Sri Ramakrishna would often discuss with devotees the various stages of spiritual evolution. Quite often he would captivate their hearts with his description about various states of super-consciousness or Samadhi. Devotees would often wonder whether it is really possible to reach such heights of spiritual exultation. They would wonder why they were denied such experiences. Sri Ramakrishna would explain this concept using a beautiful analogy. The custom of living as joint families was prevalent in Bengal, much like elsewhere too in India. A large number of men and women belonging to almost three generations consisting of grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces used to live together. The women would always live separately in the inner apartments. If men folk from outside visit the family, such strangers would not be allowed access to the inner chambers. Only the head of the family could enter that area. Such was the custom in those days. This was due to his unique position as the most acceptable member of the family and the women would feel completely safe and secure in his presence. Similarly, Sri Ramakrishna would say that experiencing higher levels of consciousness or deeper levels of spiritual experiences are possible only for those who perform intense Sadhana or spiritual disciplines. Normally, the doors of the inner chambers of the heart remain closed for people. Their position is similar to the man from outside visiting the family. To gain access to the inner chamber, one has to be a serious spiritual aspirant. The more one dives deep, the more one is able to penetrate deeper within oneself. The various types of Samadhis or transcendental experiences correspond to deeper and deeper levels of spiritual awareness or enlightenment. Thus Sri Ramakrishna would emphasize that Sadhana is the only means for spiritual enlightenment.