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Ramakrishna Sayings

Ramakrishna was asked, "Revered sir, is a man liberated only when he dies on the bank of the Ganges?"

Ramakrishna answered, "It is the Knowledge of God alone that gives liberation. The Jnani will certainly attain liberation wherever he may die." [Rap 637].

Swans Can Dive Where the Water is Deep Enough

What is bad for the swan may not be easily changed.

A swan may dive in both muddy water and clear water, but sees more in clear water. Know how to clear the lake of the mind so as to see its hidden pearls, if there are any, and where they are found. This suggests how proficient meditation may clear the mind so that we attain the Deep Mind and perceive pearls of wisdom too.

Many words are like shells. Their central, inner purport that may assist us, and likewise shelter from plots.

1. When you are merged in Samadhi (yoga union), listen to the heart; it is atop; and guard against temptations

Q. What is the mark of a man who has become perfect (Siddha)? A. He becomes softer Get a soft bed [see Tos 53-54; 9 Hum].

Jivatman [individual soul] and Paratman [Supreme Soul] are in essence one and the same Just think of a shoreless expanse of water The big aperture . . . into the ocean of life [Tos 16-17, cf 5, 47].

The emancipated soul lives in the world but does not mix with it There is no distinction Q. Do you have, sir, the slightest idea of the ego when you are merged in Samadhi? A. Yes . . [Tos 56, 4, 29]

When we talk with a worldly man, we see his heart is worldly-minded. [Tos 79].

There are three different classes of doctors. The first sort looks at the patient, prescribes the medicine and leaves. The second cares to tell him of his case, reasons with him and asks him to take his medicine. The third and highest class uses force with the patient where much explaining fails he puts his knee on the chest of the patient and forces the medicine down his throat. "Belong to the highest class," says Ramakrishna, and presents giving religious instructions too by this simile. [Tos 59-60].

Be fixed always on God [Tos 91].

God indeed is in all things A man met an elephant along the road. Its driver shouted, "Move away!" The man did not do it. The elephant took him up with his trunk and dashed him aside. The man was severely hurt. His guru told him: "God was also in the form of the elephant-driver. Why did you not listen to the God on top?" [Tos 44, cf 37 (much shortened)]. �

He is beyond and above the phenomenal universe [With Tos 8].

Guard against temptation [see Tos 90].

Keep a little ego to enjoy Rasa means literally sweet juice [Tos 29, cf 67].

Go for Viveka, i.e., discrimination of the Real from the unreal [cf. Tos 95].

(Resist) evil for purposes of self-defence [Tos 99].

God-men . . . act and behave to all appearances as common men [Tos 50].

[Find] the all-pervading supreme friend . . . [see Tos 44-45].

I do not advise you to go through the eminent hardships of henpecked husbands. [see Tos 87].

The milk . . . streams to us from God [Tos 44].

2. Some things are much bad for the swan of highest intelligence too

God plays invisibly in the heart of man A marionette dances well [Tos 11, 24].

Brahman . . . is All Intelligence [Tos 3].

Lost in the enjoyment the parrot repeats [Tos 83].

Brahman [God] becomes "polluted" through description, for he is beyond it [Tos 3].

Self-defence . . . is one of the Dharmas [duties, rightful things to do] for a householder Think to yourself [Tos 102, 103].

After spending the greater part of your life in the world, make sure to dig out the gold ["selfyness"] you're entitled to [cf Tos 88-89].

The man who has got a carbuncle on his backs talks with his mind on the pain he bears [Tos 92, abr].

3. If terribly pleased to appear haughty, selfish, and worldly-minded, the danger is of not returning to one's heart

Carrying a heavy burden - could it be newly forming gold of selfhood? [cf Tos 88].

At one time I am clothed, at another naked; so Brahman [God] is at one time with attributes and at another without [Tos 4].

Do whatever you like after making the knowledge of Oneness your own A nail cannot [easily] be driven into a stone while it pierces deep into the heart of a believer [Tos 38, With Tos 81 (hum)].

Divinity is manifest more in man than in any other object Being far too worldly-minded suggests becoming nervous, and nervous people in turn find it too much even to sit still [Tos 44, cf 79]. ✪ 

Q. How do the emancipated live in the world?
A. . . . they may be compared to dry leaves blown about here and there by the strong wind [Tos 55].

Realize God in the temple of your heart [Tos 72].

Some go into Samadhi and don't return [cf Tos 51].


In and after unions, guarding against tempations is twice as important. It is very bad for "the swan (state)" inside, not being able to alight into one's heart for a while very deep meditation helps that.


A so-called double-quotation is a set of two joined quotations or fragments. The joint is marked with in the text above. Compounds of three or more phrases from different places, may be termed "clustered quotations". Page references at the back of quotatons or grouped quotations show where the various phrases and passages are found.

Some arrays below consist of selected and arranged quotations, double-quotations and clustered quotations from the book Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna (1975)


Sri Ramakrishna, Ramakrsna, Literature  

Goa: Nikhilananda, sw. tr: The Gospel of Ramakrishna. Abr. ed. Ramakrishna-Vivekananda. New York, 1974.

Gra: Jagadananda, sw. tr: Sri Ramakrishna: The Great Master. 4th ed. Ramakrishna Math. Mylapore, 1970.

Hib: Romain, Rolland: The Gospel of Ramakrishna. 8th ed. Advaita Asram. Calcutta, 1970.

Lrr: Advaita Asram: Life of Sri Ramakrishna. Advaita Asram. Calcutta, 1971.

Rap: Gupta, M.: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna-Vivekananda. New York, 1942.

Rls: Müller, F. Max. Ramakrishna: His Life and Sayings. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1898. Online.

Tas: Ramakrishna: Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna. 5th ed. Ramakrishna Math, Madras, 1974.

Tos: Advaita Asram: Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna. Advaita Asram. Calcutta, 1975.

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting

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