Sri Ramakrishna, who was born in 1836 and passed away in 1886, represents the very core of the spiritual realizations of the seers and sages of India. His whole life was literally an uninterrupted contemplation of God. He reached a depth of God-consciousness that transcends all time and space and has a universal appeal. Seekers of God of all religions feel irresistibly drawn to his life and teachings. Sri Ramakrishna, as a silent force, influences the spiritual thought currents of our time. Through his God-intoxicated life Sri Ramakrishna proved that the revelation of God takes place at all times and that God-realization is not the monopoly of any particular age, country, or people. The God-man of nineteenth-century India did not found any cult, nor did he show a new path to salvation. His message was his God-consciousness. When God-consciousness falls short, traditions become dogmatic and oppressive and religious teachings lose their transforming power.
***Sayings of Ramakrishna
Many are the names of God, and infinite the forms that lead us to know Him. In whatsoever name or form you desire to call Him, in that very form and name you will see Him.
So long as no child is born to her, the newly-married girl remains deeply absorbed in her domestic duties. But no sooner is a son born, than she leaves off all her house-hold concerns, and no longer finds any pleasure in them. On the contrary, she fondles the newborn baby the livelong day, and kisses it with intense joy. Thus man, in his state of ignorance, performs all sorts of worldly works, but no sooner does he see the Almighty, than he finds no longer any relish in them. On the contrary, his happiness now consists only in serving the Deity and doing His works alone.
He who has once tasted the refined and crystalline sugar-candy, finds no pleasure in raw treacle; he who has slept in a palace, will not find pleasure in lying down in a dirty hovel. So the soul that has once tasted the sweetness of the Divine Bliss finds no delight in the ignoble pleasures of the world.
When a man is in the plains he sees the lowly grass and the mighty pine-tree and says, ‘How big is the tree and how small is the grass!’ But when he ascends the mountain and looks from its high peak to the plain below, the mighty pine-tree and the lowly grass blend into one indistinct mass of green verdure. So in the sight of worldly men there are differences of rank and position, but when the Divine sight is opened there remains no distinction of high and low.
A spring cushion is squeezed down when one sits upon it, but it soon resumes its original shape when the pressure is removed. So it is with worldly men. They are full of religious sentiments, so long as they hear religious talks; but no sooner do they enter into the daily routine of the world, than they forget all those high and noble thoughts, and become as impure as before.
A worldly man may be endowed with intellect as great as that of Ganaka, may take as much pains and trouble as a Yogin, and make as great sacrifices as an ascetic; but all these he makes and does, not for God, but for worldliness, honor, and wealth
So long as the fire is beneath, the milk boils and bubbles. Remove the fire and it is quiet again. So the heart of the neophyte boils with enthusiasm, so long as he goes on with his spiritual exercises, but afterwards it cools down.
What you wish others to do, do yourself.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that he who yearns for God, finds Him.
A group of fisherwomen on their way home from a distant market held on an afternoon, were overtaken by a heavy hailstorm at nightfall in the middle of their way, and so were compelled to take shelter in a florist’s house near at hand. Through the kindness of the florist they were allowed to sleep that night in one of his rooms, where some baskets of sweet-smelling flowers had been kept for supplying his customers. The atmosphere of the room was too good for the fisherwomen, and they could not, owing to it, get even a wink of sleep, till one of them suggested a remedy by saying, ‘Let each of us keep her empty basket of fish close to her nose, and thus prevent this troublesome smell of flowers from attacking our nostrils and killing our sleep.’ Every one gladly agreed to the proposal, and did accordingly; and soon all began to snore. Such, indeed, is the power and influence of bad habits over all those who are addicted to them.