What did Ramakrishna Paramahansa teach Swami Vivekananda


Ramakrishna (February 18, 1836 - August 16, 1886), born on Gadadhar Chattopadhyay (Chattopadhyay Temple - Bengal), was a famous 19th century Indian mystic. His religious school of thought led to the establishment of the Ramakrishna Mission through his student Swami Vivekananda. Both were influential figures in the Bengali Renaissance as well as the Hindu Renaissance in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Many of his disciples and followers believe that he was an avatar or incarnation of God. He is also called "Paramahamsa" by his followers and is popularly known as "Ramakrishna Paramahamsa". Ramakrishna was born into a poor Brahmin Vaishnava family in rural Bengal. He became a priest of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, which was dedicated to the goddess Kali. In Bengal, Kali worship was one of the main strands of the Bhakti tradition.

One of his first spiritual teachers was Bhairavi Brahmani, an ascetic woman who was trained in Tantra and Vaishnava Bhakti. Later an Advaita Vedantin ascetic taught him non-dual meditation. According to his own statement, he experienced nirvikalpa samadhi. Ramakrishna also experimented with other religions, particularly Islam and Christianity, and said that they all lead to the same God. Although he received no conventional education, he drew the attention of the middle class, the upper middle class and numerous Bengali intellectuals.

The Sanskrit word Ramakrishna

Ramakrishna, Sanskrit रामकृष्ण rāmakṛṣṇa, m., Means Rama with Krishna; Krishna is the Rama; Is Rama who is Krishna. Rama also means joy, love, the one who is happy, the one who gives joy. Krishna means dark, mysterious. Ramakrishna can also be translated as one who is always full of joy and love in a mysterious way.

Ramakrishna biography

Birth and childhood

Ramakrishna was born on March 13, 1836 in the village of Kamarpukur, in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, to a very poor but pious Orthodox Brahmin family. Kamarpukur was untouched by the splendor of the city and contained rice fields, tall palm trees, royal banyan trees, a few lakes and two cremation grounds. His parents were Kshudiram Chattopadhyaya and Chandramani Devi. According to his followers, Ramakrishna's parents experienced supernatural incidents and visions before he was born. His father Khudiram had a dream in Gaya in which Gadadhara (a form of Vishnu) said that he would be born his son. Chandramani Devi is said to have had a vision of light from Shiva's temple flowing into her lap.

Ramakrishna went to a village school for 12 years with a certain regularity, later he turned down the traditional school and said that he was not interested in "bread-making education". Since Kamarpukur was a transit point on established pilgrimage routes to Puri, he came into contact with renouncing and holy men. He became well versed in the Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Bhagavata Purana, which he heard from wandering monks and Kathaks (class of men who preached and sang the Puras in ancient India). He could read and write in Begali. While the official biographers write that the name "Ramakrishna" was given to him by Mathura Biswas (chief patron of Dakshineswar Kali Temple), there were also voices who believed that his parents gave him this name.

Ramakrishna describes his first spiritual ecstasy at the age of six: While walking along the rice fields, he watched a flock of white cranes fly against a background of dark storm clouds. He was so absorbed by this scene that he outwardly lost consciousness and experienced an indescribable joy in this state. Ramakrishna reportedly had other similar experiences in his childhood, worshiping the goddess Vishalakshi, and playing Shiva in a drama during the Shivaratri festival. From his tenth or eleventh year the trances became regular, and for the last few years of his life, Ramakrishna had samadhi times almost every day.

Ramakrishna's father died in 1843, after which family responsibilities fell on his older brother Ramkumar. This loss strengthened his bond with his mother, and he spent his time doing household chores and daily worship of the household gods, as well as contemplative activities such as reading the sacred epics. When Ramakrishna was a teenager, the family's financial situation worsened. His brother Ramkumar started a Sanskrit school in Calcutta and also served as a priest. Ramakrishna moved to Calcutta in 1852 to support Ramkumar in the priestly work.

Priests in Dakshineswar Kali Temple

In 1855, Ramkumar was appointed as the priest of Dakshineswar Kali Temple. The temple was built by Rani Rashmoni, a wealthy Calcutta woman who was a member of the Kaivarta community. Ramakrishna and his nephew Hriday became Ramkumar's assistants. Ramakrishna was given the task of decorating the goddess. When Ramkumar died in 1856, Ramakrishna took his place as the priest of the Kali Temple.

