Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836–1886,) the eminent Hindu mystic of 19th-century India, used stories and parables to portray the core elements of his philosophy. The meaning of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s stories and parables are usually not explicitly stated. The meanings are not intended to be mysterious or confidential but are, in contrast, quite uncomplicated and obvious.
In the Hindu and other traditions of the major religions of the world, parables form the language of the wise for enlightening the simple, just as well as they form the language of the simple for enlightening the wise.
Once Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was asked why he did not lead the life of a householder with his wife. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is supposed to have related the following story.
The Parable of Ganesh and the Divine Mother
One day, Lord Ganesh (son of Lord Shiva) happened to scratch a cat with his nail.
Upon returning home, Lord Ganesh observed that there was a mark of a scratch on the cheek of his divine mother, Goddess Parvati. Seeing this Lord Ganesh asked her, “Mother, how did you get this ugly scar on your cheek?”
Goddess Parvati, regarded in Hindu mythology as the Mother of the universe, replied, “This is the work of your hand; it is the scratch of your nail, Ganesh.”
Lord Ganesh asked in wonder, “How is it, Mother? I do not remember to have scratched you at any time.”
The Mother replied, “Darling, have you forgotten the fact of your having scratched a cat, this morning?”
Lord Ganesh said “Yes, I did scratch a cat, but how did your cheek get the scar?”
The Mother replied, “Dear child, nothing exists in this world but me. The whole creation is I; whomsoever you may hurt you only hurt me.”
Lord Ganesh was greatly surprised to hear this and then he determined never to marry. For, whom could he marry? Every woman was mother to him. Realizing thus the motherhood of woman, he gave up marriage.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa concluded, “I am like Lord Ganesh. I consider every woman as my Divine Mother.”
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once said, “A devotee who can call on God while living a householder’s life is a hero indeed. God thinks: ‘He is blessed indeed who prays to me in the midst of his worldly duties. He is trying to find me, overcoming a great obstacle — pushing away, as it were, a huge block of stone weighing a ton. Such a man is a real hero.'”
- ‘Ramakrishna: His Life and Sayings’ by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
- ‘Great Swan: Meetings with Ramakrishna’ by Lex Hixon
- ‘Vivekananda: A Biography’ by Swami Nikhilananda
- ‘Ramakrishna Paramahamsa: The Sadhaka of Dakshineswar’ by Amiya P. Sen
- ‘Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’ by Swami Vivekananda and Sister Nivedita
- ‘Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’ by Swami Nikhilananda