In every age God's descent in human form marks the rise of a sweeping spiritual wave. The birth of Sri Ramakrishna was an instance of this phenomenon. Even in his youth he was possessed by a divine madness, earnestly longing for God-vision. Like a Columbus, he embarked on a journey into the uncharted land of spirit. By his superhuman spiritual practices, swooning in the ocean of Mother's love and stunned by the experience of Brahman, he cut the hinges of the heavens and released the fountains of divine bliss. On his chosen monastic disciples he bequeathed this invaluable treasure, setting in motion a machinery to quench the flames of misery raging in the hearts of humankind'. The great master's touch transformed the disciples into the spiritual evangels of modern times. They knew every inch of the way.
What the Disciples Said about It is a prose anthology of their teachings. It sheds light on a wide range of ideas relating to the inner spiritual world of an aspirant after God. No undertaking is more fraught with dangers than the spiritual, and also no other yields a higher reward than the spiritual. Clear guidelines are indispensable in such a venture. In these pages are presented those crucial guides to which every spiritual aspirant ought to be wedded.
Spiritual truth is eternal', wrote Christopher Isherwood, 'but it has to be restated and redemonstrated in a human life in order that it may solve the varying problems of each succeeding epoch. In the present age, Sri Ramakrishna's life was just such an example o spiritual truth embodied in a human form for the good of the world.
Men and women- irrespective of caste, creed and nationality and coming from different walk of life, with their modern education, and various attitudes and aspirations-would get illuminating answers and solutions to their spiritual question and problems through their conversations with this almost unlettered saint of India though his words were simple, they were profound and full of deep meaning.
In his lecture 'My Life and Mission', delivered in California, Swami Vivekananda expressed his indebtedness to Sri Ramakrishna, saying: 'Well, there at his feet I conceived these ideas-there with some other young men
. Now all the ideas that I preach are only to echo hi ideas. How Swami Vivekananda preached his Master's ideas, as also the ideas of the ancient scriptures as seen through Sri Ramakrishna's life and teachings, can bee found throughout then nine volumes of the Swami's Complete Works.
Again, the other disciples of Sri Ramakrishna also tried in similar ways to spread their Master's ideas, and their teachings are scattered in various books written by or about them.
The compiler of the present book, Edith Tipple has collected from various English sources the teachings of twelve of Sri Ramakrishna's monastic disciples on important topics related to the development of spiritual life. Though the work does not include the teachings of the entire Master's direct disciples, it is nonetheless a valuable compilation containing many gems of advice for spiritual seekers in general and followers of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda in particular. We believe readers will find it highly illuminating.
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