Devotees would often complain to Sri Ramakrishna that they are endeavouring in ever so many ways to progress spiritually, but are unable to do so. Sri Ramakrishna would console them and point out to them the reasons for their not making sufficient progress. To draw their attention he used to narrate to them an experience from everyday life.
Once, there was a priest in a village. He was a very pious man. He was a Brahmin and he knew Sanskrit to some extent. He used to chant Chandi, a collection of hymns in adoration of Divine Mother, regularly. But, he was restless by nature and was also not attracting enough listeners. He could not make much of a living by way of chanting. So, he gave up his profession and started beating drums. Of course, he was not trained enough in that too and his drum beating was quite ordinary and he could not make much of a headway there. Although born in a good family with good samskaras, he gave up the noble pursuit of chanting the Mother’s hymns for the profession of beating drums even though he was not qualified in that art. Thus, if we act on whims and fancies and out of restlessness, nothing purposeful can be done. One has to be steadfast and pursue one’s spiritual goal doggedly.
The worldly-minded become confused very easily due to restlessness of their minds and keep shifting from one position to another and ultimately find no peace or stability. Even in respect of worldly pursuits, it is impossible to achieve anything worthy unless one is extremely steadfast, focused and dedicated. This is much more so when one pursues the spiritual goal. One has to take up an idea and work diligently and steadfastly in an uncompromising manner. It is a long journey through a hazardous path. Struggling thus for a long time, one ultimately reaches the Supreme Goal of life.
-by Swami Shantatmananda, Sunday Guardian, 28th Feb 2015
(Photo courtesy: http://www.blog.luxeindia.in/p=239)