I am so pained to learn that there is a great famine in this place. Only God knows what his will is, but you on your part should try to help the people to your utmost capacity. There shouldn’t be any slackening of your efforts.
When you transcend the three gunas—the elements such as earth, air, water, etc.—they will serve you. Heat and cold, hunger and thirst will obey you. Now you are their slave, but at that stage they will be under your control. What will then be the state of your mind? You will remain indifferent to praise and blame, good and evil, and all the opposites of life.
Swami Brahmananda was one of Sri Ramakrishna's foremost disciples who occupied a place among them second only to Swami Vivekananda. The latter was a man of immense energy and dynamism, the former was very nearly his opposite—quiet, indrawn, and contemplative.
Once Swami Shivananda was asked whether he had read an article concerning Sri Ramakrishna by Romain Rolland, the famous French author. “I have not read the whole of it,” he replied, “but his presentation seems to be excellent—though from the human aspect rather than that of an incarnation. Perhaps he was under the opinion that to think of Ramakrishna as a divine being introduced an idea of superhuman power, which would create a feeling of distance. But why should this happen? All powers and glories are harmonized in him. Is one afraid of one’s father, even if he is a millionaire?”
Swami Vivekananda would perhaps object to the title of this article, for to him no person was ordinary. Each was a unique manifestation of God, and each was perfect in his or her own expression of divinity. Indeed, in his eyes nothing in this universe, living or nonliving, was ordinary; so let me quickly define what I mean by this term in the present context.