The Immortal Words of Sri Ramakrishna

In the post above I made mention of the book "The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna." The reading of this book kind of marked my entry onto the spiritual path. It is a book almost without peer, the recording of the conversations of a Hindu avatar with his disciples. The person of Sri Ramakrishna was, as it were, the condensation and summation of the whole history of Hinduism, and at the same time in his practices and teachings he embodied the truth that all the world's major religions are but different paths to the same identical source. This book changed my life by giving me an intimate and living glimpse of a man of a different order, whom many regard as incarnation of God himself, or an avatar, or a "Son of God."

Thanks to the Internet it is easy to take a dip into this incredible document. It's title in the original Bengali language is "Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita," or "The Immortal Words of Sri Ramakrishna." A new translation has been published at the following website:

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

It's a massive work, but since it is really just a day by day account of what went on in Ramakrishna's presence you can really jump in anywhere, or jump around as you wish.

I would have included a sample chapter here, but the HTML is so heavily formatted using code and would not reproduce well here. But here are few random snippets so you can get the flavor of it.

Instruction to Brahmos ­ Christianity, Brahmo Samaj and concept of sin

Sri Ramakrishna (to Brahmo bhaktas) - "It is the mind that binds and it is the mind that liberates. I am a free soul; I may live in the household or in the forest; there is no bondage for me. I am the child of the Lord, the son of the king of kings; who will bind me then? When bitten by a snake, if you say loudly, 'There is no poison in it,' you are rid of the venom. In the same way if you say emphatically, 'I am not bound; I am free,' you become like that. You become liberated."

The earlier story of his life ­ Sri Ramakrishna listens to the Bible ­ Krishna Kishore's faith

"Someone gave me a book on Christianity. I asked him to read it out to me. It contained 'sin' and 'sin' alone. (To Keshab) Your Brahmo Samaj also speaks of 'sin' and 'sin' alone. One who constantly speaks, 'I am bound, I am bound,' that rascal really gets bound! He who repeats day and night, 'I am a sinner, I am a sinner,' does become a sinner.

"There should be such faith in the name of the Lord, 'I have chanted His name, shall I be a sinner still? What sin for me! What bondage for me!' Krishna Kishore is a pious Hindu, a brahmin who worships the Lord with single-minded devotion. Once he went to Vrindavan. One day while roaming about, he felt thirsty. He went to a well where he saw a man standing. He said to him, 'Brother, will you please give me a pot of water? Of what caste are you?' The man replied, 'Pundit ji, I belong to a low caste ­ a cobbler.' Krishna Kishore said, 'You say Shiva and now draw water for me.'

"By chanting the name of Bhagavan, the body and mind of man all become pure.

"Why talk of 'sin' and 'hell' alone? Just say but once, 'I shall not repeat the wrongs I have done,' and have faith in His name."

Brahmo Samaj and Raja Janak ­ way in household ­ to live in solitude and viveka (discrimination)

"But one cannot become Raja Janak all at once.

"Raja Janak had performed penance for a long time in solitude. Even while living in the family one should go into solitude at times. It is good if one can cry for Bhagavan even for three days in solitude away from home. Even if a man goes out in solitude for a day when he gets an opportunity and thinks upon Him, that too is good indeed. People shed pitcherful of tears for wife and children, but who cries for the Lord, tell me? One should go in solitude at times and perform sadhana to realize Bhagavan. While attending to particular duties in the world there are so many difficulties in making the mind steady in the initial stage. For example, when the trees on the footpath are young, they may be eaten up by goats or cows for want of fencing. A fence is needed in the initial stage. When, however, the trunk gets thicker no fence is needed. Then even an elephant tied to the trunk will not do any harm to it.

"One should enter family life after attaining viveka and vairagya (discrimination and non-attachment). In the ocean of the world there are crocodiles of passion, anger, etc. If you enter the water after anointing your body with turmeric, you need not fear crocodiles. Discrimination and non-attachment are the turmeric. Knowledge of real and unreal is known as discrimination. The Lord alone is real, eternal. All else is unreal, transitory, lasting just a couple of days. One must realize this and develop love for the Lord. Attraction for the Lord ­ love for Him. The gopis had such an attraction for Krishna. "

"It is Guru alone who is Sachchidananda. It is only He who will preach. I for my part feel like a child. You can find lakhs of men as gurus. Every one wants to be a guru. Who wants to be a disciple?

