Sri Ramakrishna would often caution his devotees about the dangers of being rigid in one’s spiritual beliefs. He would ask the devotees whether they knew where those who speak of the formless God make a mistake. He himself would answer stating that it was when they said that God was formless alone and those who differ from this view were wrong. He would say that God was both with and without form and not only that, he might have many more aspects and that it was possible for Him to be everything.

He used to describe in a soul-elevating way his own spiritual experience in this regard. He said, “Chit Shakti Mahamaya has become the 24 cosmic principles. One day as I was meditating, my mind wandered away to Rashik’s house. You know that he does the job of cleaning. Initially, my mind was refusing to stay at his place. Then I scolded my mind and commanded it to stay at that very place. Then the Divine Mother revealed to me that the men and women in that house were mere masks and inside them were the same hidden divine power that rises up through the six centres of the body.

Through the above spiritual experience Sri Ramakrishna conveyed the idea that the estimation of high and low, which men make about others, is irrelevant and wrong. These were mere outer shells and the kernel inside each was the same divinity. Thus it is difficult to fathom or estimate the nature of God. He can be with form, without form and also beyond all that. A true spiritual aspirant will pursue the path most congenial to himself or herself. Such a person would be deeply interested in achieving the goal and would not be bothered by meaningless discussions and hair-splitting arguments. They are broad-minded enough to accept that every idea about God needs to be accepted and respected.

By Swami Shantatmananda

Published in the Sunday Guardian – ‘People Of The Sacred Books’ Column

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