Sri Ramakrishna would often emphasize the role of faith in spiritual life. To illustrate the idea he used to narrate a beautiful parable.

Once, a young Sanyasi went to a house to beg for some food. He had embraced the monastic life from his very boyhood and so hadn’t much knowledge of the world. A young lady came out of the house to give him alms. Noticing her breasts the young Sanyasi asked her mother who was standing nearby, “Is the young lady suffering from boils on the chest?” To that the mother replied, “No, my son. She has not got any boil on her chest. A child will soon be born to her and so God has provided her with two breasts to suckle the child. The child will suck milk from these breasts after it is born.” No sooner did the Sanyasi hear this he exclaimed, “No more shall I beg for my meals. If God who has created the young woman can be so compassionate as to provide for the sustenance of the children the young lady will have in future, what is the need for me to beg for my meals on my own? He who has created me will also provide for me.”

Sri Ramakrishna would say that one should have tremendous faith in God if one has to progress in spiritual life. Spiritual struggle is often accompanied by serious trials and tribulations and one is often assailed by doubts. In such difficult times only a deep and abiding faith in God is capable of bailing out the spiritual aspirant. One should have such a strong faith that one is able to declare, “What! I have chanted the name of God! Can there be difficulties which I cannot surmount?”

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