"Preaching to mankind is very difficult. It is when God manifests and commissions, only then it is possible. Narada, Sukadeva and some others had received the commandment. Sankracharya was commissioned by God. If you are not commissioned, who will listen to you? You know the Calcutta people's mind! So long as there is fire, the milk comes to the boiling point. As soon as the fire is withdrawn, nothing happens to it. The people of Calcutta are moody. They begin digging a well here. Reason, they need water. But they give it up when they find some rock there. They then start digging at another place. If they find sand there, they will give up and they start digging at another point. This is the way they do!

"Again, there are people who think a particular thought and believe it to be God's commandment. Such an idea is quite a mistaken one. He verily appears before you and talks. It is then that you receive the commandment. What a weight then that instruction carries! A mountain is moved by it. Mere lecturing! People will listen for a few days and later they forget. They do not act according to that instruction."

"The person who preaches must have the badge of authority. Without it, it is all ridiculous. We do not instruct ourselves but preach to others! It is like the blind leading the blind. (Laughter.) It brings more harm than good. It is only when you have seen God that you can see through other people and understand what diseases (of the soul) they have been take with. You can then instruct them.

"You must have direct commandment of God, else it would be asserting yourself to say, 'I teach mankind.' Self assertion is the offspring of ignorance. Out of ignorance one feels, 'I am the doer.' One becomes a jivanmukta if one can but realize that God is the sole Actor (in the world system) and that I am a mere instrument in His hands. All troubles, all want of peace, come of the notion, 'I am the doer, I am the free agent.' "


Sri Ramakrishna (to Keshab and other bhaktas) - You people talk of doing good to the world. I say, is the world so small? And who are you to do good to the world? Attain God by performing sadhana (devotional practices). Attain Him. He will give you power, only then you will be able to do good to others, otherwise not.

A Particular Bhakta - Should we give up all work so long as we do not realize God?

Sri Ramakrishna - No, why will you give up work? You will have to do all this: Meditation upon the Lord, chanting His names and glories, and undertaking day to day rituals.

The Brahmo Bhakta - And what about the worldly work? About worldly affairs?

Sri Ramakrishna - Yes, you will attend that too, as much as is necessary to run the household. But you must cry in a lonely corner and pray to God so that you do all these works in a nishkama manner (selflessly). And you will say, 'O Lord, please lessen my worldly work, because O Lord, I see that when engrossed too much in work, I forget You. I think in my mind that I am doing the work in a nishkama way but it turns out to be sakama (with a selfish motive.) Perhaps a desire for name and fame crops up when there is increase in giving charity and distributing free meals.'

"Shambhu Mullick took up the topic of hospitals, dispensaries, schools, roads and tanks. I said to him, 'You should do only that much that comes to your way and which appears to be of pressing necessity ­ this too with the spirit of nishkama. Do not seek more work because if you do so you will lose sight of the Lord. Say, you go to the Kali ghat and become busy in distributing alms there. But in that you miss the very darshan of Kali! (Laughter.) First of all have the darshan of Kali even if you have to push your way through to reach there. Afterwards you may or may not take to charity. If you like, do as much as you can. After all, work is meant to realize the Lord. That's why I said to Shambhu: Suppose the Lord appears before you, what will you say to Him? 'Please build a number of hospitals and dispensaries?' (Laughter.) A bhakta never asks for such things. Instead he says, 'Thakur, grant me place at Your lotus feet, always keep me with You and grant me pure bhakti at Your lotus feet.'


It is as if all are thirsting after the divine appear-ance! It is at this time that the carriage of the Paramahansa Deva reaches in front of the Samaj building.

All rise to welcome the great saint. He has arrived. Forming a circle, people surround him from all sides.

A platform has been built in the middle of the main hall of the Samaj building. This place is full of people. In front is the vestibule. The Paramahansa Deva is seated there. Some people are seated there too. There are two rooms on both sides of the vestibule. People are there in those rooms too. Keeping their necks erect people are standing at the doors of the rooms. There are steps from one end to the other to go up the vestibule. These steps are also full of people. There are two or three trees near the steps. There is a creeper canopy close by. A number of benches are there. Here too people are gazing at the great saint with their necks erect and ears agog. There is a path between so many rows of flower and fruit trees. All the trees are waving gently with the touch of the breeze as if bowing in joy they are giving him a welcome.

Thakur Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa Deva smilingly takes his seat. Now the sight of all falls instantly upon his happy and joyful figure. Till the start of the play, among the spectators some smile, some talk on worldly matters, some walk about either alone or with friends, some chew the beetle leaf, or the tobacco and some of them smoke cigarettes. But as soon as the curtain rises, they all stop talking about all matters and witness the play with full attention. It is like the garden bees which on seeing the lotus leave other flowers and come to drink nectar of the lotus.

