CULLED FROM STRAY TALKS

1.    Everything depends upon one's mind. Nothing can be achieved without purity of mind. It is said, 'The aspirant might have received the grace of the guru, the Lord and his devotees; but he comes to grief without the grace of "one".' That 'one' is the mind. The mind of the aspirant must be gracious to him.

2.    Don't puzzle the mind with too many inquiries. One finds it difficult to put one single thing into practice, but dares invite distraction by filling the mind with too many things.

3.    It is essential to perform spiritual practices in a secluded place. When a plant is young, fencing is necessary, but when it grows big, the cattle cannot do it any harm. So after some years of meditation, when the mind is formed, you can remain anywhere and can associate with any type of person, and the mind will not be much affected.

4.    Practise meditation, and by and by your mind will be so calm and fixed that you will find it difficult to keep it away from meditation.

5.    Whenever the mind goes after anything other than God, consider that as transient and surrender the mind at the sacred feet of the Lord.

6.    The less you become attached to the world, the more you will enjoy peace of mind.

7.    Many turn toward God as a result of much suffering in life. But one whose mind is offered like a flower to the Lord right from childhood is indeed blessed.

8.    The mind is no better than a wild elephant. It runs with the wind. Therefore one should always discriminate and strive hard for the realization of God.

9.    One cannot escape the effect of one's past karma. But then, if a person leads a prayerful life, he gets off with only the prick of a thorn in the leg, whereas he was to suffer from a deep cut.

10.    If you do not pray to God, what is that to him? It is only your misfortune.

11.    When a man sees defects in others, his own mind first gets polluted. What does he gain by finding faults in others? He only hurts himself by that.

12.    From desire this body comes into being. When there is no desire at all, the body falls away.

With complete cessation of desire there comes the final end.

13.    As long as a man has desires there will be no end to his transmigration. It is the desire alone that make him take one body after another. Rebirth is inevitable so long as one has desires.

14.    One must perform work. It is only through work that the bondage of work will be cut asunder and one will acquire a spirit of non-attachment. One should not be without work even for a moment.

15.    Many are known to do great work under the stress of some strong emotion. But a man's true nature is known by the manner in which he does his insignificant daily tasks.

16.    You should do work, no doubt. Work saves the mind from going astray. But then, prayer and meditation also are necessary. You must sit for meditation at least once in the morning and once in the evening. That will be like the helm to a boat. When one sits for meditation in the evening, there should be self-examination in respect of the works done in the course of the day.

17.    Just as clouds are blown away by the wind, so the thirst for material pleasure will be driven away by the utterance of the Lord's name.

18.    Even the water which has got a natural tendency to flow downwards, is drawn up to the sky by the sun's rays. In the same way, God's grace lifts up the mind which has got a tendency to run after sense objects.

19.    The grace of God is the thing that is needful. One should pray for the grace of God. One must pray sitting on the bank of the river. One will be taken across in proper time.

20.    The human teacher utters the mantra into the ear; but God breathes the spirit into the soul.

21.    Just surrender yourself to Him; you will then feel His grace.

22.    God-realization is just like a candy in the hand of a child. Some people beg the child to part with it. He does not care to give it to them. But without hesitation he hands it over to another whom he likes. All depends on the grace of God. He bestows his grace upon anyone he likes. Grace is the important thing.

23.    God cannot be realized without love, yes, sincere love.

24.    Have intense devotion to God. One must work hard. How can one achieve anything without effort? You must devote some time for prayer even in the midst of the busiest hour of the day.

25.    To pray to God and meditate on him for two minutes even, with a fully concentrated mind, is better than doing so for long hours without it.

26.    One's love of God depends entirely upon one's inner feeling. Love of God is the essential thing.

27.    Give up this dry discussion, this hodgepodge of philosophy. Who has been able to know God by reasoning?

28.    It does not become a woman to argue like that. Even the wise could hardly realize the nature of Brahman by argument. Is Brahman an object of discussion?

29.    Neither mantra nor scripture is of any avail; bhakti or devotion alone accomplishes everything.

30.    Lay the burden of your mind before Sri Ramakrishna. Tell him your sorrows with your tears. You will find that he will fill your hands with the desired object.

31.    Even the impossible becomes possible through devotion.

32.    Through these spiritual disciplines the ties of past karma are cut asunder. But the realization of God cannot be achieved without ecstatic love for him.

33.    Ordinary human love results in misery. Love for God brings blessedness.

34.    It is idle to expect that dangers and difficulties will not come. They are bound to come. But for a devotee they will pass away under the feet like water.

35.    What does a man become by realizing God? Does he grow two horns? No, what happens is , he develops discrimination between the real and the unreal, becomes conscious spiritually, and goes beyond life and death. God is realized in spirit. How else can one see God? Has God talked to anyone who is devoid of ecstatic fervour? One sees God in spiritual vision, talks to him, and establishes relationship with him in spirit.

36.    Husband, son, body, or whatever it be, is all in maya. All these are maya's bondage. One cannot be freed unless one gets rid of bondage.

37.    As you progress in your spiritual practice you will see the same Being in you as in me, and that He is in all men, be they of the lowest castes. Then you will acquire humility.

38.    Can you call him a man who is devoid of compassion? He is a veritable beast.

39.    In course of time one does not feel even the existence of God. After attaining enlightenment one sees that Gods and deities are all maya. Everything comes into existence in time and disappears in time. Gods and such things really disappear at the dawn of enlightenment. The aspirant then realizes that the Mother alone pervades the universe. All then become one.

40.    Many may take the name of God after their minds have been hardened by the contaminating influence of the world. But he alone is blessed who can devote himself to God from very childhood.

41.    Where is that competent student who can understand spiritual instruction? First of all one should be fit; otherwise the instructions prove futile.

42.    One should be extremely careful about making His service perfectly flawless. But the truth is, God knows our foolishness, and therefore He forgives us.

43.    Spiritual progress becomes easier if husband and wife agree in their view regarding spiritual practice.

44.    All teachers are one. The same power of God works through them all.

45.    Sri Ramakrishna never cherished any parochial or one-sided view. Brahman exists everywhere. The prophets and incarnations are born to show the way to benighted humanity. They give different instructions according to different temperaments. There are many ways to realize truth. Therefore, all these instructions have their value.

46.    Do you know the significance of japa and other spiritual practices? By these the power of the sense-organs is subdued.

47.    Past sins are counteracted by meditation, japa, and spiritual thought.

48.    The mantra purifies the body. Man becomes pure by repeating the mantra of God.

49.    From time immemorial so many people have practised image-worship and thereby got liberation. Do you mean to say that is nothing?

50.    God is one's very own. One realizes him in proportion to the intensity of one's feeling for him.