Author Topic: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna  (Read 3398 times)

Ravi.N

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Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« on: October 25, 2015, 04:51:58 AM »
Friends,
I wish to share some practical hints on sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna-these are universal teachings and are to be recognized and practised as such.They are universal in the sense that almost anyone and everyone can benefit from them ,irrespective of whatever the social and religious background one comes from.Importantly,each one can proceed from wherever he or she finds herself and in a surefooted way and with a clear sense of direction.

This is how Sri Ramakrishna puts it:
Quote
Reality is one and the same. The difference is only in name. He who is Brahman is verily Atman, and again, He is the Bhagavan. He is Brahman to the followers of the path of knowledge, Paramatman to the yogis, and Bhagavan to the lovers of God.
The Primordial Power is ever at play. She is creating, preserving, and destroying in play,as it were. This Power is called Kali. Kali is verily Brahman, and Brahman is verily Kali. It is one and the same Reality. When we think of It as inactive, that is to say, not engaged in the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, then we call It Brahman. But when It engages in these activities, then we call It Kali or Sakti. The Reality is one and the same; the difference is in name and form.

"It is like water, called in different languages by different names, such as 'jal', 'pani', and so forth. There are three or four ghats on a lake. The Hindus, who drink water at one place, call it 'jal'. The Mussalmans at another place call it 'pani'. And the English at a third place call it 'water'. All three denote one and the same thing, the difference being in the name only. In the same way, some address the Reality as 'Allah', some as 'God', some as 'Brahman', some as 'Kali', and others by such names as 'Rama', 'Jesus', 'Durga', 'Hari.'

The First lesson that a sadhaka has to learn is this:The Reality is one and the same; the difference is in name and form. as the Rig Veda also affirms' Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti'."The seeker has to develop this conviction that the Reality that one is seeking is ONE and ONE only and the difference in name and form is on account of one's past conditioning.The Reality is in no way limited by the name and form.
Quote
We may use name and form to arrive at the Reality and yet not limit ourselves by name and form.
What do I mean by the above statement?What is the practical implication?
The implication is that a sadhaka will always derive benefit from diverse sources of inspiration-and not look out for a 'particular' tag.He would not be limited to finding out whether there is a 'Ramakrishna Mutt' or a 'Ramana Centre' in the place where he is dwelling.He would seek out anyone or any place of worship that helps strengthen and reinforce the sense of Reality in him/her.What matters to him is Reality and not the tags that are attached to it.

continued....

« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 05:24:58 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2015, 05:20:37 AM »
Friends,
As I said in the previous post:We may use name and form to arrive at the Reality and yet not limit ourselves by name and form.

The following excerpt from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna makes it clear:

Meditation on God with form
Master:"How are you getting along with your meditation nowadays? What aspect of God appeals to your mind - with form or without form?"
M: "Sir, now I can't fix my mind on God with form. On the other hand, I can't concentrate steadily on God without form."
MASTER: "Now you see that the mind cannot be fixed, all of a sudden, on the formless aspect of God. It is wise to think of God with form during the primary stages."
M: "Do you mean to suggest that one should meditate on clay images?"
MASTER: "Why clay? These images are the embodiments of Consciousness."
M: "Even so, one must think of hands, feet, and the other parts of body. But again, I realize that the mind cannot be concentrated unless one meditates, in the beginning, on God with form. You have told me so. Well, God can easily assume different forms. May one meditate on the form of one's own mother?"
MASTER: "Yes, the mother should be adored. She is indeed an embodiment of Brahman."

M. sat in silence. After a few minutes he asked the Master: "What does one feel while thinking of God without form? Isn't it possible to describe it?" After some reflection, the Master said, "Do you know what it is like?" He remained silent a moment and then said a few words to M. about one's experiences at the time of the vision of God with and without form.
MASTER: "You see, one must practise spiritual discipline to understand this correctly. Suppose, there are treasures in a room. If you want to see them and lay hold of them, you must take the trouble to get the key and unlock the door. After that you must take the treasures out. But suppose the room is locked, and standing outside the door you say to yourself: 'Here I have opened the door. Now I have broken the lock of the chest. Now I have taken out the treasure.' Such brooding near the door will not enable you to achieve anything. You must practise discipline."


