SRI RAMKRISHNA PARAMHANSA
“Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa was a great saint, a great devotee of Goddess Kali, said to have had long conversations with the Goddess Kali, like son and mother”.
Sri Ramkrishna was born on 18th February, 1836 in Kamarpukur, Hoogli of Khudiram Chattopadhyay and Chandramoni Devi. He was the fourth child of his parents, after Ramkumar, Katyayani and Rameswar and a sister, Sarbamangala. Nicknamed as Gadadhar, he was a very reckless but God-fearing boy since childhood and was deeply devoted to serve the mother Goddess Kali from a young age. He was greatly inspired by the leelas of Lord Krishna and tried to imitate his feats. As a child, he was matured for his age and earned the love of all. He had an unusual memory and was interested in Hindu mythology.
Once while playing the part of Shiva in the plays performed during Shivaratri, he attained Bhava Samadhi. His elder brother Ramkumar took him to Dakhineshwar to assist him in his works as a priest in the temple. In 1855, Rani Rashmoni of Janbajar offered him the job of the priest of the Goddess Kali at Dakhineshwar temple. Onlookers would crowd to see Ramkrishna performing pooja as they wanted to see the love and devotion with which it was performed. At the age of 23, in May 1859, he married Saradamoni of Jairambati whom he thought would be his ideal life companion. Soon after the urge of finding the truth of life made him take samnyas under the sage Totapuri who gave him the sobriquet, Paramhansa.
His quest for truth continued with Bhairavi Ma and sages in other religion. Though he attained Bhava Samadhi very often, he was inclined to know the truth about human existence. He started Adyitya Sadhana and realized God exists in every form of life. On 17th January, 1868, he started for a Tirthayatra along with Mathur Babu and his nephew Hridoy. He visited places like Deoghar, Varanasi and Vrindavan. He even worshipped Saradamoni in the same way he worshipped the mother Goddess which was known as Shorshi pooja. He preached universal brotherhood, and soon stalwarts like Kesab Sen, Shibnath Sastri, Girish Ghosh and Narendranath Datta (later Swami Vivekananda) became his disciples.
He developed a strange theological relation with Narendranath and soon moulded him in his own way. He taught Naren the truth of life by letting him see a glimpse of the Holy Spirit. It was Vivekananda in later days, which held high the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna to the world by forming the Belur Math. On 1st January, 1886 in Kashipur Garden an ailing Ramkrishna touched some of his disciples. Those who were touched felt an unearthly feeling never felt before. While some went speechless for a short while, others moved into a state of Samadhi. This incident is remembered by his disciples as Thakur taking the form of a Kalpataru. The great preacher passed away on 16th August, 1886.