When I was twelve, my mother gave me a small book- it was so small as to be kept within one’s palm. It contained the inspirational quotes of Swami Vivekananda.

For me, it was wondrous: this handsome sage telling that it was better to build a pair of strong shoes as a humble mochi, than to spout nonsense as a professor who has long stopped learning! ┬áHe said that the best way to forget one’s own sorrows was to reach out to remove those of another. He reiterated that infinite energy flowed through one, as one tried to make a difference by service- it was a universal law of the spirit.

I spent many happy hours debating on his quotations with my best friend, my namesake. In fact during a school tour, our Physics teacher was perplexed to see us analysing ‘why playing football was better to build nerves of steel than by rot learning of religious studies.’An age of innocence- that is all I can reflect about it right now.

Why am I referring to that book again?If anyone were to ask me to name a book that has transformed my life- that little dog eared copy of Vivekananda’s quotes, published by Ramakrishna Ashram, would be it! So many times, when I had felt like giving up, lying down and just let endless sleep wash over all the travails, it has been his vibrant quotations that gave me new energy and focus.

Why do we need inspiring people? Why do we need to read motivational quotations? Because, not every day is sunny and shining with possibilities. More often than not, it is a dreary, dark wintry day of hopelessness. The dark news from around the world make you wish to stop reading totally. Yet, life is meaningless without action.

And then he says from beyond: Wake up, and stop not until the goal is reached. You set a new target and you toil on- knowing that the efforts will not be in vain. The universal law springs into action and you find yourself carried by a buoyant spirit, and sunshine trickles right back in!

May every parent put a book of motivational quotations into her child’s hands. Three decades down the lane, the memory of one would make some tired traveller take another step down the road of life-with grit and determination.


Sri RamaKrishna Paramahansa’s Answer

Source: Sri RamaKrishna Upanishad by  Chakravorthy Raja Gopalachary, (Tamil) Translated into Hindi by his daughter, Lakshmy Devdas Gandhi.

An old woman, mother of a disciple, came to Ramakrishna and asked him, ” I am growing old and wish to spend the rest of my life meditating on Radha Krishna in Vrindavan or Mathura.”

Ramkrishna Paramahansa, who knew the old lady’s habits very well, smiled. He said, ” Ma, even if you were to go to Kashi, Haridwar, Mathura or Vrindavan, you will be thinking about your grand children! Has my little grand daughter’s fever reduced? Does that daughter-in-law of mine look after her well enough? So, try this method. You stay at home and imagine that your little grand daughter is Sri Radha herself. Give her a bath, dress her well, feed her with good food and consider that you are worshipping Radha herself. Enjoy Grihastashram and reap the rewards of Vanaprastha too!”