In News: The year 2021 marks the 185th birth anniversary of the holy saint Ramakrishna Paramahansa.
- 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 a 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.
Teachings and Influence on Society
- 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.
- His influence reached all strata of the society; he did not differentiate between devotees based on caste. He even embraced the sceptics, won them over with his simplistic charm and unselfish love.
- He was a force of revival to re-energise the decaying Hinduism in nineteenth century Bengal.
- His teachings also had profound effects on other religions like the Brahmoism that were forced to re-evaluate their beliefs.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s famous quotes
- The supreme purpose and goal for human life… is to cultivate love.
- All troubles come to an end when the ego dies.
- All religions are true. God can be reached by different religions. Many rivers flow by many ways but they fall into the sea. They all are one.
- Sugar and sand may be mixed together, but the ant rejects the sand and goes off with the sugar grain; so pious men lift the good from the bad.
Facts Ramakrishna Paramahansa
- Date of Birth: February 18, 1836
- Place of Birth: Kamarpukur village, Hooghly District, Bengal Presidency
- Parents: Khudiram Chattopadhyay (Father) and Chandramani Devi (Mother)
- Religious Views: Hinduism; Advaitism;
- Philosophy: Shakto, Advaita Vedanta, Universal Tolerance
- Death: 16, August, 1886
Place of Death: Cossipore, Calcutta