Sri Ramakrishna on path of Devotion
Pundit : "Sir, I try to explain the teachings of the Hindu
Sri Ramakrishna : "For the Kaliyuga the path of devotion described by Narada
is best. Where can people find time now to perform their duties according to
the scriptural injunctions? Nowadays the decoctions of roots and herbs of
the orthodox Hindu physicians cannot be given to a fever patient. By the
time that kind of medicine begins its slow process of curing, the patient is
done for. Therefore only a drastic medicine like the allopathic 'fever
mixture' is effective now.
You may ask people to practise scriptural rites and rituals; but, when
prescribing the rituals, remove the 'head and tail'.* I tell people not to
bother about the elaborate rituals of the sandhya as enjoined in the
scriptures. I say that it will be enough for them to repeat the Gayatri
alone. If you must give instruction about scriptural ceremonies, do so only
to a very few, like Ishan.
"You may deliver thousands of lectures, but they won't make the slightest
impression on worldly people. Can one drive a nail into a stone wall? The
point of the nail will sooner break than make a dent in the stone. What will
you gain by striking the tough skin of the crocodile with a sword? The
sadhu's water-bowl, made from the shell of a bitter gourd, may visit the
four principal holy places of India with its owner, but it will still remain
as bitter as ever. Your lectures are not helping worldly people very much;
and you will realize this by and by. The calf cannot stand on its legs all
at once. Now it drops to the ground and now it stands up. So it learns to
stand firmly on its legs and walk.
"You cannot distinguish a lover of God from a worldly person. It isn't your
fault, of course. When the first onrush of the gale shakes the trees, it is
impossible to distinguish one tree from another — the mango from the
tamarind, for instance.
"Without having realized God one cannot give up rituals altogether. How long
should one practise the sandhya and other forms of ritualistic worship? As
long as one does not shed tears of joy at the name of God and feel a thrill
in one's body. You will know that your ritualistic worship has come to an
end when your eyes become filled with tears as you repeat 'Om Rama'. Then
you do not have to continue your sandhya or other rituals.
"When the fruit appears the blossom drops off. Love of God is the fruit, and
rituals are the blossom. When the daughter-in-law of the house becomes
pregnant, she cannot do much work. Her mother-in-law gradually lessens her
duties in the house. When her time arrives she does practically nothing. And
after the child is born her only work is to play with it.
She doesn't do any household duties at all. The sandhya merges in the
Gayatri, the Gayatri in Om, and Om in samadhi. It is like the sound of a
bell: t — a — m. The yogi, by following in the trail of the sound Om,
gradually merges himself in the Supreme Brahman. His sandhya and other
ritualistic duties disappear in samadhi. Thus the duties of the jnani come
to an end."