A rare conversation between Ramkrishna Paramahansa & Swami Vivekanand

Swami Vivekanand:- I can’t find free time. Life has become hectic.

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you free.

Swami Vivekanand:- Why has life become complicated now?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Stop analyzing life.. It makes it complicated. Just live it.

Swami Vivekanand:- Why are we then constantly unhappy?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Worrying has become your habit. That’s why you are not happy.

Swami Vivekanand:- Why do good people always suffer?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don’t suffer.
With that experience their life becomes better, not bitter.

Swami Vivekanand:- You mean to say such experience is useful?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Yes. In every term, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.

Swami Vivekanand:- Because of so many problems, we don’t know where we are heading…

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides the way.

Swami Vivekanand:- Does failure hurt more than moving in the right direction?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you.

Swami Vivekanand:- In tough times, how do you stay motivated?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.

Swami Vivekanand:- What surprises you about people?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- When they suffer they ask, “why me?” When they prosper, they never ask “Why me?”

Swami Vivekanand:- How can I get the best out of life?

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

Swami Vivekanand:- One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.

Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- There are no unanswered prayers. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Life is a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.

The Two Buckets

Two buckets, tired after a day’s work, sat down to rest. One of the buckets was always grumbling. It never looked at life cheerfully.

As it rested outside the well it said to the other bucket,“I’m tired of the life we lead. However full we are when we are drawn up out of the well, we are sent back empty again.This makes me very dissatisfied.”

The second bucket was of a different nature. It did not believe in grumbling. It always looked at life positively. It said,“That’s true. But I always look at it this way – that however empty we are when we are sent down, we are always full when drawn up.”

Moral: It is good to look on the brighter side of life.

Akbar and Birbal

Akbar was a great Mughal Emperor and Birbal was his witty minister. One day, Akbar was taking a walk in his garden with Birbal.
Many crows were flying around. As he observed the birds flying, he thought of asking Birbal a tricky question.
He asked, “How many crows are there in our kingdom, Birbal?”
Birbal thought for a moment, and then said, “There are ninety-five thousand, four hundred and sixty three crows in your kingdom, Huzoor.”
“How do you know that for sure?” the King asked.
“You can get them counted, Huzoor.” Birbal said.
The Emperor again said, “If there are less than that, then?”
Birbal replied immediately, “That means that the rest of them have gone on vacation to some neighbouring kingdoms.”
“And if there are more than that, then?” asked Akbar.
“Then it means that other crows have come to visit their relatives in our kingdom, Huzoor,” said the witty minister.
Akbar was very pleased with the answer that Birbal gave and gave him a suitable reward.

Moral: Even if the question is silly, you can manage the situation by thinking on your feet and giving a witty answer.


 IF you are able to be happy with what you already have, then you can achieve happiness. If your happiness involves certain conditions, then you can never achieve happiness. Happiness is not a destination; it is a state of mind. No material good can give you happiness.

If you have a list of material things in your mind and you believe that only by obtaining all the things on this list, you can live in happiness, it is impossible for you to attain happiness. The fact is that this material list has an end on the paper on which you write it down, but it won’t have any end in your mind! One should learn how to be content, otherwise your mind will keep adding new things to its wish-list. And then, you will always live with unsatisfied desires.

 If you want to live with happiness, then learn the difference between need and desire. Our real needs are actually very limited. There is always a full-stop in the list of real needs, but the wish-list based on desire has no full-stop. It has only commas. Every day, you add a new comma to this list, and this will continue endlessly till your death. The Prophet of Islam has said that if a man were given two mountains of gold, he will ask for a third one (Musnad Ahmad). This means that man has an insatiable nature. So, it is only contentment that can give you happiness, not abundance.

About myself, I can say that I am living in happiness in the sense of contentment. I believe that what I have is quite enough for me. This formula has given me a great sense of fulfilment. This contentment has saved me from all kinds of distractions. And when you are saved from distractions, you have enough time to do all kinds of good things, for example, to study, to cultivate positive thinking, to engage in human service, etc.

Happiness is not just a personal quality; It is of great value in itself. If you are unhappy, you are bound to live in tension and stress. But if you are happy, you are tension-free. You will have no stress, and you will be free of pessimism. You will develop a positive personality. And a positive personality is the greatest need in human development.

 Maulana Wahiduddin Khan