Ramakrishna (1836-1886)
  by Richard Lang

What are you to do when you are placed in the world? Give up everything to Him, resign yourself to Him, and there will be no more trouble for you. Then you will come to know that everything is done by His will.

I see God more real than I see you.

Ramakrishna (1836-1886)

Ramakrishna was a great Indian saint who stressed the importance of actually experiencing God, of being God-conscious. He experimented with different religious paths and came to the conclusion that all paths lead to the same goal - which is God. He also had great love for humanity. This love flowed from recognising that all people are appearances of God. As he said, "when I meet different people I say to myself, 'God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.' " And again: "Do you know what I see? I see Him as all. Men and other creatures appear to me only as hollow forms, moving their heads and hands and feet, but within is the Lord Himself."

Out of Ramakrishna's direct experience of his own true nature emerged trust in his true nature, trust in God, for he recognised that each moment flows from God. And each moment, with all it contains, stays within God, is God. He lived the paradox that the One is the many, and the many are the One, and the One is oneself.

When we awaken to innermost being, which is pure and thingless awareness - neither this nor that - we find a trustworthy place. Deceptively empty, simple, silent, our true nature is yet where the power and wisdom and love behind the world reside. Here is the source of the many-levelled living universe, from innermost regions to outermost ones, from quarks and less than quarks to galaxies and beyond. Identifying with only one of these levels, with being human and only human, we overlook the rest of what we are - the inner creative mystery and every level flowing from it. Not surprisingly we then feel out on a limb and vulnerable. When things don't go our way, or get in our way, or don't come our way, or do come our way! what can we do? Unconscious of the creative spirit we have only frustration and old responses. But awakening to the creative spirit, nearer to each of us than our own breathing, a door opens. With one foot in the centre and one in the world, God lives through us.

Ramakrishna said God was more obvious to him than anyone in front of him. This awareness is everyone's birthright, for God is nearer to us than anyone - including ourselves - and always open to inspection. Though mysterious and incomprehensible, God is simple, without complications, and visible. Looking within we find no lock keeping us out, indeed not even a door to open. Nothing separates us from God, not even for an instant.

Awakening to this inner simplicity we find all things given directly in this awareness, without distance. Automatically we are engaged in the world - in fact we are married to it. The face of a child, the song of a bird, a friend's voice on the phone, the stars, the pain of the hungry and homeless, our own thoughts and feelings about these things - all are presented here in consciousness, directly, with nothing in their way. All are oneself. Each is a manifestation of being, which is one being - my being, your being, God's being.

Richard Lang
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