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Guiding Lights from Sri Sarada Devi

Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi - Guiding Lights

Today we start a series of blogposts which present sayings and advice from disciples of Sri Ramakrishna called Guiding Lights. We begin with wisdom from Sri Sarada Devi.


Everything–husband, wife, or even the body–is only illusory. All these are shackles of illusion. Unless you can free yourself from these bondages, you will never be able to cross to the other shore of the world. This attachment to the body, the identification of the Self with the body, must go. What is this body? It is nothing but three pounds of ashes when it is cremated. Why so much vanity about it? However large or beautiful this body may be, its end is in those three pounds of ashes. And still people are so attached to it!

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However spiritual a man may be, he must pay the tax for the body to the last farthing. But the difference between a great soul and an ordinary man is this: The latter weeps while leaving this body whereas the former laughs. Death to the former seems mere play.

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It is essential to perform spiritual practices in a secluded place. When the plant is young, fencing is necessary; but when it grows big, the cattle cannot do it any harm. After some years of meditation when the mind is formed, you can remain anywhere and can mix with any person and the mind will not be affected.

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Do not bother to know how your mind is reacting to things around. And do not waste time in calculating [about] and worrying whether you are progressing in the path of spirituality. It is vanity to judge progress for oneself.

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All perform this or that discipline because they think it their duty to do so. But how many seek God? No doubt you must do your duties. It keeps one’s mind in good condition. But it is also very necessary to practice japa and meditation. Unless you practice meditation side by side with your work, how will you know whether you are doing the desirable or the undesirable thing?

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One should not hurt others even by words. One must not speak even an unpleasant truth unnecessarily. By indulging in rude words one’s nature becomes rude. One’s sensitivity is lost if one has no control over one’s speech.

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If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger, my child; the whole world is your own.

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Can anyone altogether destroy lust? A little of it remains as long as one has the body, but it can be subdued as a snake can be subdued by charmed dust [dust into which, it is said, the snake charmer instills some peculiar power through repetition of a secret mantra].

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Always discriminate. Try to realize that the outside object which is attracting your mind is impermanent, and turn your attention to God.

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Desire alone is the root of all suffering. It is the cause of repeated births and deaths. It is the obstacle in the way of liberation.

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He who is able to renounce all for His sake is a living God.

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The room may contain different kinds of foodstuffs, but one must cook them. He who cooks earlier gets his meal earlier too. The more intensely a person practices spiritual disciplines, the more quickly he attains God.

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Always do your duty to others, but love you must give to God alone. Worldly love always brings in its wake untold misery.

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Neither mantra nor scripture is of any avail. Pure loving devotion alone can win everything.

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God is one’s very “own.” It is the eternal relationship. He is everyone’s “own.” One realizes him in proportion to the intensity of one’s feeling for him.

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It is idle to expect that dangers and difficulties will not come. They are bound to come. But for a devotee they will pass away from under the feet like water.

Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi

Don’t relax practice simply because you do not get His vision. Does an angler catch a big carp every day the moment he sits with a rod? He has to wait and wait, and many a time he is disappointed.

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You see, it is the nature of water to flow downward, but the sun’s rays lift it up towards the sky; likewise it is the very nature of the mind to go to lower things, to objects of enjoyment; but the grace of God can make the mind go towards higher objects.

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One must practice spiritual disciplines. As one gets the fragrance of a flower by handling it, or as one gets the smell of sandalwood by rubbing it against a stone, in the same way one gets spiritual awakening by constantly thinking of God.

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Q: Is it of any use to be merely repeating His name without intense devotion?
A: Whether you jump into water or are pushed into it, your cloth will get a drenching. Is it not so?

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The mantra purifies the body. Man becomes pure by repeating the name of God. So repeat his name always.

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It is wrong if the mind is drawn toward secular objects. By secular objects is meant money, family, and so forth. But it is natural for it to think of the work in which one is engaged. Do japa. Realization will come through japa.

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Meditate every day. Constant meditation will make the mind one-pointed. Discriminate always between the real and the unreal. Whenever you find the mind drawn to any object, think of its transitoriness, and therefore try to draw the mind back to the thought of God. A man was angling. A bridal party was going along the road with music. But the angler’s eye remained fixed on the float. The mind of a spiritual aspirant should be steadfast like that.

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Q: I cannot concentrate my mind well during meditation. My mind is fickle and unsteady.
A: Don’t worry! Restlessness is the nature of the mind, as it is of the eyes and ears. Practice regularly; The name of God is more powerful than the senses.

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After attaining wisdom one sees that gods and deities are all maya. Everything comes into existence in time and also disappears in time. The aspirant then realizes that the Mother alone pervades the entire universe. All then become one. This is the simple truth.

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In the course of your spiritual realizations you will find that He who resides in my heart exists in your heart as well. He is in the heart of everyone–the oppressed, the persecuted, the untouchable, and the outcaste. This realization makes one truly humble.

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