Sri Ramakrishna would often emphasize the place of God’s grace in Sadhana.
He would say, “You may try thousands of times, but nothing can be achieved without God’s grace.
One cannot see God without His grace. Is it an easy thing to receive the grace of God? One must altogether renounce egotism. One cannot see God as long as one feels I am the doer.
Suppose in a family a man has taken charge of the storeroom; then if someone asks the master whether he could kindly give him something from the storeroom, the master points out to him that there is already someone in the storeroom and that he himself has nothing to do there. God does not easily appear in the heart of a man who feels himself to be his own master. But, God can be seen the moment His grace descends.
He is the Sun of knowledge. One single ray of His has illumined the world with the light of knowledge.
That is how we are able to see one another and acquire varied knowledge.” He would also use a beautiful parable to highlight the idea. In a village there was a police sergeant. There was no electricity in that village.
The sergeant used to go on his rounds during nights when it used to be very dark. To find his way he would hold a lantern in his hand. No one could see his face, but with the help of that light the sergeant could see everybody’s face and others too could see one another. But, if anyone wanted to see the sergeant’s face, they had to pray to him, “Sir, please turn the light to your own face. Kindly let me see you.”
In the same way one must pray to God, “Oh Lord, be gracious and turn the light of knowledge on thyself so that I may see thy face.” Thus one can see God only if He turns His light towards His own face.