Ramakrishna – a saint, a mystic, a leader, a visionary, a trailblazer and – a simply a son.
Khudiram Chattopadhyay was a priest who lived with his wife Chandramani Devi in Kamarpukur. They led meager lives as simple folks. One day in Gaya, Khudiram had a strange dream where he saw Lord Vishnu. Believing this to be an auspicious sign, he named his newly born son as Gadadhar, another name of the deity.
It is not unusual for a Bengali Brahmin to take the spiritual path. But Gadadhar was different from everyone else. Although he was spiritual like many more, he was somewhat a misfit at those times – he broke free from meaningless rituals, he ignored the cruel caste system and practiced all religions.
Ramakrishna was secular to the core and respected women in thought and action. Even today it is difficult to find a man of such humility and intelligence.
Although Ramakrishna looked absolutely simple and plain just like any other village folk, yet he was an extremely powerful personality. Without a single bloodshed, without any religious quarrel, without hurting anyone – he changed the society like a one-man-army.
In the presence of this honest, humble and holy man, people of all religions and castes were equally loved and guided. Swami Vivekananda is the world famous example of his guidance.
Ramakrishna’s words of wisdom are the most valuable legacy. Here are some of his quotes that are perfect for solving our problems in the 21st century –
#1 If you want to go east, don’t go west.
It could not be stated more simply! Do what you want. Follow your dreams – not what the world tells you to. The holy man has vouched for it!
#2 Many good sayings are to be found in holy books, but merely reading them will not make one religious.
So true. Actions do speak louder than words. A man who gives big lectures is as good as nothing. He has to live what he says.
#3 The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail.
Stop whining, stop complaining. Stop criticizing how bad the world is. You will shift into deeper mess.
Instead try to shift your attention on the things that are good. You have the eyes to read this, water to drink and these words to help you. Raise your sail and feel the cool wind!
#4 The world is indeed a mixture of truth and make-believe. Discard the make-believe and take the truth.
This is absolutely meant for today’s world. Ads push us to buy what we do not need, people fake their personalities.
Start looking for what is true and mask-less. Spend time in nature, doing things you love with the people who truly care for you. Open you mind and your eyes will see the truth.
#5 The physicians of one class feel the patients and go away, merely prescribing medicine. As they leave the room they simply ask the patient to take the medicine. They are the poorest class of physicians.
A hard hitting truth for medical practitioners. Patients are not customers of medicine products.
#6 God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof.
If you need any more reason to respect this man, this will suffice.
#7 Women are, all of them, the veritable images of Shakti.
Said it, lived it. Ramakrishna would show equal respect to a courtesan and to any other woman. We see others as we are, isn’t it?
#8 Visit not miracle-mongers and those who exhibit occult powers. These men are stragglers from the path of Truth.
Open a newspaper and we see how all problems in life can be solved through ‘Tantriks’ – in any crooked way – with money back guarantee.
Use your common sense and avoid them. These words of wisdom from the great master are for your wellness – this is guaranteed.
#9 As long as I live, so long do I learn.
Be humble. Keep your cup empty. Remember that no matter how old or learned you think you are, there is so much still to learn and know.
#10 The fabled musk deer searches the world over for the source of the scent which comes from itself.
The rare and beautiful musk deer secretes the musk perfume from its navel. The fragrance spreads in the whole forest and all the creatures enjoy the scent. But the musk deer does not know that it itself gives the fragrance and instead searches for the perfume source.
You are like the musk deer.
All the beauty that you see in others is your reflection. All the goodness you appreciate in others is also your own expression. Just stop searching and enjoy your own fragrance.
Related: Five ways we misunderstand Goddess Kali