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Ramakrishna Paramahansa Biography

Ramakrishna Paramahansa Biography
Ramakrishna Paramahansa (18 February 1836 – 16 August 1886),born Gadadhar Chatterjee or Gadadhar Chattopadhyay,was an Indian Hindu mystic and saint in 19th century Bengal.Ramakrishna experienced spiritual ecstasies from a young age, and was influenced by several religious traditions, including devotion toward the goddess Kali, Tantra (shakta), Vaishnava (bhakti),and Advaita Vedanta.
Birth and childhood
Ramakrishna was born on 18 February 1836, in the village of Kamarpukur, in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, into a very poor, pious, and orthodox Brahmin family. His parents were Khudiram Chattopadhyay and Chandramani Devi. Chandramani Devi is said to have had a vision of light entering her womb from Shiva's temple. Although Ramakrishna attended a village school with some regularity for 12 years,he later rejected the traditional schooling saying that he was not interested in a "bread-winning education".
the name Ramakrishna was given by Mathura Biswas—chief patron at Dakshineswar Kali Temple, it has also been suggested that this name was given by his own parents. Ramakrishna's father died in 1843, after which family responsibilities fell on his elder brother Ramkumar. When Ramakrishna was in his teens, the family's financial position worsened. Ramkumar started a Sanskrit school in Kolkata and also served as a priest. Ramakrishna moved to Kolkata in 1852 with Ramkumar to assist in the priestly work.
Priest at Dakshineswar Kali Temple
In 1855 Ramkumar was appointed as the priest of Dakshineswar Kali Temple, built by Rani Rashmoni—a rich woman of Kolkata who belonged to the kaivarta community. When Ramkumar died in 1856, Ramakrishna took his place as the priest of the Kali temple. Ramakrishna reportedly had a vision of the goddess Kali as the universal Mother, which he described as "... houses, doors, temples and everything else vanished altogether; as if there was nothing anywhere! And what I saw was an infinite shoreless sea of light; a sea that was consciousness. However far and in whatever direction I looked, I saw shining waves, one after another, coming towards me."
Marriage and Gender Identity
Rumors spread to Kamarpukur that Ramakrishna had become unstable as a result of his spiritual practices at Dakshineswar. Ramakrishna's mother and his elder brother Rameswar decided to get Ramakrishna married, thinking that marriage would be a good steadying influence upon him. The five-year-old bride, Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya (later known as Sarada Devi) was found and the marriage was duly solemnised in 1859. Ramakrishna became a very influential figure in Sarada's life, and she became a strong follower of his teachings. After the marriage, Sarada stayed at Jayrambati and joined Ramakrishna in Dakshineswar at the age of 18. As a priest Ramakrishna performed the ritual ceremony—the Shodashi Puja–where Sarada Devi was made to sit in the seat of goddess Kali, and worshiped as the Divine Mother. Ramakrishna regarded Sarada as the Divine Mother in person, addressing her as the Holy Mother, and it was by this name that she was known to Ramakrishna's disciples.
Religious practices and teachers
After his marriage Ramakrishna returned to Kolkata and resumed the charges of the temple again, and continued his sadhana. According to his official biographers, he continued his sadhana under teachers of Tantra, Vedanta and Vaishnava.
Totapuri and Vedanta
In 1865, Ramakrishna was initiated into sannyasa by Totapuri, an itinerant monk who trained Ramakrishna in Advaita Vedanta, the Hindu philosophy which emphasises non-dualism. Totapuri first guided Ramakrishna through the rites of sannyasa—renunciation of all ties to the world. Then he instructed him in the teaching of advaita—that "Brahman alone is real, and the world is illusory; I have no separate existence; I am that Brahman alone."
Last days
In the beginning of 1885 Ramakrishna suffered from clergyman's throat, which gradually developed into throat cancer. He was moved to Shyampukur near Kolkata, where some of the best physicians of the time, including Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar, were engaged. During his last days, he was looked after by his monastic disciples and Sarada Devi. According to traditional accounts, before his death, Ramakrishna transferred his spiritual powers to Vivekananda and reassured Vivekananda of his avataric status.Ramakrishna asked Vivekananda to look after the welfare of the disciples, saying, "keep my boys together"and asked him to "teach them".Ramakrishna's condition gradually worsened, and he died in the early morning hours of 16 August 1886 at the Cossipore garden house.
Ramakrishna preferred "the duality of adoring a Divinity beyond himself to the self-annihilating immersion of nirvikalpa samadhi", and he helped "bring to the realm of Eastern energetics and realization the daemonic celebration that the human is always between a reality it has not yet attained and a reality to which it is no longer limited".
To a devotee Sri Ramakrishna said:
It has been revealed to me that there exists an Ocean of Consciousness without limit. From It come all things of the relative plane, and in It they merge again. These waves arising from the Great Ocean merge again in the Great Ocean. I have clearly perceived all these things.
Ramakrishna regarded the Supreme Being to be both Personal and Impersonal, active and inactive:
When I think of the Supreme Being as inactive - neither creating nor preserving nor destroying - I call Him Brahman or Purusha, the Impersonal God. When I think of Him as active - creating, preserving and destroying - I call Him Sakti or Maya or Prakriti, the Personal God. But the distinction between them does not mean a difference. The Personal and Impersonal are the same thing, like milk and its whiteness, the diamond and its lustre, the snake and its wriggling motion. It is impossible to conceive of the one without the other. The Divine Mother and Brahman are one.
Ramakrishna regarded maya to be of two natures, avidya maya and vidya maya. He explained that avidya maya represents dark forces of creation (e.g. sensual desire, selfish actions, evil passions, greed, lust and cruelty), which keep people on lower planes of consciousness. These forces are responsible for human entrapment in the cycle of birth and death, and they must be fought and vanquished. Vidya maya, on the other hand, represents higher forces of creation (e.g. spiritual virtues, selfless action, enlightening qualities, kindness, purity, love, and devotion), which elevate human beings to the higher planes of consciousness.
Ramakrishna taught that jatra jiv tatra Shiv (wherever there is a living being, there is Shiva). His teaching, "Jive daya noy, Shiv gyane jiv seba" (not kindness to living beings, but serving the living being as Shiva Himself) is considered as the inspiration for the philanthropic work carried out by his chief disciple Vivekananda. 
His spiritual movement indirectly aided nationalism, as it rejected caste distinctions and religious prejudices.
Reception and legacy
Ramakrishna is considered an important figure in the Bengali Renaissance of 19th–20th century. Several organisations have been established in his name.The Ramakrishna Math and Mission is the main organisation founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1897. The Mission conducts extensive work in health care, disaster relief, rural management, tribal welfare, elementary and higher education. The movement is considered as one of the revitalisation movements of India. Amiya Sen writes that Vivekananda's "social service gospel" stemmed from direct inspiration from Ramakrishna and rests substantially on the "liminal quality" of the Master's message.
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