Devotees would often ask Sri Ramakrishna as to why they are not able to have the vision of God in spite of their spiritual striving. Sri Ramakrishna would clarify their doubt using a beautiful analogy. Supposing a feast has been arranged by a rich man. He appoints someone to look after the stores from where all the items necessary for cooking are handed over to the cooks and others. The person is extremely busy and is working day and night. The owner does not even come that side. But, when the person appointed for the purpose takes leave of the owner and departs on his own, then the former comes quickly, locks the storeroom and goes away. In the same way, Sri Ramakrishna would say, human beings are normally busy in ever so many activities in the world. They are deeply attracted to the idea of enjoyment. They are constantly caught by the attractions of the senses. Even if they undertake spiritual practices, still there is a tremendous domination of ego in their activities. But, God or the Ultimate Truth is beyond body, mind, ego, etc. Unless one completely effaces the ego, it is not possible to have any true spiritual experience or the vision of God. Just as the master of the house appears when the appointed caretaker departs, in the same way when a Sadhaka completely effaces the ego, then God intervenes or takes over. So, spiritual striving can be easily summed up as a Sadhaka’s tremendous effort to erase the ego. But, initially one has to struggle hard using one’s ego. In fact, in the beginning the drive for spiritual struggle greatly depends on ego or the desire for self-effort. But, as one practices spiritual disciplines with tremendous regularity, focus and intensity, one slowly starts understanding the limitations of ego. When one reaches the highest limit of self-effort, one realizes the utter limitedness of ego and surrenders to God totally. Only then one gets a vision of God.

 

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