I happen to be your spiritual Master. Some of you accepted me the very first time you saw me; some came out of curiosity, while others came because your parents and dear ones brought you. But if you took two or three or even four times to accept me, no harm. Even Swami Vivekananda could not accept Sri Ramakrishna at the beginning. He doubted Sri Ramakrishna and argued with him. Then Vivekananda became Sri Ramakrishna's dearest disciple on the strength of his love, devotion and surrender. Sri Ramakrishna knew who Vivekananda was inwardly, even though outwardly Vivekananda was not accepting him because he had developed a Western mind.

Now you have heard the story of Girish Ghosh. He lived a very undivine life, but Sri Ramakrishna saw his divinity. Sri Ramakrishna knew that his heart was crying and crying for God's Love and Compassion. From somebody's outer life, you cannot judge what his inner life is.

Three times Girish failed to accept Sri Ramakrishna. He failed even to see something in Sri Ramakrishna. The first time, he thought Sri Ramakrishna was an idiot. Even when the lamps were lit, Sri Ramakrishna had to keep asking, "Is it evening? Is it evening?"

The second time a girl was singing in front of Sri Ramakrishna and before that he had been cutting jokes with the same girl. Girish could not imagine that a God-realised soul would behave in such a manner.

The third time, when Sri Ramakrishna went to his Star Theatre, Girish welcomed Sri Ramakrishna politely, but he did not see anything inside him. He directed Sri Ramakrishna to a seat and then went home because he was not feeling well.

Three consecutive times he could not accept Sri Ramakrishna, but Sri Ramakrishna, being God-realised, was seeing so many divine qualities inside Girish. Sri Ramakrishna himself was divine, both in his inner life and in his outer life, but Girish was unable to see Sri Ramakrishna's divinity in the beginning. Only later did he become so devoted and self-giving.

Lucky are those who, right from the outset, can recognise their Master and make continuous progress, for the spiritual life is an endless journey. But no matter how many times you take, as long as you recognise the one who is destined to be your Master, your problems will definitely be solved. And your progress will be of the fastest if you can maintain, from the beginning to the end of your spiritual life — throughout your discipleship — your love, devotion and surrender implicitly, cheerfully, self-givingly and sleeplessly.