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Offline JR

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Often in our hearths and homes we see the picture of a small brown man with short flowing beard & beautiful dark eyes, full of light, obliquely set and slightly veiled - - seeing half-closed a great distance, both outwardly and inwardly. He is Ramkrishna Paramahansa, the saint who gave us Vivekananda.
Kamarpukar is a village in Bengal (West), set in the midst ' of palm trees, pools and rice fields. In that village there lived a pious and old Brahmin couple. They were devotees of Lord Shri Ramchandra. The child whom the world was to know as Ram¬krishna was born in this family on February 18, 1836. His cradle name was Gadadhar.

What are the stories told about his childhood ? Gadadhar was the fourth of the five children, his parents had. His father died when he was seven years old. His biographers tell us stories about his frequent ecstasies when he played different role in the village dramas with the bo>s of his own age. His being was possessed by the roles of gods and goddesses and he lost himself in the glory of god. He was transported like Ganymede by the Eagle carrying the thunderbolt - - he was thought to be dead. Thinking deeply about the gods he frequently went into trances.

At school. Gadadhar made fair progress except in mathema¬tics. It is said that he did not like to study but he took delight in listening to the rhapsodists who used to go round the village, in those days, reciting mythological stories the epics and the puranas. Sometimes he used to enact these in the village dramas without any stage-setting. It was his pastime to repeat such roles before his friends almost verbatim. He had wonderful power of getting by heart what he heard only once.

His father and mother, although accustomed to the visitation of gods, regarded the child's transports with fear. But apart from all these, he was a normal child like others. His clever fingers fashioned gods from clay. The heroic deeds of the Ramavana -blossomed in his mind. He sang divinely of the pastoral airs of Lord Krishna and sometimes he took part in discussions of the learned men and astonished them by his wisdom His soul was like a Proteus possessed of assuming the roles he imagined. After the death of his father, his eldest brother Ramkumar looked after him. At that time there was a rich woman, named Rani Ras-mani. She founded a temple to the Goddess Kali, at Dakshine-shvar, on the eastern bank of the Ganga, four miles off from Calcutta. She was on the lookout for a Brahmin to serve in the temple as its priest. She had considerable difficulty in finding a proper man. Ramkumar accepted the offer and when he died, Ramkrishna took his place. At that time he was twenty years old.

This beautiful temple h-s five domes, crowned with spires and within it dwells the sovereign deity -- Goddess Kali-- the Universal Mother. To the west of the temple, there, is a garden and two ponds on the north and the east. Beyond the garden there are five sacred trees planted by Ramkrishna, called Panch-avati. Here he spent his day in meditation and prayer to the Mother and below the waves of the Ganga sang the intoxicating song.

Ramkrishna passed his days and nights in continual medita¬tion of goddess Kali. Gradually the radiance of the inner vision became outwardly manifest. He had the complete vision of the Mother before him. He listened to her. He saw her as clearly as the darkest cloud.

To most people his madness was a crying scandal. For a short time he was sent back to his home at Kamarpukar. His mother wished him to be married hoping that marriage would cure him of his divine enchantment. He was married (1859) to a girl, named Saradamani, of a Mukhopadhyaya family. Afterwards she was known by the popular name of Sharada Devi.

It was a union of souls. Later in life she recognised him as her guide and put herself at his service The marriage proved the truth of the great Upanishadic dictum that a wife is dear to the husband not as a wife but as his own Atman and a husband is dear to the wife not as a husband but as her own Atman.
In Sharda Devi too there was a divine glow. She radiated peace and serenity throughout her life on all who came in contact with her. The husband too, oh his own part, adopted her as his spiritual mother, as his Guru or teacher. This tie gave him the much needed peace of mind at his mother's house. " I have regained, he said, "what 1 wanted" and once again returned to the temple of his choice.

After his marriage Ramkrishna   came in   contact   with  two persons     One was   a   lady   known as   Bhairavi  Brahmini - - the Brahmin nun and the other one was Tota Puri, a Vedantic ascetic. Both of them tried to   initiate   him in their own   way.    The nun made him go back   over   the   road to   knowledge   which he had already traversed     She enlightened his mind.    Shri Tota Puri tau¬ght him the cardinal virtues of absolute non-dualism (the Advaita), that is, nothing but one unique Reality exists to the   exclusion of every other,   the doctrine of 'See the self and be the self - - Tat tvam asi (Thou   are   that)     Ramkrishna   quickly   made   spiritual progress.    He fully stood the trial of various Samadhis particularly the Nirvikalpa Samadhi, a state of superconsciousness.

His fame spread far and wide. People came to see this wonderful mystic saint, who had succeeded, not only in one Sadhana but in all. Monks, Sages, Sadhus, Visionaries and Missionaries - - all came to seek his advice.

What did Ramkrishna Paramahansa teach his disciples ? What was and is his song ? He told people in Bengali, of a homely kind, with a slight but delightful stammer in so many words which had the power of enthralling the listeners. His speeches had the wealth of spiritual experience, the inexhaustible stores of simile and metaphor, unequalled powers of observation, wonderful catholicity of sympathy and ceaseless flow of wisdom.

Sunday August 15, 1886 was the final day of his ecstasy. He said he had 'passed from one room to the other. ' Ramkri-shna Paramahansa was the supreme sage of his day. His name has been carried as one of the magnificent beads in the rosary of of Saints of India fit to be chanted for attainment of salvation. Swami Vivekananda carried the name of "His Master" across the skies and oceans.

Prof. Vaman H. Pandit,
13, Khatipura Road,
सबका मालिक एक - Sabka Malik Ek

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