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Words of Wisdom

God and His Glory: Selections from “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna - Chapter 2, In the Company of Devotees,” Part 1 of 2

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Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa was born in 1836 to a devout family in rural Bengal. As a young man, Ramakrishna was interested in pursuing God consciousness, above all other studies. He joined His elder brother, who was then head priest at Dakshineswar Kali Temple, a holy site that is still active today. When His brother passed away, Ramakrishna was appointed as the temple’s priest. When He met with Totapuri Maharaj, a Naga monk of the Dasnami order of Adi Shankara, Sri Ramakrishna experienced a complete awakening of God consciousness. In His teachings, Sri Ramakrishna emphasized the unity of all religions in leading to the ultimate goal of knowing God. Many of His lectures were recorded and later published as a book by one of His prominent disciples, Mahendranath Gupta. This five-volume Bengali classic was translated into English as “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.” We now present to you an excerpt from Chapter 2, “In the Company of Devotees.”

“MASTER: ‘God and His glory. This universe is His glory. People see His glory and forget everything. They do not seek God, whose glory is this world. All seek to enjoy ‘woman and gold.’ But there is too much misery and worry in that.” “A DEVOTEE: ‘Then what is the way, Sir?’ 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.”

“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.” “‘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?'” “‘There is another benefit from holy company. It helps one cultivate discrimination between the Real and the unreal.”

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