"When I see a person whose mind is not in the Lord, I tell him, 'Please go and sit there.' Or I say, 'See what a beautiful building this is! (Rani Rasmani's Kali Temple, etc.) Go and see it. (All laugh.)

"And I see there are persons of non-serious nature who come with the bhaktas. They are very worldly-minded and do not like talk about the Lord. Perhaps they (bhaktas) would be talking of the Lord for long. On the other hand, these men cannot sit for long and feel restless. Again and again these people whisper into their ears, 'When are you leaving, when?' Perhaps the latter sometimes tell, 'Wait for a while, we shall be leaving shortly.' Then these people get indifferent and say, 'All right, you carry on. We are going and sitting in the boat.' (All laugh.)

"If you ask worldly people to renounce all and devote themselves at the feet of the Lord, they do not listen to you. That is why, to attract worldly people Gaur and Nitai, the two brothers, made a proposition after consulting each other, 'Soup of magur fish, embrace of a young woman, and repeat the name of Hari.' In the beginning, so many people came to repeat the name of Hari tempted by the first two. Then having tasted a bit of the nectar of Hari's name they realized that the fish soup was nothing compared to the tears falling in the love of Hari; that 'a young woman' meant the earth and 'embrace of a young woman' meant to roll about in the dust in the love of Hari.

"Nitai, somehow, used to find some way to make one repeat the name of Hari. Chaitanya Deva said that there is great importance of the Name of the Lord. It may not show immediate result but sooner or later it does yield fruit. As for example, somebody kept a seed on the cornice of a house. After a long time, the house fell down. The seed then fell on the ground, developed into a tree and bore fruit too."

Sri Ramakrishna - One cannot reach the end of God. He is formless and then with form too. For a bhakta He is with form. For a jnani, that is to say, for him who takes the world like a dream, He is formless. The bhakta thinks that he is one and the world another, that is why the Lord manifests Himself to him as 'Personal God.' Jnanis such as the Vedantins reason, 'Not this, not this.' By so reasoning the jnani has the bodhebodha [inner feeling of the real nature of God] that his individuality is an illusion and so the world is like a dream. The jnani has the bodhebodha of Brahman (understands Brahman with his intellect). What God is, he just cannot express by the word of mouth.

"Do you know how is this? It is like the shoreless ocean of Sachchidananda (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute). Water in it turns into ice at places with the cold of bhakti. This ice takes a form. In other words, at times He manifests and takes a physical form before the bhakta. When the sun of jnana rises, the ice melts. Then the Lord does not appear like a person. Also His form is not visible. What He is cannot be expressed in words. And who is there to express God? He who is to describe is himself not there. Search as much as you like you cannot trace the I-ness.

"When one goes on reasoning, the I-ness vanishes completely. First you peel off the outer red skin of onion, then the soft white one. Continuing to peel in this way, nothing of the onion remains.

"When the I-ness vanishes, who remains there to look for it? Who is there to tell in what way comes the bodhebodha of the real nature of Brahman?

"A salt doll went to measure the ocean. As soon as it went in the ocean, it melted and became one with it. So, who remained to come and give the information?

"It is the sign of purna jnana (ultimate knowledge) that man becomes silent on attaining it. Then the salt doll of I-ness gets dissolved in the sea of Sachchidananda, not a trace of the perception of difference remains then.

"So long as reasoning is not over, man continues to indulge in voluble discussions. But no sooner does it stop, he becomes silent. When the pitcher is full of water the water in it and that of the pond becomes one and all gurgling stops. There is sound only till the pitcher is full.

A Brahmo bhakta asked, "Sir, can we see the Lord? If so, why don't we see Him?"

Sri Ramakrishna - Yes surely, He can be seen. He is seen with form and He is seen without form too. How can I explain this to you!

The Brahmo Bhakta - By which method can one see Him?

Sri Ramakrishna - Can you weep longingly for Him?

"People shed pitcherful of tears for son, wife and money. But who cries for the Lord? So long as the baby remains cajoled with his pap, his mother attends to all her household chores like cooking, etc. But when the child has no more liking for the pap and throwing it away begins to scream, the mother takes down the rice pan off the fire, comes running and picks up the baby in her arms."

