Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From ‘They Lived with God. Life stories of some devotees of Sri Ramakrishna’ by Swami Chetanananda

Ram: “Is it possible to realize God in this life?”…………………Master…….. “The more you advance in one direction, the more you leave behind the opposite direction…….”

Master……… “In orde to meditate on God, one should try at first to think of Him as free from upadhis, limitations. God is beyond upadhis. He is beyond speech and mind. But it is very difficult to achieve perfection in this form of meditation.”

“But it is easy to meditate on an Incarnation – God born as man. Yes, God in man. The body is a mere covering”

Sri Ramakrishna: “In the beginning one should move forward on the spiritual path holding to an initial faith [i.e., faith in the words of the scriptures and the guru]. One then attains direct perception. There are two kinds of faith – initial faith and real faith [i.e., faith that comes from direct experience]. Be steadfast in the first one and then you will see God.”

“……..How many people are restless for God-realization? People shed jugfuls of tears for their wives, children, or money, but who weeps for God? He who longs for Him certainly will find Him. Cry to Him. Call on Him with a longing heart. You will see Him.”

Holy company is essential. As one gets heat sitting near a fire, so holy company raises the mind to a higher plane. One gets peace and inspiration in the company of the holy.

Ramakrishna also taught her how to practice japa, showing how the four fingers of the right hand must be kept tightly together. “The result of japa goes away,” said the Master, “if there is any gap between the fingers.” Another time he said, “In this Kali yuga a Gopala mantra [a name of baby Krishna] or a Kali mantra produces quick results”

Yogin-ma said to the Master: “I want to call on God more and put my mind wholly on Him, but it is hard to control the mind. What shall I do?” Sri Ramakrishna replied in a sweet voice: “Why don’t you surrender to Him? Be like a cast-off leaf in a gale. Do you know what that is like?..........Let the mind move as the power of divine consciousness moves it. That’s all.”

Sri Ramakrishna used to say, “A person cannot be perfect as long as he is subject to shame, hatred, and fear.”

Once a person experiences Samadhi, the memory of it is revived at the time of death.

Sri Ramakrishna has given a new teaching especially for householders: “Let the boat be in water, but let there be no water in the boat; let an aspirant live in the world, but let there be no worldliness in him.”

According to most theistic religions, self-effort is essential for beginners, while self-surrender is practiced by advanced spiritual aspirants.

“If you find a companion who is good, wise, and loving, walk with him all the way and overcome all dangers,” said Buddha in the Dhammapada. “And if you do not find a good companion, then live alone and walk alone ‘like an elephant in the forest’”

It is said in the Mahabharata: “Human life is not eternal, and moreover no one knows when all-devouring death will come. Therefore one should begin to practice religion when one is young.”

Girish: “But I am a sinner.”

……….Master: “………Suppose a light is brought into a room that has been dark a thousand years; does it illumine the room little by little, or all in a flash?…….Give God your power of attorney. Let Him do whatever He likes.”

Once Girish heard the Master say: “If a passionate desire arises and persists during meditation, stop and begin to pray. Earnestly pray to the Lord that this desire be removed, that it not be fulfilled. Any desire coming up in meditation, particularly a repressed one, gradually becomes intensified. And if one or more of our passions are involved, the results can be most disquieting.”

One way to approach God, according to traditional Hinduism, is by practicing any one of five dualistic attitudes, or moods. These attitudes, or moods, are manifested in the relationship between the devotee and God, and they are: shanta bhava, the peace and stillness felt in the presence of God; dasya bhava, the attitude of a servant towards the master; sakhya bhava, the attitude of a friend towards a friend; vatsalya bhava, the attitude of a parent towards a child; madhura bhava, the attitude of a lover towards the beloved. The idea behind this classification is to help spiritual aspirants intensify their relationship with God according to their own inner nature. This is a natural path to God-realization

As both blades of a pair of scissors are needed to cut a piece of cloth, so both self-effort and grace are needed to realize God.

………..the Master told a large group of devotees: “There are many opinions about God. Each opinion is a path. There are innumerable opinions and innumerable paths leading to God……….You must stick to one path with all your strength. A man can reach the roof of a house by stone stairs or a ladder or …..a rope……But he cannot reach the roof if he sets foot now on one and now on another. He should firmly follow one path with all his strength.”

“But you must regard other views as so many paths leading to God. You should not feel that your path is the only right path and that other paths are wrong. You mustn’t bear malice towards others.”

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