Sri Ramakrishna would passionately explain to his devotees that God was one’s own and the secret to success in spiritual life lies in establishing a true and worthy relationship with Him. To illustrate the idea he would draw inference from an incident from daily life.

There was a maidservant who was working in a rich man’s house. She was very devoted to her duties and loved the children of the master dearly. The children also loved her much. The maid would address the children as “my Rama”, “my Hari”, etc. She would attend to their every need with great care and diligence. Although she loved these children very dearly, a part of her mind would always be thinking about her own children back at her village. She had to leave them in the care of others because she had to earn money in a city far away from village to support and bring up her children.

So, even while attending to the master’s children with great love and care, she would constantly be thinking of her own children and feel anxious about their well-being, etc. She knew that in spite of her apparent closeness to her master’s children, she may have to leave them and depart in case she loses her job. But, her relationship with her own children was real and unbreakable. Although she was physically far away from them, mentally she was very near to them.

In the same way, Sri Ramakrishna would advise that while a householder performs all his duties in the world relating to various people in an intimate and personal way, yet the person should remember that God alone is truly his. Such a person should somehow develop a loving relationship with God and a part of his mind should always remember God in spite of his apparent busy life in the world. Only such a person can truly progress in one’ s spiritual life.

-by Swami Shantatmananda, Sunday Guardian, 15th Feb 2014

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