May 2009

God’s  Grace

From Chapter 4

The Master continued: “One must propitiate the Divine Mother, the Primal Energy, in order to obtain God’s grace. God Himself is Mahamaya, who deludes the world with Her illusion and conjures up the magic of creation, preservation, and destruction. She has spread this veil of ignorance before our eyes. We can go into the inner chamber only when She lets us pass through the door. Living outside, we see only outer objects, but not that Eternal Being, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. Therefore it is stated in the purna that deities like Brahma praised Mahamaya for the destruction of the demons Madhu and Kaitabha.

From Chapter 7

“You may try thousands of times, but nothing can be achieved without God’s grace. One cannot see God without His grace. Is it an easy thing to receive the grace of God? One must altogether renounce egotism; one cannot see God as long as one feels, ‘I am the doer.’ Suppose, in a family, a man has taken charge of the store-room; then if someone asks the master, ‘Sir, will you yourself kindly give me something from the store-room?’, the master says to him: ‘There is already someone in the store-room. What can I do there?’

“God doesn’t easily appear in the heart of a man who feels himself to be his own master. But God can be seen the moment His grace descends. He is the Sun of Knowledge. One single ray of His has illumined the world with the light of knowledge. That is how we are able to see one another and acquire varied knowledge. One can see God only if He turns His light toward His own face.

“The police sergeant goes his rounds in the dark of night with a lantern in his hand. No one sees his face; but with the help of that light the sergeant sees everybody’s face, and others, too, can see one another. If you want to see the sergeant, however, you must pray to him: ‘Sir, please turn the light on your own face. Let me see you.’ In the same way one must pray to God: ‘O Lord, be gracious and turn the light of knowledge on Thyself, that I may see Thy face.’

From Chapter 18

JAYGOPAL: “How does one receive the grace of God?”

MASTER: “Constantly you have to chant the name and glories of God and give up worldly thoughts as much as you can. With the greatest effort you may try to bring water into your field for your crops, but it may all leak out through holes in the ridges. Then all your efforts to bring the water by digging a canal will be futile.

“You will feel restless for God when your heart becomes pure and your mind free from attachment to the things of the world. Then alone will your prayer reach God. A telegraph wire cannot carry messages if it has a break or some other defect.

From Chapter 43

MASTER: “One thinks of God through His grace.”

NANDA: “But how can we obtain God’s grace? Has He really the power to bestow grace?”

MASTER (smiling): “I see. You think as the intellectuals do: one reaps the results of one’s actions. Give up these ideas. The effect of karma wears away if one takes refuge in God. I prayed to the Divine Mother with flowers in my hand: ‘Here, Mother, take Thy sin; here, take Thy virtue. I don’t want either of these; give me only real bhakti. Here, Mother, take Thy good; here, take Thy bad. I don’t want any of Thy good or bad; give me only real bhakti. Here, Mother, take Thy dharma; here, take Thy adharma. I don’t want any of Thy dharma or adharma; give me only real bhakti. Here, Mother, take Thy knowledge; here, take Thy ignorance. I don’t want any of Thy knowledge or ignorance; give me only real bhakti. Here, Mother, take Thy purity; here, take Thy impurity. Give me only real bhakti.’ ”

NANDA “Can God violate law?”

MASTER: “What do you mean? He is the Lord of all. He can do everything. He who has made the law can also change it.

Guru’s Grace

From Chapter 11

Sri Ramakrishna spoke reassuringly to the devotees.

MASTER (to M.): “Some think: ‘Oh, I am a bound soul. I shall never acquire knowledge and devotion.’ But if one receives the guru’s grace, one has nothing to fear. Once a tigress attacked a flock of goats. As she sprang on her prey, she gave birth to a cub and died. The cub grew up in the company of the goats. The goats ate grass and the cub followed their example. They bleated; the cub bleated too. Gradually it grew to be a big tiger. One day another tiger attacked the same flock. It was amazed to see the grass-eating tiger. Running after it, the wild tiger at last seized it, whereupon the grass-eating tiger began to bleat. The wild tiger dragged it to the water and said: ‘Look at your face in the water. It is just like mine. Here is a little meat. Eat it.’ Saying this, it thrust some meat into its mouth. But the grass-eating tiger would not swallow it and began to bleat again. Gradually, however, it got the taste for blood and came to relish the meat. Then the wild tiger said: ‘Now you see there is no difference between you and me. Come along and follow me into the forest.’

“So there can be no fear if the guru’s grace descends on one. He will let you know who you are and what your real nature is.

“If the devotee practises spiritual discipline a little, the guru explains everything to him. Then the disciple understands for himself what is real and what is unreal. God alone is real, and the world is illusory.

From Chapter 17

“Eating grass is like enjoying ‘woman and gold’. To bleat and run away like a goat is to behave like an ordinary man. Going away with the new tiger is like taking shelter with the guru, who awakens one’s spiritual consciousness, and recognizing him alone as one’s relative. To see one’s face rightly is to know one’s real Self.”

