Ramakrishna : Who can bind me?

For some information about Sri Ramakrishna, see this post.

Q: Sir, can’t we realize God without complete renunciation?

A: (with a laugh) Of course you can! Why should you renounce everything? You are all right as you are, following the middle path.

Let me tell you the truth: there is nothing wrong in your being in the world. But you must direct your mind toward God, otherwise you will not succeed. Do your duty with one hand and with the other hold to God. After the duty is over you will hold to God with both hands.

It is all a question of the mind. Bondage and liberation are of the mind alone. The mind will take the color you dye it with. It is like white clothes just returned from the laundry. If you dip them in red dye they will be red. If you dip them in blue or green they will be blue or green. They will take only the color you dip them in, whatever it may be. Haven’t you noticed that, if you read a little English, you at once begin to utter English words? Then you put on boots and whistle a tune, and so on. It all goes together. Or if a scholar studies Sanskrit, he will at once rattle off Sanskrit verses. If you are in bad company, then you will talk and think like your companions. On the other hand, when you are in the company of devotees, you will talk and think only of God.

The mind is everything. A man has his wife on one side and his daughter on the other. He shows his affection to them in different ways. But his mind is one and the same.

Bondage is of the mind, and freedom is also of the mind. A man is free if he constantly thinks, ‘I am a free soul. How can I be bound, whether I live in the world or the forest? I am a child of God, the King of Kings.’

Translation Swami Nikhilananda

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