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The Sayings of Râmakrishna: 200-299

200. Creeds and sects matter nothing. Let every one perform with faith the devotions and practices of his creed. Faith is the only clue to get to God.

201. He who has faith has all, and he who wants faith wants all.

202. The faith-healers of India order their patients to repeat with full conviction the words, 'There is no illness in me, there is no illness at all.' The patient repeats it, and, thus mentally denying, the illness goes off. So if you think yourself to be morally weak and without goodness,

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you will really find yourself to be so in no time. Know and believe that you are of immense power, and the power will come to you at last.

203. Bhagavân Srî Râmakandra had to bridge the ocean before he could cross over to Lamkâ (Ceylon). But Hanumân, his faithful monkey-servant, with one jump crossed the ocean through the firmness of his faith in Râma. Here the servant achieved more than the master, simply through faith.

204. A man wanted to cross the river. A sage gave him an amulet and said, This will carry thee across.' The man, taking it in his hand, began to walk over the waters. When he reached the middle of the river curiosity entered into his heart, and he opened the amulet to see what was in it. Therein he found, written on a bit of paper, the sacred name of Râma. The man at this said deprecatingly, Is this the only secret?' No sooner had he said this than he sank down. It is faith in the name of the Lord that works miracles, for faith is life, and doubt is death.

205. Q. How can I perform devotion when I must always think of my daily bread? A. He for whom thou workest will supply thy necessities. God hath made provision for thy support before he sent thee here.

208. Q. When shall I be free? A. When thy I-hood (egoism) will vanish, and thy self-will be merged in the Divinity.

207. Out of the myriads of paper kites that are made to

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fly in the air, only one or two rend the string and get free. So out of hundreds of Sâdhakas, only one or two get free from worldly bonds.

208. As a piece of lead, thrown into a basin of mercury, is soon dissolved therein, so the human soul loses its individual existence when it falls into the ocean of Brâhma.

209. Q. What do you say about the method of religious preaching employed now-a-days? A. It is inviting hundreds of persons to dinner, when the food supply is sufficient for one only.

210. Instead of preaching to others, if one worships God all that time, that is enough preaching. He who strives to make himself free, is the real preacher. Hundreds come from all sides, no one knows whence, to him who is free, and are taught. When a flower opens the bees come from all sides uninvited and unasked.

211. Hast thou got, O preacher, the badge of authority? As the humblest subject wearing the badge of the King is heard with respect and awe, and can quell the riot by showing his badge; so must thou, O preacher, obtain first the order and inspiration from God. So long as thou hast not this inspiration, thou mayest preach all thy life, but that will be mere waste of breath.

212. He alone is the true 'man' who is illumined with the Spiritual Light.

213. The soul enchained is 'man,' and free from chain is 'Siva' (God).

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214. The heavier scale of a balance goes down while the lighter one rises up. Similarly he who is weighed down with too many cares and anxieties of the world, goes down to the world, while he who has less cares rises up towards the Kingdom of Heaven.

215. God is in all men, but all men are not in God: that is the reason why they suffer.

216. There are two sorts of men. The Guru said to one of his disciples, 'What I impart to thee, my dear, is invaluable; keep it to thyself,' and the disciple kept it all to himself. But when the Guru imparted that knowledge to another of his disciples, the latter, knowing its inestimable worth, and not liking to enjoy it all alone, stood upon a high place and began to declare the good tidings to all the people. The Avatâras are of the latter class, while the Siddhas are of the former.

217. No man keeps a total fast. Some get food at 9 a.m., others at noon, others at 2 p.m., and others in the evening Similarly, at some time or other, in this life or after many lives, all will see God.

218. When fruit becomes ripe and falls of itself, it tastes very sweet; but when unripe fruit is plucked and artificially ripened it does not taste so sweet and becomes shrivelled up. So when one has attained perfection, the observance of caste distinctions falls off of itself from him, but so long as this exalted knowledge is not reached, one must observe caste distinctions.

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219. When a storm blows, it is impossible to distinguish an Asvattha (pippal) and a Vata (banian) tree. So when the storm of true knowledge (the knowledge of one universal existence) blows, there can be no distinction of caste.

