A disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Ramakrishnananda, the first President of the monastery in Madras spoke to the boys who came to him, about renunciation as the only means to God realization. The parents of the boys, naturally, got frightened lest the boys should turn monks. Some of them, who were helping the upkeep of the monastery in some way, threatened the Swami that they would withdraw their support if he did not desist from preaching renunciation. The Swami seemed to have remarked, 'What! Shall I stop preaching what our Master has taught and shown us as the only goal of life? Let them that are averse to such advice withhold their help if they like. The Lord will look after my needs.' How undaunted are the holy men! For them truth is dearer than life itself; and they alone know how to be steadfast to truth.
On another occasion, a gentleman who came to visit the monastery at Madras pulled out a newspaper to read. This called forth a sharp rebuke from Swami Ramakrishnananda: 'Sir,' he said, 'you can read that elsewhere. When you have come to a holy place, think of holy things.' Instances like these can be extensively cited to prove that we learn from holy persons much that can help us in our spiritual life, if we but care to cultivate their association.
The Bhagavata too remarks: 'That same association, which cultivated towards ephemeral objects out of improper understanding, becomes the cause of bondage, transmigration, when cherished towards holy person makes for non-attachment'. Continuing it says that these holy men are verily the breakers of bondage 'By constant association with them, the incidents about the glories of God become sweet like honey to the heart and ears of the audience ; and with this liking will follow immediately faith, taste and devotion to the path of salvation. By devotion and thinking about the Lord's deeds man gets dispassion towards the sense pleasures. It is then that he, devoted to yoga, will try by the honest yogamarga to control the mind. Thus, such a man without serving the purpose of Nature (i.e. without running after the sense pleasures) and by knowledge fortified with dispassion, by yoga directed towards the Lord and by devotion to Him, besieges the Indwelling Spirit in this very life,' further adds the Bhagavata.