After Ramkumar's death, Ramakrishna became even more contemplative. He began to worship the image of the goddess Kali as his mother and mother of the universe. Ramakrishna reportedly had a vision showing the goddess Kali as the universal mother. He described the vision: "... Houses, doors, temples and everything else disappeared into one another as if there was nothing more. And what I saw was an infinite, shoreless sea of ​​light; a sea that was consciousness. It doesn't matter, however how far and in which direction I looked, I saw shiny waves, one after the other, coming towards me. "


After rumors spread in Kamarpukur that Ramakrishna was becoming unstable through his spiritual practices in Dakshineswar, Ramakrishna's mother and older brother Rameswar decided to marry Ramakrishna. They thought that marriage would have a calming influence on him as it would make him take responsibility and focus his attention on normal matters rather than his spiritual practices and visions. Ramakrishna reportedly mentioned that they would find the bride at Ramchandra Mukherjee's house in Jayrambati, three miles north-west of Kamarpukur.

The five-year-old bride, Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya (later known as Sarada Devi) was found and the marriage was duly celebrated in 1859. Ramakrishna was 23 at the time, but the age difference was typical of rural Bengal in the 19th century. They later spent three months together in Kamarpukur when Sarada Devi was fourteen and Ramakrishna was thirty-two. Ramakrishna became a very influential person in Sarada's life and she became a strong believer in his teaching. After the wedding, Sarada stayed in Jayrambati and moved to Ramakrishna in Dakshineswar at the age of 18.

By the time his bride moved in with him, Ramakrishna had already begun the monastic life of a sannyasin. As a result, the marriage was never consummated. As a priest, Ramakrishna performed the ritual ceremony - ShodashiPuja. Sarada Devi sat in the seat of the goddess Kali and was worshiped as a divine mother. Ramakrishna looked at Sarada like the Divine Mother in person and called her Holy Mother, and by this name she was known to his disciples. Sarada Devi survived Ramakrishna by 34 years and played an important role in the emerging religious movement.

Religious Practices and Teachers

After his marriage, Ramakrishna moved back to Calcutta, resumed temple duties and continued his spiritual discipline. According to his official biographers, he continued his spiritual discipline under teachers of Tantra, Vedanta and Vaishnava.

Bhairavi Brahmani and Tantra

In 1861, Ramakrishna Bhairavi accepted Brahmani, an orange-clad middle-aged female ascetic, as a teacher. She carried the Raghuvir Shila, a stone symbol for Ram and all Vaishnava deities. She was thoroughly familiar with the texts of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and practiced tantra. According to Bhairavi, Ramakrishna experienced phenomena that accompanied Mahabhava (the supreme attitude of loving devotion to the divine). Bhairavi initiated Ramakrishna in tantra. Tantrism focuses on worshiping the Shakti. The object of tantric training is to transcend the barriers between holy and unholy as a means of liberation and to recognize all aspects of the natural world as manifestations of the divine Shakti.

Under her guidance, Ramakrishna went through 64 great tantric sadhanas that were completed in 1863. He began with mantra rituals such as Japa and Purascarana and many other rituals that were developed to purify the mind and gain self-control. He later continued with tantric sadhanas, which generally adhere to a set of heterodox practices called vamachara (left hand path) as a means of liberation.

These activities include eating roasted grains, fish, and meat along with drinking wine and having sexual intercourse. According to his biographers, Ramakrishna did not participate directly in the last two of these activities. All he needed was an idea of ​​how they would be used to get the result he wanted.

Ramakrishna recognized the path of the left hand, although he had "undesirable features" on the "valid path to knowledge of God". Therefore, he consistently warned his followers and students about the way. Bhairavi also taught Ramakrishna the Kumari Puja, a kind of ritual in which the virgin goddess symbolized by a young girl is worshiped. Under the guidance of Bhairavi, Ramakrishna also learned Kundalini Yoga. Bhairavi, with the yoga techniques and the tantra, played an important role in the initial spiritual development of Ramakrishna.

Vaishnava Bhakti

The Vaishnava Bhakti traditions speak of five different moods or attitudes, called "bhavas", that a devotee can adopt in order to express his love for God:

  • "Santa", the attitude of the peaceful attitude;
  • "Dasya", the attitude of the servant;
  • "Sakhya", the friend's attitude;
  • "Vatsalya", the mother's attitude towards her child;
  • "Madhura", a woman's attitude towards her lover.

At some point between his vision of Kali and his marriage, Ramakrishna practices Dasya Bhava by worshiping Rama with the demeanor of Hanuman, the monkey god who is considered to be the ideal devotee and servant of Rama. Ramakrishna says that towards the end of this sadhana he had a vision of Sita, Rama's consort, merging with Rama's body.

In 1864, Ramakrishna Vatsalya Bhava was practicing under a Vaishnava Guru Jatadhari. During this period he worshiped a metal picture Ramlala (Rama as a child in the attitude of a mother to her child. Ramakrishna said he could feel the presence of the child Rama as a living god in the picture.

