RamakrishnaA brief biographical sketch of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. VivekanandaA brief biographical sketch of Swami Vivekananda. Eknath RanadeA brief biographical sketch of Eknath Ranade.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836 - 1886)

Ramakrishna ParamahamsaThough there does not seem to be a direct connection between Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, a brief biographical sketch is in place. As Swami Vivekananda has been a source of inspiration to generations, Ramakrishna was the source of inspiration to Swami Vivekananda himself.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay in the village of Kamarpukur, in what is now the Hooghly district of West Bengal, on 18 February 1836. Gadadhar’s parents, Khudiram and Chandramani, were poor and made ends meet with great difficulty.

His elder brother, Ramkumar, ran a Sanskrit school in Calcutta and also served as the priest in some families. About this time, a rich woman of Calcutta, Rani Rashmoni, founded a temple at Dakshineswar. She approached Ramkumar to serve as priest at the temple of Kali and Ramkumar agreed. After some persuasion, Gadadhar agreed to decorate the deity. When Ramkumar retired, Gadadhar took his place as priest.

He prayed to Mother Kali for more religious experiences. He especially wanted to know the truths that other religions taught. Soon word spread about this remarkable man and people of all denominations and all stations of life began to come to him.

To make him focus on his worldly responsibilities, his family got him married to six-year old Sarada. Sarada Devi was Ramakrishna's first disciple. He attempted to teach her everything he learnt from his various Gurus. She is believed to have mastered every religious secret as quickly as Ramakrishna had. Impressed by her religious potential, he began to treat her as the Universal Mother Herself. After the passing away of Ramakrishna, Sharada Devi became a religious teacher in her own rights.

Gadadhar soon came to be known as Ramakrishna Paramahansa, and attracted genuine seekers of God. He taught ceaselessly for fifteen years or so through parables, metaphors, songs and above all by his own life, the basic truths of religion. The key concept of his teachings was the oneness of existence; the divinity inherent in all living beings and hence worshipping God through the service of man.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa developed throat cancer and passed away on 16 August 1886 at a Garden House in Cossipore, leaving behind a devoted band of young disciples headed by Swami Vivekananda.