Wisdom of Life

Sri Ramakrishna: On Self-Knowledge and the Goal of Human Life

RamakrishnaDevote yourself to spiritual practice and go forward. Through practice you will advance more and more in the path of God. At last you will come to know that God alone is real and all else is illusory, and that the goal of life is the attainment of God.

In the scriptures you will find the way to realize God. But after getting all the information about the path, you must begin to work. Only then can you attain your goal.

The nearer you approach to God, the less you reason and argue. When you attain Him, then all sounds—all reasoning and disputing—come to an end. Then you go into samadhi,  into communion with God in silence.

Only two kinds of people can attain self-knowledge: those who are not encumbered at all with learning, that is to say, whose minds are not over-crowded with thoughts borrowed from others; and those who, after studying all the scriptures and sciences, have come to realize that they know nothing. That knowledge which purifies the mind and heart alone is true Knowledge, all else is only a negation of Knowledge. As long as I live, so long do I learn.

Common men talk bagfuls of religion but do not practice even a grain of it. The wise man speaks a little, even though his whole life is religion expressed in action. If you desire to be pure, have firm faith, and slowly go on with your devotional practices without wasting your energy in useless scriptural discussions and arguments. Your little brain will otherwise be muddled.

Different creeds are but different paths to reach the same God. God has made different religions to suit different aspirants, times, and countries. All doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no means God himself. Indeed, one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with whole-hearted devotion. God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole.

You see many stars in the sky at night, but not when the sun rises. Can you therefore say that there are no stars in the heavens during the day? Because you cannot find God in the days of your ignorance, say not that there is no God. The winds of God’s grace are always blowing, it is for us to raise our sails.

God has revealed to me that only the Pure Soul is as immutable as Mount Sumeru, unattached, and beyond pain and pleasure.

***

~Ramakrishna Paramahansa was an Indian Hindu mystic and saint in 19th century Bengal.

Excellence Reporter 2019

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Categories: Wisdom of Life

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