Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Maa, Swami Avedananda, Swami Vivekananda

Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansha

Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansha was born on 17 February 1836, in the village of Kamarpukur, in the Hoogli district of West Bengal, into a very poor, pious, and orthodox brahmin family. His parents were Khudiram Chattopadhyay and Chandramani Devi. Sri Ramakrishna's parents experienced supernatural incidents and visions before his birth. In Gaya his father Khudiram had a dream in which Lord Gadadhara (a form of Vishnu), said that he would be born as his son. Chandramani Devi is said to have had a vision of light entering her womb from Shiva's temple. From early days, he was disinclined towards formal education and worldly affairs. He was, however, a talented boy, and could sing and paint well. He was fond of serving holy men and listening to their discourses. He was also very often found to be absorbed in spiritual moods. At the age of six, he experienced the first ecstasy while watching a flight of white cranes moving against the background of black clouds. This tendency to enter into ecstasy intensified with age. His father’s death when he was seven years old served only to deepen his introspection and increase his detachment from the world.

Priest at Dakshineswar Kali Temple

In 1855 Ramkumar was appointed as the priest of Dakshineswar Kali Temple, built by Rani Rashmoni—a rich woman of Calcutta who belonged to the kaivarta community. Ramakrishna, along with his nephew Hriday, became assistants to Ramkumar, with Ramakrishna given the task of decorating the deity. When Ramkumar died in 1856, Ramakrishna took his place as the priest of the Kali temple. Ramakrishna developed intense devotion to Mother Kali and spent hours in loving adoration of her image, forgetting the rituals of priestly duties. His intense longing culminated in the vision of Mother Kali as boundless effulgence engulfing everything around him.

Intense Spiritual Practices

Sri Ramakrishna’s God-intoxicated state alarmed his relatives in Kamarpukur and they got him married to Saradamani, a girl from the neighbouring village of Jayrambati. Unaffected by the marriage, Sri Ramakrishna plunged into even more intense spiritual practices. Impelled by a strong inner urge to experience different aspects of God he followed, with the help of a series of Gurus, the various paths described in the Hindu scriptures, and realized God through each of them. The first teacher to appear at Dakshineswar (in 1861) was a remarkable woman known as Bhairavi Brahmani who was an advanced spiritual adept, well versed in scriptures. With her help Sri Ramakrishna practised various difficult disciplines of the Tantrik path, and attained success in all of them. Three years later came a wandering monk by name Totapuri, under whose guidance Sri Ramakrishna attained Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the highest spiritual experience mentioned in the Hindu scriptures. He remained in that state of non-dual existence for six months without the least awareness of even his own body. In this way, Sri Ramakrishna relived the entire range of spiritual experiences of more than three thousand years of Hindu religion.With his unquenchable thirst for God, Sri Ramakrishna broke the frontiers of Hinduism, glided through the paths of Islam and Christianity, and attained the highest realization through each of them in a short span of time. He looked upon Jesus and Buddha as incarnations of God, and venerated the ten Sikh Gurus. He expressed the quintessence of his twelve-year-long spiritual realizations in a simple dictum: Yato mat, tato path “As many faiths, so many paths.” He now habitually lived in an exalted state of consciousness in which he saw God in all beings. He is regarded as the Yugavatara in this age and also as an incarnation of the Divinity. He came to show the way of harmony and progress. Sri Ramakrishna showed us the way to love all and to recognize God in all humanity. He is regarded as the Yugavatara in this age and also as an incarnation of the Divinity. He came to show the way of harmony and progress.The message of Vedanta is the same as the message of Sri Ramakrishna. His teachings are living commentaries to the Vedas.

The highest position that can be given to womanhood was given by Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna; he realized that the greatness of country could be achieved only by educating the young girls, the women of our country. During Sri Ramakrishna’s stay at Dakshineswar, Rani Rasmani first acted as his patron. After her death, her son-in-law Mathur Nath Biswas took care of his needs.


Education that teaches us what we are in reality is true education. The object of education should be attainment of perfection. That is the highest aim of education. The ideal of education should be such as will elevate man from his ordinary selfish state into the unselfish universal ideal of Godhood. We should learn to see God in man and woman and love them, worship them, feed them and educate them. Women should have equal rights and privileges with men. The highest ideal of education is the attainment of God-consciousness. Then and then only we will realize that we are the children of immortal bliss

Mind and its power The mind stuff is finer matter in vibration. The mind can be said to be the invisible side of matter and matter is the visible side of mind. The human minds are like the eddies in that one eternal current of the cosmic mind.