"Why clay? These images are the embodiments of Consciousness"
The aim and objective of Sadhana is to free oneself from the entrapment of thought and its projection as objects and appearances.Yet,as long as one is caught in the swirl pool of thoughts,one needs a 'Rallying point' as it were-and the 'name' and 'form' of a deity serves this purpose.The seeker has to firmly understand that "these images are the embodiments of Consciousness" and realize it as such.Whenever one recalls the name and form of the deity,it leads him deeper and deeper into himself and lands him in pure consciousness.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2015, 06:28:51 AM »
A DEVOTEE: "Then what is the way, sir?"
Prayer and holy company & Earnest longing
MASTER: "Prayer and the company of holy men. You cannot get rid of an ailment without the help of a physician. But it is not enough to be in the company of religious people only for a day. You should constantly seek it, for the disease has become chronic. Again, you can't understand the pulse rightly unless you live with a physician. Moving with him constantly, you learn to distinguish between the pulse of phlegm and the pulse of bile."
DEVOTEE: "What is the good of holy company?"
MASTER: "It begets yearning for God. It begets love of God. Nothing whatsoever is achieved in spiritual life without yearning. By constant living in the company of holy men, the soul becomes restless for God. This yearning is like the state of mind of a man who has someone ill in the family. His mind is in a state of perpetual restlessness, thinking how the sick person may be cured. Or again, one should feel a yearning for God like the yearning of a man who has lost his job and is wandering from one office to another in search of work. If he is rejected at a certain place which has no vacancy, he goes there again the next day and inquires, 'Is there an vacancy today?'
"There is another way: earnestly praying to God. God is our very own. We should say to Him: 'O God, what is Thy nature? Reveal Thyself to me. Thou must show Thyself to me; for why else hast Thou created me?' Some Sikh devotees once said to me, 'God is full of compassion.' I said: 'But why should we call Him compassionate? He is our Creator. What is there to be wondered at if He is kind to us? Parents bring up their children. Do you call that an act of kindness? They must act that way.' Therefore we should force our demands on God. He is our Father and Mother, isn't He? If the son demands his patrimony and gives up food and drink in order to enforce his demand, then the parents hand his share over to him three years before the legal time. Or when the child demands some pice from his
mother, and says over and over again: 'Mother, give me a couple of pice. I beg you on my knees!' - then the mother, seeing his earnestness, and unable to bear it any more, tosses the money to him.
"There is another benefit from holy company. It helps one cultivate discrimination between the Real and the unreal. God alone is the Real, that is to say, the Eternal Substance, and the world is unreal, that is to say, transitory. As soon as a man finds his mind wandering away to the unreal, he should apply discrimination. The moment an elephant stretches out its trunk to eat a plantain-tree in a neighbour's garden, it gets a blow from the iron goad of the driver."

The sure steps that an aspirant can take are truly quite simple-There is truly nothing more potent than an earnest prayer.The Prayer may take any form but essentially it is an expression of the earnestness to know the essence of our Being or God.An earnest prayer leads to all the rest.Meditation and all the rest are nothing but an endless prayer:
one should feel a yearning for God like the yearning of a man who has lost his job and is wandering from one office to another in search of work. If he is rejected at a certain place which has no vacancy, he goes there again the next day and inquires, 'Is there an vacancy today?'
The power of intensity and persistence is the key.Satsangha enables one to discover this yearning and keep the flame from being doused by lesser pursuits.
continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2015, 07:15:13 AM »
Efficacy of japa and prayer
DEVOTEE: "How can I develop love for God?"
MASTER: "Repeat His name, and sins will disappear. Thus you will destroy lust, anger, the desire for creature comforts, and so on."
DEVOTEE: "How can I take delight in God's name?"
MASTER: "Pray to God with a yearning heart that you may take delight in His name. He will certainly fulfil your heart's desire."
Yes. One attains God through japa. By repeating the name of God secretly and in solitude one receives divine grace. Then comes His vision. Suppose there is a big piece of timber lying under water and fastened to the land with a chain; by proceeding along the chain, link by link, you will at last touch the timber.
Higher than worship is japa, higher than japa is meditation, higher than meditation is bhava, and higher than bhava are mahabhava and prema. Chaitanyadeva had prema, When one attains prema one has the rope to tie God.

