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

A Bell Rings With and Without Form

While a bell is being rung, the repeated "ding-dongs" can be distinguished from each other. But when we stop ringing the bell, then we can only hear an indistinguishable sound.

In the first case, we can easily distinguish one note from the other, as if each distinct note had a certain shape; but in the second, the continued and unbroken sound is as though formless.

Like the sound of the bell, God is both with and without form.


This is the first of several sayings about God being with form and without form.

This is a standard distinction in Indian thought, "Saguna Brahman" being God With Attributes, and "Nirguna Brahman" being God Without Attributes.

Sri Ramakrishna affirms that thinking of God in either way is acceptable, but seems to assert that seeing God With Attributes is provisional, immature; and seeing God Without Attributes is the superior way.

Still, looking back at the previous saying, we can feel assured that either way, God will be pleased.

1 comment:

  1. I see RK's point. Problem I find is I often get stuck to the forms and my world is all about only the forms. Too many idols colors,shapes, rituals, politics on and on Reading Bible I find there is no need to have a from at the very beginning. then it makes it lot easier.Not that every thing in Bible I agree .