220. When a wound is perfectly healed, the slough falls off of itself; but if the slough be taken off earlier, it bleeds. Similarly, when the perfection of knowledge is reached by a man, the distinctions of caste fall off from him, but it is wrong for the ignorant to break such distinctions.

221. Q. Is it proper to keep the Brâhmanical thread? A. When the knowledge of self is obtained, all fetters fall off of themselves. Then there is no distinction of a Brâhmana Or a Sûdra, a high caste or a low caste. In that case the sacred thread-sign of caste falls away of itself. But so long as a man has the consciousness of distinction and difference he should not forcibly throw it off.

222. Q. Why do you not lead a family life with your wife? A. The God Kârtikeya, the leader of the Heavenly army, once happened to scratch a cat with his nail. On going home he saw there was the mark of a scratch on the cheek of his Mother. Seeing this, he asked of her, 'Mother, dear, how have you got that ugly scratch on your cheek?' The Goddess Durgâ replied, 'Child, this is thy own handiwork,--the mark scratched by thy own nail.' Kârtikeya asked in wonder, 'Mother, how is it? I never remember to have scratched thee!' The Mother replied, 'Darling, hast thou forgotten having scratched a cat this morning?'

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[paragraph continues] Kârtikeya said, 'Yes, I did scratch a cat; but how did your cheek get marked?' The Mother replied, 'Dear child, nothing exists in this world but myself. I am all creation. Whomsoever thou hurtest, thou hurtest me.' Kârtikeya was greatly surprised at this, and determined thenceforward never to marry; for whom would he marry? Every woman was mother to him. I am like Kârtikeya. I consider every woman as my Divine Mother.

223. When I look upon chaste women of respectable families, I see in them the Mother Divine arrayed in the garb of a chaste lady; and again, when I look upon the public women of the city, sitting in their open verandas, arrayed in the garb of immorality and shamelessness, I see in them also the Mother Divine, sporting in a different way.

224. The light of the gas illumines various localities with various intensities. But the life of the light, namely, the gas, comes from one common reservoir. So the religious teachers of all climes and ages are but as many lamp-posts through which is emitted the light of the spirit flowing constantly from one source, the Lord Almighty.

225. As the rain-water from the top of a house may be discharged through pipes having their mouth-pieces shaped like the head of a tiger, a cow or a bull, &c., although the water does not belong to these pipes, but comes from the heaven above, so are the holy Sâdhus (saints) through whose mouths eternal and heavenly truths are discharged into this world by the Almighty.

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226. The cries of all jackals are alike. The teachings of all the wise men of the world are essentially one and the same.

227. Whatever gives happiness in this world contains a bit of divine enjoyment in it. The difference between the two is as between treacle and refined candy.

228. He who is absorbed in others' affairs, forgets his own outer and inner affairs (i.e. does not think about his own lower and higher self, but is absorbed in the affairs of other selfs).

228. When the mind dwells in evil propensities, it is like a high-caste Brâhmana living in the quarters of the out-castes, or like a gentleman dwelling in the back slums of the town.

230. If a man sees a pleader he naturally thinks of cases and causes; similarly, on seeing a pious devotee, the man remembers his God and the hereafter.

231. Q. What is the reason that a Prophet is not honoured by his own kinsmen? A. The kinsmen of a juggler do not crowd round him to see his performances, while strangers stand agape at his wonderful tricks.

232. The seeds of Vagravântula do not fall to the bottom of the tree. From the shell they shoot far away from the tree and take root there. So the Spirit of a Prophet manifests itself at a distance, and he is appreciated there.

233. There is always a shade under the lamp while its light illumines the surrounding objects. So the man in the

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immediate proximity of a Prophet does not understand him. Those who live afar off are charmed by his spirit and extra-ordinary power.

234. The waters of a swiftly-flowing current move round and round in eddies and whirlpools, but quickly crossing these they resume their former course. So the hearts of the pious fall sometimes into the whirlpools of despondency, grief, and unbelief, but it is only a momentary aberration. It does not last long.

235. A tree, laden with fruit, always bends low. So, if thou wantest to be great, be low and meek.

236. The heavier scale goes down and the lighter one rises up. So the man of merit and ability is always humble, but the fool is always puffed up with vanity.

