Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was a great Saint who lived in the 19th century in Bengal, India. He was named Gadadhar at birth. Gadadhar was a bright young boy. Once He saw some beautiful pictures of various deities. Immediately, He copied all of them on his own canvas. He would sculpt beautiful statues of various deities. From childhood, He was fond of God and would love to hear stories and songs about God and deities. He did not like to attend school and often said, “I do not want the school that teaches how to get a job and earn money, I want the school that will teach me about how to reach God.”
A rich lady called Rani Rasmani had built a temple for Kali Mata in Dakshineshwar, outside the city of Kolkata. Rani Rasmani and her son-in-law, Mathur Babu, noticed Gadadhar’s love for God. Hence, they asked Him to be the priest of that temple, and so Gadadhar moved to Dakshineshwar. He was often seen absorbed in worshipping Mother Kali without any thought about the outside world.
Once Mathur Babu presented Sri Ramakrishna with a beautiful shawl. Sri Ramakrishna was not interested in any such things; He was only interested in God. But since Mathur Babu had given it with so much love, Sri Ramakrishna took it. After looking at it from all angles, he put it on. In a few moments, he began thinking, “What is so special about this shawl? This expensive shawl does not provide me with real comfort or happiness. Instead it takes me my thoughts away from God and makes me think about it.” Then He took a match and set one end of the shawl on fire. The shawl got half burned and looked quite bad. Ramakrishna said, “There! This looks fine. Now the shawl is not beautiful nor worth anything. Now I do not have to worry about taking care of it. Now I can spend my time repeating (chanting) God’s Name.”
Moral : Dear children, many a times we think more about gifts, toys and things other than God’s Name. Through this story, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa teaches us to value God’s Name more than anything else in the world. To love repeating (chanting) God’s Name and to be close to God the way Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was, we too, can repeat (chant) God’s Name everyday.