The Brahmo bhakta - Sir, why are there so many beliefs concerning the Lord's form? Some say that God is with form, some say that He is formless. And even among believers in God with form, we hear of so many different forms. Why such a confusion?

Sri Ramakrishna - Whichever form of God a bhakta sees, he believes in that alone. In reality, there is no confusion. If He is attained by any means, He will Himself explain everything. If you have never been to a particular residential quarter, how can you know everything about it?

"Listen to a story. A man went out to answer the call of nature. He saw a bird perched on a tree. On his return he said to another man, 'See, I saw a beautiful red coloured bird on that tree.' The other man replied, 'When I went there to answer the call of nature, I also saw it. But it is not of red colour, it is green.' Yet another man said, 'No, no, I also saw it. It is yellow.' In the same manner many others said, 'No, it is of tobacco, brinjal, blue colour and so on.' All this resulted in a quarrel. Then they went to the foot of the tree and saw a man sitting there. When asked he said, 'I live under this tree. I know the bird very well. Whatever you are saying is all true. It is sometimes red, sometimes green, sometimes yellow, sometimes blue and also of many more colours. See, it has many colours. Besides, at times I find that it has no colour at all. Now it is with qualities, now without qualities.'

"It means that the man who is always thinking of the Lord can only know His real nature. He alone knows that He is seen in different forms and in different moods. He is with qualities and also He is without qualities. It is only he who lives under the tree, knows that the variegated bird has different hues, and that sometimes it has no colour at all. Other people just argue, quarrel and trouble themselves.

"Kabir used to say, 'The One without form is my Father, with form my Mother.'

"God grants darshan to the bhakta in the form he loves most ­ gracious loving Lord of the bhakta as He is. The Purana says that God assumed the form of Rama for the sake of heroic bhakta Hanuman."

Sri Ramakrishna - The Vedas describe the different states of a Brahmajnani. However, this path, the path of jnana, is a very difficult path. If the least trace of worldly wisdom, or that of attachment to 'women and gold' persists one cannot attain jnana. This path is not for the age of Kali.

"The Vedas talk of the seven planes in relation to this. These are the seven states of the mind. When the mind is attached to the world, it has its location in the generative organ, rectum and naval. The mind does not look upward in this state, its only concern is 'woman and gold'. The fourth plane of the mind is the heart. It is here that the mind gains initial awareness. One sees light all around. Seeing the divine light, he is amazed and exclaims, 'What is this! What is this!' The mind then does not go downwards (towards the world).

"The fifth plane of the mind is the throat.

When the mind of a person rises to the throat, he loses all his ignorance and illusion. He does not then like to talk or hear anything except about the Lord. If someone talks of other matters, he leaves that place.

The sixth plane of the mind is the forehead. When the mind reaches there, one sees a divine form all the twenty four hours a day. However, a bit of I-ness subsists even then. Such a person feels intoxicated at the vision of that supreme and unique form. He tries to touch and embrace this form but cannot. It is like the light in the lantern. One feels that one can touch the light but because of the glass in between, one cannot touch it.

In the top of the head is the seventh plane. When the mind rises to it, one goes into samadhi and the Brahmajnani has direct vision of Brahman. But in this state the body does not last for many days. He always remains unconscious, he can eat nothing and if milk is poured into his mouth it runs out. On this plane, the man dies in twenty one days. This is the state of the Brahmajnani. For you is the path of bhakti ­ it is a very good and easy path.

"After samadhi the general rule is that the person dies. But some persons like Narada and avataras like Chaitanya Deva live for instructing mankind. After digging the well, some people send off the spade and the basket. There are some who keep them thinking that these may perhaps be needed by their neighbours. In the same way, the mahapurushas (high spiritual personalities) feel greatly concerned for the troubles of common man. They are not so selfish so as to be satisfied with their own attainment of jnana. You know well how the selfish people behave. If you ask them to urinate here, they won't lest it should later do you good. (All laugh.) If you ask them to bring sandesh for a pice from a shop, they will lick it on their way. (All laugh.)

Sri Ramakrishna (to Vijay, M. and other bhaktas) - See, this boy has terminated his life. When I heard it, I felt very bad. He used to come here, he was a schoolboy but he would often say that he had no liking for the world. He had lived with some relatives for a few days in the West (in the west of Bengal, i.e. Uttar Pradesh or Punjab etc.). He would occasionally meditate sitting in some solitary plain, forest or hill. He used to tell me that he had strange visions of various forms of the Lord.

