Sunday, 5 May 2013

It is realization that is true religion

  वीरेश्वराय विद्महे विवेकानन्दाय धीमहि । तन्नो वीर: प्रचोदयात् ।

The Master did not normally interfere, however high the matter discussed. He let them talk. They would  learn better, he would say: and sometimes he enjoyed the discussion. By it he sensed the spiritual insight of his disciples. Truly the Master's company was a grand school for the soul. It was a stimulus to personal growth. Everyone was free to discover and realize his own potentialities. But there were certain occasions when Shri Ramakrishna did intervene: for example, when Naren's towering thought overwhelmed the limited vision of another. There was that instance when Naren attacked faith as a means to liberation. He spoke of "blind faith". The Master said, "Naren, what do you mean by 'blind faith'? Faith is always blind. Has faith an 'eye'? Why say 'blind faith'? Either simply say 'faith' or say 'Jnana' [knowledge]. What do you mean by classifying faith--one kind having an eye, the other being blind?"

Slowly but surely Naren came to understand that it was realization that was true religion: man must see God. Thinking of Reality was good, but better was the vision of it--to attain which took time and much loving patience. But in time Naren discovered that the silence of insight was Shri Ramakrishna's most eloquent teaching. Sometimes, during conversations, Shri Ramakrishna would hold forth in soul - stirring utterances. At other times he would leave the disciples to themselves and their argumentative moods. Discussion ended, they would find him in deep Samadhi. This, they came to know after a time, was his way of protesting against their heated discussion. His character and the spiritual radiance of his personal life were the power behind his teaching. The man who preached universal love and toleration lived it. Shri Ramakrishna did not attack any social custom. He did not preach against caste. Himself a Brahmin, he had love for the downtrodden millions who were lowest in the social scale. By performing the most menial of all services, which even the lowest of the outcastes would shrink from doing, he revealed his utter humility.

What were Shri Ramakrishna's answers to questions pertaining to God - vision and methods of realization? How to pray?

 "Pray in any way," he would say, "for the Lord hears even the footfall of an ant." How to find God? "By the conquest of lust and gold." Sincerity was the main theme of his teaching. Without sincerity nothing was possible; with sincerity all was possible. He would say to Naren and others that if they carried out but one - sixteenth of what he had done to realize God, they would be blessed for ever. Is God Personal or Impersonal? "He is both," said Shri Ramakrishna, "and yet He is beyond both; beyond any intellectual or theological dogmas. He is manifest to the soul in its own inmost realization. He assumes any form for the pleasure of His devotee. He is inexpressible. . . . He is not to be found between the covers of a book or within the walls of a temple." Is image - worship right or wrong? Such a question, to Shri Ramakrishna, was an idle one. Worship of anything which  helped one to see God was right. Intense longing was the one thing needful.