From Chapter 14

MASTER: “They are not eight bonds, but eight fetters. But what if they are? These fetters fall off in a moment, by the grace of God. Do you know what it is like? Suppose a room has been kept dark a thousand years. The moment a man brings a light into it, the darkness vanishes. Not little by little. Haven’t you seen the magician’s feat? He takes string with many knots, and ties one end to something, keeping the other in his hand. Then he shakes the string once or twice, and immediately all the knots come undone. But another man cannot untie the knots however he may try. All the knots of ignorance come undone in the twinkling of an eye, through the guru’s grace.

“Well, can you tell me why Keshab Sen has changed so much lately? He used to come here very often. He learnt here how to bow low before a holy man. One day I told him that one should not salute a holy man as he had been doing. Harish says rightly: ‘All the cheques must be approved here. Only then will they be cashed in the bank.'” (Laughter.)

M. listened to these words breathlessly. He began to realize that Satchidananda, in the form of the guru, passes the “cheque”.

From Chapter 40

MASTER: ‘The Isvarakotis-Divine Incarnations, for instance-can liberate themselves whenever they want to; but the jivakotis cannot. Jivas are imprisoned by ‘woman and gold’. When the doors and windows of a room are fastened with screws, how can a man get out?”

BHAVANATH (smiling): “Ordinary men are like the third-class passengers on a railway train. When the doors of their compartments are locked, they have no way to get out.”

GIRISH: “If a man is so strongly tied hand and foot, then what is his way?”

MASTER: “He has nothing to fear if God Himself, as the guru cuts the chain of maya.”

Strong Faith

From Chapter 6

“A man endowed with tamasic bhakti has burning faith. Such a devotee literally extorts boons from God, even as a robber falls upon a man and plunders his money. ‘Bind! Beat! Kill!’-that is his way, the way of the dacoits.”

Saying this, the Master began to sing in a voice sweet with rapturous love, his eyes turned upward:

Why should I go to Ganga or Gaya, to Kasi, Kanchi, or Prabhas,

So long as I can breathe my last with Kali’s name upon my lips?

What need of rituals has a man, what need of devotions any more,

If he repeats the Mother’s name at the three holy hours?

Rituals may pursue him close, but never can they overtake him.

Charity, vows, and giving of gifts do not appeal to Madan’s mind;

The Blissful Mother’s Lotus Feet are his whole prayer and sacrifice.

Who could ever have conceived the power Her name possesses?

Siva Himself, the God of Gods, sings Her praise with His five mouths!

The Master was beside himself with love for the Divine Mother. He sang with fiery enthusiasm:

If only I can pass away repeating Durga’s name,

How canst Thou then, O Blessed One,

Withhold from me deliverance,

Wretched though I may be? . . .

Then he said, “One must take the firm attitude: ‘What? I have chanted the Mother’s name. How can I be a sinner any more? I am Her child, heir to Her powers and glories.’

“If you can give a spiritual turn to your tamas, you can realize God with its help. Force your demands on God. He is by no means a stranger to you. He is indeed your very own.


MASTER (to Vijay): “Will you tell me one thing? Why did you harp so much on sin? By repeating a hundred times, ‘I am a sinner’, one verily becomes a sinner. One should have such faith as to be able to say, ‘What? I have taken the name of God; how can I be a sinner?’ God is our Father and Mother. Tell Him, ‘O Lord, I have committed sins, but I won’t repeat them.’ Chant His name and purify your body and mind. Purify your tongue by singing God’s holy name.”


From Chapter 32

SUB-JUDGE: “Sir, I am a sinner. How can I say that God dwells in me?”

MASTER: “That’s the one trouble with you Brahmos. With you it is always sin and sin! That’s the Christian view, isn’t it? Once a man gave me a Bible.A part of it was read to me, and it was full of that one thing-sin and sin! One must have such faith that one can say: ‘I have uttered the name of God; I have repeated the name of Rama or Hari. How can I be a sinner?’ One must have faith in the glory of God’s  name.”

SUB-JUDGE: “Sir, how can one have such faith?”

MASTER: “Have passionate love for God. One of your Brahmo songs says:

O Lord, is it ever possible to know Thee without love,

However much one may perform worship and sacrifice?

Pray to God in secret and with yearning, that you may have that passionate attachment and devotion to Him. Shed tears for Him. A man sheds a jugful of tears because his wife is sick or because he is losing money or because he is worrying about getting a job. But tell me, who ever weeps for God?’

TRAlLOKYA: “Sir, where is people’s leisure? They must serve their English masters.”

