Many devotees would come to Sri Ramakrishna and show extreme impatience regarding their spiritual progress. They would often complain about the difficulties and also about the slow pace at which things are happening. They would ask again and again why they are not able to overcome their shortcomings and that too quickly, in spite of their grasp and understanding of the problems.

Coconut Tree

Coconut tree

Sri Ramakrishna would ask them to be patient and say that if they are sincere aspirants, everything would happen in fullness of time. He would explain this idea drawing inference from an incident of daily life.

The coconut tree has several branches and the ones at the lower rung start drying up slowly. It takes quite some days for each branch to get dried up fully after which it drops off by itself to the ground leaving only a small and harmless mark on the trunk of the tree. But if one is impatient and pulls off the branch while still it is green, then the tree is damaged.

Thus Sri Ramakrishna would explain that human beings are born with some samskaras due to the actions performed in previous births. Such actions result in vasanas or desires and prompt one to behave in an unspiritual way. However, if one turns to spiritual life, one is able to understand at least intellectually, the ways of the mind. But one should not become impatient or attempt anything rash. One has to go on assiduously carrying on one’s spiritual practices patiently and wait for the right time.

As one matures in spiritual understanding, it is possible to exercise greater and greater control over one’s mind and in turn over the body.

That is how one can slowly control and get rid of one’s vasanas or desires. Spiritual progress is a matter of certainty for sadhakas but only in the fullness of time.

by Swami Shantatmananda, Sunday Guardian, 11th Oct 2014
(Photo Courtesy:

Patience pays at appropriate time
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Patience pays at appropriate time
Swami Shantatmananda writes on Sri Ramakrishna's teachings on spiritual life.
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