Then Ramakrishna engaged in the practice of Madhura Bhava - the attitude of the Gopis and Radha towards Krishna. In the practice of this bhava, Ramakrishna dressed in women's clothes for several days and considered himself to be one of the gopis of Vrindavan. According to him, this bhava is practiced to end the passionate love for the opposite sex, which is seen as an obstacle in the spiritual life. At the end of this sadhana he attained Savikalpa Samadhi (vision and union with Krishna).

Ramakrishna visited Nadia, the home of Chaitanya and Nityananda, the founders of Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava Bhakti in the 15th century. He said that he had an intense vision that two boys were transcending into his body. Before that, after his vision of Kali, he had practiced Santa Bhava towards Kali.

Totapuri and Vedanta

In 1865, Ramakrishna was initiated as Sannyasa, performed by Tota Puri, a wandering monk who taught Advaita Vedanta (Hindu philosophy that emphasizes non-dualism) to Ramakrishna. Totapuri first led Ramakrishna through the rites of Sannyasa - renunciation of all ties to the world. Then he taught him the doctrine of Advaita - that "Brahman alone is real and the world is an illusion. I have no separate existence, I am the Brahman alone." - to pass on. Under the guidance of Totapuri, Ramakrishna allegedly experienced nirvikalpa samadhi, which is considered to be the highest level in spiritual knowledge.

Totapuri stayed with Ramakrishna for almost 11 months and further instructed him in the teachings of Advaita. Ramakrishna said that this period of nirvikalpa samadhi came to an end when he received an order from Mother Kali to stay in Bhavamukha to take care of the enlightenment of the people. "Bhavamukha" is a state of existence between samadhi and normal consciousness.

Islam and Christianity

In 1866, Ramakrishna was introduced to Islam by Govinda Roy, a Hindu guru who practiced Sufism. Ramakrishna said that he reverently repeated the name of Allah, wore a cloth like the Arab Muslims, said their prayer five times a day, and was no longer able to see or pray to the images of the Hindu gods and goddesses. "The Hindu way of thinking was completely out of my head." According to him, after only three days of practice he had a vision of a radiant personality with a serious expression and white beard similar to Prophet Muhammad and felt a merging with his body.

He began practicing Christianity at the end of 1873 when one of his devotees, Shambu Charan Mallik, read him the Bible. Ramakrishna said that for several days he was filled with Christian thoughts and no longer went to the Kali Temple. Ramakrishna describes a vision in which the image of the Madonna and Child Jesus came to life and in which Jesus melted into his body. In his room there was one of all divine images that showed Christ, and he would smoke incense before it every morning and evening. There was also a picture of Jesus Christ saving Saint Peter from drowning in water.

Followers and students

Ramakrishna in a trance, 1879

In 1875, Ramakrishna met the influential Keshab Chandra Sen leader of the Brahmo Samaj. Keshab had adopted Christianity and separated from Adi Brahmo Samaj. Previously, Keshab had rejected idolatry, but under the influence of Ramakrishna he accepted Hindu polytheism and founded the "New Dispensation" (Nava Vidhan) as a religious movement based on Ramakrishna's principles of "worship of God as mother", "all religions as true" and "Assimilation of Hindu polytheism into Brahmanism." Keshab also published the teachings of Ramakrishna in the journals of the "New Dispensation" over a period of several years, bringing Ramakrishna into the attention of a wider public, especially among the Bhadralok (educated Classes from Bengal) as well as the Europeans who lived in India.

After Keshab, other Brahmins such as Vijaykrishna Goswami Ramakrishna began to admire his ideals and thus to reorient their socio-religious outlook. Many prominent people of Calcutta - Pratap Chandra Mazumdar, Shivanath Shastri and Trailokyanath Sanyal began to visit him during this period (1871-1885). Mozoomdar wrote the first English biography of Ramakrishna, entitled "The Hindu Saint" in Theistic Quarterly Report (1879), which played an important role in promoting Ramakrishna to Westerners such as the German Indologist Max Müller. Newspapers reported that Ramakrishna spread love and devotion among the educated classes of Calcutta and that he had succeeded in converting the characters of some youths whose morals had been corrupt.

Ramakrishna was also in contact with Debendranath Tagore, the father of Rabindranath Tagore and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, a renowned social worker. He also met Swami Dayananda. Among the Europeans who were influenced by Ramakrishna was the director Dr. W.W. Hastie of Scottish Church College, Calcutta. In explaining the word "trance" in the poem "The Excursion" by William Wordsworth, Hastie recommended that his students go to Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar if they wanted to know the true meaning of the word. This prompted some of his disciples, including Narendranath Dutta (later Swami Vivekananda), to visit Ramakrishna.