Japa or the recall of the presence of God has to be a very alive thing.There is no point in doing it as a mechanical repetition.The Key thing is to dwell in the presence of God and the recall of the 'name' is only to usher one onto the presence-As Sri Ramakrishna says:worship(prayer)---->Japa---->Meditation---->bhava---->Prema.
Yearning is the seed out which prayer manifests and leads to all the rest.Japa is only a verbalized recall of this yearning.As it intensifies,the verbalization is jettisoned and as the Master says-"Suppose there is a big piece of timber lying under water and fastened to the land with a chain; by proceeding along the chain, link by link, you will at last touch the timber"-meaning that one goes deeper and deeper into oneself and touch the core of our being or the Self.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2015, 07:00:12 AM »
Friends,
We have covered the essence of sadhana in the previous posts.Now we shall take a look at what the master has to say on obstacles to sadhana-Essentially there are two-namely dispiritedness and complacency.
Dispiritedness may assail a sadhaka when despite his earnest efforts he finds himself apparently making no progress in sadhana.He may feel that he has become totally inert and bereft of even the simple capacity to pray.He may wonder whether prayers are ever answered and find that the ardent faith is absent!
Here is an excerpt:
Sincere and formal devotion
"When the devotee develops raga-bhakti, passionate love of God, he realizes Him. But one loses vaidhi-bhakti, formal devotion, as easily as one gains it. This is formal devotion: so much japa, so much meditation, so much sacrifice and homa, so many articles of worship, and the recitation of so many mantras, before the Deity. Such devotion comes in a moment and goes in a moment. Many people say: 'Well, friend, we have lived on havishya for so many days! How many times we have worshipped the Deity at our home! And what have we achieved?' But there is no falling away from raga-bhakti. And who gets this passionate love for God? Those who have performed many meritorious deeds in their past births, or those who are eternally perfect. Think of a dilapidated house, for instance: while clearing away the undergrowth and rubbish one suddenly discovers a fountain fitted with a pipe. It has been covered with earth and bricks, but as soon as they are removed the water shoots up.
Sign of a true devotee
"Those who have passionate love for God do not say any such thing as: 'O brother, how strict I have been about food! But what have I achieved?' New farmers give up cultivating if their fields do not yield any crops. But hereditary farmers will continue to cultivate their fields whether they get a crop or not. Their fathers and grandfathers were farmers; they know that they too must accept farming as their means of livelihood.

Like the hereditary farmer,the earnest Sadhaka will stay oriented in the right direction with the faith that the Rain of Grace will eventually come and water the arid desert of the soul.He will not allow himself to be caught up in wordly diversions during this trying phase.He knows that the Faith in him is only temporarily covered and clouded and that the seige will vanish like the mist before the sun.He knows that these 'dry periods' are potential opportunities for transformation and once conquered would become less frequent and shorter lived and eventually disappear.

