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Not Me Thou – The Highest Human End And Human Redemption

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa beckons humanity to aspire for the highest human end. What is this highest human end? According to Sri Ramakrishna, it is God-realization. God-realization is an experience which completely changes an individual. One becomes identified with the cosmos, the whole, the infinite, all and everything. In Sri Ramakrishna’s discourse, the experience is like that of the river that loses its identity as it flows into the sea, and becomes the sea — that is to say, one becomes one with others, with everyone and everything, ‘from the Supreme Being to the tiny blade of grass’. This realization prevents any isolated identification of the self. The small self with the ego of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ is false; the higher Self which is one with everyone is paramount.

Sri Ramakrishna was the epitome of the highest humanism. He was holiness personified, and he chose the purest path of worship, rendering his child-like love to his Divine Mother in his search for God-realization and perfection.

How do we define perfection? Swami Lokeswarananda has explained perfection as ‘Not me, Thou’, which is the feeling of oneness with all existence. The ancient seers contended that perfection comes when one sees that there is a common thread running through existence, however diverse it might appear. When one sees this unity of existence, one cannot hate or fight others. One can only love, help, and serve, and find real happiness in humanistic living. The point here is that religious striving should stimulate the awareness of ‘Not me, Thou’, which is the key to self-conquest and perfection.

Buddha, Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda, and other spiritual giants illumine the pages of religious history as God-men and -women, as models of perfection. Their humanity was constant and infinite. In particular, Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi’s lives have taught us that happiness depends on ‘being’ and not on ‘having’. The beauty and love that was intrinsic to their selflessness radiated outward to sanctify the lives of others. ‘Not me, Thou’ stands as a sacred mantra for human redemption.