LETTER: “That Which Is Real”

10 December 1915

Dear L—,

. . . It is very difficult all at once to feel the presence of God in every being; it is not entirely possible unless one attains illumination. But God is all-pervading and dwells in all beings—know this, if a person serves human beings, he is serving God also. If one can serve in this spirit wholeheartedly and without desiring the fruits of one’s action, through the grace of the Lord one will realize in time that service to man is worship of God. For the Lord is present in every being: truly, he alone exists.

Purity and impurity are nothing but the differences in one’s attitude. Attachment to sense objects is impurity, and attachment to God is purity. That which is real in human beings is God. Without God, man is nothing but a cage of flesh and bones. The consciousness in man is a part of God, and that is pure; everything else is impure. The good tendencies in man lead him towards God, and the bad tendencies keep him away from God. One can understand this gradually, but in the beginning of sadhana [spiritual practice] one should hear about it.

It is only through the grace of God that one is drawn to having a good character. God is the source of all goodness. Therefore, realizing God, one gets rid of restlessness and becomes blessed by attaining supreme peace.

What is needed is that you steadfastly keep waiting at his door, and the Lord will reveal everything to you. Always maintain good tendencies in your heart. God is goodness itself. If you can keep him in your heart, you will lack nothing whatsoever. God is our mother and father, friend and companion, wealth and wisdom—he is our all in all. Thus if you can make him your own, your life will be blissful.

You have asked too many questions; it is not possible to answer all of them. And even if I did answer them, I don’t think you would be able to understand. But this is certain: The more you move towards him, the more your understanding will be clarified, and thus all of your problems will be solved. Without having a spiritual mood within, one cannot understand spiritual ideas.

Always try to see the Lord within your heart. When you need to know anything, ask him with utmost sincerity. From within he will make you know everything; he always does that for everybody. If God does not reveal himself, with all one’s efforts one can neither understand nor help another to understand. What seems to you now a great mystery will become clear very easily through his grace, and you will see the truth. It takes time; don’t be impatient. Call on God with all your heart and soul, and try to make him your own. Pray to the Lord from the depth of your being. He is omniscient. Knowing our intentions, he arranges everything accordingly. There is no doubt about it.

With love and best wishes,




– Spiritual Treasures: Letters of Swami Turiyananda

(Swami Turiyananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and brother monk of Swami Vivekananda, was in charge of our Society from 1900 until 1902. He was responsible for naming and developing the Shanti Ashrama retreat.)