Culled from What the Disciples Said About It: A Study of the Teachings of the Disciples of Ramakrishna, a compilation by Edith Tipple, published by Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata.

Adversity

Swami RamakrishnanandaUnless one passes through the school of adversity, one cannot properly be called a human being. We learn much from our troubles. …You should not lose heart in adversity. Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas, prayed to Sri Krishna to beset her with adversities, since in adversity alone is He more frequently remembered!

Aim

We must not cease to strive for the highest even though it seems unattainable. We must keep God as our ideal and aim; that will pull us on. If a man aims at the sky, at least he may strike the top of a tree. If he aims at the top of the tree, he may not get above the ground.

Ambition

The very fact that we are dissatisfied with our finite nature shows that it is not our natural condition. The fact that we have infinite ambition, that we have insatiable hunger for more and more, proves that we are infinite by nature, and that is why we are always dissatisfied with whatever is finite… Wipe away the dust, arouse your ambition, stir up your activity and know that all power is latent in you. You are not limited…

Attitude

…Divine Mother does not like us to call ourselves Her servants… We are her children to Her, not servants. Always think of yourself as Her child…

Contentment

…Do not be content with the little things of this world. This universe is like a baby’s toy. Throw it away. Claim your eternal heritage. This little span of life is not yours; your life has no beginning, no end.

Desire

…Mind is like a big mirror which gives a perfect reflection but which has been so thickly covered with dirt that nothing can be seen in it. The more you can rub off that dirt, the more you will be able to see yourself in it. The more you can remove the least speck of dust, the more you can get a perfect image of your true Self. What is that dirt that hides the image? Selfish desires.

Devotee

If we love God for what we can get from Him in the world, we really love the world, not God, and we can never be true devotees. The true devotee loves God just for the joy of loving Him, because God is the Beloved.

Devotion

If we are caught in a labyrinth and someone comes and says, “I can show you the way out,” what do we do? Follow him. And the gratitude we feel is what we call worship and devotion.

Discouragement

You need not complain that you are not successful in your attempts. So it is with almost all… Every child before it learns to walk falls down a hundred thousand times. I can assure you that God helps those who help themselves.

Discrimination

The first personal pronoun is at the root of all our miseries. Hence our primary duty should be to get rid of it somehow or other. This can be done by the service of the great, by good works without caring for results, by concentration or discrimination…

Education

True education consists in the sacrifice of vanity and the manifestation of the God within.

Ego

Almost all men in the world have usurped the throne where God should sit. On that throne where God should be, a most worthless slave has been given place. This is the ego. When you know this, then drive out the ego. When you do this and become the slave or servant of God instead, you will realize your eternal nature. Being one with God, all fear of death will go, peace will come to you, and you will taste true bliss.

All Maya is localized in ego. Pull out the foundation and the whole house will collapse. Take away the ego and the whole structure of Maya will fall. Then you will realize a state of perfect calmness.

Fate

I cannot accept that fate is irremovable. I do not believe that good and bad, virtue and vice, happiness and misery and all pairs of opposites stored in the chamber of fate are irremovable. None but the supreme Self is immutable, indivisible, incombustible, and indestructible in this universe. Wherever there is disease, there is remedy. Light follows darkness. Repression is shadowed by relief. Virtue succeeds vice. This is the eternal law of nature. If one uniform Law prevails in all matters, why then should fate be an exception?

Freedom

What keeps us from seeing God? Selfishness, egotism, ambition, vanity, pride. The more we can minimize these, the sooner will we come to the goal. If we can get rid of them altogether, then freedom is ours.

God

God does not dwell somewhere beyond the clouds. He is in the heart of all living beings… God comes before us in the form of the ignorant, the needy, the diseased, the destitute, the famished—so that we may serve Him in these forms and thus edify ourselves…

Grace

When God’s grace is combined with personal effort, everything turns favorable and every undertaking becomes successful.

Ignorance

What is the use of imagining yourself a sinner? You are infinite; it is sheer ignorance that makes you imagine that you are finite…

Laziness

Shake off all dullness from within you. Laziness is the worst of all sins.

Love

If we cannot love others, if we cannot serve others, what are we here for?

No love is really love that knows its opposite, hate. True love is always inclusive and universal. So long as one has an enemy and cannot bear to have any good come to that person, he cannot know what real love is.

You are, indeed, a very bad lover of God if you cannot bear some worldly troubles for His sake!

Lust

Know that you are a God and consequently the Lord of the senses. Why should you allow the senses to lord over you?

Ramakrishna

Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna will surely help you, if you only sincerely ask Him for help. He is the Incarnation of Love and Mercy.

Self-surrender

That man who can throw himself at the feet of the Lord and say, “All this is Thine, This body, mind, and soul all belong to Thee; of myself I am utterly helpless; do Thou take me,” the Lord takes that man and makes his hands, his feet, his eyes and ears, His instruments. He speaks through his mouth; He works through his hands; He walks with his feet; and the man becomes a living representative of God. This is salvation.

Struggle

Do not care if you slip occasionally. To err is human. Do not lose heart. Walk firmly onward. No one can hope to get through the slimy path of the world unscathed. And it is rank foolishness to sit down in the midst of the mire for fear of falling in the attempt to get across.

Struggle hard and if, in the course of that struggle, your foot slips and you have to fall several times, what does that matter? Rise up again and go on struggling. Rest assured, you will conquer in the end. Never give up the struggle as long as you are not perfect, that is, as long as you are not what you wish yourself to be.

Virtue

The body is the first tool for the practice of virtue.


EDITH DICKINSON TIPPLE lives in Santa Barbara, CA and has been a member of the Vedanta Society of Southern California since 1963. She is Editor of  What the Disciples Said About It, Realizing God and A Challenge to Modern Minds and is a contributor to Prabuddha Bharata, Vedanta Kesari and American Vedantist.