237. The anger of the good is like a line drawn on the surface of water, which does not last long.

238. If a white cloth is stained with a small speck the blackness appears very ugly indeed by the contrast; so the smallest fault of a holy man becomes painfully prominent by his surrounding purity.

239. The sunlight is one and the same wherever it falls; but bright surfaces like water, mirror and polished metals, &c., can reflect it fully. So is the Light Divine. It falls equally and impartially on all hearts, but the pure and clean hearts of the good and holy Sâdhus only can fully reflect it.

240. As in a pane of glass on which quicksilver has

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been laid, one can see his face reflected, so in the chaste heart of a totally abstinent man is reflected the image of the Almighty

241. So long as one does not become simple like a child, one does not get Divine illumination. Forget all the worldly knowledge that thou hast acquired, and become as ignorant about it as a child, and then thou wilt get the knowledge of the True.

242. The Hindu almanacs contain predictions of the annual rainfall. But squeeze the book, and not a drop of water will be got out of it. So also many good sayings are to be found in books, but merely reading them will not make one religious. One has to practise the virtues taught therein.

243. Q. Why do religions degenerate? A. The rain-water is pure, but becomes soiled according to the medium it passes through. If the roof and the pipe be dirty, the discharge is dirty.

244. Money can procure bread and butter only. Do not consider it therefore as if it were thy sole end and aim.

245. As by rubbing gold and brass on a touch-stone, their real worth becomes known; so a sincere Sâdhu and a hypocrite are found out when they are rubbed through the touch-stone of persecution and adversity.

246. The iron must be heated several times and hammered before it becomes good steel. Then only it becomes fit to be made into a sharp sword, and can be bent any way you

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like. So a man must be heated several times in the furnace of tribulations, and hammered with the persecutions of the world, before he becomes pure and humble.

247. Remain always strong and steadfast in thy own faith, but eschew all bigotry and intolerance.

248. Be not like the frog in the well. The frog in the well knows nothing bigger and grander than its well. So are all bigots: they do not see anything better than their own creeds.

249. There was a man who worshipped Siva, but hated all other Deities. One day Siva appeared to him and said,

I shall never be pleased with thee, so long as thou hatest the other gods.' But the man was inexorable. After a few days Siva again appeared to him. This time he appeared as Hari-Hara, that is, one side of his body was that of Siva, and the other side that of Vishnu. At this the man was half pleased and half displeased. He laid his offerings on the side representing Siva, and did not offer anything to the side representing Vishnu, and when he offered the burning incense to his beloved God (Siva) he was careful as well as audacious enough to press the nostril of Vishnu, the other half of Hari-Hara, lest the fragrance should be pleasing to Vishnu. Seeing him altogether inexorable, the God Siva was sorely displeased with him, and at once vanished from his sight. But the man was as undaunted as ever. However, the children of the village began to tease him by uttering the name of Vishnu in his hearing. Displeased with this, the man hung two bells to his ears, which he used to

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ring as soon as the boys cried out the names of Vishnu, in order to prevent the sound entering his ears. And thus he was known by the name of Bell-eared, or Ghantâ-karna. He is still so much hated for his bigotry that every year at a certain period the boys of Bengal break down his effigy with a cudgel, and this serves him right.

250. As the young wife in a family shows her love and respect to her father-in-law, mother-in-law, and every other member of the family, and at the same time loves her husband more than these; similarly, being firm in thy devotion to the Deity of thy own choice (Ishta-Devatâ), do not despise other Deities, but honour them all.

251. A truly religious man should think that other religions also are paths leading to the truth. We should always maintain an attitude of respect towards other religions.

252. The difference between the modern Brâhmaism and Hinduism is like the difference between the single note of music and the whole music. The modern Brâhmas are content with the single note of Brahman, while the Hindu religion is made up of several notes producing a sweet and melodious harmony.

253. Some years ago, when the Hindus and the Brâhmas were preaching their respective religions with true earnestness and great zeal, some one asked Bhagavân Srî Râmakrishna his opinion about both parties, on which he replied, I see that my Mother Divine is getting her work done through both parties.'

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254. Hari (from hri, to steal) means 'He who steals our hearts,' and Haribala means 'Hari is our strength.'