Contact with Some Notables

Sri Ramakrishna's name as an illumined saint began to spread. Mathur once convened an assembly of scholars, and they declared him to be not an ordinary human being but the Avatar of the Modern Age. In those days the socio-religious movement known as Brahmo Samaj, founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, was at the height of popularity in Bengal. Sri Ramakrishna came into contact with several leaders and members of Brahmo Samaj and exerted much influence on them. His teaching on harmony of religions attracted people belonging to different denominations, and Dakshineswar became a veritable Parliament of Religions.

Coming of the Devoteesas bees swarm around a fully blossomed flower, devotees now started coming to Sri Ramakrishna. He divided them into two categories. The first one consisted of householders. He taught them how to realize God while living in the world and discharging their family duties. The other more important category was a band of educated youths, mostly from the middle class families of Bengal, whom he trained to become monks and to be the torchbearers of his message to mankind. The foremost among them was Narendranath, who years later, as Swami Vivekananda, carried the universal message of Vedanta to different parts of the world, revitalized Hinduism, and awakened the soul of India.

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramkrishna did not write any book ,he delivered his teachings through simple language using parables and metaphors. These conversations were noted down by his disciple Mahendranath Gupta who published them in the form of a book, Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita in Bengali. Its English rendering, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, was released in 1942.

Last days

In the beginning of 1885 Ramakrishna suffered from clergyman's throat, which gradually developed into throat cancer. He was moved to Shyampukur near Calcutta, where some of the best physicians of the time, including Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar, were engaged. When his condition aggravated he was relocated to a large garden house at Cossipore on 11 December 1885 Ramakrishna's condition gradually worsened, and he died in the early morning hours of 16 August 1886 at the Cossipore garden house. According to his disciples, this was mahasamadhi.


Sri Sarada Maa

Endearingly known as 'Holy Mother', Sri Sarada Devi, the spiritual consort of Sri Ramakrishna, was born on 22 December 1853 in a poor Brahmin family in Jayrambati, a village adjoining Kamarpukur in West Bengal. Her father, Ramachandra Mukhopadhyay, was a pious and kind-hearted person, and her mother, Shyama Sundari Devi, was a loving and hard-working woman. Sarada Devi or Sri Sri Ma is one of the notable woman saints and mystics of the nineteenth century. She paved the way for the future generation of women to take up monasticism as the means and end of life

In May 1859, Sarada was betrothed to Ramakrishna. Sarada was 5 years old and Ramakrishna was 23; the age difference was typical for 19th century rural Bengal. After the betrothal, Sarada was left to the care of her parents and Ramakrishna returned to Dakshineswar. Sarada next met Ramakrishna when she was fourteen years old, and she spent three months with him at Kamarpukur. There, Ramakrishna imparted to Sarada instructions on meditation and spiritual life.

At Dakshineswar Kali Temple

At Dakshineswar, Sarada Devi stayed in a tiny room in the nahabat (music tower). She stayed at Dakshineswar until 1885, except for short periods when she visited Jayrambati. Sri Ramakrishna looked upon Sarada Devi as a special manifestation of Divine Mother of the universe. In 1872, on the night of the Phala-harini-Kali-puja, he ritualistically worshipped Sarada Devi as the Divine Mother, thereby awakening universal Motherhood latent in her. When disciples began to gather around Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi learned to look upon them as her own children.

Leading the Sangha after the Master’s Passing

After Sri Ramakrishna’s passing away in 1886, Sarada Devi spent some months in pilgrimage, and then went to Kamarpukur where she lived in great privation. Coming to know of this, the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna brought her to Kolkata. This marked a turning point in her life. She now began to accept spiritual seekers as her disciples, and became the open portal to immortality for hundreds of people. Her great universal mother-heart, endowed with boundless love and compassion, embraced all people without any distinction, including many who had lived sinful lives.

Mother of All

In the history of humanity there has never been another woman who looked upon herself as the Mother of all beings, including animals and birds, and spent her whole life in serving them as her children, undergoing unending sacrifice and self-denial. On account of her immaculate purity, extraordinary forbearance, selfless service, unconditional love, wisdom and spiritual illumination, Swami Vivekananda regarded Sri Sarada Devi as the ideal for women in the modern age. He believed that with the advent of Holy Mother, the spiritual awakening of women in modern times had begun.

Last Days

Under the strain of constant physical work and self-denial and repeated attacks of malaria, her health deteriorated in the closing years of her life, and she left the mortal world on 21 July 1920.


