At the Feet of Sri Ramakrishna
Finding wisdom for our everyday lives in the words of one of India's greatest saints
(more about Sri Ramakrishna)

Water and God Have Many Names

One and the same material, such as water, is called different names by different people. One calls it "water," another "bari," a third "aqua," and another "pani."

So the one Sat-chit-ananda, the Being-Consciousness-Bliss, is invoked by some as God, by some as Allah, by some as Hari, and by others as Brahman.


Again, an elegant illustration.

Water is everywhere, known to every person. But each culture calls it something different. (By the way, "bari" is Bengali, and "pani" Hindi. You should know the other two.)

"God" here may be the Judeo-Christian God (Sri Ramakrishna knew Christianity well); "Allah" is of course Muslim; "Hari" is the Hindu god Vishnu/Krishna (the Vaishnava greeting "Haribol!" means "Chant Krishna's name"); and Brahman is the impersonal concept of God in Hinduism.

Finally, on "Sat-Chit-Ananda": This refers to the key attributes of the transcendent reality (Brahman), and the goal of any yogi. Books could be written about this, and we'll visit it again.

A word on translation: I'm using a 19th-century text translated by Max Muller. I'm sure he took some liberties with the original, to help his audience. So what I'm giving you here is a paraphrase of a liberal translation. But I think the ideas still hold.

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