"I believe that it was his last birth. In his previous birth he had done much of the work, some was left undone. It appears that he accomplished that much in this life.
A bhakta says, "I feel frightened to hear of the suicide."

Sri Ramakrishna - Suicide is a great sin, one will have to return to this world again and again and suffer its trials and tribulations.

"Even so if a person terminates his life after having the vision of the Lord, it is not suicide. There is no harm in giving up the body that way. Some people terminate their lives after attaining jnana. When a gold image has been cast in an earthen mould, the mould may be preserved, or may be cracked and thrown away.

"Many years ago, a boy used to come here from Barahnagar. He was about twenty years old. His name was Gopal Sen. When he would come here, he used to experience such deep emotions that Hriday had to hold him ­ later he fell and broke his limbs. The boy suddenly touched my feet and said, 'Sir, I shall not be able to come here any more. So I take your leave.' A few days later I heard that he had given up his body.

Sri Ramakrishna - Four classes of human beings have been stated ­ the bound souls, the seekers after liberation, the liberated and the ever free. The world is like the fishing net, the jiva (individual soul) like the fish and the Lord (whose maya constitutes the world) is the fisherman. When fishes fall into the fisherman's net many of them try to tear the net to escape, i.e. they try to free themselves. They are like the men seeking liberation. However, all those who try to escape cannot run away. Only a few fishes slip out with a splash. Then people call out, 'There goes the big fish.' Such two or four beings are the liberated ones. Some fishes are so cautious by nature that they never fall into the net. Narada and such other saints are ever free; they never fall in the net of the world. However, most of the fish keep lying in the net unaware of the fact that they have fallen into a net and will die. Remaining in the net, they dart straight ahead taking the net along and try to hide their body into the mud. They make no attempt to escape, rather they fall deeper into the mud. They are like the bound souls. They live in the net and think, 'We are quite happy here.' The bound jivas remain attached to the world that is to 'woman and gold'. They remain sunk in the sea of evil and think that they are very happy there. Those who seek for liberation and those who are liberated look upon the world as a death well, they don't like it. So, some of them having attained jnana and the vision of Bhagavan give up their bodies. However, giving up body in this way is a far cry.

"The bound creatures, the worldly men, don't get awareness by any means. They suffer so much misery, so many trials, and so many sorrows; even then they don't get awakening.

"The camel likes thorny bushes but the more it eats, the more it bleeds from its face. Even so, it continues to eat the same thorny bush and does not leave it. The worldly man suffers so much agony, so much sorrow, yet he reverts back to his old self quite soon. Perhaps his wife has died or she has proved faithless to him, yet he marries again. Perhaps he has lost his son and suffered so much of sorrow, yet he forgets all this in a few days. The mother of this boy, who was beside herself with grief, ties up her hair again and bedecks herself with jewellery. In the same way though people spend all in the marriage of their daughters, they continue giving birth to more children year after year. They lose all in litigation. Yet they again go to law! They cannot feed the children they have, neither can they educate them, nor can they look after them properly, still they beget more children every year.

After his midday meal, Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna is taking some rest. The same room in the Kali Temple at Dakshineswar. The Ganga is flowing in front; to the west. The flood tide has started at 2 o'clock. A few bhaktas have arrived. Among them are Brahmo bhaktas ­ Amrit and sweet singer Trailokya who has charmed the minds of the young and the old so many times by singing the glories of divine sport in Keshab's Brahmo Samaj.

Rakhal is not well. Sri Ramakrishna tells the bhaktas about it.

Sri Ramakrishna - Look here, Rakhal is not well. I say, could soda water be of any help? O Father, what shall happen! Rakhal, you take some prasad of Jagannath.

While speaking thus, Sri Ramakrishna goes into a peculiar state of bhava. It seems that it is the same bhava that Yashoda used to have when she would see Sri Krishna. The bhaktas are seeing this amazing scene. At this moment everything is still. Uttering the name of Govinda, Thakur Sri Ramakrishna, the God-incarnate for the bhakta, goes into samadhi. His body is still like a picture, his sense organs as if have ceased working and his sight is fixed towards the tip of the nose. One can't say whether he is breathing or not. Only his body is lying on the earth while the bird of his soul is perhaps soaring in the sky of God-consciousness. Whither has gone he who was for so long worrying for the child with a mother's tenderness? Is this amazing transformation of bhava known as samadhi?

Just then dressed in gerua (ochre) clothes, an unknown Bengali enters the room and sits on the floor.

