Sri Ramakrishna would often caution his devotees about the need to be focused on the real purpose or goal of life. Quite often spiritual aspirants get diverted from the real purpose and indulge in activities thus are not essential, thus wasting time and energy. He used to narrate a parable to drive home the point.

Two friends went to a mango orchard. They had heard much about that orchard. Their aim was to befriend the owner and eat some of the best mangoes available in the orchard. As soon as they reached the place, one of them got so attracted by the grandeur of the orchard that he immediately started counting the number of trees in the garden, the number of mangoes in each tree and even the number of leaves in some of the trees in his anxiety to know about the dimension and value of the whole orchard.

His companion however quietly met and befriended the owner and with his consent climbed a tree and plucked a few fully ripened mangoes and started eating them. He finished eating the mangoes and was fully satisfied. Then he came down in search of his companion and found that he was still busy counting the trees.

Sri Ramakrishna would ask which one of the two can be considered wiser. The purpose of entering a mango orchard is to satisfy one’s hunger. What is the purpose of counting leaves, number of trees and indulging in endless calculations?

Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say people who consider themselves learned keep themselves engaged in relentless questioning about the why and how of innumerable aspects of creation. But, on the other hand a humble and sincere aspirant calls on God with vyakulata or intense longing and progresses fast in spiritual life. Thus it is extremely important to be focused on the real purpose of life for one to progress in spiritual life.

-by Swami Shantatmananda, Sunday Guardian, 15th Mar 2014

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