The contemporary system of values at the turn of the twentieth century is re-assigning significance to the inward quest. The glitter of materialism needs to be counteracted by an earnest desire for giving the senses and thoughts an inward direction. This is the art of sadhana, a concerted effort to give the experiences of life a proper direction and goal.
Sadhana as an inward movement, as a deep and one-pointed effort to spiritualise the rhythms of life, has great efficacy. Especially in the message of Ramakrishna the importance of sadhana for realisation is often repeated as the only end of human endeavour. And this he delineates step by step from his own experience of about two decades of intense sadhana.
Ramakrishna's precepts about this complex process of sadhana finds a deceptively simple yet enduring core in the form of stories and parables with which he interspersed his regular conversation. The present volume looks at the art of sadhana as taught by Ramakrishna through the mode of stories.
The stories of Sri Ramakrishna are perennial springs of narrative spirituality. (We prefer to call them stories rather than using the pontifical word 'parables'.) They give an entire map of sadhana; in familiar contexts we get texts for enduring transformation. We have merely touched the tip of a vast iceberg. It is for sadhakas to change the iceberg into waters of healing wisdom.
We are grateful to Shri S.K. Ghai, Managing Director, Sterling Publishers, for publishing this book in, as always, record time. His invaluable support has always been a source of great strength. We can only part to Sri Ramakrishna to give him the best of everything he pioneers.
We wish to thank the authorities of Sri Ramakrishna Matt, Madras for extracts from Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna (1980).
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