To try to think without imagery is to try to make the impossible possible. We cannot think “mammalia” without a concrete example. So with the idea of God.
The great abstraction of ideas in the world is what we call God. Each thought has two parts — the thinking and the word; and we must have both. Neither idealists nor materialists are right; we must take both idea and expression. All knowledge is of the reflected, as we can only see our face in a mirror. No one will ever know his own Self or God; but we are that own Self, we are God. In Nirvana you are when you are not. Buddha said, “You are best, you are real, when you are not” — when the little self is gone.
The Light Divine within is obscured in most people. It is like a lamp in a cask of iron, no gleam of light can shine through. Gradually, by purity and unselfishness we can make the obscuring medium less and less dense, until at last it becomes as transparent as glass. Shri Ramakrishna was like the iron cask transformed into a glass cask through which can be seen the inner light as it is. We are all on the way to become the cask of glass and even higher and higher reflections. As long as there is a “cask” at all, we must think through material means. No impatient one can ever succeed.