A devotee once asked Sri Ramakrishna : Sir, can’t we householders realize God without complete renunciation?
Sri Ramakrishna said:
Do your duty with one hand and with the other hold to God. After the duty is over, you will hold to God with both hands.
It is all a question of the mind. Bondage and liberation are of the mind alone. The mind will take the colour you dye it with. It is like white clothes just returned from the laundry. If you dip them in red dye, they will be red. If you dip them in blue or green, they will be blue or green. They will take only the colour you dip them in, whatever it may be. If a scholar studies Sanskrit, he will at once rattle off Sanskrit verses. If you are in bad company, then you will talk and think like your companions. On the other hand, when you are in the company of devotees, you will think and talk only of God.
The mind is everything. A man has his wife on one side and his daughter on the other. He shows his affection to them in different ways. But his mind is one and the same.
Bondage is of the mind, and freedom is also of the mind. A man is free if he constantly thinks: ‘I am a free soul. How can I be bound, whether I live in the world or in the forest? I am a child of God, the King of Kings. Who can bind me?’ If bitten by a snake, a man may get rid of its venom by saying emphatically, There is no poison in me.’ In the same way, by repeating with grit and determination, ‘I am not bound, I am free’, one really becomes so — one really becomes free.
“One should have such burning faith in God that one can say: ‘What? I have repeated ‘the name of God, and can sin still cling to me? How can I be a sinner any more? How can I be in bondage any more?’
“If a man repeats the name of God, his body, mind, and everything become pure. Why should one talk only about sin and hell, and such things? Say but once, ‘O Lord, I have undoubtedly done wicked things, but I won’t repeat them.’ And have faith in His name.”
But one cannot be a King Janaka all of a sudden. Janaka at first practiced much austerity in solitude.
“Even if one lives in the world, one must go into solitude now and then. It will be of great help to a man if he goes away from his family, lives alone, and weeps for God even for three days. Even if he thinks of God for one day in solitude, when he has the leisure, that too will do him good. People shed a whole jug of tears for wife and children. But who cries for the Lord? Now and then one must go into solitude and practice spiritual discipline to realize God. Living in the world and entangled in many of its duties, the aspirant, during the first stage of spiritual life, finds many obstacles in the path of concentration. While the trees on the foot-path are young, they must be fenced around; otherwise they will be destroyed by cattle. The fence is necessary when the tree is young, but it can be taken away when the trunk is thick and strong. Then the tree won’t be hurt even if an elephant is tied to it.
“The disease of worldliness is like typhoid. And there are a huge jug of water and a jar of savory pickles in the typhoid patient’s room. If you want to cure him of his illness, you must remove him from that room. The worldly man is like the typhoid patient. The various objects of enjoyment are the huge jug of water, and the craving for their enjoyment is his thirst. The very thought of pickles makes the mouth water; you don’t have to bring them near. And he is surrounded with them. The companionship of woman/man is the pickles. Hence treatment in solitude is necessary.”
“One may enter the world after attaining discrimination and dispassion. In the ocean of the world there are six alligators: lust, anger, and so forth. But you need not fear the alligators if you smear your body with turmeric before you go into the water. Discrimination and dispassion are the turmeric. Discrimination is the knowledge of what is real and what is unreal. It is the realization that God alone is the real and eternal Substance and that all else is unreal, transitory, impermanent. And you must cultivate intense zeal for God. You must feel love for Him and be attracted to Him.
Whether you accept Radha and Krishna, or not, please do accept their attraction for each other. Try to create that same yearning in your heart for God. Yearning is all you need in order to realize Him.
Reference: From the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna