Devotees would often come to Sri Ramakrishna and discuss about the struggles in spiritual life. They would also lament about the difficulty in finding real and capable guides or spiritual teachers. Sri Ramakrishna, while agreeing with these observations of the devotees, would explain to them about the nature of realized souls.
The nature of spiritual life is extremely demanding and one has to dive deep. Comparing this to the digging of a well he would say that great souls would adopt several means such as the practice of viveka, vairagya, japa, meditation and so on intensely for realizing the goal.
It is like using a spade, shovel and other instruments for digging a well. One encounters several obstacles when one has to dig deep to find water. The task is by no means easy. Those who are focused on the spiritual goal of life and struggle in a determined way, do reach the goal at the end. But such realized souls belong to two different classes. Both of them struggle hard to reach the goal, but having reached the goal they behave differently. Among those who dig a well, some throw the spade, shovel, etc, into the well itself after the task is completed. They are satisfied with the finding of water for themselves. The rest have a larger purpose in view. They think of the welfare of others and preserve the spade, shovel, etc., so that they may be useful for others in digging a well. Similarly, some of the extraordinary sadhakas, after they reach the goal, retain the desire for serving others. They serve out of a feeling of compassion for the struggling souls. They alone help others to reach the spiritual goal of life. So, devotees who are struggling in the spiritual journey should approach such souls and profit from their company. Such satsangs or the company of the holy will be of immense help in one’s spiritual quest.
– by Swami Shantatmananda, Sunday Guardian, November 23, 2014.