Sri Ramakrishna would often caution his devotees to be aware of the limitations of man. He would say that God is Almighty, Omnipotent, Omniscient and it is foolish to estimate His powers from our limited angular vision or understanding. He was a keen observer of human behaviour and would draw instances from daily life to drive home his point.

He would say that God laughs on two occasions. An anxious mother brings her son to a doctor for treatment. The boy is suffering from serious ailment. The mother is deeply worried whether the boy will survive. She makes anxious enquiries about the boy’s condition. The doctor asks her not to worry and assures her that he will cure her son.

God laughs at that time saying to Himself, “I am going to take his life and this man says that he will save the boy.”

The physician thinks that he is the master, forgetting that God alone is the Master.

Two brothers are having a serious fight over their land holdings. They are unable to settle it amicably and almost come to blows. Finally, they work out a compromise formula. They try to draw a demarcation and divide their land with a rope saying to each other, “This side is mine and that side is yours.” God laughs and says to Himself, “The entire universe belongs to Me and they claim that they are the owners of this portion or that.”

Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that all our sense of agent-ship, ownership, etc., arise out of ignorance and ego. Man tries to appropriate to himself powers beyond his capacity. He is unaware how limited and small he is. The only way to remain happy and peaceful on this earth is to accept the supremacy of God, surrender to Him and do everything as His agent or someone chosen by God.

– by Swami Shantatmananda, published in the ‘Sacred Books of the East’ column, Sunday Guardian, 5th Oct 2013

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