Most of Ramakrishna's prominent followers came between 1879-1885 and were influenced by his style of preaching and teaching. His main students were:

  • Grihastas or "The Housekeepers": Mahendranath Gupta, Girish Chandra Ghosh, Akshay Kumar Sen and others.
  • Monastery disciples who separated from their family and became the first monks of the Ramakrishna order: Narendranath Dutta (Swami Vivekananda), Rakhal Chandra Ghosh (Swami Brahman), Kaliprasad Chandra (Swami Abhedananda), Taraknath Ghoshal (Swami Shivananda), Sashibhartushyan Chakrami Ramakrishnananda), Saratchandra Chakravarty (Swami Saradananda), Tulasi Charan Dutta (Swami Nirmalananda), Gangadhar Ghatak (Swami Akhandananda), Hari Prasana (Swami Vijnanananda) and others.
  • a small group of female followers: Gauri and Yogi Ma Ma. A few of them were initiated as Sanyasa through mantra deeksha. With women, Ramakrishna emphasized the service of other women rather than the practice of asceticism. Gauri Ma founded the ashram "Saradesvari Barrackpur", which was dedicated to the education and advancement of women.

As his name spread, an ever-changing crowd of all classes and castes visited Ramakrishna. According to Kathamrita, these included childless widows, young schoolboys, old retirees, Hindu scholars and religious people, deceived men, people with suicidal intentions, business people and people who feared the exertion of childbirth and rebirth.

Ramakrishna's first biographers describe him as talkative. The biographers described that Ramakrishna spent hours reviewing his own eventful spiritual life, telling stories, explaining the Vedanta teachings with extremely secular illustrations, raising questions and answering them himself, telling jokes, singing songs and imitating all kinds of people and so his Impressed visitors. In preparation for monastic life, Ramakrishna ordered his disciples to beg for their food door to door regardless of caste. He gave them saffron-colored robes, the symbol of sannyasin, and initiated them with a deeksha mantra.

The last days

In early 1885, Ramakrishna suffered a laryngitis that gradually developed into throat cancer. He was relocated to Shyampukur, near Calcutta, where some of the best doctors of the time, including Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar. When his condition worsened, he was moved to a large garden house on Cossipore on December 11, 1885.

In his last days he was cared for by his disciples and Sarada Devi. Ramakrishna was instructed by his doctors to keep the strictest silence, but he ignored their advice and talked incessantly with the visitors. According to traditional accounts, Ramakrishna transferred his spiritual powers to Swami Vivekananda before his death and Vivekananda confirmed his divine status. Ramakrishna asked Vivekananda to take care of the students and asked him to teach them. Ramakrishna asked other disciples to respect Vivekananda as their guide. Ramakrishna's condition gradually deteriorated and he died in the early morning hours of August 16, 1886 in the summer house at Cossipore. His disciples considered this Mahasamadhi. After the death of their master, with the financial support of the Grihastas and under the guidance of Swami Vivekananda, the disciples founded a community in a half-ruined house in Baranagar near the Ganges. This was the first mat camp or monastery of the disciples who founded the first Ramakrishna order.

The spiritual name of Ramakrishna

Ramakrishna, Sanskrit रामकृष्ण rāmakṛṣṇa m, is a spiritual name and means 1. Rama with / and Krishna; 2. Krishna who is Rama. Ramakrishna can be given to aspirants with Krishna mantra.

Krishna means "dark" and therefore also mysterious. Ramakrishna also expresses that Rama and Krishna are one. Rama is the incarnation of God full of responsibility. Is the one who valued duty above all, who lived a dutiful life.

Krishna is the one who lived full of lightness, full of love, full of humor and so Ramakrishna is also called the connection of a sense of responsibility with ease with joy and with love.

See also


  • Swami Sivananda: The power of thought; Books. ISBN 3-922477-94-1
  • Swami Sivananda: Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Explanatory Text and Commentary by Swami Sivananda; Mangalam Books. ISBN 3-922477-06-2
  • Swami Sivananda: Hatha Yoga / The sure way to good health, long life and awakening of the higher forces; Heinrich Schwab Publishing House. ISBN 3-7964-0097-3
  • Swami Sivananda: Divine knowledge; Mangalam Books. ISBN 3-922477-00-3
  • Swami Sivananda: Sadhana; Mangalam Books. ISBN 3-922477-07-0
  • Swami Sivananda: Swami Sivananda's autobiography; Bad Mainberg 1999. ISBN 3-931854-24-8

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