“To work without attachment is to work without the expectation of reward or fear of any punishment in this world or the next. Work so done is a means to the end, and God is the end.”
-Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
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: Shakti, 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
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 a 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 the 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 the revival of Hinduism in Bengal at a time when an intense spiritual crisis was gripping the province leading to the 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 seers, yet he remains contemporary throughout the ages.
Teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
- Ramakrishna Paramahamsa highlighted the essential unity of religions and the need to lead a spiritual life.
- He believed that the different religions of the world are only different ways to reach the same god.
- He believed that there were many roads to God and the service of man was the service of God, because the man was the embodiment of God.
- Hence, sectarianism had no place in his teachings.
- He realized the divinity in humanity and looked upon the service of mankind as a means to salvation.
Death of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
- After Ramakrishna’s death, the young disciples took informal monastic vows on Christmas Eve in 1886.
- After the death of Ramakrishna in 1886, the monastic disciples formed the first Math (monastery) at Baranagore.
- Later Swami Vivekananda became a wandering monk and in 1893 he was a delegate at the 1893 Parliament of the World’s Religions.
- Vivekananda was the first spiritual leader who thought beyond religious reforms.
- He felt that the Indian masses required secular as well as spiritual knowledge to empower them to believe in themselves.
- Vivekananda established the Ramakrishna mission after the name of his guru Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
- Through his speeches and writings, he brought out the essence of Hindu culture and religion. He believed in the spirit of Vedanta and the essential unity and equality of all religions.
- In 1893, he participated in the All-World Religious Conference (Parliament of Religions) in Chicago in the United States of America. He argued that Vedanta was the religion of all and not of the Hindus alone.