Narendra Nath, who later became the world renowned Swami Vivekananda came under the influence of Sri Ramakrishna as a teenager. At that time he was deeply possessed by the question, “Whether God really existed and if so is it really possible to have His vision?” He went to several renowned religious leaders seeking an answer for his question, but always returned empty-handed and disappointed.
Finally, he came to Sri Ramakrishna, who instantaneously assured him that he had seen God and not only that he could show him to Narendra Nath too. Soon began the extraordinary tutelage of Shri Narendra Nath under Sri Ramakrishna. He started practising serious spiritual disciplines and was longing for some direct spiritual experience for which he was pestering Sri Ramakrishna time and again.
One day the latter asked him what he really wanted to achieve. Narendra Nath replied that he would like to remain absorbed in samadhi all the time and just come out once in a while to have a morsel of food for the sustenance of the body and then again dive deep into the samadhi once again. Sri Ramakrishna was not happy with the answer. He scolded Narendra Nath, saying that he was a small-minded person and that he expected Narendra Nath to grow into a huge banyan tree under whose shades thousands of scorched souls would take shelter, whereas he was thinking of his own mukti or liberation. Then he reminded Narendra Nath about the song which the latter often sang. The meaning of the song was that whatever exists is only God.
Thereby Sri Ramakrishna revealed to Narendra Nath that the state of seeing God everywhere and in everything is a much higher state of spiritual evolution than remaining absorbed in samadhi. Narendra Nath’s eyes were opened to this new vision of spiritual evolution and he altered the course of his spiritual journey accordingly.
-by Swami Shantatmanandaji, The Sunday Guardian, 26th Apr 2014