The Master describes this phase as follows:
A devotee who has really and truly renounced all for God is like the chatak bird. It will drink only the rain-water that falls when the star Svati is in the ascendant. It will rather die of thirst than touch any other water, though all around there may lie seven oceans and rivers full to the brim with water. An all-renouncing devotee will not touch 'woman and gold'. He will not keep 'woman and gold' near him lest he should feel attached.


continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2015, 06:11:17 AM »
If dispiritedness can cripple a seeker,complacency can undo him by  lulling him into a false sense of well being.The seeker is cautioned not to be caught up in this false self sufficiency!
Here is what Sri Ramakrishna advises:
Devote yourself to spiritual practice and go forward. Through practice you will advance more and more in the path of God. At last you will come to know that God alone is real and all else is illusory, and that the goal of life is the attainment of God.
The story of the wood-cutter
"Once upon a time a wood-cutter went into a forest to chop wood. There suddenly he met a brahmachari. The holy man said to him, 'My good man, go forward.' On returning home the wood-cutter asked himself, 'Why did the brahmachari tell me to go forward?' Some time passed. One day he remembered the brahmachari's words. He said to himself, 'Today I shall go deeper into the forest.' Going deep into the forest, he discovered innumerable sandalwood trees. He was very happy and returned with cart-loads of sandal-wood. He sold them in the market and became very rich.
"A few days later he again remembered the words of the holy man to go forward. He went deeper into the forest and discovered a silver-mine near a river. This was even beyond his dreams. He dug out silver from the mine and sold it in the market. He got so much money that he didn't even know how much he had.
"A few more days passed. One day he thought: 'The brahmachari didn't ask me to stop at the silver-mine; he told me to go forward.' This time he went to the other side of the river and found a gold-mine. Then he exclaimed: 'Ah, just see! This is why he asked me to go forward.'
"Again, a few days afterwards, he went still deeper into the forest and found heaps of diamonds and other precious gems. He took these also and became as rich as the god of wealth himself.
Go forward
"Therefore I say that, whatever you may do, you will find better and better things if only you go forward. You may feel a little ecstasy as the result ofjapa,butdon'tconclude from this that you have achieved everything in spiritual life. Work is by no means the goal of life. Go forward, and then you will be able to perform unselfish work. But again I say that it is most difficult to perform unselfish work. Therefore with love and longing in your heart pray to God: 'O God, grant me devotion at Thy Lotus Feet and reduce my worldly duties. Please grant me the boon that the few duties I must do may be done in a detached spirit.' If you go still farther you will realize God. You will see Him. In time you will converse with Him."

A seeker has to constantly watch out for this sense of complacency-He may find that he has developed considerable sense control and a peaceful disposition of mind,is no longer assailed by doubts or beset with worries,etc,etc-and may rest on his laurels prematurely!This is where he has to hold on to Shraddha shakti and remain diligent and like the wood cutter in the parable proceed deeper and deeper into the woods of realization.
continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2015, 07:23:08 AM »
How to keep alive the flame of aspiration and god consciousness amidst the hustle bustle of everyday living?This is one question that assails a sincere aspirant.Here is an excerpt from the Gospel where the master gives clear guidelines as to how an aspirant should maintain an inner attitude of detachment amidst the thick and thin of the labour of everyday living:

M. (humbly):"How ought we to live in the world?"
MASTER: "Do all your duties, but keep your mind on God. Live with all - with wife and children, father and mother - and serve them. Treat them as if they were very dear to you, but know in your heart of hearts that they do not belong to you.
A maidservant in the house of a rich man performs all the household duties, but her thoughts are fixed on her own home in her native village. She brings up her Master's
children as if they were her own. She even speaks of them as 'my Rama' or 'my Hari'. But in her own mind she knows very well that they do not belong to her at all.
The tortoise moves about in the water. But can you guess where her thoughts are? There on the bank, where her eggs are lying. Do all your duties in the world, but keep your mind on God.
If you enter the world without first cultivating love for God, you will be entangled more and more. You will be overwhelmed with its danger, its grief, its sorrows. And the more you think of worldly things, the more you will be attached to them.
First rub your hands with oil and then break open the jack-fruit; otherwise they will be smeared with its sticky milk. First secure the oil of divine love, and then set your hands to the duties of the world.
But one must go into solitude to attain this divine love. To get butter from milk you must let it set into curd in a secluded spot; if it is too much disturbed, milk won't turn into curd. Next, you must put aside all other duties, sit in a quiet spot, and churn the curd. Only then do you get butter.
Further, by meditating on God in solitude the mind acquires knowledge, dispassion, and devotion. But the very same mind goes downward if it dwells in the world. In the world there is only one thought: 'woman and gold'.
The world is water and the mind milk. If you pour milk into water they become one; you cannot find the pure milk any more. But turn the milk into curd and churn it into butter.Then, when that butter is placed in water, it will float. So, practise spiritual discipline in solitude and obtain the butter of knowledge and love. Even if you keep that butter in the water of the world the two will not mix. The butter will float.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2015, 07:35:19 AM »
The inner attitude of detachment is something that an aspirant has to develop and he cannot do it by running away from the job of living.An intelligent seeker will use the pressure cooker situation of the outer activity to cook the spiritual manna inside!It is the very purpose for which one has been ushered into this world of duality.Rather than releasing the pressure,an intelligent sadhaka would use it to his advantage to develop the required inner attitude.Here is an excerpt:

