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From The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Prayers - English translation

From “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna”


Let us go back once more, O mind, to our own abode!
Here in this foreign land of earth
Why should we wander aimlessly in stranger’s guise?
These living beings round about, and the five elements,
Are strangers to you, all of them; none is your own.
Why do you thus forget yourself?
In love with strangers, O my mind?
Why do you thus forget your own?

Ascend the path of Truth, O mind! Unflaggingly climb,
With Love as the lamp to light your way.
As your provision for the journey, bring with you 
The virtues, carefully concealed; for like two highwaymen,
Greed and delusion wait to rob you of your wealth.
And keep beside you constantly
As guards to shelter you from harm,
Calmness of mind and self-control.

Companionship with holy men will be for you
A welcome rest-house by the road;
There rest your weary limbs awhile, asking your way,
If ever you should be in doubt, of him who watches there.
If anything along the path should frighten you,
Then loudly shout the name of the Lord;
For He is ruler of that road,
And even Death must bow to Him.


O Lord, must all my days pass by so utterly in vain?
Down the path of hope, I gaze with longing, day and night.
Thou art the Lord of all the worlds, and I but a beggar here;
How can I ask of Thee to come and dwell within my heart?
My poor heart’s humble cottage door is standing open wide;
Be gracious, Lord, and enter there but once, and quench its thirst!


We moan for rest, alas! But rest can never find;
We know not where we come, nor where we float away.
Time and again we tread this round of smiles and tears;
In vain we pine to know whither our pathway leads,
And why we play this empty play.

We sleep, although awake, as if by a spell bewitched;
Will darkness never break into the light of dawn?
As restless as the wind, life moves unceasingly;
We know not who we are, nor whence it is we come;
We know not why we come, nor where it is drift;
Sharp woes dart forth on every side.

How many drift about, now gay, now drowned in tears!
One moment they exist; the next they are no more.
We know not why we come, nor what our deeds have been,
Nor, in our bygone lives, how well we played our parts;
Like water in a stream, we cannot stay at rest;
Onward we flow for evermore.

Burst Thou our slumber’s bars, O Thou that art awake!
How long must we remain enmeshed in fruitless dreams?
Are you indeed awake? Then do not longer sleep!
Thick on you lies the gloom fraught with a million woes.
Rise, dreamer, from your dream, and slumber not again!
Shine forth, O Shining One, and with Thy shafts of light
Slay Thou the blinding dark! Our only Savior Thou!
We seek deliverance at Thy feet.


Oh, when will dawn for me that day of blessedness
When He who is all Good, all Beauty and all Truth,
Will light the inmost shrine of my heart?
When shall I sink at last, ever beholding Him,
Into that Ocean of Delight?
Lord, as Infinite Wisdom Thou shalt enter my soul,
And my unquiet mind, made speechless by Thy sight,
Will find a haven at Thy feet.
In my heart’s firmament, O Lord, Thou wilt arise.
As Blissful Immortality;
And as when the chakora beholds the rising moon,
It sports about for very joy,
So, too, shall I be filled with heavenly happiness
When Thou appearest unto me.

Thou One without a Second, all Peace, the King of kings!
At Thy beloved feet I shall renounce my life
And so at last shall gain life’s goal;
I shall enjoy the bliss of heaven while yet on earth!
Where else is a boon so rare bestowed?
Then shall I see thy glory, pure and untouched by stain;
As darkness flees from light, so will my darkest sins
Desert me at Thy dawns approach,
Kindle in me, O Lord, the blazing fire of faith
To be the pole-star of my life;
O Succor of the weak, fulfill my one desire!
Then shall I bathe both day and night
In the boundless bliss of Thy Love, and utterly forget
Myself, O lord, attaining Thee.


With beaming face chant the sweet name of God
Till in your heart the nectar overflows,
Drink of it ceaselessly and share it with all!
If ever your heart runs dry, parched by the flames
Of worldly desire, chant the sweet name of God,
And heavenly love will moisten your arid soul.

Be sure, O mind, you never forget to chant
His holy name: when danger stares in your face,
Calls on Him, Your Father Compassionate;
With His name’s thunder, snap the fetters of sin!
Come, let us fulfill our heart’s desires
By drinking deep of Everlasting Joy,
Made one with Him in Love’s pure ecstasy.


Immerse yourself for evermore, O mind,
In Him who is Pure Knowledge and Pure Bliss.


I shall become a yogi and dwell in Love’s mountain cave;
I shall be lost in yoga beside the Fountain-head of Bliss,
I shall appease my hunger for Knowledge with the fruit of Truth;
I shall worship the feet of God with the flower of Dispassion.

I shall not seek a well to slake the burning thirst of my heart,
But I shall draw the water of Peace into the jar of my soul.
Drinking the glorious Nectar of Thy blessed Lotus Feet,
I shall both laugh and dance and weep and sing on the heights of Joy.


Fasten your mind, O man, on the Primal Purusha,
Who is the Cause of all causes,
The Stainless One, the Beginningless Truth.
As Prana He pervades the infinite universe;
The man of faith beholds Him,
Living, resplendent, the Root of all.
Beyond the senses, eternal, the Essence of Consciousness,
He shines in the cave of the heart,
Adorned with Holiness, Wisdom, and Love;
By meditating on Him, man is delivered from grief.

