Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Ramakrishna, aka Ramakrishna Paramhamsa or Sri Ramakrishna, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay NULL

Indian Mystic, Teacher, Hindu Saint and Avatar, Prominent Disciple Swami Vivekananda

"The soiled mirror never reflects the rays of the sun; so the impure and the unclean in heart that are subject to Maya (illusion) never perceive the glory of Bhagavan, the holy One. But the pure in heart see the Lord as the clear mirror reflects the sun. So be holy."

"The pearl-oyster that contains the precious pearl is in itself of very little value, but it is essential for the growth of the pearl. The shell itself may prove to be of no use to the man who has got the pearl. So ceremonies and rites may not be necessary for him who has attained the Highest Truth - God."

"A boat may stay in water, but water should not stay in boat. A spiritual aspirant may live in the world, but the world should not live within him."

"A man achieves neither Knowledge nor liberation as long as he has egotism. He comes back again and again to the world."

"A man can reach God if he follows one path rjghtly. Then he can learn about all the other paths. It is like reaching the roof by some means or other. Then one is able to climb down by the wooden or stone stairs, by a bamboo pole, or even by a rope."

"A man cannot comprehend spiritual things with his ordinary intelligence. To understand them he must live in the company of holy persons. You learn to feel the pulse by living with a physician."

"A man cannot easily get rid of the ego and the consciousness that the body is the soul. It becomes possible only when, through the grace of God, he attains samadhi"

"A man cannot realize God unless he gets rid of all such egotistic ideas as 'I am such an important man' or 'I am so and so'. Level the mound of 'I' to the ground by dissolving it with tears of devotion."

"A man cannot see God unless he gives his whole mind to Him. A man sees a thing in one way through reasoning and in an altogether different way when God Himself shows it to him."

"A man does not feel restless for God until all his worldly desires are satisfied. He does not remember the Mother of the Universe until his share of the enjoyment of 'woman and gold' is completed. A child absorbed in play does not seek his mother. But after his play is over, he says, 'Mother! I must go to my mother.'"

"A man is able to see God as soon as he gets rid of ego and other limitations. He sees God as soon as he is free from such feelings as 'I am a scholar', 'I am the son of such and such a person', 'I am wealthy', 'I am honorable', and so forth."

"A man is truly free, even here in this embodied state, if he knows that God is the true agent and he by himself is powerless to do anything."

"A man may not know the right path, but if he has bhakti and the desire to know God, then he attains Him through the force of sheer bhakti. Once a sincere devotee set out on a pilgrimage to the temple of Jagganath 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."

"A man must practice some spiritual discipline in order to be able to lead a detached life in the world. It is necessary for him to spend some time in solitude"

"A man possessed of a strong spirit of renunciation feels restless for God, as the mother feels for her own child. A man of strong renunciation seeks nothing but God."

"A man practices spiritual discipline, but his mind is on 'woman and gold'"

"A man sees a thing in one way through reasoning and in an altogether different way when God Himself shows it to him."

"A man thinks, 'I have practiced a little prayer and austerity; so I have gained a victory over others.' But victory and defeat lie with God. I have seen a prostitute dying in the Ganges and retaining consciousness1 to the end."

"A man who has tasted even a drop of God's ecstatic love looks on 'woman and gold' as most insignificant. He who has tasted syrup made from sugar candy regards a drink made from treacle as a mere trifle. One gradually obtains that love for God if one but prays to Him with a yearning heart and always chants His name and glories."

"A man, gets rid of all desires when he has Perfect Knowledge. He becomes like a child five years old. Sages like Dattatreya and Jadabharata had the nature of a child."

"A poor devotee points to the sky and says, "

"A thief enters a dark room and feels the various articles therein. He lays his hands upon a table perhaps, and saying "

"A true lover does not seek anything from God. He prays only for pure love. He doesn't want any powers or miracles."

"A wife endowed with spiritual wisdom is a real partner in life. She greatly helps her husband to follow the religious path. After the birth of one or two children they live like brother and sister. Both of them are devotees of God. His servant and His handmaid. Their family is a spiritual family. They are always happy with God and His devotees. They know that God alone is their own, from everlasting to everlasting. They are like the Pandava brothers; they do not forget God in happiness or in sorrow."

