VAIKUNTHA: We are worldly people. Please tell us something.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: After knowing God perform your duties in the world with one hand on his lotus feet and the other on work.
VAIKUNTHA: Sir, is the world unreal?
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: It is unreal as long as God remains unknown. Then people forget him and say me and mine. Entangled in maya and bewitched by 'kamini kanchana' (lust and greed) they sink still more. Man becomes so deluded by maya that he cannot escape though there is the route for escape. Listen to a song:
"What a delusion has been created by mahamaya, the great enchantress!
If Brahma and Vishnu are out of their senses, what can an ordinary mortal know?
They make a hole to set up a trap; fish enter it.
There are routes for coming and going; yet the fish cannot get away.
The silk worm makes a cocoon and can escape if it wants.
But the cocoon is bound by mahamaya and it dies in its own spittle."
You yourselves know that the world is transient. Look at this very household. How many people came and went. How many were born and how many died. The household exists this moment and it is gone in the next. It is transient. Those whom you call your own so much do not exist anymore when you close your eyes at death. Again, even if one is without ties, one cannot retire to Benares for the sake of a grandson. O what will happen to my Haru? There are routes for coming and going yet the fish cannot escape. The silk worm perishes in its own secretions. This kind of world is illusory and transient.
THE NEIGHBOR: Sir, why should we hold God with one hand and the world with the other? If the world is transient why should we hold the world even with one hand?
SRI RAMAKRISHNA: The world is not illusory if one lives in it after realizing God. Listen to a song:
"O mind! You do not know how to farm.
Such a field, the human life, remains fallow.
If only you had cultivated it, it would have yielded a crop of gold.
Hedge it with the name of Kali.
There will not be any damage to the harvest.
That is a very stout hedge of the Mother with the unbraided hair.
Death does not dare to come near it.
This life will be forfeited today or after a hundred years.
Now, O mind! when you have the right over it, reap the harvest to the full.
Sowing the seed given by the guru, sprinkle it with the water of devotion. If you cannot do it alone, why not take Ramprasad along with you."
1. Ramprasad is the writer of the song.