Devotees would often go to Sri Ramakrishna and complain about their sufferings. They would often lament that they are unable to live a spiritual life in the world. Sri Ramakrishna would explain, “Why shouldn’t one be able to lead a spiritual life in the world? The reason is that it is extremely difficult to do so”. To illustrate this point he would quote an example which he had gathered from his keen observation of the incidents of daily life.
“Once I was crossing over the bridge at Bagh Bazar (one of the well-known localities of Kolkata). One would be amazed by the number of chains by which it is tied to huge pillars. Nothing would happen if one chain is broken since there are numerous other chains to keep it in place. In the same way the worldly man is entangled through ever so many ties. Take the case of a widow who had lost her husband years ago and has practically no worldly responsibility. She could have easily devoted her time to calling on God, but she would busy herself with the affairs of the family of her children. She would say that the grandchildren won’t take food if she did not feed them. She would add that it is impossible for her to be quiet i.e. free from any work, even for a minute. Such is the nature of worldly life and the bondages it brings about.”
Sri Ramakrishna would say that it is impossible to get rid of worldly ties except through the grace of God. But, to receive God’s grace one should do intense Sadhana such as prayer, japa and meditation. Only then God’s grace would descend on a Sadhaka and relieve him or her of all worldly bondages.