Japa means silently repeating God’s name in solitude. When you chant His name with single-minded devotion you can see God’s form and realize Him. Suppose there is a piece of timber sunk in the water of the Ganges and fastened with a chain to the bank. You precede link by link, holding to the chain, and you dive into the water and follow the chain. Finally you are able to reach the timber. In the same way, by repeating God’s name you become absorbed in Him and finally realize Him.
(p. 878-9, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Thakur’s words to the devotees on 24 Oct, 1885.)
Take courage and work on. Patience and steady work – this is the only way. Go on; remember – patience and purity and courage and steady work… So long as you are pure, and true to you principles, you will never fail – Mother will never leave you, and all blessings will be yours.
(p.96-7, Vol.5, Swamiji’s letter to Alasinga Perumal from London on 24 Oct,1895.)