Three questions were put forth to Thakur Sri Ramakrishna by Sri M, the author of the Sri Sri Ramakrihsna Kathamrita- How does one realize God? What is experiencing or seeing God like? And how does it happen?
To this, Thakur gave a detailed reply. People who are walking on the path of God or who have realized God- are categorized as- starter (pravartak), seeker (saadhak), knower (siddha) and realized (siddha of siddhas). One who has just now started walking on God’s path is a starter. One who worships, meditates, sings His praises is a seeker. One who has known that God is there, he is a knower. There is an example in the Vedanta – A person is lying in a dark room. Another person comes looking for him in the dark room, touching the window he says this is not him, touching the door he says, not him. In the end his hand touches the body of the man, he then knows that yes, it is him. Meaning, he has known that the person he was looking for is there but he has not been able to see him in his form.
There is another category, called realized. If the knower is able to communicate and talk to the person he was looking for then this is a different state like if one is able to communicate with God out of love and devotion for Him. Even the knower has known God but the realized being has interacted with God in a very special way.
Thakur says to realize God one must adopt a specific relationship with Him. Relationship can be that of peace, a servant, a friend, mother, child or a lover.
Peace, the rishis had a peace attitude. They did not lust for any desire of the world except for God.
Servant, like Hanuman. He was like a lion when he served Ram, ever ready.
Friend, come and sit with me. Sridas and other gopas would feed Krishna with their eaten fruit and would make Him sit on their shoulders.
Mother’s love, Yashoda would think if I don’t take care of Krishna, who would. Like a mother feels completely satisfied when her son eats full stomach.
Lover, like Radha. This relationship in itself has peaceful, servant, friend and mother’s love. Like a wife has for her husband.
Sri Ramakrishna had an attitude of a child, he would say that in Kaliyuga, seeing God as Father/mother is the best relationship. This relationship helps you depend on God easily.
Sri M. asked – can one see God through these eyes only? To which Thakur replied that one cannot see Him with physical eyes. When one yearns for God consistently he develops a special form of love, eyes of love and ears of love. Through these he sees and through those ears he is able to hear God’s voice. Till one does not get deep love for God, it does not happen.