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Sri Ramakrishna

Chez le photographe en 1884

“I bring to Europe – who does not know it – the fruit of a new autumn, a new message of the Soul, the symphony of India which has the name of Ramakrishna. {...] The man whose image I invoke here was the culmination of two thousand years of the inner life of a population of three hundred millions. Since his death forty years ago he has been a driving force behind present day India. He was neither a hero of action, like Gandhi, not a genius of art or thought like Goethe or Tagore, he was a little Brahmin peasant in Bengal, whose external life took place within a limited framework, without remarkable incidents, away from the  political and social activity of his time. But his interior life encompasses a multitude of men and gods. [...]Very little goes back to the source. The little Bengali peasant, by listening to his heart, has rediscovered the inner Sea. And he has wedded it [...]”

Romain Rolland The Life of Ramakrishna 1929


Ramakrishna (18 February 1836 – 16 August 1886) was born in Kamarpukur, a little village in the province of Bengal, in the northeast of India.

At the age of twenty, he was entrusted with the worship in a newly constructed temple in Calcutta, the provincial capital, a temple dedicated to the Goddess Kali. Then there began for Ramakrishna a long series of religious experiences – some disconcerting, for his body and his mind, for himself or those about him – experiences which confirmed what he sensed already in advance when he was only a child: there is only one reality, and that reality is divine.

In about 1861 several masters who were experts in these matters recognised in Ramakrishna a man who had received the highest ecstasy. This recognition changed nothing in the simplicity of Ramakrishna’s life: he continued with his service at the temple and his search for true spiritual knowledge, for this purpose practising the principal methods offered by the Hindu religion and also those of the Muslim and Christian religions.

In 1872 Sarada Devi joined Ramakrishna (they had been married in accordance with the age-old tradition when Sarada was only a child). Their love was unfailing and nevertheless remained chaste.

Gradually Ramakrishna’s reputation spread beyond the bounds of his native village or the Kali temple compound and people spontaneously came from all over India to see him and converse with him.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 April 2012