The Life Of Swami Abhedananda

Swami Abhedananda was born in Calcutta on October 2, 1866. His father, Rasiklal Chandra, was a senior teacher of English in the Oriental Seminary of Calcutta. His mother Nayantara Devi named him "Kaliprasad", meaning grace of the Divine Mother Kali. He had a keen interest in Sanskrit and philosophy. At the age of 18, while studying for the school final examination under the University of Calcutta, he went to Dakshineswar and met Sri Ramakrishna. Thereafter in April 1885, he left home to be with him, during his final illness, first at Shyampukur and then at Cossipur Garden-house near Calcutta. Here he received from his spiritual master 'gerua' along with other spiritual brothers Naren (Swami Vivekananda), Rakhal (Swami Brahmananda), Baburam (Swami Premananda), Shashi (Swami Ramakrishnananda), Tarak (Swami Shivananda), Latu (Swami Adbhutaaanda), Niranjan (Swami Niranjanananda), Buro Gopal (Swami Advaitananda), Sarat (Swami Saradananda) and Yogin (Swami Yogananda). The writings and speeches of Swami Abhedananda, a direct disciple of Ramakrishna, were spread over a long period of spiritual ministration both in America and India.

Monastic life

After his Master's death in 1886, he plunged into intense Sadhana (meditations), by shutting himself up in a room at the Baranagar matha, this gave his the name "Kali Tapaswi" amongst his fellow disciples.[1] After the death of Ramakrishna, he formally became a Sanyasi along with Vivekananda and others, and came to be known as "Swami Abhedananda".

For the next ten years, of his life, Swami Abhedananda took the life of a 'parivrajak' (wandering monk). He traveled barefooted from place to place from the Himalayas to Rameswaram, depending entirely on alms, cooked or uncooked. In course of his journey he never touched money. He had only a loin cloth on his waist as garment and always depended entirely on whatever chance would bring to him. He used to walk 20 to 25 miles each day. He first reached Ghazipur where he met Paohari Baba. He then went to Benaras. There he met Trailanga Swami and Bhaskarananda. He walked upto the source of the Ganges and Jamuna. There he stayed for three months in the caves of the Himalayas spending most of his time in the contemplation of the Absolute. He also stayed for some time at Hrishikesh where he studied where he studied Vedanta from the profound scholar Dhanaraj Giri, a renowned monk of Kailash Math. Giriji proclaimed the wisdom of Swami Abhedananda as 'aloukiki prajna' (heavenly wisdom He was a forceful orator, prolific writer, yogi and intellectual with devotional fervor

In 1896 came the call from Swami Vivekananda to assist him in his work of preaching Vedanta in England. He sailed for London in August 1896. His first lecture was before the Christo-Theosophical Society of London on the Advaita Philosophy of Panchadasi. Before returning to India in 1897 Swami Vivekananda entrusted him with the full charge of conducting the classes on Vedanta and Raja Yoga. . At the request of Swami Vivekananda, Swami Abhedananda went to U.S.A., for the first time in 1897 at the age of 31 to take charge of the Vedanta Society in New York, here he preached messages of Vedanta and teachings of his Guru[2] for about 25 years. He also took regular classes at the Vedanta Society on Bhagavat Gita, Upanishads, Spirit and Matter, Knowledge of the Self, Search after the Self, Realization of the Self, Immortality of the Self,Sankhya and Yoga Philosophy etc.. Finally, he returned to India in 1921, after attending the Pan-Pacific Education Conference at Honolulu. Japan, Shanghai, Hongkong, Canton, Manila, Singapore and Kuala-Lumpur in Malaya States. Everywhere he had to deliver series of lectures on various religions and philosophies including Vedanta Philosophy.

In 1922, he crossed the Himalayas on foot and reached Tibet, where he studied Buddhistic philosophy and Lamaism. In Hemis Monastery, he discovered a manuscript on the lost years of Jesus,[4] which has been incorporated in the book Swami Abhedananda's Journey into Kashmir & Tibet published by the Ramakrishna Vedanta Math.

He formed the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society in Kolkata in 1923, which is now known as Ramakrishna Vedanta Math. In 1924, he established Ramakrishna Vedanta Math in Darjeeling in West Bengal. In 1927, he started publishing Visvavani, the monthly magazine of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society, which he edited from 1927 to 1938,[4] and which is still published today. In 1936, he presided over the Parliament of Religions at the Town Hall, Calcutta, as a part the birth centenary celebrations of Ramakrishna, in the year 1937. This, however, can be counted as his last public address.