255. Sin like quicksilver can never be kept concealed. (When a man takes calomel, sooner or later it is sure to show itself in the shape of eruptions on the skin.)

256. The tears of repentance and the tears of happiness flow from the two different corners of the eye. The tears of repentance flow from the side near the nose, and the tears of happiness flow from the other extremity.

257. Visit not miracle workers. They are wanderers from the path of truth. Their minds have become entangled in the meshes of psychic powers, which lie in the way of the pilgrim towards Brahman, as temptations. Beware of these powers, and desire them not.

258. A man after fourteen years of hard asceticism in a lonely forest obtained at last the power of walking over the waters. Overjoyed at this acquisition, he went to his Guru, and told him of his grand feat. At this the Master replied, 'My poor boy, what thou hast accomplished after fourteen years' arduous labour, ordinary men do the same by paying a penny to the boatman.'

259. A youthful disciple of Srî Râmakrishna once acquired the power of reading the heart of another. When he related this experience to the Master, he rebuked him and said, 'Shame on thee, child, do not waste thy energies on these petty things.'

260. A washerman keeps a large store of clothes and has

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a rich wardrobe, but these are not his. As soon as the clothes are washed his wardrobe becomes empty. Men having no original thoughts of their own are like the washerman.

261. Greed brings woe, while contentment is all happiness. A barber was once passing under a haunted tree when he heard a voice say, 'Wilt thou accept of seven jars of gold?' The barber looked round, but could see no one. The mysterious voice again repeated the words, and the cupidity of the barber being greatly roused by the spontaneous offer of such vast wealth he spoke aloud, 'When the merciful God is so good as to take pity even on a poor barber like me, is there anything to be said as to my accepting the kind offer so generously made?' At once the reply came, 'Go home, I have already carried the jars thither.' The barber ran in hot haste to his house, and was transported to see the promised jars there. He opened them one after another and saw them all filled, save one which was half filled. Now arose the desire of filling this last jar in the heart of the barber. So he sold all his gold and silver ornaments and converted them into coins and threw them into the jar. But the jar still remained empty. He now began to starve himself and his family by living upon insufficient, coarse, and cheap food, throwing all his savings into the jar, but the jar remained as empty as ever. The barber then requested the King to increase his pay as it was not sufficient to maintain him and his family. As he was a favourite of the King, the latter granted his request.

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[paragraph continues] The barber now began to save all his pay and emoluments, and throw them all into the jar, but the greedy jar showed no sign of being filled. He now began to live by begging, and became as wretched and miserable as ever. One day the King seeing his sad plight, inquired of him by saying, 'Hallo! when thy pay was half of what thou gettest now, thou wast far happier and more cheerful, contented, and healthy, but with double that pay I see thee morose, care-worn, and dejected. Now what is the matter with thee? Hast thou accepted the seven jars of gold?' The barber was taken aback by this home-thrust, and with clasped hands asked the King as to who had informed his majesty about the matter. The King answered, 'Whosoever accepts the riches of a Yaksha is sure to be reduced to such an abject and wretched plight. I have known thee through this invariable sign. Do away with the money at once. Thou canst not spend a farthing of it. That money is for hoarding and not for spending.' The barber was brought to his senses by this advice and went to the haunted tree and said, 'O Yaksha, take back thy gold,' and he returned home to find the seven jars vanished, taking with them his life-long savings. Nevertheless he began to live happily after it.

262. It is very pleasant to scratch a ringworm, but the after-sensation is very painful and intolerable; so the pleasures of the world are very pleasant in the beginning, but their after-consequences are very terrible to contemplate.

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263. Q. What is the world like? A. It is like an Âmlâ fruit, all skin and stone with but very little pulp, the eating of which produces colic.

264. Like unto a miser that longeth after gold, let thy heart pant after Him.

265. So long as the heavenly expanse of the heart is troubled and disturbed by the gusts of desire, there is little chance of our beholding therein the brightness of God. The beatific vision occurs only in the heart which is calm and rapt up in divine communion.

266. The soiled mirror never reflects the rays of the sun, and the impure and unclean in heart who are subject to Mâyâ (illusion) never perceive the glory of the Bhagavân (the Venerable). But the pure in heart see the Lord, as the clear mirror reflects the sun. Be holy, then.

