Many householder disciples used to visit Sri Ramakrishna and often complain to him about the difficulties in worldly life. They would request him to show them the way to get out of the meshes of worldly life and reach the true goal of life. Sri Ramakrishna would draw their attention to a scene witnessed frequently in rural Bengal. He would say, “At Kamarpukur (a village in the Hooghly district of West Bengal where he was born) I have seen the women of the carpenter families flattening rice with a husking machine. They are always fearful of the pestle smashing their fingers. Although they would be engaged in several actions at the same time a portion of their mind, rather the focus of their attention would be on the pestle. A woman engaged in husking would at the same time be breastfeeding her child and also bargaining with the customers. She would say to them that they must clear their dues before they leave. But, even as she does all these activities, the focus of her attention would be on the position of the pestle and thus she would avoid her fingers getting smashed.”
Sri Ramakrishna would draw the conclusion from the above incident and say that one can engage oneself in all the activities of the household such as serving the husband, looking after the children, doing other household work, etc, but at the same time if one’s mind, at least a portion of it, is always given to God or the thought of God is made the central focus of one’s mind, one can remain calm and lead a life oriented towards spiritual pursuits. Slowly through constant practice it would be possible to concentrate more and more on God and the worldly pursuits and responsibilities would slowly drop off. Thus one can finally reach the true goal of life namely Realization of God or the Ultimate Truth.