Sri Sarada Devi, the Holy Mother, the spiritual consort of Sri Ramakrishna, always used to emphasize on spiritual practice. She would insist that one should practice diligently every day. When a devotee asked whether it would be of any use to merely repeat the Lord’s name without intense devotion, Mother said that whether one jumps into the water or is pushed into it still one’s cloth would get wet. Similarly, she would say that one should practice spiritual discipline everyday even if the mind is not yet prepared for it. Constant practice would make the mind one-pointed. She would also advise to discriminate between the real and the unreal. Further, she would say that whenever the mind is drawn to any object, one should think of its transitoriness and thus withdraw the mind back towards God. She would also quote an apt example.
A man was angling. A bridal party was going along the road accompanied by loud music. But the angler’s eyes remained fixed on the float. Mother would say that the mind of the spiritual aspirant should be steadfast like that. She would also give some practical suggestions to curb the restlessness of the mind. At the outset, to make the mind steady one may practise meditation by regulating the breathing a little. That would help to steady the mind. She would say that whether it is the vision of God or meditation, the mind is responsible for everything. One gets everything when the mind becomes steady. She would also speak very encouragingly when people complained about making no spiritual progress. She would say, “Suppose you are asleep in Calcutta and someone is removing you with your couch to Banaras. Will you at that time know that you are on your way to Banaras? When you wake up you will be surprised to see where you have come.”
Thus the Holy Mother was extremely practical in her approach and would guide the spiritual aspirants carefully and help them navigate the journey successfully.