267. As on the troubled surface of rolling waters the moon shines in broken images, so on the unsettled mind of a worldly man engrossed in Mâyâ, the perfect God shines with partial light only.

268. Why does a Bhakta (one full of the love of God) forsake everything for the sake of God? An insect flies from the darkness as soon as any light meets its eyes; the ant loses its life in molasses, but never leaves them. So the Bhakta cleaves unto his God for ever, and leaves all else.

269. As one can ascend to the top of a house by means of a ladder or a bamboo or a staircase or a rope, so diverse

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also are the ways and means to approach God, and every religion in the world shows one of these ways.

270. If God is Omnipresent, why do we not see Him? Standing by the bank of a pool thickly overspread with scum and weeds, you will say that there is no water in it. If you desire to see the water, remove the scum from the surface of the pond. With eyes covered with the film of Mâyâ you complain that you cannot see God. If you wish to see Him, remove the film of Mâyâ from off your eyes.

271. Why cannot we see the Divine Mother? She is like a high-born lady transacting all her business from behind the screen, seeing all, but seen by none. Her devout sons only see Her, by going near Her and behind the screen of Mâyâ.

272. Dispute not. As you rest firmly on your own faith, allow others also the same liberty to stand by their own faiths. By mere disputation you shall never succeed in convincing another of his error. When the grace of God descends on him, every one will understand his own mistakes.

273. A husbandman was watering a sugar-cane field the whole of a day. After finishing his task he saw that not a drop of water had entered the field; all the water had gone underground through several big rat-holes. Such is the state of that devotee who, cherishing secretly in his heart worldly desires (of fame, pleasures, and comforts) and ambitions, worships God. Though daily praying, he

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makes no progress because the entire devotion runs to waste through the rat-holes of his desires, and at the end of his life-long devotion he is the same man as before, and has not advanced one step.

274. Keep thyself aloof at the time of thy devotion from those who scoff, and those who ridicule piety and the pious.

275. Is it good to create sects? (Here is a pun on the word 'Dal,' which means both a 'sect' or 'party' as well as 'the rank growth on the surface of a stagnant pool.') The 'Dal' cannot grow in a current of water: it grows only in the stagnant waters of petty pools. He whose heart earnestly longs after the Deity has no time for anything else. He who looks for fame and honour, forms sects (Dal). (Cf. 105.)

278. The Vedas, Tantras, and the Purânas, and all the sacred scriptures of the world, have become as if defiled (as food thrown out of the mouth becomes polluted): because they have been constantly repeated by and have come out of human mouths. But the Brahman or the Absolute has never been defiled, for no one as yet has been able to express Him by human speech.

277. The parable of a Brahman and his low-caste servant:

As soon as Mâyâ is found out, she flies away. A priest was once going to the village of a disciple. He had no servant with him. On the way, seeing a cobbler, he addressed him, saying, 'Hallo! good man, wilt thou accompany me as a servant? Thou shalt dine well and

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wilt be cared for; come along.' The cobbler replied, Reverend Sir, I am of the lowest caste, how can I represent your servant?' The priest said, 'Never mind that. Do not tell anybody what thou art, nor speak to or make acquaintance with any one.' The cobbler agreed. At twilight, while the priest was sitting at prayers in the house of his disciple, another Brahman came and addressed the priest's servant, 'Fellow, go and bring my shoes from there.' The servant, true to the words of his master, made no response. The Brahman repeated the order a second time, but the servant remained silent. The Brahman repeated it again and again, but the cobbler moved not an inch. At last, getting annoyed, the Brahman angrily said, 'Hallo Sirrah! How darest thou not obey a Brahman's command! What is thy caste? Art thou not a cobbler?' The cobbler hearing this began to tremble with fear, and piteously looking at the priest said, '0 venerable Sir, O venerable Sir! I am found out. I cannot stay here any longer, let me flee.' So saying he took to his heels.

278. What is the relation between Gîvâtman and Paramâtman, the personal and the Highest Self?

As when a plank of wood is stretched across a current of water, the water seems to be divided into two, so the indivisible appears divided into two by limitations (Upâdhi) of Mâyâ. In truth they are one and the same.

