Marwari* Devotee: "Revered Sir, what is the meaning of the worship of the Personal God? And what is the meaning of God without form or attribute?"
Sri Ramakrishna: "As you recall your father by his photograph, so likewise the worship of the image reveals in a flash the nature of Reality.
"Do you know what God with form is like? Like bubbles rising on an expanse of water, various divine forms are seen to rise out of the Great Akasa of Consciousness. The Incarnation of God is one of these forms. The Primal Energy sports, as it were, through the activities of a Divine Incarnation.
"What is there in mere scholarship? God can be attained by crying to Him with a longing heart. There is no need to know many things.
"He who is an acharya has to know different things. One needs a sword and shield to kill others; but to kill oneself, a needle or a nail-knife suffices.
"One ultimately discovers God by trying to know who this 'I' is. Is this 'I' the flesh, the bones, the blood, or the marrow? Is it the mind or the buddhi? Analysing thus, you realize at last that you are none of these. This is called the process of 'Neti, neti', 'Not this, not this'. One can neither comprehend nor touch the Atman. It is without qualities or attributes.
"But, according to the path of devotion, God has attributes. To a devotee Krishna is Spirit, His Abode is Spirit, and everything about Him is Spirit."
The Marwari devotees saluted the Master and took their leave.
At the approach of evening Sri Ramakrishna went out to look at the sacred river. The lamp was lighted in his room. The Master chanted the hallowed name of the Divine Mother and meditated on Her. Then the evening worship began in the various temples. The sound of gongs, floating on the air, mingled with the murmuring voice of the river. Peace and blessedness reigned everywhere.
Source: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
*Marwari: Marwari Language speaking business community.