Many devotees interested in spiritual life would come to Sri Ramakrishna wishing to get their doubts clarified. They would often ask him the reason for their lack of progress in spiritual life. Sri Ramakrishna would assure them that spiritual evolution is possible for everyone, but then one has to prepare oneself for it. In this context he would give a beautiful analogy. Supposing a potter wants to fashion a strong and sturdy pot, it is not possible to do so unless he prepares carefully the clay by removing all the small stones and sand from it as the first step. Otherwise, if he makes a pot out of the clay which is not fully prepared, the result would be known when the pot is placed in the kiln for burning. The pot made out of impure clay would crack easily. In the same way Sri Ramakrishna would say that preparation for spiritual life is extremely important. Due to our Samskaras or the results of our actions performed in previous births, we inherit tendencies which are unspiritual. Our minds are impure and full of desire for enjoyment. Through spiritual disciplines the mind has to be first purified before embarking on a major spiritual journey. Otherwise, if one begins serious or intense spiritual practice without purification of mind, the results would be disastrous for the body and mind. The person who would show the way is called a Guru or a preceptor. Such a person easily identifies the problem areas and suggests remedies. With deep faith in the words of the Guru if one diligently strives using the disciplines of prayer, Viveka and Vichara, it is possible to slowly purify the mind. Only then the spiritual aspirant starts developing faith in God or a higher spiritual ideal. The more one becomes pure, the more one’s faith intensifies. Finally, after years of intense struggle and Sadhana it is possible to attain true illumination or the highest knowledge.