279. There is little chance of a ship running astray, so long as its compass points towards the true North. So if the mind of man--the compass-needle of the ship of life

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is turned always towards the Parabrahman without oscillation, it will steer clear of every danger.

280. The Avadhûta saw a bridal procession passing through a meadow, with the beating of drums and the blowing of trumpets, and with great pomp. Hard by the road through which the procession was passing he saw a hunter deeply absorbed in aiming at a bird, and perfectly inattentive to the noise and pomp of the procession, casting not even a passing look at it. The Avadhûta, saluting the hunter, said, 'Sir, you are my Guru. When I sit in meditation let my mind be concentrated on its object of meditation as yours has been on the bird.'

281. An angler was fishing in a pond. The Avadhûta, approaching him, asked, 'Brother, which way leads to such and such a place?' The float of the rod at that time was indicating that the fish was nibbling the bait: so the man did not give any reply, but was all attention to his fishing-rod. When the fish was caught, he turned round and said, 'What is it you have been saying, sir?' The Avadhûta saluted him and said, 'Sir, you are my Guru. When I sit in the contemplation of the Paramâtman, let me follow your example, and before finishing my devotions let me not attend to anything else.'

282. A heron was slowly walking to catch a fish. Behind, there was a hunter aiming an arrow at it; but the bird was totally unmindful of this fact. The Avadhûta, saluting the heron, said, 'When I sit in meditation let me

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follow your example, and never turn back to see who is behind me.'

283. A kite with a fish in its beak was followed by a host of crows and other kites, which were screeching and pecking at it, and were trying to snatch the fish away. In whatever direction it went the crowd of kites and crows followed it, screeching and cawing. Getting tired of this annoyance, the kite let go the fish, when it was instantly caught by another kite, and at once the crowd of kites and crows transferred their kind attentions to the new owner of the fish. The first kite was left unmolested, and sat calmly on the branch of a tree. Seeing this quiet and tranquil state of the bird the Avadhûta, saluting it, said, 'You are my Guru, O Kite; for you have taught me that so long as man does not throw off the burden of the worldly desires he carries, he cannot be undisturbed and at peace with himself.'

284. The human Guru whispers the sacred formula into the ear; the Divine Guru breathes the spirit into the soul.

285. If thou wishest to thread the needle, make the thread pointed, and remove all extraneous fibres. Then the thread will easily enter into the eye of the needle. So if thou wishest to concentrate thy heart on God, be meek, humble, and poor in spirit, and remove all filaments of desire.

286. A snake dwelt in a certain place. No one dared to pass by that way. For whoever did so was instantaneously

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bitten to death. Once a Mahâtman passed by that road, and the serpent ran after the sage in order to bite him. But when the snake approached the holy man he lost all his ferocity, and was overpowered by the gentleness of the Yogin. Seeing the snake, the sage said, 'Well, friend, thinkest thou to bite me?' The snake was abashed and made no reply. At this the sage said, 'Hearken, friend, do not injure anybody in future.' The snake bowed and nodded assent. The sage went his own way and the snake entered his hole, and thenceforward began to live a life of innocence and purity without even attempting to harm any one. In a few days all the neighbourhood began to think that the snake had lost all his venom, and was no more dangerous, and so every one began to tease him. Some pelted him, others dragged him mercilessly by the tail, and in this way there was no end to his troubles. Fortunately the sage again passed by that way, and seeing the bruised and battered condition of the good snake, was very much moved, and inquired the cause of his distress. At this the snake replied, 'Holy sir, this is because I do not injure any one, after your advice. But alas! they are so merciless!' The sage smilingly said, 'My dear friend, I simply advised you not to bite any one, but I did not tell you not to frighten others. Although you should not bite any creature, still you should keep every one at a considerable distance by hissing at him.'

Similarly, if thou livest in the world, make thyself feared and respected. Do not injure any one, but be not, at the same time, injured by others.

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287. When the bird has flown away from it, one cares no longer for the cage. So when the bird of life has flown away, no one cares any longer for the carcase.

