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Quotes of Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna


Told to Sarada Devi: Just as `uncle’ moon is the uncle of all children, so God is everybody’s own. Whoever calls on Him will be blessed with His vision. If you call on him, you also will see Him.

A man whose mind is absolutely pure naturally goes beyond action. He cannot work even if he tries to; or the Lord does not allow him to work. But the ordinary man must do his duties unattached, depending on the Lord-like the maidservant in her master’s house. She does everything for her master, but knows in her heart that her home is elsewhere.” (The Life Swami Vivekananda by his Eastern and Western Disciples)

‘Work with your hands, but let your mind remain at His feet.

Lust and greed are at the root of worldliness.

Make your lips and your heart the same.


  • Faith is always blind. Has faith an `eye’? Why say `blind faith’? Either simply say `faith’ or say `Jnana’ [knowledge].


“There are two sorts of persons–one sort has the heart of water, the other of stone. The one easily takes an impression, and as easily throws it off; the other seldom takes an impression, but once it takes, it is there for ever. Nay, the more they struggle to cast it off, the more it cuts deep into the stone soul.”–R. K. [Ramakrishna] Paramahamsa
(as quoted by Swami Vivekananda letter to Sister ChristineMarch 11 1898 )


  • God can be realized; one can see and talk to Him as I am seeing and talking to you. But who cares? People shed torrents of tears for their wife and children, for wealth or property, but who does so for the sake of God? If one weeps sincerely for Him, He surely manifests Himself. (Life of SV)


  • Even if it is agreed that Radha was not a historical personality and that the episode is imagined by some lover of God, why not fix your mind on the intense yearning of Radha and the Gopis for the Supreme? Why dwell on the expression? This may appear human to you, but the yearning and vision you must take as divine.



  • A man develops a subtle power as a result of the strict observance of celibacy for twelve years. Then he can understand and grasp very subtle things which otherwise elude his intellect. Through that understanding the aspirant can have direct vision of God. That pure understanding alone enables him to realize Truth.
  • As for myself, I look upon all women as my Mother. This is a very pure attitude of mind. There is no risk or danger in it. To look upon a woman as one’s sister is also not bad. But the other attitudes are very difficult and dangerous. It is almost impossible to keep to the purity of the ideal.



  • There are various ways to reach God. Some of these are dirty like the scavenger’s entrance to a house. It is really better to enter the house by the front door.



  • Realization is the only goal. When realization comes into the heart, all arguments cease and divine knowledge shines forth.
  • Do not accept anything because I have said so; but test everything for yourself. It is not in assent or dissent that the goal is to be attained, but in actual and concrete realization.
  • Faith is always blind. Has faith an `eye’? Why say `blind faith’? Either simply say `faith’ or say `Jnana’ [knowledge].



  • Pray in any way, for the Lord hears even the footfall of an ant.
  • You may not believe in various divine forms and may discard them as products of the human imagination. But if you believe in some ultimate Reality which is the regulator of the universe, you can pray thus: `O God, I do not know Thee. Graciously reveal to me Thy real nature!’-He must listen to you if your prayer is sincere.”
  • Sri Ramakrishna used to repeat, ‘Not I, not I, O Lord! Thou, thou alone! I am thy servant.’ A devotee must completely renounce the ego.”


  • In this Kali-Yuga the only way to cultivate spirituality is by chanting the name of the Lord and following the path of devotion as marked out by the sage Narada.
  • A born farmer does not leave off tilling the soil, though it may not rain for twelve consecutive years, while a merchant who has but lately taken himself to the plough is discouraged by one season of drought. The true believer is never discouraged, if even with his lifelong devotion he fails to see God.


  • First tie the nondual knowledge in the corner of your cloth; then do whatever you like.
  • First tie the nondual knowledge in the corner of your cloth; then do whatever you like.
  • Brahman and Shakti are one, as fire and its heat, or milk and its whiteness, are one. When static the reality is Brahman; when active it is Shakti, the Mother. (The Life of Swami Vivekananda by his Eastern and Western Disciples)


  • He who has perfected himself by worshipping the Lord in one aspect knows all his aspects.’


