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Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ( 1836 - 1886 )  Category ( Religious_Leaders_Figures ) [suggest a correction]

RamakrishnaRamakrishna was a Hindu mystic and leader of the modern revival of Hinduism. He was born as born as Gadadhar Chattopadhyay to a poor Brahman family in Bengal and even in childhood showed an intense longing for realization of God and an indifference to study and worldly affairs.

At age sixteen, he because a priest in the Kali temple at Dakshineswar near Calcutta. He spent the next twelve years in virtually uninterrupted prayer and meditation, and his whole-souled worship strengthened his desire for a vision of Kali, the Divine Mother. He wrote about his frustration over the lack of this vision initially:

I was then suffering from excruciating pain because I had not been blessed with a vision of the mother. I felt as if my heart were being squeezed like a wet towel. I was overpowered by a fear that it might not be my lot to realize Her in this life. I could not bear the separation any longer: life did not seem worth living. Suddenly my eyes fell on the sword that was kept in the Mother's temple. Determined to put an end to my life, I jumped up like a madman and seized it, when suddenly the Mother revealed herself to me, and I fell unconscious on the floor. What happened after that externally or how that day or the next passed , I do not know, but within me there was a steady flow of undiluted bliss altogether new, and I felt the presence of the Divine Mother.

After attaining such a vision, he practiced the disciplines of various Hindu sects and saw visions of Rama, Krishna, and Shiva. He married, but his wife remained a disciple and a nun.

Ramakrishna became a monk and followed the teachings of Vedanta, a Hindu philosophical system, through which he experienced Advaita (nonduality) and realized his oneness with the Supreme Spirit and the creation.

Ramakrishna then devoted himself to a study of Islam and had a vision of God as Allah. Turning to the study of Christianity, he attained a vision of Jesus and realized the essential unity of all religions. Shortly befor ehis death, Ramakrishna initiated some of this disciples into a monastic order led by the saintly Vivekananda to carry his message through the world.

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