Of countenance ever serene,
An inexhaustible Ocean of Virtue,
None can fathom His depths; yet freely, of His own grace,
Does He reveal Himself
To those who come to His feet for shelter,
Merciful since they are helpless and He is the Ever-forgiving,
The Giver of happiness,
The Ready Help in the sea of our woe.

Unswervingly just, bestowing the fruits of our deeds, good and ill,
Yet is He the Fount of Compassion,
The Ocean of Mercy brimming with Love;
Even to hear of His glory suffuses the eyes with tears.
Gaze on His face and be blest:
Your heart is hungry for Him, O man!
Bright with unspeakable beauty, peerless and without stain,
No words can ever describe His gate
Be as a beggar before His gate
And worship Him day and night beseeching Him for His grace.


Siva, Thy ready thunderbolt rules over meadows, hills and sky!
O God of Gods! O slayer of Time!
Thou the Great Void, the King of Dharma!
Siva, Thou Blessed One, redeem me, take away my grievous sin.


How shall I call on Thee, O Lord, with such a stained and worldly mind?
Can a straw remain unharmed, cast in a pit of flaming coals?
Thou, all goodness, art the fire, and I, all sin, am but a straw:
How shall I ever worship Thee?

The glory of Thy name, they say, redeems those even past redeeming;
Yet, when I chant Thy sacred name, alas! My poor heart quakes with fright.
I spend my life a slave to sin; how can I find a refuge, then,
O Lord, within Thy holy way?

In Thine abounding kindliness, rescue Thou this sinful wretch;
Drag me off by the hair of my head and give me shelter at Thy feet.


Sweet is Thy name, O Refuge of the humble!
It falls like sweetest nectar on our ears
And comforts us, Beloved of our souls!
The priceless treasure of Thy name alone
Is the abode of Immortality,
And he who chants Thy name becomes immortal.
Falling upon our ears, Thy holy name
Instantly slays the anguish of our hearts,
Thou Soul of our souls, and fills our heart with bliss!


Why, O mind, do you never call on Him
Who takes away all fear of danger?
Tricked by delusion you forget yourself,
Enamoured of the world’s bleak wilderness.
Alas, what mockery is here!

Comrades and wealth you cannot always keep;
Take care lest you forget Him quite.
Give up the false, O mind! Adore the Real;
And all the grief will vanish from your life.
Keep my good counsel in your heart.

With sounding voice proclaim Lord Hara’s name
And cast away your false desires,
If you would cross the ocean of this life;
Surrender to Him body, mind, and soul,
And worship Him with trusting love.


When I behold Thy peerless face, beaming with love, O Lord,
What fear have I of earthly woe or of the frown of sorrow?
As the first ray of the dawning sun dispels the dark,
So too, Lord, when Thy blessed light bursts forth within the heart,
It scatters all our grief and pain with sweetest balm.
When on Thy love and grace I ponder, in my heart’s deepest depths,
Fears of joy stream down my cheeks beyond restraining.
Hail, Gracious Lord! Hail, Gracious one! I shall proclaim Thy love.
May my life-breath depart from me as I perform Thy works!


This universe, wondrous and infinite,
O Lord, is Thy handiwork;
And the whole world is a treasure-house
Full of Thy beauty and grace.
The stars glisten innumerable,
Like gems on a myriad suns and moons
Ever be numbered above?
The earth is glowing with grain and gold,
Thine ever brimming store;
Uncounted stars, O God, sing forth;
Blessed, blessed art Thou!


Thou art my All in All, O Lord! – the Life of my life, the Essence of essence;
In the three worlds I have none else but Thee to call my own.
Thou art my peace, my joy, my hope; Thou my support, my wealth, my glory;
Thou art my wisdom and my strength.

Thou art my home, my place of rest; my dearest friend, my next of kin;
My present and my future, Thou; my heaven and my salvation.
Thou art my scriptures, my commandments; Thou art my ever gracious Guru;
Thou the Spring of my boundless bliss.

Thou art the Way, and Thou the Goal; Thou the Adorable One, O Lord!
Thou art the Mother tender-hearted; Thou the chastising Father;
Thou the Creator and Protector; Thou the Helmsman who dost steer
My craft across the sea of life.


Roaming ever in the grove of Vedanta,
Ever pleased with his beggar’s morsel,
Ever walking with heart free from sorrow,
Blest indeed is the wearer of the loin-cloth.

Sitting at the foot of a tree for shelter,
Using the palms of his hands for eating,
Wrapped in a garment fine or ugly,
Blest indeed is the wearer of the loin-cloth.

Satisfied fully by the Bliss within him,
Curbing wholly the cravings of his senses,
Contemplating day and night the Absolute Brahman,
Blest indeed is the wearer of the loin-cloth.

Witnessing the changes of mind and body,
Naught but the Self within him beholding,
Thinking not of outer, of inner, or of middle,
Blest indeed is the wearer of the loin-cloth.

Chanting “Brahman”, the Word of redemption,
Meditating only on “I am Brahman”,
Living on alms and wandering freely,
Blest indeed is the wearer of the loin-cloth.


Meditate on Him, the Perfect, the Embodiment of Bliss;
Meditate on Him, the Formless, the Root of the Universe,
The Hearer behind the ear, the Thinker behind the mind,
The Speaker behind the tongue, Himself beyond all words;
He is the Life of life, the Ultimate the Adorable!

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