Sri Ramakrishna (at the sight of the gerua) - And why this gerua? What can be achieved by merely wearing the cloth? (Laughter.) Somebody said, 'Giving up the Chandi, he has taken to the drum ­ previously he used to sing the hymns of Chandi, now he beats the drum!' (All laugh.)

"Vairagya (dispassion) is of three or four kinds: Having got scalded by the fire of the world, one puts on the gerua ­ such a dispassion does not last long. A man is perhaps out of work. So, putting on the gerua, he leaves for Kashi. After three months his family gets a letter, 'I have a job now, I shall return home after a few days. Please don't worry.' And there is a man who has everything, who lacks nothing, but does not have liking for anything. Sitting alone, he weeps for Bhagavan. This kind of dispassion is genuine dispassion.

"Untruth is not at all good. Not even a false garb. If one's garb does not correspond to one's mind, it gradually brings complete ruin. By uttering lies or practising falsehood one gradually loses the fear of it. It is rather better to put on white clothes. There is attachment in the mind and also there is a fall within; but outwardly there is gerua. This is highly dreadful."

A Bhakta - Sir, you have met Vidyasagar. How did you find him?

Sri Ramakrishna - Vidyasagar has scholarship, he has kindness but he lacks insight. Gold lies buried within him. Had he discovered this gold, so much of external activity that he does would have been reduced; finally, he would have given it up completely. Had he known that the Lord resides inside within the heart, his mind would have gone in meditation and contemplation on Him. Having performed nishkama karma (selfless work) for a long time, some people develop dispassion in the end and their mind goes to God ­ the mind gets absorbed in the Lord.

"The kind of work Ishwara Vidyasagar does is very good. Kindness is very good. There is, however, a great difference between daya (kindness) and maya. Kindness is good, maya is not good. Maya is love for one's own near and dear ones ­ wife, son, brother, sister, brother's son, sister's son, father and mother ­ love for these. Kindness, however, is the equal affection for all beings."

Sri Ramakrishna remains merged in samadhi day and night. How his days and nights pass! At times he talks of God or takes part in singing hymns with the bhaktas. At about three or four o'clock M. sees that Sri Ramakrishna is seated on the smaller cot ­ lost in divine emotion. After some time he begins to talk to the Divine Mother.

While talking to the Mother, he uttered it once, "Mother, why You have given him only one kala (one sixteenth part of divine power)?" Thakur remains silent for a moment. He again says, "I understand Mother. This one kala will be enough for him. This one kala alone will enable him to do Your work ­ to preach mankind."

Does Thakur transmit spiritual powers to his inner disciples in this way? What is it all about? Later these disciples would teach mankind ­ is he making arrangements for this?

"Who is a superior devotee? He who sees after attaining Brahmajnana that God alone has become the universe and the twenty-four categories. He first reaches the roof by discriminating 'not this, not this.' Then he sees that the steps are also made of the same material ­ brick, lime, and brick-dust ­ with which the roof is made. Then he sees that Brahman Himself has become the creatures and the universe, all.

"Mere reasoning! I spit on it! I spit on it! It is of no use."

Thakur spits the nectar of his mouth.
"Why remain dry by reasoning? So long as you have the consciousness of 'I' and 'You', have pure devotion at His lotus feet.

(To Govinda) "At times I say, 'You are I and I am You!' And sometimes it remains only You. The 'I' then disappears and is not traceable.

"It is Shakti that becomes the avatara. According to one school of thought, Rama and Krishna are but the two waves of the Ocean of chidananda (Bliss and Consciousness).

"After the attainment of advaita jnana (knowledge of non-duality) comes chaitanya (consciousness). Then I see that God alone inheres all the things as consciousness. After consciousness comes ananda (bliss).

(To M.) "I say to you, 'Don't disbelieve in the forms; in the forms of the Lord. Have faith that God has forms and meditate on the form that you love most.'

(To Govinda) "Do you know what it is? So long as the desire for sensory enjoyments remains, the earnest longing for knowing God and His realization does not come. The child plays with his toys forgetting everything else. Cajole him with sandesh, he will eat just a piece of it. When he does not like even his toy and does not relish sandesh he says, 'I will go to the mother.' He no longer likes sandesh. A person whom he does not know, whom he has never seen, if he says to it, 'Come along, I shall take you to your mother,' the child will go with him. He will go with anyone who carries it in his arms.

"When one has done with the enjoyment of worldly things, one becomes restless for the Lord. How to realize Him remains his only concern. He listens to everybody who tells him anything about God."

Sri Ramakrishna