Sri Ramakrishna went into samadhi. Baburam stood behind him. M., Nilkantha, and the musicians were in front of him, watching him in great amazement. Dinanath, an officer of the temple, looked on from the north side of the bed. Soon the room was filled with officers of the temple garden. Sri Ramakrishna's ecstasy abated a little. He seated himself on a mat on the floor, surrounded by Nilkantha and other devotees.
MASTER (still in an ecstatic mood): "I am all right."
NILKANTHA (with folded hands): "Make me all right too."
MASTER (smiling): "Why, you are already all right. Adding the letter to 'a', one gets 'ka'. By adding another 'a' to 'ka', one still gets the same 'ka'." (All laugh.)
NILKANTHA: "Revered sir, I am entangled in worldliness."
MASTER (smiling): God has kept you in the world for the sake of others. There are eight fetters. One cannot get rid of them all. God keeps one or two so that a man may live in the world and teach others. You have organized this theatrical company. How many people are being benefited by seeing your bhakti! If you give up everything, then where will these musicians go?
God is now doing all these works through you. When they are finished, you will not return to them. The housewife finishes her household duties feeds everyone, including the menservants and maidservants, and then goes to take her bath. She doesn't come back then even if people shout for her.
NILKANTHA: "Please bless me."
MASTER: "Yasoda went mad with grief because she was separated from Krishna. She went to Radhika, who was meditating. Radhika said to her an ecstatic state: 'I am the Ultimate Prakriti, the Primal Power. Ask a boon of Me.' Yasoda said to her: 'What shall I ask of You? Please bless me, that with all my body, mind, and speech I may think of God and serve Him; that with my ears I may hear the singing of God's name and glories; that with my hands I may serve Hari and His devotees; that with my eyes I may behold His form and His devotees.'
Your eyes fill with tears when you utter the name of God. Why then should you worry about anything? Divine love has grown in you.
To know many things is ajnana, ignorance. To know only one thing is jnana, Knowledge the realization that God alone is real and that He dwells in all. And to talk to Him is vijnana, a fuller Knowledge. To love God in different ways, after realizing Him, is vijnana.
It is also said that God is beyond one and two. He is beyond speech and mind. To go up from the Lila to the Nitya and come down again from the Nitya to the Lila is mature bhakti.
I love that song of yours about aspiring to reach the Lotus Feet of the Divine Mother. It is enough to know that everything depends on the grace of God. But one must pray to God; it will not do to remain inactive. The lawyer gives all the arguments and finishes his pleading by saying to the judge: 'I have said all I have to say. Now the decision rests with Your Honour.' "