  • I cannot stand anyone calling me guru. It irritates me. Who is the guru? Satchidananda alone is the guru.’ Ramakrishna on egotism: Water does not accumulate on high ground
  • Said to his disciples: Test me as the money-changers test their coins. You must not accept me until you have tested me thoroughly.



  • When the goal of spiritual life is reached, there remains only compassion in the heart.



  • So long as the fire is beneath, the milk boils and bubbles. Remove the fire and it is quiet again. So the heart of the neophyte boils with enthusiasm, so long as he goes on with his spiritual exercises, but afterwards it cools down.


  • A man who finds all the hairs of his body standing on end at the bare mention of Srî Hari’s name, through sheer ecstasy, and who sheds tears of love on hearing the name of God, he has reached his last birth.
  • A true devotee who has drunk deep of the Divine Love is like a veritable drunkard, and, as such, cannot always observe the rules of propriety.



  • When grains are measured out to the purchaser in the granary of a rich merchant, the measurer unceasingly goes on measuring, while the attending women supply him with basket-fulls of grain from the main store. The measurer does not leave his seat, while the women incessantly supply him with grain. But a small grocer has neither such attendants, nor is his store so inexhaustible. Similarly, it is God Himself who is constantly inspiring thoughts and sentiments in the hearts of His devotees, and that is the reason why the latter are never in lack of new and wise thoughts and sentiments; while, on the other hand, the book-learned, like petty grocers, soon find that their thoughts have become exhausted.



  • Dala (sedge) does not grow in large and pure water-tanks, but in small stagnant and miasmatic pools. Similarly, Dala (schism) does not take place in a party whose adherents are guided by pure, broad, and unselfish motives, but it takes firm root in a party whose advocates are given to selfishness, insincerity, and bigotry. (‘Dala,’ in Bengâli, means both sedges and schism.)



  • The Yogins and Samyâsins are like snakes. The snake never digs a hole for itself, but it lives in the hole made by the mouse. When one hole becomes uninhabitable, it enters into another hole. So the Yogins and the Samyâsins make no houses for themselves; they pass their days in other men’s houses–to-day in one house, to-morrow in another.



  • The sage alone can recognise a sage. He who deals in cotton twists can alone tell of what number and quality a particular twist is made.
  • The true religious man is he who does not do anything wrong or act impiously when he is alone, i.e. when there is none to look after and blame him.
  • Sugar and sand may be mixed together, but the ant rejects the sand and goes off with the sugar-grain; so pious men sift the good from the bad.
  • It is the nature of the winnowing basket to reject the bad and keep the good; even such is the case with pious men.
  • He is truly a pious man who is dead even in life, i.e. whose passions and desires have been all destroyed as in a dead body.



  • The naked Sage, Totâpuri, used to say, ‘If a brass pot be not rubbed daily, it will get rusty. So if a man does not contemplate the Deity daily, his heart will grow impure.’ To him Srî Râmakrishna replied, ‘Yes, but if the vessel be of gold, it does not require daily cleaning. The man who has reached God requires prayers or penances no more.’



  • In the Bengâli alphabet no three letters are alike in sound except the three sibilants (Sa, sha, and sa), all meaning ‘forbear,’ ‘forbear,’ ‘forbear.’ This shows that even from our childhood we are made to learn forbearance in our very alphabets. The quality of forbearance is of the highest importance to every man.