In May 1937, Swami Abhedananda visited Darjeeling for installing the deity in the temple of Sri Ramakrishna Vedanta Ashrama. Activities at Darjeeling had, by this time, largely extended with two colleges,, schools, library and the charitable dispensary. On his way back to Calcutta he was involved in a railway accident at Batasia loop. He sustained injuries in the heart. His health gradually broke down. He transferred the property of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society, Calcutta, in the name of Sri Ramakrishna as a 'debottar' property by a registered deed in 1939. This probably relieved him of the heavy burden of work devolved on him by his great Master Sri Ramakrishna. He left the mortal body on the 8th September 1939.


Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda, known in his pre-monastic life as Narendra Nath Datta, was born in an affluent family in Kolkata on 12 January 1863. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was a successful attorney with interests in a wide range of subjects, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with deep devotion, strong character and other qualities.

At the threshold of youth Narendra had to pass through a period of spiritual crisis when he was assailed by doubts about the existence of God. It was at that time he first heard about Sri Ramakrishna from one of his English professors at college. One day in November 1881, Narendra went to meet Sri Ramakrishna who was staying at the Kali Temple in Dakshineshwar. He straightaway asked the Master a question which he had put to several others but had received no satisfactory answer: "Sir, have you seen God?" Without a moment's hesitation, Sri Ramakrishna replied: "Yes, I have. I see Him as clearly as I see you, only in a much intenser sense." Apart from removing doubts from the mind of Narendra, Sri Ramakrishna won him over through his pure, unselfish love. Thus began a guru-disciple relationship which is quite unique in the history of spiritual masters.

After the Master’s passing, twelve of his young disciples began to live together in a dilapidated building at Baranagar in North Kolkata. Under the leadership of Narendra, they formed a new monastic brotherhood, and in 1887 they took the formal vows of sannyasa, thereby assuming new names. Narendra now became Swami Vivekananda (although this name was actually assumed much later).

Travels in India

In 1888, Narendra left the monastery as a Parivrâjaka— the Hindu religious life of a wandering monk, His sole possessions was a kamandalu (water pot), staff and his two favourite books: the Bhagavad Gita and The Imitation of Christ. Narendra travelled extensively in India for five years, visiting centres of learning and acquainting himself with diverse religious traditions and social patterns. He developed sympathy for the suffering and poverty of the people, and resolved to uplift the nation.Living primarily on bhiksha (alms), Narendra travelled on foot and by railway (with tickets bought by admirers). During his travels he met, and stayed with Indians from all religions and walks of life: scholars, dewans, rajas, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, paraiyars (low-caste workers) and government officials. Narendra left Bombay for Chicago on 31 May 1893 with the name "Vivekananda", as suggested by Ajit Singh of Khetri, which means "the bliss of discerning wisdom".

Vivekananda started his journey to the West on 31 May 1893 and visited several cities in Japan (including Nagasaki, Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo), China and Canada en route to the United States,reaching Chicago on 30 July 1893,where the "Parliament of Religions" took place in September 1893.

Awakening His Countrymen

He returned to India in January 1897. In response to the enthusiastic welcome that he received everywhere, he delivered a series of lectures in different parts of India, which created a great stir all over the country. Through these inspiring and profoundly significant lectures Swamiji attempted to do the following: to rouse the religious consciousness of the people and create in them pride in their cultural heritage; to bring about unification of Hinduism by pointing out the common bases of its sects; to focus the attention of educated people on the plight of the downtrodden masses, and to expound his plan for their uplift by the application of the principles of Practical Vedanta.

Founding of Ramakrishna Mission

Soon after his return to Kolkata, Swami Vivekananda accomplished another important task of his mission on earth. He founded on 1 May 1897 a unique type of organization known as Ramakrishna Mission, in which monks and lay people would jointly undertake propagation of Practical Vedanta, and various forms of social service, such as running hospitals, schools, colleges, hostels, rural development centres etc, and conducting massive relief and rehabilitation work for victims of earthquakes, cyclones and other calamities, in different parts of India and other countries.

Belur Math

In early 1898 Swami Vivekananda acquired a big plot of land on the western bank of the Ganga at a place called Belur to have a permanent abode for the monastery and monastic Order originally started at Baranagar, and got it registered as Ramakrishna Math after a couple of years. Here Swamiji established a new, universal pattern of monastic life which adapts ancient monastic ideals to the conditions of modern life, which gives equal importance to personal illumination and social service, and which is open to all men without any distinction of religion, race or caste.

Incessant work, especially giving lectures and inspiring people, told upon Swamiji’s health. His health deteriorated and the end came quietly on the night of 4 July 1902.