Sri Ramakrishna (18 February,1836 - 16 August, 1886), the Guru of Swami Vivekananda, great mystic saint of India, is regarded by millions the world over as a divine incarnation. His early life was devoted to the practice and testing of a variety of spiritual disciplines, including those of Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. After realizing God in each of those religions, he declared that all faith paths, if followed with earnestness, lead to the same God-realization. Ramakrishna’s life therefore embodies all spiritual ideals and represents the harmony of the world’s great religious traditions. Five of his disciples spread the message of Vedanta in the United States and Europe.
His teachings were as simple as his life and were often illustrated with stories. He stirs our hearts with his tales about faith even as he makes us laugh gently at the weaknesses and follies of men. Many noted writers and philosophers-Mahatma Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, Thomas Merton, Arnold Toynbee, Joseph Campbell-have been deeply impressed and influenced by him.
Here are his few little tales, about the true nature of God:
***The baby in the family is learning to talk. Mother tries to teach him or her to call father "Papa" or "Daddy". But baby is only a year old and says only "Pa" or "Da" every time! Now does this make the father angry, that his little one cannot yet perfectly pronounce the name? Likewise, God understands our mistakes where he is concerned. And he patiently waits for the unfolding of our understanding.
***You've all played hide and seek; are there children anywhere that haven't? In some countries the one who hides is called "Granny". This person blindfolds the eyes of the others and then hides. The players are to find her, one by one. Whoever can find and touch "Granny" has the blindfold removed and is "free". So it is with the Divine Mother! She has covered our eyes with ignorance and hidden herself here. Find her, touch her, and you are freed.
***There are said to be 500,000 villages in India. In olden days, the Indian village hired a night-watchman to keep down crime and accidents. He would go around the streets and lanes with a square metal lantern, open only at the front. The watchman could see, wherever the lantern cast its light. No rays of light fell on him, who carried the lantern. If you wanted to see who the watchman was, you had to ask him to turn the lamp back on his own face. We are like that! Our eyes (ears, tongue, etc.) are all facing outward, looking at and feeling the things of the world. God says, "if you want to see me, turn the lamp around; look within and find the Source of all the light."
***And here is some simple arithmetic that all of us will know. If I have "one," and go on adding zeros in front of it, like this: 0 + 0 + 0 + 001, does it become more than one? It does not. But if I put the "one" first and the zeros after it: 1 + 0 + 0 + 0, the number goes on expanding to infinity. In the same way, the universe is like the first "1"; there is something there, and you keep adding "things", but you don't get much; while God is like the second "1": put him first and only then will all the rest have value.
***One of the common trades in village India is dyeing. You buy your white cloth an then take it to this person who has many vats of dye, each a different color. Do you want your cloth yellow? He soaks it in the vat of yellow dye; purple, in the purple dye, etc. One day there came to a village a traveling dyer, who had only one vat! (How could he make a living?) But you see, it was a magic tub: whatever color you asked for, that was the color the cloth came out. People marveled to see such a thing. The same vat gave blue, red, etc. A clever villager was watching all this at a little distance. Finally he brought his cloth to the dyer and said, "Please make my cloth the color of the dye in your tub." Why is God like the magic dye? Because, though he is One, he gives everyone different things, according to their preference; if you want to know what he is in himself, be like the clever villager.
***In a certain village of India there was a little park where people came to sit and chat. The path to it lay alongside the forest. On the edge of the path there was a large, well-known tree. One day a city-dweller came to the village, passed the tree, and saw a peculiar lizard climbing on the trunk. When he reached the park he told the others sitting there, "I just saw a cream-colored lizard on that old tree!"
"Oh," said one man, "I know that lizard. I've seen it there several times -- but it's not cream-colored, it's green."
"No, no, not green," said another, "it is yellow." Then others chimed in: "We have seen it - it is lavender (gray, etc.). Everyone had a different picture of the lizard.
They decided to go to the tree to find the animal and settle the argument. What they found was a hermit from the forest, sitting in meditation under the tree. The people questioned him. "I know all about that creature, who lives on this tree," he answered. (Have you guessed it? Yes. It was a chameleon.) "It is sometimes lavender, sometimes gray, sometimes green, yellow, cream, and sometimes it has really no color at all."
God is like that chameleon, taking on different qualities and appearances, and then again. He has none.
***There are some temples where God is worshipped as Mother. In one of these, in the state of Bengal, She is represented by a large stone image. The sculptor has carved in stone his idea of the Mother of the Universe, and many pious people, finding it attractive and inspiring, go there to pay their respects or make offerings.
One day an old monk who used a cane came into the temple. Approaching the altar he said, speaking aloud to God, "Mother, you are said to be God; tell me the truth: are you solid like stone - this image? Or are you formless, indescribable and impossible to touch?"
"Take your cane," the monk heard a soft voice saying, "and strike my body on the left side." He did, and the cane hit the stone with a clack. "Now strike me from the other side," She said. When the cane reached the sculpture it passed right through it as if it were air. Then the monk understood that God can be both - tangible and intangible - at the same time.
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All thanks & credits go to Ajnaabi.