Chapter 2: Bring the Inner and Outer into Harmony
You just have to create a desire in people - “lake palace.” He was only thinking of making a house. You have changed the desire and the ambition into a lake palace. The salesman said, “Just think, if you want to make a lake palace, first you will have to make a lake. And we are giving you a ready-made lake and not charging anything!”
For centuries man has been sold beliefs, dogmas, creeds which are absolutely untrue, which have no evidence, except in your ambition, except in your laziness. You don’t want to do anything, and you want to reach to heaven! And there are people who are ready to give you maps, shortcuts - as much a shortcut as you want. Just get up in the morning with the name of God - remembering it for two, three minutes while you are getting ready to get out of the bed - and that’s enough. Once in a while go to the Ganges, take a bath so all your sins are finished - you are purified. And all religions have created the same kinds of things - go to Kaaba and everything is forgiven.
Mohammedans are poor people, and they are poor because of their belief: they are against taking money on interest or giving money with interest. Now, the whole of business depends on interest; they are bound to remain poor. And it is told to them that you should go to Kaaba at least once in life, and that’s enough - going seven times around that stone of Kaaba all sins are finished, all virtues shower on you. Such shortcuts.
One man came to Ramakrishna. He was going to Varanasi to take a holy dip, but he was interested in Ramakrishna, so before going he went to touch his feet. And Ramakrishna said, “But what is the need to go to Varanasi, because the Ganges is coming here” - the Ganges was flowing just behind his temple where they were sitting: “The Ganges is coming to Calcutta itself. Where are you going?”
But the man said, “In the scriptures, the Ganges in Varanasi has a specialty. It is the same Ganges, but if you take a bath in Varanasi then all your sins are washed away.”
Ramakrishna was a very simple man. He said, “You can go with my blessings, but remember one thing. Have you seen? - on the bank of the Ganges there are big trees.”
The man said, “Yes. I have been there once with my father when I was very young. But why are you mentioning those trees?”
He said, “I am mentioning those trees because people don’t know their purpose. The Ganges is great - you take a dip and all your sins leave you immediately, but they sit on the trees and they wait for you! They say, ‘Son, sometime you will come back on the same road. Where are you going to go? How long can you remain in the Ganges? You can manage as long as you want - one hour, two hours, one day, two days - but finally you will have to come out.’”
That man said, “Not even two days; I will just take the bath and come out. It will take five minutes at the most, in such cold weather. But this is strange. Nobody told me that all those sins are sitting on the trees.”