Can a householder realize God – Ramakrishna
Washing away the heart’s impurities with tears
Visitor: Sir, is it ever possible to realize God while leading the life of a householder?
Master: Certainly. But as I said just now, one must live in holy company and pray unceasingly. One should weep for God. When the impurities of the mind are thus washed away, one realizes God. The mind is like a needle covered with mud, and God is like a magnet. The needle cannot be united with the magnet unless it is free from mud. Tears wash away the mud, which is nothing but lust, anger, greed, and other evil tendencies, and the inclination to worldly enjoyments as well. As soon as the mud is washed away, the magnet attracts the needle, that is to say, man realizes God. Only the pure in heart see God. A fever patient has an excess of the watery element in his system. What can quinine do for him unless that is removed?
Why shouldn’t one realize God while living in the world? But, as I said, one must live in holy company, pray to God, weeping for His grace, and now and then go into solitude. Unless the plants on a foot-path are protected at first by fences, they are destroyed by cattle.
Need of a guru
Visitor: “Then householders, too, will have the vision of God, won’t they?”
Master: “Everybody will surely be liberated. But one should follow the instructions of the guru; if one follows a devious path, one will suffer in trying to retrace one’s steps. It takes a long time to achieve liberation. A man may fail to obtain it in this life. Perhaps he will realize God only after many births. Sages like Janaka performed worldly duties. They performed them, bearing God in their minds, as a dancing-girl dances, keeping jars or trays on her head. Haven’t you seen how the women in northwest India walk, talking and laughing while carrying water-pitchers on their beads?”
Visitor: You just referred to the instructions of the guru. How shall we find him?
Master: Anyone and everyone cannot be a guru. A huge timber floats on the water and can carry animals as well. But a piece of worthless wood sinks, if a man sits on it, and drowns him. Therefore in every age God incarnates Himself as the guru, to teach humanity. Satchidananda alone is the guru.
What is knowledge? And what is the nature of this ego? ‘God alone is the Doer, and none else’ – that is knowledge. I am not the doer; I am a mere instrument in His hand. Therefore I say: ‘O Mother, You are the Operator and I am the machine. You are the Indweller and I am the house. You are the Driver and I am the carriage. I move as You move me. I do as You make me do. I speak as You make me speak. Not I, not I, but You, but You.’
Gospel of Ramakrishna