By what kind of work can one realize God?

Devotee: "By what kind of work can one realize God?"

Sri Ramakrishna: "It is not that God can be realized by this work and not by that. The vision of God depends on His grace.

 Still a man must work a little with longing for God in his heart. If he has longing he will receive the grace of God."

"To attain God a man must have certain favorable conditions: the company of holy men, discrimination, and the blessings of a real teacher. Perhaps his elder brother takes the responsibility for the family; perhaps his wife has spiritual qualities and is very virtuous; perhaps he is not married at all or entangled in worldly life. He succeeds when conditions like these are fulfilled."

"In a certain family a man lay seriously ill. He was at the point of death. 

Someone said: 'Here is a remedy: First it must rain when the star Svati is in the ascendant; then some of that rain-water must collect in a human skull; then a frog must come there and a snake must chase it; and as the frog is about to be bitten by the snake, it must jump away and the poison of the snake must drop into the skull. You must prepare a medicine from this poison and give it to the patient. Then he will live.

The head of the family consulted the almanac about the star and set out at the right moment. With great longing of heart he began to search for the different ingredients. 

He prayed to God, 'O Lord, I shall succeed only if You bring together all the ingredients.' As he was roaming about he actually saw a skull lying on the ground. Presently there came a shower of rain. 

Then the man exclaimed: 'O gracious Lord, I have got the rain-water under Svati, and the skull too. What is more, some of the rain has fallen into the skull. Now be kind enough to bring together the other ingredients.

He was reflecting with a yearning heart when he saw a poisonous snake approaching. His joy knew no bounds. He became so excited that he could feel the thumping of his own heart. 'O God,' he prayed, 'now the snake has come too. I have procured most of the ingredients. Please be gracious and give me the remaining ones.

No sooner did he pray thus than a frog hopped up. The snake pursued it. As they came near the skull and the snake was about to bite the frog, the frog jumped over the skull and the snake's poison fell into it. The man began to dance, clapping his hands for joy. 

So I say that one gets everything through yearning."


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