Ramakrishna Paramahamsa: His Devotion and Spirituality

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa with Mother Kali in the Dakshineshwar Temple, Kolkata
When you call on God, whatever form appears, treat it as God. Totapuri taught Ramakrishna that Mother Kali was Vishwaswaroopini, the all-comprehensive form of the formless energy that pervades the Universe, and not the eight-armed occupant of the shrine at Dakshineshwar, the form that was appearing between his brows, whenever he tried to delve into himself and discover the unity behind all the multiple manifestations! She was One without a second, with no name or form or body or sex or age, beyond time, space, causation. She was all forms and so, of no form; she was all attributes and so, beyond the attributeful. She was Saguna as well as Nirguna, the Nirguna being the base on which the Saguna was conceived.
- “Constant Divine Communion”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 11,
July 23, 1971, Prasanthi Nilayam

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to contemplate on the Divine Mother day in and day out. Before going to bed, he would feel sad thinking that another day had passed without the vision of the Divine Mother. He used to think, “Perhaps my heart hasn’t become ripe to deserve Divine grace. What is the use of eating an unripe fruit? I shall ripen my heart and offer it to the Mother”. That is the true spiritual practice in its subtle essence.
- “Complete Surrender Confers Bliss”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 32 Part II, November 23, 1999, Prasanthi Nilayam

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa bewailed every night that one more day had gone by without His being able, by His prayers, to visualize the Mother as a living Mother. That is the yearning that man must cultivate, not the competitive greed for sensory pleasures that are false and fleeting. Man must engage himself in such tasks as will confer on him peace and lasting joy.
- “Angam and Lingam”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 07, March 9, 1967, Prasanthi Nilayam

You are mostly interested in the process of development in life. But you should remember that simultaneously there is a process of decay at work. Every day that passes brings the ultimate end of life nearer. Hence everyone should seek to perform all his duties every day. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa devoted his entire time from sunrise to late in the night on the contemplation of the Divine form of the Lord. Before going to bed he would look here and there and feel that yet another day had gone by without his having the vision of the Lord. Thus every moment of every day he experienced the anguish of lacking the vision of the Divine. The ancient sages experienced similar anguish in their penance for realisation of the Divine.
- “Enjoyment through Sacrifice”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 24,
May 24, 1991, Brindavan

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had a boil on his throat and he could not swallow any food or even drink liquids without much pain. At this, Vivekananda pleaded with his Master, and prayed to him to seek the Mother’s Grace so that he might take in at least liquid food. Ramakrishna replied that he did pray to Mother and the Mother answered,”Are you not now taking enough food through all these billions of throats, the throats of all living beings in the world? Unable to take in through one out of the billion, why are you so upset?” The one Atma (Consciousness) is pervading everywhere; that was the lesson taught by the Mother. Everyone is just a wave, a part of the Universal, the Paramatma. That is the Truth, the Satya.
- “Stone as God, not God as Stone”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 10, May 12, 1970, Mumbai

Do not forget God. What you should forget is the mundane world. God is omnipresent in all forms, everywhere, as declared in the Purusha Sukta. It is foolish to search for God, who is within you and outside you. When Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was asked whether he had seen God and could show Him to them, he replied, “I have seen God. But how can you see God if you don’t pine for him in the same manner in which you pine for your wife and children and wealth? Pray to Him, yearn for Him and be prepared to sacrifice everything for Him. Then you will experience the vision of God”. 
- “The Divine Dispeller of Darkness”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 28, July 12, 1995, Prasanthi Nilayam

Divinity always assumes the form that a devotee visualizes and prays for. None can actually fix and estimate what Divinity looks like, because there is no form at all! Ramakrishna Paramahamsa too had a similar experience. He was staying at Kamarpukur. He was gripped by a strong desire to have Darshan of Goddess Kali. Unable to bear the pain of separation anymore, he attempted to commit suicide by jumping into the Ganges. Surprisingly, however far he walked into the river, he found that the water came only up to his knees! He prayed, “O Mother of the universe! Why are You testing me so? Why do You not reveal Your form to me? Why do You not allow me to merge in You? I am unable to bear this tortuous pain”.

The mother Goddess replied, “Son! I can show you My form if I had one in the first place! I have no form for you to see. My only form is that of Atma. So, contemplate on the principle of Atma. You can see God in any form that you think of. All the forms that you attribute to God are products of your illusion. None of them can be taken to be the true identity of Divinity”.
- “God has No Specific Form”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 2002, Brindavan

With regard to divinity, there is no meaning in making a distinction between the Divine with form and the formless divinity. How can you conceive of the Formless Divine? You cannot avoid idol worship until you have experience of the Divine within you. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once told a disciple, who asked why he (the disciple) was not able to see God; whether he yearned for God with the same intensity with which he sought many worldly things. If he did so, he would certainly have a vision of God.
- “Idol Worship and God Omnipresence”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 28, February 27, 1995, Prasanthi Nilayam

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