It will not do to remain inactive as the master says-what needs to be done has to be gone through and at the same time the aspirant has to discover the inner attitude and conviction that everything depends on the grace of God and maintain that prayerful bhava.
continued...
« Last Edit: November 03, 2015, 07:39:41 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2015, 08:10:58 AM »
Lukewarm Renunciation and half-hearted  approach will not lead anywhere.A Strong Spirit of Renunciation is called for.Here is an excerpt from The Gospel where the Master drives home the point through the parable of two farmers:
Bondage removed by strong renunciation
VIJAY: "What must the bound soul's condition of mind be in order to achieve liberation?"
MASTER: "He can free himself from attachment to 'woman and gold' if, by the grace of God, he cultivates a spirit of strong renunciation. What is this strong renunciation? One who has only a mild spirit of renunciation says, 'Well, all will happen in the course of time; let me now simply repeat the name of God.' But a man possessed of a strong spirit of renunciation feels restless for God, as the mother feels for her own child. A man of strong renunciation seeks nothing but God. He regards the world as a deep well and feels as if he were going to be drowned in it. He looks on his relatives as venomous snakes; he wants to fly away from them. And he does go away. He never thinks, 'Let me first make some arrangement for my family and then I shall think of God.' He has great inward resolution.
Parable of the two farmers
"Let me tell you a story about strong renunciation. At one time there was a drought in a certain part of the country. The farmers began to cut long channels to bring water to their fields. One farmer was stubbornly determined. He took a vow that he would not stop digging until the channel connected his field with the river. He set to work. The time came for his bath, and his wife sent their daughter to him with oil. 'Father,' said the girl, 'it is already late. Rub your body with oil and take your bath.' 'Go away!' thundered the farmer. 'I have too much to do now.' It was past midday, and the farmer was still at work in his field. He didn't even think of his bath. Then his wife came and said: 'Why haven't you taken your bath? The food is getting cold. You overdo everything. You can finish the rest tomorrow or even today after dinner.' The farmer scolded her furiously and ran at her, spade in hand, crying: 'What? Have you no sense? There's no rain. The crops are dying. What will the children eat? You'll all starve to death. I have taken a vow not to think of bath and food today before I bring water to my field.' The wife saw his state of mind and ran away in fear.
Through a whole day's back-breaking labour the farmer managed by evening to connect his field with the river. Then he sat down and watched the water flowing into his field with a murmuring sound. His mind was filled with peace and joy. He went home, called his wife, and said to her, 'Now give me some oil and prepare me a smoke.' With serene mind he finished his bath and meal, and retired to bed, where he snored to his heart's content. The determination he showed is an example of strong renunciation.
Now, there was another farmer who was also digging a channel to bring water to his field. His wife, too, came to the field and said to him: 'It's very late. Come home. It isn't necessary to overdo things.' The farmer didn't protest much, but put aside his spade and said to his wife, 'Well, I'll go home since you ask me to.' (All laugh) That man never succeeded in irrigating his field. This is a case of mild renunciation.
As without strong determination the farmer cannot bring water to his field, so also without intense yearning a man cannot realize God.

continued...

Ravi.N

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2015, 07:12:44 AM »
The Power of simple Prayer

The following is an excerpt from Paul Brunton's 'A search in Secret India' where he meets Master Mahasaya,the author of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna and a Disciple of The Great master:
"I wonder what Ramakrishna would say to a man who cannot live by faith alone, who must satisfy reason and intellect?" I
murmur questioningly.
"He would tell the man to pray. Prayer is a tremendous force. Ramakrishna himself prayed to God to send him spiritually inclined people, and soon after that those who later became his disciples or devotees began to appear."
"But if one has never prayed - what then?"
"Prayer is the last resort. It is the ultimate resource left to man. Prayer will help a man where the intellect may fail."
"But if someone came to you and said that prayer did not appeal to his temperament. What counsel would you give him?" I persist gently.
"Then let him associate frequently with truly holy men who have had real spiritual experience. Constant contact with them will assist him to bring out his latent spirituality. Higher men turn our minds and wills towards divine objects. Above all, they stimulate an intense longing for the spiritual life. Therefore, the society of such men is very important as the first step, and often it is also the last, as Ramakrishna himself used to say."

We shall see the implication and power of prayer in the following post.The above words from Master mahasaya are just the words of his Master.He just lived and breathed his gurudeva's nectarine words having realized the Truth and offered the same to all that met him.Paul Brunton met him in 1932,48 years after the passing away of Sri Ramakrishna.

