Devotees would often come to Sri Ramakrishna to seek clarifications about spiritual life. Beseeched with doubts and with a confused state of mind they would often ask him about how to understand whether one was proceeding on the right path. They would say that they were in a dilemma since several alternatives appeared before them and they didn’t know which one to choose. Sri Ramakrishna would answer them using a beautiful analogy.
Once there was a dance programme in a city and a large number of people had assembled to witness it. The artist was a very famous person and many were keen to witness her performance. The artist danced for nearly three hours and the people watched her performance spellbound. She danced rhythmically to the music and every step of hers was perfect and in alignment with the beats. When someone in the audience remarked as to how she could dance so perfectly, the person sitting next to him answered that an expert dancer does not take a false step.
This perfection does not come about in a single day. For a long time, day after day, she had to practise for hours together to reach that level of perfection. Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that as one advances in spiritual life, many of the doubts and confusions disappear automatically. In the initial stages of spiritual life the Sadhaka or spiritual aspirant is naturally beseeched with doubts and uncertainties. He is unable to decide one way or the other. He might even commit mistakes. But a sincere spiritual aspirant should not lose heart or give up. He should go ahead with his sadhana undaunted by any setback or adversity. By sheer dint of spiritual practice one is able to overcome all problems. In fact, advanced spiritual aspirants virtually have no doubts or difficulties and they function with an extraordinary level of spontaneity.