Sri Ramakrishna would often advise his devotees that it is unwise to try to measure the immeasurable. He would say that man is so limited in his capacity and understanding that he should not boast of understanding the complete nature and manifestation of God. He would say that God could teach man in ever so many ways and make him understand the truth or reality. To illustrate the idea, he used to narrate a story.
There was a pandit who was very vain by nature. He no doubt had belief in the formless nature of God or the Ultimate and was a sadhaka following that school of thought.
He did not believe in the forms of God and would often express strong views condemning the worship of God with form. But, inscrutable are the ways of the Divine. God once revealed Himself to him as the primal power assuming the form of Mother Kali. The vision made the pandit unconscious for a long time. After regaining partial consciousness he could only utter the sound, “Ka! Ka! Ka!”. He could not even fully pronounce the word Kali.
Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that man, limited as he is, should not pretend to have known everything about the Ultimate. He would say that God was with form, without form and much more. Depending upon one’s spiritual practices or Sadhana, one gets the taste of the Ultimate and realizes the truth in accordance with his method of Sadhana.
Hence, it is extremely foolish and vain to condemn those who follow a different method of Sadhana based on their own beliefs. He would say that what was really needed was a deep longing for realizing the Ultimate Goal of life.
One can follow the path of one’s choice, but what was really needed was sincerity and pointedness of purpose.
– by Swami Shantatmananda, published in the ‘Sacred Books of the East’ column, Sunday Guardian, 9th Nov 2013