Devotees would often seek Sri Ramakrishna’s advice as to how to progress in spiritual life. They would say that in spite of being very earnest they are not able to progress in spiritual life. Sri Ramakrishna would advise them calmly about the difficulties in spiritual life. He would also point out the real impediment of spiritual life. One of the most essential qualities for progressing in spiritual life is vairagya or dispassion. As long as we are happily engaged in activities related to existential matters, there is not much of a scope for spiritual progress. One should feel, at least in a very small way, dissatisfaction about the life in the world. This is the beginning of vairagya or dispassion. The more and more one intensifies this attitude, one would progress fast in spiritual life. In Gita also Sri Krishna says that two disciplines are extremely necessary for controlling the mind namely, Abhyasa and Vairagya. If one wants to advance in spiritual life, control of mind is extremely necessary. To develop vairagya it is necessary to stay away from the things of the world which deeply attract us. These attractions bring about bondage and more and more suffering. According to Bhagavad Gita :
dhyayato visayan pumsah sangas tesupajayate
sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodho ‘bhijayate
krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrti-vibhramah
smrti-bhramsad buddhi-naso buddhi-nasat pranasyati
Sri Ramakrishna would express the same ideas in a very simple but graphic language. He would say that a spiritual aspirant should look upon the world as a deep well and the worldly-minded friends and relatives as snakes living inside. One need not stress upon the need to be careful about such a well. Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that a deep awareness about our worldly attachments are extremely necessary if we are to progress in spiritual life.