God Does Not Care About Externals – He Sees the Innermost Heart

by Pulkit Mathur, The Spiritual Bee

The following poignant excerpt has been taken from the introduction to the book: A Guide to Spiritual Life: Spiritual Teachings of Swami Brahmananda. It has been authored by Swami Chetanananda of the Ramakrishna Mission. In it is recounted an incident which occurred in the life of Swami Brahmananda, which highlights not only the tremendous repression that women in India had to endure in the not too distant past, along with the consequent damage this repression did to their self-esteem; but also the unconditional fatherly love and acceptance that Swami Brahmananda showered upon all.


The Swami (Swami Brahmananda) was a friend and saviour of the fallen, the dejected and the lowly. When Sri Ramakrishna was alive, Girish Chandra Ghosh (a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna) took many actors and actresses of his theater to him for his blessings.

It is to be noted that at that time actresses were not accepted by society. They were considered immoral women. One of the actresses, named Tara, wrote in her memoirs how Swami Brahmananda’s love and blessings changed her life:

Ever since I was a little girl, I worked on stage with Girish Chandra Ghosh and heard from him about Sri Ramakrishna. There was a photograph of Sri Ramakrishna in every theater with which Girish Babu was connected, and the actors and actresses used to bow down to the Master’s photograph before they appeared on stage.

My first visit to the Belur Math took place 6 years ago (1916). I was then depressed and restless. Life seemed unbearable to me. I began to seek out places of pilgrimage. In this unhappy state of mind I finally went to Belur Math. Binodini the finest actress of Bengal at the time was with me. When I was 7 years old she introduced me to the theater and again it was she who introduced me to the monastery. It was past noon when we came to the Math. Maharaj (Swami Brahmananda) had finished his lunch and was about to go to his room for rest. At that moment we arrived and prostrated before him.

Maharaj said: “Hello Binode! Hello Tara! So you have come. You are too late. We have already finished our lunch. You should have let us know that you were coming.”

We could see how worried he was about us. He immediately ordered fruit – prasad, and arrangements were made to fry luchis (fried bread) for us. We went first to the shrine, then had our prasad, and afterwards were shown around the Math by a swami. Maharaj did not have his rest that day.

We were brought up to revere holy men. But along with respect and faith I felt much fear of them. I was impure – a fallen woman. And so when I touched the holy feet of Maharaj I did it with great hesitancy, afraid to offend him. But his sweet words, his solicitude and love dispelled all my fears.

Maharaj asked me: “Why don’t you come here often?”

I replied: “I was afraid to come to the Math.”

Maharaj said with great earnestness “Fear? You are coming to Sri Ramakrishna. What fear can there be? All of us are his children. Don’t be afraid! Whenever you wish come here. Daughter the Lord does not care about externals. He sees our innermost heart. There should be no fear in approaching him.”

I could not hold back my tears. My life long sorrow melted as the tears fell from my eyes and I realized: Here is my refuge. Here is someone to whom I am not a sinner, I am not an outcast.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. In that one sentence is the gist of all religions. Purity is absolutely the bedrock (of spirituality). The sine qua non (essential condition) of acquiring spiritual truth is the purity of heart and soul.

The sages have said that there are two sorts of purification, external (hygiene and cleanliness) and internal. The purification of the body by water, or other materials is the external purification, as bathing etc. Purification of the mind by truth and by all the other virtues is what is called internal purification.

In the list of the qualities conducive to internal purity, as given by Ramanuja, there are enumerated, Satya, truthfulness; Arjava, sincerity; Daya, doing good to others without any gain to one’s self; Ahimsa, not injuring others by thought, word, or deed; Anabhidhya; not coveting others goods, not thinking vain thoughts, and not brooding over injuries received from another.

Both (internal and external purification) are necessary. It is not sufficient that a man should be internally pure and externally dirty. When both are not attainable the internal purity is the better, but no one will be a Yogi until he has both.
Swami Vivekananda

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