"A young plant should always be protected against goats and cows and the mischief of little urchins, by means of a fence. But when it becomes a big tree, a flock of goats or a herd of cows can freely find shelter under its spreading boughs and fill their stomachs with their leaves. So when your faith is yet in its infancy, you should protect it from the evil influences of bad company. But when you grow strong in faith, no worldliness or evil inclination will dare approach your holy presence; and many who are wicked will become godly through their holy contact with you."

"According to the Gita, one becomes afterwards what one thinks of at the time of death. King Bharata thought of his deer and became a deer in his next life. Therefore one must practice sadhana in order to realize God. If a man thinks of God day and night, he will have the same thought in the hour of death."

"According to the Vedanta one has to know the real nature of one's own Self. But such knowledge is impossible without the renunciation of ego. The ego is like a stick that seems to divide the water in two. It makes you feel that you are one and I am another. When the ego disappears in samadhi, then one knows Brahman to be one's own inner consciousness."

"Add your tears to your yearning. And if you can renounce everything through discrimination and dispassion, then you will be able to see God. That yearning brings about God-intoxication, whether you follow the path of knowledge or the path of devotion."

"After destroying ignorance, you should discard both knowledge and ignorance"

"All doubts disappear when one sees God. It is one thing to hear of God, but quite a different thing to see Him. A man cannot have one hundred per cent conviction through mere hearing. But if he beholds God face to face, then he is wholly convinced."

"All else is illusory. This moment the body is and the next moment it is not. One must make haste to worship God."

"All these names and forms are illusory, like a dream. What Brahman is cannot be described."

"All trouble and botheration come to an end when the 'I' dies."

"All want to be the guru, but very few indeed want to be the disciple. But you know that rain-water doesn't collect on a high mound; it collects in low land, in a hollow."

"All will surely realize God. All will be liberated. It may be that some get their meal in the morning, some at noon, and some in the evening; but none will go without food. All, without any exception, will certainly know their real Self."

"All worship and spiritual discipline are directed to one end alone, namely, to get rid of worldly attachment. The more you meditate on God, the less you will be attached to the trifling things of the world. The more you love the Lotus Feet of God, the less you will crave the things of the world or pay heed to creature comforts. You will look on another man's wife as your mother and regard your own wife as your companion in spiritual life. You will get rid of your bestial desires and"

"All, without any exception, will certainly know their real Self."

"And you must cultivate intense zeal for God. You must feel love for Him and be attracted to Him."

"As a boy holding to a post or a pillar whirls about it with headlong speed without any fear or falling, so perform your worldly duties, fixing your hold firmly upon God, and you will be free from danger."

"As a piece of rope, when burnt, retains its form, but cannot serve to bind, so is the ego which is burnt by the fire of supreme Knowledge."

"As a toy fruit or a toy elephant reminds one of the real fruit and the living animal, so do the images that are worshipped remind one of the God who is formless and eternal."

"As for me, I consider myself as a speck of the dust of the devotee's feet."

"As long as I live, so long do I learn."

"As the shell, the pith and the kernel of the fruit are all produced form one parent seed of the tree, so from the one Lord is produced the whole of creation, animate and inanimate, spiritual and material."

"As the snake is separate from its slough, even so is the Spirit separate from the body."

"As without strong determination the farmer cannot bring water to his field, so also without intense yearning a man cannot realize God."

"As your attachment to the world diminishes, your spiritual knowledge will increase. Attachment to the world means attachment to 'woman and gold."

"At a certain stage in the path of devotion, the devotee finds satisfaction in God with form, and at another stage, in God without it."

"At the beginning the aspirant should go into solitude now and then."

"Be firm in one ideal-either in God with form or in the formless God. Then alone will you realize God; otherwise not. With firm and unwavering belief the followers of God with form will realize Him, as will those who speak of Him as formless. You may eat a cake with icing either straight or sidewise; it will taste sweet either way."