God takes over when the ego re­cedes

The Sunday Guardian - - & Comment Analysis - By Swami Shan­tat­mananda

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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