Ramanakrishna Paramahansa
Ramanakrishna Paramahansa
(1836 - 1886)
Ramakrishna was born as Gadadhar Chaterji on the 18th of February in 1836. As the son of a poor Brahmin family, had very little education and did not speak English or Sanskrit. He did however have a strong longing for a direct relationship with God and had his first religious experience at the age of seven when he fell into a deep mystical trance.
As the result of tradition, at the age of 23 Ramakrishna became married to Sarada Devi who was only 5 years old. Both however devoted their lives to deep devotion and meditation. Ramakrishna saw sexual compassion and greed as the two evils that prevent devotees from reaching the goal of spiritual enlightenment.

Ramakrishna worshipped Kali, the principle of God responsible for creation and destruction (involution and evolution), as the Divine Mother. By this time he was also soaking up all genuine spiritual disciplines. He became an ascetic, withdrew into the forest, and studied Tantra, Yoga as well as Islamic and Christian philosophy. Because of his profound understanding of all major religions and philosophies, which was not based on reading books, Ramakrishna perceived that all religions are teaching the same principles when judged solely by their underlying essence. All religions had the same Goal.

Ramakrishna saw God in everything and everyone. He became one with pure Awareness, pure Consciousness, or pure Beingness. Sarada Devi herself became known as the "Holy Mother".

Sayings of Ramakrishna:

God (Brahman) alone is real; the world is illusory.
God alone is real, the Eternal Substance; all else is unreal, that is, impermanent.

When asked about a story concerning a farmer, Ramakrishna said:
The farmer was a Jnani; therefore he realized that the waking state is as unreal as the dream state.
There is only one eternal substance, and that is God (Atman - God's spirit in man).

For the Bhakta, God assumes forms. But for the Jnani, God is formless.
Thus God has form and, again, is formless. Because the mind cannot be fixed, all of a sudden, on the formless aspect of God, it is wise to think of God with form during the primary stages.

That which is Brahman is also Kali, the Mother of Primal Energy.

It is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer; the good and the bad; the real and the unreal; that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep.
And... He is beyond all these.

For more on the life and teachings of Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi, visit the official websites of the
Ramakrishna - Vivekananda Center of New York and the Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission.

Further reading on other Yoga Masters and Self-Realized Persons:
Contemporary Yoga Masters
Anandamayi Ma
Paramahansa Yogananda
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Sri Ramana Maharshi

Also visit the Yoga Portal and our directories of India Yoga Schools and Ashrams, Nepal Yoga Centres,
and Sri Lanka Yogis to connect with numerous contemporary yoga masters and worldwide yoga organizations!

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