Ocean of Bliss

Sri Narendra, who later became the world famous Swami Vivekananda, came in contact with Sri Ramakrishna during his search for God. As a teenager he was possessed by the question whether God really existed and if so whether anyone had seen Him. He met several famous people, many of whom enjoyed tremendous respect in society. When Narendra went to meet one such person, he was given the assurance that he could ask any question. But the moment Narendra confronted him with his famous question, “have you seen God”, the person was taken aback and excused himself saying he had some urgent work. He complimented Narendra saying that he had the eyes of a yogi. Nobody could give him a satisfactory answer until he met Sri Ramakrishna, who said that he had not only seen God, but could also show Him to Narendra.

Then began a period of serious and intense training under the guidance of Sri Ramakrishna. One day, Sri Ramakrishna told Narendra, “Look here my boy. God is the ocean of bliss. Don’t you wish to plunge into this ocean? Suppose there is a cup of syrup and you are a fly. Where will you sit to sip the syrup?” Narendra replied that he would sit at the edge of the cup and stick his head out to drink the syrup. When Sri Ramakrishna asked him why he would sit at the edge, Narendra replied that if he got down to sip the syrup he would be drowned and lose his life.

Then Sri Ramakrishna told him, “My child there is no such fear in the ocean of Sat Chit and Ananda. It is the ocean of immortality. By plunging into it a man does not die, but he becomes immortal. Thus Sri Ramakrishna would advise his favourite disciple to plunge deep into sadhana. He would say that if people busy with worldly pursuits do not come to any harm, how come true spiritual aspirants would be ruined?

-by Swami Shantatmananda, Sunday Guardian, 22nd Feb 2014