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A child aged 6, walking along the paddy fields, watches a flock of cranes flying towards dark thunder clouds and he loses the outward consciousness for hours. Who knew that this child was destined to become one of the greatest saints that India has ever had. He was none other than Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who was the Guru of Swami Vivekananda.
Born to Khudiram Chattopadhyay and Chandramani Devi, Swami Ramakrishna's birth anniversary is celebrated on Dwitiya Tithi during Shukla Paksha in the month of Phalgun every year (8 March 2019 this time). Though the birth date as per Gregorian calendar is 18 February, the birthday is observed as per the Hindu calendar.
Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Realised the Purpose Of Life
Similar to the one described above, Swami Ramakrishna often had such experiences where he would often forget the outer consciousness. Ramakrishna went to school only for twelve years and studied till class 6. As he matured, he realised that education for bread earning was not his aim in life. He had discovered the urge for acquiring knowledge and finding the purpose of human existence is what he wanted from his life.
Swami Ramakrishna's Wife Became His Disciple
Ramakrishna's brother had started a school in Bengal and simultaneously started working as a priest in the temple of Goddess Mahakali. Later, he called Ramakrishna also to assist him. When the brother died, Ramakrishna took his place as the temple priest. He considered the temple deity Goddess Mahakali as the mother of the universe.
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He was married to Saradamani Mukhopadhyay, who later became his disciple. Moreover, the marriage never consummated as the bride was just five years old when the marriage solemnised, so she stayed at her parents' house initially. By the time she came to live with Ramakrishna, he had already abandoned the life of a grihastha and taken sanyas.
Swami Ramakrishna's Experience Of Other Spiritual Traditions
Ramakrishna exposed himself to Tantra Sadhana, Vatsalya Bhav (Vaishnava Bhakti) and learnt about Advaita Vedanta, under the guidance of different teachers. He even practised some other religions though for three-four days each, during which he saw the prime deity of the religion merging with his body. He loved the teachings of all these religions.
Swami Ramakrishna's Spiritual Principles
"Worship of God as mother", "all religions are true" and "assimilation of Hindu polytheism into Brahmoism" were some of the principles of Swami Ramakrishna. He influenced many Europeans as well in spirituality. An Indian student Narendranath Dutta once visited him and later gained popularity as Swami Vivekananda.
The Transfer Of Swami Ramakrishna's Knowledge
In his last days, he was told to maintain silence as he suffered from throat cancer. However, he never complied to what the doctor said and used to have verbal discussions with the visitors. Sarada Devi and monastic disciples looked after him during that phase. It is said that he transferred his spiritual knowledge to his disciple Vivekananda and asked his other disciples to look upon him their leader and teacher. Gradually, Swami Vivekananda emerged as a great influencer among the youth of India.