MASTER: “Well, then give God the power of attorney. If a man entrusts his affairs to a good person, will the latter do him any harm? With all the sincerity of your heart resign yourself to God and drive all your worries out of your mind. Do whatever duties He has assigned to you. The kitten does not have a calculating mind. It only cries, ‘Mew, mew!’ It lies in the kitchen contentedly if the mother cat leaves it there, and only calls the mother, crying, ‘Mew, mew!’ It has the same feeling of contentment when the mother cat puts it on the soft bed of the master of the house. It only cries for its mother.”

Unreality of Worldly Concerns

From Chapter 40

“A guru said to his disciple: ‘The world is illusory. Come away with me.’ ‘But, revered sir,’ said the disciple, ‘my people at home-my father, my mother, my wife-love me so much. How can I give them up?’ The guru said: No doubt you now have this feeling of “I” and “mine” and say that they love you; but this is all an illusion of your mind. I shall teach you a trick, and you will know whether they love you truly or not.’ Saying this, the teacher gave the disciple a pill and said to him: ‘Swallow this at home. You will appear to be a corpse, but you will not lose consciousness. You will see everything and hear everything. Then I shall come to your house and gradually you will regain your normal state.’

“The disciple fallowed the teacher’s instructions and lay on his bed like a dead person: The house was filled with loud wailing. His mother, his wife, and the others lay on the ground weeping bitterly. Just then a brahmin entered the house and said to them, ‘What is the matter with you?’ ‘This boy is dead’, they replied. The brahmin felt his pulse and said: ‘How is that? No, he is not dead. I  have a medicine for him that will cure him completely.’ The joy of the relatives was unbounded; it seemed to them that heaven itself had come down into their house. ‘But’, said the brahmin, ‘I must tell you something else. Another person must take some of this medicine first and then the boy must swallow the rest. But the other person will die. I see he has so many dear relatives here; one of them will certainly agree to take the medicine. I see his wife and mother crying bitterly. Surely they will not hesitate to take it.’

“At once the weeping stopped and all sat quiet. The mother said: ‘Well, this is a big family. Suppose I die; then who will look after the family?’ She fell into a reflective mood. The wife, who had been crying a minute before and bemoaning her ill luck, said: ‘Well, he has gone the way of mortals. I have these two or three young children. Who will look after them if I die?’

“The disciple saw everything and heard everything. He stood up at once and said to the teacher: ‘Let us go, revered sir. I will follow you.’ (All laugh.)

“Another disciple said to his teacher: ‘Revered sir, my wife takes great care of me. It is for her sake that I cannot give up the world.’ The disciple practised hathayoga. The teacher taught him, too, a trick to test his wife’s love. One day there was a great wailing in his house. The neighbours came running and saw the hathayogi seated in a posture, his limbs paralysed and distorted. They thought he was dead. His wife fell on the ground, weeping piteously: ‘Oh, what has befallen me? How have you provided for our future? Oh, friends, I never dreamt I should meet such a fate!’

“In the mean time the relatives and friends had brought a cot to take the corpse out. But suddenly a difficulty arose as they started to move it. Since the body was twisted and stiff, it could not be taken out through the door. A neighbour quickly brought an axe and began to chop away the door-frame. The wife was crying bitterly, when she heard the sound of the axe. She ran to the door. ‘What are you doing, friends?’ she asked, still weeping. The neighbour said, ‘We can’t take the body out; so we are chopping away the door-frame.’

” ‘Please’, said the wife, ‘don’t do any such thing. I am a widow now; I have no one to look after me. I have to bring up these young children. If you destroy this door, I shall not be able to replace it. Friends, death is inevitable for all, and my husband cannot be called back to life. You had better cut his limbs.’ The hathayogi at once stood up. The effect of the medicine had worn off. He said to his wife: ‘ You evil one! You want to cut off my hands and feet, do you?’ So saying, he renounced home and followed his teacher. (All laugh.)

“Many women make a show of grief. Knowing beforehand that they will have to weep, they first take off their nose-rings and other ornaments, put them securely in a box, and lock it. Then they fall on the ground and weep, O friends, what has befallen us?'”

From Chapter 47

M: “Narendra, too, will be provided for. It is not yet too late for him.”

MASTER: “But a man who feels intense renunciation within doesn’t calculate that way. He doesn’t say to himself, ‘I shall first make an arrangement for the family and then practise sadhana.’ No, he doesn’t feel that way if he has developed intense dispassion. A goswami said in the course of his preaching, ‘If a man has ten thousand rupees he can maintain himself on the income; then, free from worries, he can pray to God.’

“Keshab Sen also said something like that. He said to me: ‘Sir, suppose a man wants, first of all, to make a suitable arrangement of his property and estate and then think of God; will it be all right for him to do so? Is there anything wrong about it?’ I said to him: ‘When a man feels utter dispassion, he looks on the world as a deep well and his relatives as venomous cobras. Then he cannot think of saving money or making arrangements about his property.’ God alone is real and all else illusory. To think of the world instead of God!

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