Devotees suffering from worldly afflictions would come to Sri Ramakrishna seeking solace. They would wish to know how to live in this world. Torn asunder between the responsibilities of the world and love for spiritual life they would be clueless as to the way for regeneration. Sri Ramakrishna would guide them using a beautiful analogy.
He would say that if milk and water are kept together, milk would get dissolved in water and lose its real quality. But, if the milk is converted into curd at a calm and quiet spot and then churned, butter would come out. This butter can be kept in water and it will float without getting dissolved. In this analogy water is compared to the world or Samsara and milk refers to the Jiva or the spiritual aspirant.
If the Sadhaka tries to live in the world and participate fully without taking precautions, he can get drowned in the world and lose his spiritual moorings.
On the other hand, if he resorts to solitude and calls upon God with great Vyakulata or intensity, he can slowly go forward in his spiritual journey.
Going into solitude and preparing oneself is compared to converting milk into curd. But, just as milk can be converted into curd only if it is allowed to settle and not stirred or disturbed, in the same way a spiritual aspirant has to be extremely careful in choosing his company. He has to be in an atmosphere conducive for Sadhana. If one goes deeper in his efforts, then it is possible to reach such a state of mind capable of living in this world preserving one’s spiritual moorings.
This is compared to the churning of curd and bringing out the butter. Thus, if one is fairly established in spiritual life, it is possible to live in the world and yet not be deeply bothered so as to lose one’s spiritual roots.