The Mind Is Everything
Do your duty with one hand and with the other hold to God. After the duty is over, you will hold to God with both hands.
It is all a question of the mind. Bondage and liberation are of the mind alone. The mind will take the color you dye it with. It is like white clothes just returned from the laundry. If you dip them in red dye, they will be red. If you dip them in blue or green, they will be blue or green. They will take only the color you dip them in, whatever it may be. Haven’t you noticed that, if you read a little English, you once begin to utter English words . . . . Then you put on boots and whistle a tune, and so on. It all goes together. Or, if a scholar studies Sanskrit, he will at once rattle off Sanskrit verses. If you are in bad company, then you will talk and think like your companions. On the other hand, when you are in the company of devotees, you will think and talk only of God.
The mind is everything. A man has his wife on one side and his daughter on the other. He shows his affection to them in different ways. But his mind is one and the same. Bondage is of the mind, and freedom is also of the mind. A man is free if he constantly thinks: ‘I am a free soul. How can I be bound, whether I live in the world or in the forest? I am a child of God, the King of Kings. Who can bind me?’ If bitten by a snake, a man may get rid of its venom by saying emphatically, ‘There is no poison in me.’ In the same way, by repeating with grit and determination, ‘I am not bound, I am free,’ one really becomes so—one really becomes free. . . .
One should have such burning faith in God that one can say: ‘What? I have repeated the name of God, and can sin still cling to me? How can I be a sinner anymore? How can I be in bondage anymore?’ If a man repeats the name of God, his body, mind, and everything become pure. Why should one talk only about sin and hell, and such things? Say but once, ‘O Lord, I have undoubtedly done wicked things, but I won’t repeat them.’ And have faith in his name.
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna