course, at the mere touch of light all the darkness disappears.

It is on account of the ego that one is not able to see God. In front of the door of God's mansion lies the stump of ego. One cannot enter the mansion without jumping over the stump.

The ego seems to vanish this moment, but it reappears the next. Unless one enounces the ego, one does not receive the grace of God.

When a man has true knowledge he feels that everything is filled with Consciousness.

One cannot realize God without the faith that knows no guile, the simple faith of a child.

Suppose a man has a thorn in the sole of his foot. He gets another thorn and takes out the first one. In other words, he removes the thorn of ajnana, ignorance, by means of the thorn of jnana, knowledge. But on attaining vijnana, he discards both thorns, ignorance and knowledge. (The state of vijnana is an intimate relation with God).

The world is like a thorny bush: you have hardly freed yourself from one set of thorns before you find yourself entangled in another. To come out – Light the fire of knowledge and with it set the thorny bush ablaze.

He who is aware of light is also aware of darkness. He who is aware of happiness is also aware of suffering. He who is aware of virtue is also aware of vice. He who is aware of good is also aware of evil. He who is aware of holiness is also aware of unholiness. He who is aware of “I” is also aware of “you”. What is vijnana? It is knowing God in a special way.’ (The passage means both jnana and ajnana exist and one has to remove the latter with the help of the former.)

Live in the world like an ant. The world contains a mixture of truth and untruth, sugar and sand. Be an ant and take the sugar.

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.

Live in the world like a waterfowl. The water clings to the bird, but the bird shakes it off.

Live in the world like a mudfish. The fish lives in the mud, but its skin is always bright and shiny.

All will certainly realize God if they are earnest and sincere.

Long must you struggle in water before you learn to swim; similarly, many a struggle must you pass through before you can hope to swim on the ocean of Divine Bliss.

The man of Knowledge knows that God is right here, very near, in the heart; that He has as summed all forms and dwells in all hearts as their Inner Controller.

A certain person asked Sri Ramakrishna, ‘Kindly instruct me in one word so that I may be illumined.’ To which he replied, ‘The Absolute is the only reality; the universe is unreal’ – realize this and then sit silent.

There are two egos – one ripe and the other unripe. ‘This is my house, my room, my son’ – the ego that has this idea is unripe; while the ripe ego is that which thinks – I’ am the servant of the Lord, I am His child, I am ever free and all knowing.

God reveals Himself to a devotee who feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions: the attraction of worldly possessions for the worldly man, the child’s attraction for its mother, and the husband’s attraction for the chaste wife. If one feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions, then through it one can attain Him.

Divine love makes one forget the world. So intense is one’s love of God that one becomes unconscious of outer things.

In divine love one has no feeling of my-ness toward the body, which is otherwise so dear to man. Through divine love one gets rid of the feeling that the body is all important thing.

As we start loving God sincerely, detachment follows.

If we take one step towards God, God takes ten steps towards us.