Devotee: "Revered sir, one man quickly succeeds in spiritual life, and another doesn't succeed at all. How do you explain that?"
Sri Ramakrishna: "The truth is that a man succeeds to a great extent because of tendencies inherited from his previous births. People think he has attained the goal all of a sudden. A man drank a glass of wine in the morning. It made him completely drunk. He began to behave improperly. People were amazed to see that he could be so drunk after one glass. But another man said, 'Why, he has been drinking all night.'
"Hanuman burnt down the golden city of Lanka. People were amazed that a mere monkey could burn the whole, city. But then they said, 'The truth is that the city was burnt by the sighs of Sita and the wrath of Rama.'
"Look at Lala Babu. He had so much wealth. Could he have renounced it all so suddenly without the good tendencies of his previous births? And Rani Bhavani. So much knowledge and devotion in a woman!
"In his last birth a man is endowed with sattva. His mind is directed to God. He longs for God. He withdraws his mind from worldly things."