288. As a lamp does not burn without oil, so a man cannot live without God.

289, 290. A learned Brahman once went over to a wise king and said, 'Hear, O king, I am well versed in the holy scriptures. I intend to teach thee the holy book of the Bhâgavata.' The king, who was the wiser of the two, well knew that a man who has read the Bhâgavata would seek more to know his own Self than honour and wealth in a king's court. He replied, 'I see, O Brahman, that you yourself have not mastered that book thoroughly. I promise to make you my tutor, but go first and learn the scripture well.' The Brahman went his way, thinking within himself, 'How foolish the king is to say I have not mastered the Bhâgavata well, when I have been reading the book over and over again for all these years.' However, he went over the book carefully once more and appeared before the king. The king told him the same thing again and sent him away. The Brahman was sore vexed, but thought there must be some meaning for this behaviour of the king. He went home, shut himself up in his closet, and applied himself more than ever to the study of the book. By and by the hidden meanings began to flash before his intellect; the vanity of running after the bubbles, riches and honour, kings and courts, wealth and fame, all vanished before his unclouded vision. From that day forward he gave

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himself up entirely to attain perfection by the worship of God, and never returned to the king. A few years after the king thought of the Brahman, and went to his house to see what he was about. Seeing the Brahman, all radiant with the divine light and love, he fell upon his knees and said, 'I see you have now arrived at the true meaning of the scriptures; I am ready to be your disciple, if you will duly condescend to make me one.'

291. As long as there is no breeze blowing, we fan ourselves to alleviate heat, but when the breeze blows both for rich and poor, we give up fanning. We should persevere ourselves to reach our final goal as long as there is no help from above; but when that help comes to any, let him then stop labouring and persevering; otherwise not.

292. Q. Where is God? How can we get to Him? A. There are pearls in the sea, you must dive deep again and again until you get the pearls. So there is God in the world, but you should persevere to see Him.

293. How does the soul stay in the body? As the piston stays in a syringe.

294. As in mid-ocean a bird, which found its perch upon the topmast of a ship, getting tired of its position, flies away to discover a new place of rest for itself, and alas! without finding any, returns at last to its old roost upon the masthead, weary and exhausted; so when an ordinary aspirant, being disgusted with the monotony of the task and the discipline imposed upon him by his well-wishing and thoroughly experienced preceptor (Guru),

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loses all hope, and, having no confidence in him, launches forth into the broad world ever in search of a new adviser, he is sure at last to return to his original master after a fruitless search, which has, however, increased the reverence of the repentant aspirant for the master.

295. In the month of June a young goat was playing near his mother, when, with a merry frisk, he told her that he meant to make a feast of Râs-flowers, a species of flowers budding abundantly during the time of the Râslîlâ festival. 'Well, my darling,' replied the dam, 'it is not such an easy thing as you seem to think. You will have to pass through many crises before you can hope to feast on Râs-flowers. The interval between the coming September and October is not very auspicious to you; for some one may take you for a sacrifice to the Goddess Durgâ; then, again, you will have to get through the time of Kâlî-pûgâ, and if you are fortunate enough to escape through that period, there comes the Gagaddhâtri-pûgâ, when almost all the surviving male members of our tribe are destroyed. If your good luck leads you safe and sound through all these crises, then you can hope to make a feast of Râs-flowers in the beginning of November.' Like the dam in the fable, we should not hastily approve of all the aspirations which our youthful hopes may entertain, remembering the manifold crises which one will have to pass through in the course of one's life.

296. As the fly sits, now on the unclean sore of the human body, and now on the offerings dedicated to the

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gods, so the mind of the worldly man is at one time deeply engaged in religious topics and at the next moment loses itself in the pleasures of wealth and lust.

297. As the rain-water falling upon the roof of a house Rows down to the ground through spouts grotesquely shaped like the tiger's head, thus seeming to come out of tigers' mouths, while in reality it descends from the sky; even so are the holy instructions that come out of the mouths of godly men, which seem to be uttered by those men themselves, while in reality they proceed from the throne of God. (See 225.)

298. As it is very difficult to gather together the mustard-seeds that escape out of a torn package, and are scattered in all directions; so, when the human mind runs in diverse directions and is occupied with many things in the world, it is not a very easy affair to collect and concentrate it.

299. As thieves cannot enter the house the inmates of which are wide awake, so, if you are always on your guard, no evil spirits will be able to enter your heart to rob it of its goodness.

Next: The Sayings of Râmakrishna: 300-395