  • Flies sit at times on the sweetmeats kept exposed
  • Seeing the water pass glittering through the net of bamboo frame-work, the small fry enter into it with great pleasure, and having once entered they cannot get out again–and are caught. Similarly, foolish men enter into the world allured by its false glitter, but as it is easier to enter the net than to get out of it, it is easier to enter the world than renounce it, after having once entered it.
  • Men always quote the example of the king Ganaka, as that of a man who lived in the world and yet attained perfection. But throughout the whole history of mankind there is only this solitary example. His case was not the rule, but the exception. The general rule is that no one can attain spiritual perfection unless he renounces lust and greed. Do not think yourself to be a Ganaka. Many centuries have rolled away and the world has not produced another Ganaka.
  • This world is like a stage, where men perform many parts under various disguises. They do not like to take off the mask, unless they have played for some time. Let them play for a while, and then they will leave off the mask of their own accord.
  • The heart of the devotee is like a dry match; and the slightest mention of the name of the Deity kindles the fire of love in his heart. But the mind of the worldly, soaked in lust and greed, is like the moist match, and can never be heated to enthusiasm, though God may be preached to him innumerable times.
  • A worldly man may be endowed with intellect as great as that of Ganaka, may take as much pains and trouble as a Yogin, and make as great sacrifices as an ascetic; but all these he makes and does, not for God, but for worldliness, honour, and wealth.
  • As water does not enter into a stone, so religious advice produces no impression on the heart of a worldly man.
  • As a nail cannot enter into a stone, but can easily be driven into the earth, so the advice of the pious does not affect the soul of a worldly man. It enters into the heart of a believer.
  • As soft clay easily takes an impression, but not so a stone, so also the Divine Wisdom impresses itself on the heart of the devotee, but not on the soul of the worldly man.
  • The characteristic of a thoroughly worldly man is that he does not only not listen to hymns, religious discourses, praises of the Almighty, &c., but also prevents others from hearing them, and abuses religious men and societies, and scoffs at prayers.
  • The alligator has got such a thick and scaly hide that no weapons can pierce it; on the contrary, they fall off harmless. So, howmuchsoever you may preach religion to a worldly man, it will have no effect upon his heart.
  • As the water enters in on one side under the bridge, and soon passes out on the other, so religious advice affects worldly souls. It enters into them by one ear and goes out by the other, without making any impression upon their minds.
  • By talking with a worldly man one can feel that his heart is filled with worldly thoughts and desires, even as the crop of a pigeon is filled with grains.
  • Worldly persons perform many pious and charitable acts with a hope of worldly rewards, but when misfortune, sorrow, and poverty approach them, they forget them all. They are like the parrot that repeats the Divine name ‘Râdhâ-Krishna, Râdhâ-Krishna’ the livelong day, but cries ‘Kaw, Kaw’ when caught by a cat, forgetting the Divine name.
  • A spring cushion is squeezed down when one sits upon it, but it soon resumes its original shape when the pressure is removed. So it is with worldly men. They are full of religious sentiments, so long as they hear religious talks; but no sooner do they enter into the daily routine of the world, than they forget all those high and noble thoughts, and become as impure as before.
  • So long as the iron is in the furnace it is red-hot, but it becomes black as soon as it is taken out of the fire. So also is the worldly man. As long as he is in church or in the society of pious people, he is full of religious emotions, but no sooner does he come out of those associations than he loses them all.
  • Some one said, ‘When my boy Harish grows up, I will get him married, and give him the charge of the family; I shall then renounce the world, and begin to practise Yoga.’ At this a Sâdhu remarked, ‘You will never find any opportunity of practising Yoga (devotion). You will say afterwards, “Harish and Girish are too much attached to me. They do not like to leave my company as yet.” Then you will desire perhaps, “Let Harish have a son, and let me see that son married.” And thus there will be no end of your desires.’



  • The faith-healers of India order their patients to repeat with full conviction the words, ‘There is no illness in me, there is no illness at all.’ The patient repeats it, and, thus mentally denying, the illness goes off. So if you think yourself to be morally weak and without goodness, you will really find yourself to be so in no time. Know and believe that you are of immense power, and the power will come to you at last.