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Sri RamaKrishna Paramhansadeb

Post by: 06/05/2017 0 comments 214 views


One of the most prominent religious figures of India during the nineteenth century, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa was a mystic and a yogi who translated complex spiritual concepts into lucid and easily intelligible manner. Born in a simple Bengali rural family in 1836, Ramakrishna was as simple yogi. He pursued the Divine throughout his life in various forms and believed in divine embodiment of the Supreme Being in every individual. Sometimes believed to be the modern day reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, Ramakrishna was the embodiment of spiritual salvation to troubled souls from all walks of life. He was a key figure in revival of Hinduism in Bengal at a time when intense spiritual crisis was gripping the province leading to predominance of young Bengalis embracing Brahmoism and Christianity. His legacy did not end with his death in 1886; his most prominent disciple Swami Vivekananda carried on his teachings and philosophy to the world through Ramakrishna Mission. In essence, his teachings were as traditional as ancient sages and seer, yet he remains contemporary throughout the ages.

Date of Birth: February 18, 1836

Place of Birth: Kamarpukur village, Hoogly District, Bengal Presidency

Parents: Khudiram Chattopadhyay (Father) and Chandramani Devi (Mother)

Wife: Saradamoni Devi

Religious Views: Hinduism; Advaitaism

Philosophy: Shakto, Advaita Vedanta, Universal Tolerance

Death: 16, August, 1886

Place of Death: Cossipore, Calcutta

Memorial: Kamarpukur village, Hoogly District, West Bengal; Dakshineshwar Kali Temple Compound, Kolkata, West Bengal

Early Life

Ramakrishna was born as Gadadhar Chattopadhyay on February 18, 1836 to Khudiram Chattopadhyay and Chandramani Devi. The poor Brahmin family hailed from the Kamarpukur village of Hoogly district in Bengal Presidency.

Young Gadadhar was sent to the village school to learn Sanskrit, but a reluctant student he would often play truant. He loved to paint and create clay models of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. He was attracted to folk and mythological stories which he had heard from his mother. He gradually leant Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas and other holy literature by heart just by hearing it from priests and sages. Young Gadadhar loved the nature so much that he used to spend much of his time in orchards and on the river-banks.

From a very young age, Gadadhar was religiously inclined and he would experience episodes of spiritual ecstasy from everyday incidents. He would go into trances while performing pujas or observing a religious drama.

After the death of Gadadhar’s father in 1843, the responsibility of the family fell on his elder brother, Ramkumar. Ramkumar left home for Calcutta to earn for the family and Gadadhar, back in his village started performing regular worshipping of their family-deity, previously handled by his brother. He was deeply religious and would perform the pujas ardently. Meanwhile, his elder brother had opened a school to teach Sanskrit in Calcutta and served as a priest at different socio-religious functions.

Arrival at Dakshineshwar and Induction into Priesthood

The Kali temple at Dakshineshwar was established by the celebrated philanthropist Queen of Janbazar, Calcutta, Rani Rashmoni, during 1855. Since the Queen’s family belonged to the Kaibarta clan that was considered a lower caste by the Bengali society of the time, Rani Rashmoni was having immense difficulty in finding a priest for the temple. Rashmoni’s son-in-law, Mathurbabu came across Ramkumar in Calcutta and invited him to take the position of the head priest at the temple. Ramkumar obliged and sent for Gadadhar to join him at Dakshineshwar to assist him in the daily rituals. He arrived at Dakshineshwar and was entrusted with the duty of decorating the deity.

Ramkumar died in 1856, leaving Ramakrishna to take over the position of the head priest at the temple. Thus began the long, celebrated journey of priesthood for Gadadhar. It is said that Mathurbabu, witnessing Gadadhar’s piousness and certain supernatural incidents, gave the name Ramakrishna to young Gadadhar.

Religious Journey

As a worshipper of Goddess Kali, Ramakrishna was considered a ‘Shakto’, but the technicalities did not limit him to worship the divine through other spiritual approaches. Ramakrishna was perhaps one of the very few yogis who had tried to experience divinity through a host of different avenues and have not stuck to one single way of spirituality. He schooled under a number of different Gurus and absorbed their philosophies with equal eagerness.

He worshipped God Rama as Hanuman, Rama’s most devoted follower and even experienced vision of Sita merging with himself.

He learned the nuances of ‘Tantra Sadhana’ or tantric ways from Bhairavi Brahmani, a female sage, during 1861-1863. Under her guidance Ramakrishna completed all 64 sadhanas of tantras, even the most intricate and demanding of them. He also learned Kundalini Yoga from Bhairavi.

Ramakrishna next moved on to leaning the inner mechanics of the ‘Vaishnav’ faith, a faith starkly opposite in philosophy and practices to Shakto tantric practices. He learned under the tutelage of Guru Jatadhari during 1864. He practiced ‘Batshalya Bhava’, worshipping of God, specifically Lord Vishnu in a child image with the attitude of mother. He also practiced ‘Madhura Bhava’, the central concepts of Vaishav faith, synonymous with the love that Radha felt for Krishna. He visited Nadia and experienced a vision that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of Vaishnav faith merging in his body.

