A Letter: “The Gate to Liberation Is Open”

4 July 1915

Dear D—,

. . . One gets a human body as a result of great merit in past lives. Once one is born as a human being, the gate to liberation is open. Having a human body, if one fails to strive for liberation, who knows when such an opportunity will come again? Therefore, one must make every effort to attain illumination in this very life. So it is mentioned in the scriptures: ‘As a result of many acts of virtue you received this body as a boat to cross the ocean of misery. Make proper use of it while yet it is not destroyed. . . .’
God is extremely compassionate. If one takes one step towards God, he comes a hundred steps, nay a thousand steps, toward him. It is absolutely true. It is a matter of doing and not talking. If someone could say wholeheartedly, with mind and speech united, ‘Lord, I take refuge in you; I have none else,’ the Lord will definitely accept him. It cannot be otherwise. One must say and feel:

Thou art my mother and father;
Thou art my friend and companion;
Thou art my wealth and wisdom;
Thou art my all in all, O Lord.
[Prapanna Gita]

Can the Lord keep from accepting a person who prays like this? Now the question is: Who is truly praying and thinking in this way? Lord Chaitanya said:

So vast is thy mercy, O Lord!
How huge, then, is my wretchedness
Who finds, in this empty life and heart,
No devotion to thy name.
[Shikshashtakam, 2]

One needs love and longing, then only will one get the results of spiritual life. Pray: ‘Master, give me longing for you; give me devotion.’ The Master answers the sincere prayer. Pray sincerely and wholeheartedly, then the Master will be pleased. When he is pleased, you will attain everything, your heart will be filled with love and devotion, and your life will be blessed. . . .

With best wishes,

– Spiritual Treasures: Letters of Swami Turiyananda
(About Swami Turiyananda: A direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and brother monk of Swami Vivekananda, Swami Turiyananda was in charge of our Society from 1900 until 1902. He was responsible for initially developing Shanti Ashrama.)