Thursday, July 23, 2009

Can realize God while performing one's duties?

M: "May I know if one can realize God while performing one's duties? Can 'Rama' and 'desire' coexist? The other day I read in a Hindi couplet: 'Where Rama is, there desire cannot be; where desire is, there Rama cannot be.”

Sri Ramakrishna: "All, without exception, perform work. Even to chant the name and glories of God is work, as is the meditation of the non-dualist on 'I am He'. Breathing is also an activity. There is no way of renouncing work altogether. So do your work, but surrender the result to God."

M: "Sir, may I make an effort to earn more money?"

Sri Ramakrishna: "It is permissible to do so to maintain a religious family. You may try to increase your income, but in an honest way. The goal of life is not the earning of money, but the service of God. Money is not harmful if it is devoted to the service of God."

M: "How long should a man feel obliged to do his duty toward his wife and children?"

Sri Ramakrishna: "As long as they-feel pinched for food and clothing. But one need not take the responsibility of a son when he is able to support himself. When the young fledgling learns to pick its own food, its mother pecks it if it comes to her for food."

M: "How long must one do one's duty?"

Sri Ramakrishna: "The blossom drops off when the fruit appears. One doesn't have to do one's duty after the attainment of God, nor does one feel like doing it then.

"If a drunkard takes too much liquor he cannot retain consciousness. If he takes only two or three glasses, he can go on with his work. As you advance nearer and nearer to God, He will reduce your activities little by little. Have no fear.

"Finish the few duties you have at hand, and then you will have peace. When the mistress of the house goes to bathe after finishing her cooking and other household duties, she won't come back, however you may shout after her."

Source: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

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