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2015, 07:24:10 AM »
Sri Ramakrishna practically demonstrates how to Pray:

To my Divine Mother I prayed only for pure love. I offered flowers at Her Lotus Feet and prayed to Her:
'Mother, here is Thy virtue, here is Thy vice. Take them both and grant me only pure love for Thee. Here is Thy knowledge, here is Thy ignorance. Take them both and grant me only pure love for Thee. Here is Thy purity, here is Thy impurity.Take them both, Mother, and grant me only pure love for Thee. Here is Thy dharma, here is Thy adharma. Take them both, Mother, and grant me only pure love for Thee.'

I used to pray to Her in this way:
 'O Mother! O Blissful One! Reveal Thyself to me. Thou must!' Again, I would say to Her: 'O Lord of the lowly! O Lord of the universe! Surely I am not outside Thy universe. I am bereft of knowledge. I am without discipline. I have no devotion. I know nothing. Thou must be gracious and reveal Thyself to me.'

We may readily and immediately experience the power of sincere prayer-It just flattens the Mound of 'I' and 'mine' and ushers one into the Presence of God or Self.The Mind is annulled at one stroke and all its debris thrown away.It throws away the known and the unknown and leaves one Naked and pure.
This is no different than 'self enquiry' although one may not realize it as such!Instead of trying to sift the 'I' from the 'Non I'-this sort of a prayer quickens the process of eliminating the Non I.This is the way of self surrender that Sri Bhagavan also taught.

continued....

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2016, 12:26:19 AM »
Reassurance to the devotees & Parable of the tigress
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.
Parable of the false ascetic
One night a fisherman went into a garden and cast his net into the lake in order to steal some fish. The owner heard him and surrounded him with his servants. They brought lighted torches and began to search for him. In the mean time the fisherman smeared his body with ashes and sat under a tree, pretending to be a holy man. The owner and his men searched a great deal but could not find the thief. All they saw was a holy man covered with ashes, meditating under a tree. The next day the news spread in the neighbourhood that a great sage was staying in the garden. People gathered there and saluted him with offerings of fruit, flowers, and sweets. Many also offered silver and copper coins. 'How strange!' thought the fisherman. 'I am not a genuine holy man, and still people show such devotion to me. I shall certainly realize God if I become a true sadhu. There is no doubt about it.'
If a mere pretense of religious life can bring such spiritual awakening, you can imagine the effect of real sadhana. In that state you will surely realize what is real and what is unreal. God alone is real, and the world is illusory.

continued....
« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 12:30:01 AM by Ravi.N »

atmavichar100

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2016, 10:20:45 AM »
Dear Sri Ravi

Thanks for starting this thread on the Practical Hints from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna . I used to read the Gospel on my TABLET but then as the TABLET had a problem ,I was unable to use it and only solution was to format it and make it workable again and in this process lost the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna and only today I wanted to re-install the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna and when I first checked this forum ( this is the first thing I do when I switch on my computer ) I found your thread and happy that you are making the efforts more simpler for others . Kindly continue
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya .
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha

Ravi.N

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2016, 10:18:37 PM »
Atmavichar,
Thanks for your kind words...This thread is only a feeble attempt to share excerpts from the Gospel and how they help the earnest aspirant...and those interested are recommended to read the wonderful book in its unabridged edition and derive the inspiration and guidance as you have been doing...this is available as a downloadable  pdf version here:
http://estudantedavedanta.net/THE%20GOSPEL%20OF%20SRI%20RAMAKRISHNA.pdf
The Kindle edition is also available for purchase from Amazon.

Namaskar

atmavichar100

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Re: Practical Hints on Sadhana from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2016, 10:24:02 PM »
Thanks Ravi I am aware of the PDF as well as  the Kindle version but I found a free Android APP of the Gospel of Ramakrishna and I have installed in my Android Tablet ( it is a like a PDF Version only but free ) .
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha