The Gospel Of Ramakrishna
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You believe in God without form; that is quite all right. But never for a moment think that this alone is true and all else false. Remember that God with form is just as true as God without form.
But hold fast to your own conviction. You were talking of worshipping the clay image. Even if the image is made of clay, there is need for that sort of worship. God Himself has provided different forms of worship. He who is the Lord of the Universe has arranged all these forms to suit different men in different stages of knowledge.
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The mother cooks different dishes to suit the stomachs of her different children. Suppose she has five children. If there is a fish to cook, she prepares various dishes from it—pilau, pickled fish, fried fish, and so onto suit their different tastes and powers of digestion. Who can truly understand Thee? But if a man prays to Thee with a yearning heart, he can reach Thee, through Thy grace, by any path. Mother, show me some time how the Christians pray to Thee in their churches.
But Mother, what will people say if I go in? Suppose they make a fuss! Well then, show me the Christian worship from the door of the church. 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.
See a Problem?
You may say that there are many errors and superstitions in another religion. I should reply: Suppose there are. Every religion has errors. Everyone thinks that his watch alone gives the correct time.
It is enough to have yearning for God. He sees the longing of our heart and the yearning of our soul. Suppose a man has several sons.
- Based on M.'s English Text, Abridged.
- Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
- The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
- Selections from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna : Swami Nikhilananda : ?
Now, will the father be angry with those who address him in this indistinct way? The father knows that they too are calling him, only they cannot pronounce his name well.
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
All children are the same to the father. Likewise, the devotees call on God alone, though by different names. They call on one Person only. God is one, but His names are many. There are three or four ghats on a lake. All three denote one and the same thing, the difference being in the name only. God is one only, and not two. It is like the water in a lake. But it is one and the same thing.
Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
Opinions are but paths. Each religion is only a path leading to God, as rivers come from different directions and ultimately become one in the one ocean.
Once someone gave me a book of the Christians. I asked him to read it to me. It talked about nothing but sin. To Keshab Sin is the only thing one hears of at your Brahmo Samaj, too.
Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita - Kathamrita
I have repeated the name of God, and can sin still cling to me? How can I be a sinner any more? How can I be in bondage any more? If a man repeats the name of God, his body, mind, and everything become pure. Why should one talk only about sin and hell, and such things? The Saguna Brahman is meant for the bhaktas. In other words, a bhakta believes that God has attributes and reveals Himself to men as a Person, assuming forms.
It is He who listens to our prayers. The prayers that you utter are directed to Him alone.
You are bhaktas, not jnanis or Vedantists. It is enough to feel that God is a Person who listens to our prayers, who creates, preserves, and destroys the universe, and who is endowed with infinite power. It is easier to attain God by following the path of devotion.
Once a man entered a wood and saw a small animal on a tree. He came back and told another man that he had seen a creature of a beautiful red colour on a certain tree. But why do you call it red? It is green. Presently others arrived and contended that it was grey, violet, blue, and so forth and so on. At last they started quarrelling among themselves. To settle the dispute they all went to the tree.
They saw a man sitting under it. All your descriptions are true. Sometimes it appears red, sometimes yellow, and at other times blue, violet, grey, and so forth. It is a chameleon. And sometimes it has no colour at all.