Teachings and Influence on Society

Sri Ramakrishna was probably the most celebrated mystic of all times. A simple man, sometimes with childlike enthusiasm, he explained the most complex concepts of spiritual philosophies in most simple parables, stories and anecdotes. His words flowed from a deep sense of belief in the Divinity and his experience of embracing God in a very real form. He directed that the ultimate goal of every living soul is God-realization. Having practiced different facets of Hinduism as well of other religions like Islam and Christianity, he preached that all of these religions were different paths that lead up to a single goal – God. His conversations with his disciples were recorded by his devotee Mahendranath Gupta and the collective work was titled as Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita (The Nectar of Sri Ramakrishna’s Words). To get rid of the thought that he belonged to a higher Brahmanical caste, he began to eat food cooked by the shudras or lower-caste.


The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

The principal source for Ramakrishna’s teaching is Mahendranath Gupta’s Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita, which is regarded as a Bengali classic. Kripal calls it “the central text of the tradition”.The text was published in five volumes from 1902 to 1932. Based on Gupta’s diary notes, each of the five volumes purports to document Ramakrishna’s life from 1882–1886.

The most popular translation of the Kathamrita is The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Nikhilananda. Nikhilananda’s translation rearranged the scenes in the five volumes of the Kathamrita into a linear sequence. Malcolm Mclean and Jeffrey Kripal argue that the translation is unreliable.Philosopher Lex Hixon writes that the Gospel is “spiritually authentic” and a “powerful rendering of the Kathamrita”.

Style of teaching

Ramakrishna’s teachings were imparted in rustic Bengali, using stories and parables. These teachings made a powerful impact on Calcutta’s intellectuals, despite the fact that his preachings were far removed from issues of modernism or national independence.

Ramakrishna’s primary biographers describe him as talkative. According to the biographers, Ramakrishna would reminisce for hours about his own eventful spiritual life, tell tales, explain Vedantic doctrines with extremely mundane illustrations, raise questions and answer them himself, crack jokes, sing songs, and mimic the ways of all types of worldly people, keeping the visitors enthralled.


Ramakrishna emphasised God-realisation as the supreme goal of all living beings. Ramakrishna taught that kamini-kanchana is an obstacle to God-realization. Kamini-kanchan literally translates to “woman and gold.” Partha Chatterjee wrote that the figure of a woman stands for concepts or entities that have “little to do with women in actuality” and “the figure of woman-and-gold signified the enemy within: that part of one’s own self which was susceptible to the temptations of ever-unreliable worldly success.Carl T. Jackson interprets kamini-kanchana to refer to the idea of sex and the idea of money as delusions which prevent people from realising God.Jeffrey Kripal translates the phrase as “lover-and-gold” and associates it with Ramakrishna’s alleged disgust for women as lovers. Swami Tyagananda, considered this to be a “linguistic misconstruction.”


It has been revealed to me that there exists an Ocean of Consciousness without limit. From It come all things of the relative plane, and in It they merge again. These waves arising from the Great Ocean merge again in the Great Ocean. I have clearly perceived all these things.


Ramakrishna taught that jatra jiv tatra Shiv (wherever there is a living being, there is Shiva). His teaching, “Jive daya noy, Shiv gyane jiv seba” (not kindness to living beings, but serving the living being as Shiva Himself) is considered as the inspiration for the philanthropic work carried out by his chief disciple Vivekananda.

In the Calcutta scene of the mid to late nineteenth century, Ramakrishna was opinionated on the subject of Chakri. Chakri can be described as a type of low-paying servitude done by educated men—typically government or commerce-related clerical positions. On a basic level, Ramakrishna saw this system as a corrupt form of European social organisation that forced educated men to be servants not only to their bosses at the office but also to their wives at home.

Message of Sri Ramakrishna

The message of Sri Ramakrishna to the modern world, which he gave through his life and through his recorded conversations, may be briefly stated as follows:

  • The goal of human life is the realization of the Ultimate Reality which alone can give man supreme fulfilment and everlasting peace. This is the essence of all religions.
  • The Ultimate Reality is one; but it is personal as well as impersonal, and is indicated by different names (such as God, Ishvar, etc) in different religions.
  • The Ultimate Reality can be realized through various paths taught in world religions. All religions are true in so far as they lead to the same ultimate Goal.
  • Purity of mind is an essential condition for the attainment of the Ultimate Reality; real purity is freedom from lust and greed. External observances are only of secondary importance.
  • Through spiritual practices man can overcome his evil tendencies, and divine grace can redeem even the worst sinner. Therefore one should not brood over the past mistakes, but should develop a positive outlook on life by depending on God.
  • God realization is possible for all. The householders need not renounce the world; but they should pray sincerely, practise discrimination between the Eternal and the temporal and remain unattached. God listens to sincere prayer. Intense longing (vyakulata) is the secret of success in spiritual life.
  • God dwells in all people but the manifestation of this inner Divinity varies from person to person. In saintly people there is greater manifestation of God. Women are special manifestations of Divine Mother of the Universe, and so are to be treated with respect.
  • Since God dwells in all people, helping the needy should be done not out of compassion (which is an attitude of condescension) but as humble service to God.
  • Egoism, caused by ignorance, is the root-cause of all suffering.
  • Life is an expression of the spontaneous creativity (Lila) of God. Pleasure and pain, success and failure, etc are to be borne with patience, and one should resign oneself to God’s will under all circumstances.


In 1885 Ramakrishna suffered from throat cancer. In order to consult the best physicians of Calcutta, Ramakrishna was shifted to a devotee’s house in Shyampukur by his disciples. But with time, his health started deteriorating and he was taken to a large house at Cossipore. His condition kept worsening and on 16 August, 1886, he passed away at the Cossipore garden house.

Credit – wikipedia

Credit – belurmath

Credit – culturalindia

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