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Raamkrishn Paramhans

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Raamkrishn Paramhans
1836-1886 AD = 50 yrs

His original name was Gadaadhar Chattopaadhyaaya. When he was initiated as a monk, his spiritual teacher gave this name to him. In his youth, he served as a priest at the Kaalee Temple in Dakshineshwar, Kalkattaa, where his elder brother was the head priest. He was married to a much younger girl, Shaaradaa Devee, at the age of 25. In due course Shaaradaa herself proved to be a saint in her own right and was referred to Holy Mother. First he used to think that women were dangerous because of sex etc, but later he started respecting them when he saw his own wife as Divine Mother.

He was not much educated and preached that the path to reach God was through faith, love, meditation, and surrender and not through intellectual pursuit. He was born as Braahman but he spoke against caste system. He respected other religions and said that all religions were different paths to reach the same God. He was a Vedaantist as well as a devotee of Kaalee, Raam and Krishn. His preaching have been collected by his disciple Vivekaanand. In fact he made Raamkrishn's name immortal by starting Raamkrishn Mission, a non-profit organization to spread Vedaant. He called his Guru as Raamkrishn Paramhans.

How Vivekaanand Became His Disciple?
This story is about a miracle which was seen by Swaamee Totaapuree Jee who was the follower of the path of Vedaant, but after this incident he had to bow down his head before mother Kaalee at Dakshineshwar Temple.

One day, a leader of nearly seven hundred Naagaa Saadhu, a Sanyaasee named Totaapuree arrived at the temple premises of Dakhineshwar. His fame had spread far and wide. After completing his holy dip in the Gangasagar he came to stay at Dakshineshwar in lunar month of Paush. He looked at Shree Raamkrishn Paramhans and asked him - "Will you do some Saadhanaa?" Raamkrishn Jee said - "If mother says so." Raamkrishn asked mother Kaalee - "Who will teach me Saadhanaa?" Mother Kaalee replied him -  "The person who has come to teach you Vedaant, the same person will teach you Saadhanaa also." Raamkrishn Paramhans Jee went to Totaapuree Jee and reported the Maa Kaalee's statement verbatim to Totaapuree. He smiled and said - "If you have to receive teaching from me, then you have to become a Sanyaasee."

Then he explained Raamkrishn the Sanyaas. He imparted spiritual instruction and tried to induce Raamkrishn in to the state of Samaadhi. He removed a bead from the rosary and asked Raamkrishn to sit in the lotus pose. Totaapuree touched the Raamkrishn’s forehead, in the middle of the eyebrows, with a crystal. He pressed the crystal a little harder and Raamkrishn entered into the state of Samadhi. He became unconscious. He remained unconscious for two days, but there was no decomposition of his  body, though Totaapuree was astounded. He tried to do every thing a Guru could do to bring his disciple out of the Samaadhi, but in vain.

Now it was the dawn of the third day, that instantly Totaapuree knew what he had to do in this situation. He went close to Raamkrishn’s ear and said, "He for whom you have waited is here." Raamkrishn sat up instantly as if some one had pulled him up. He asked, "where is he? Where is he?" Totaapuree replied, "He will be reaching here soon." He said again, "Thaakur, you are far ahead of me. You are a great being. What I have not been able to attain after forty years of penance, you have attained that state within a day. You are great." At this Totaapuree bowed down his head before the idol of mother Kaalee in Dakshineshwar Temple.

The message through which Totaapuree got Raamkrishn out of Samaadhi was related to Narendranaath Duttaa who later on became famous as Sanyaasee Vivekaanand. The day Narendranath came in contact with Raamkrishn, he hugged him close to his chest and cried piteously like a parent who had found his long lost son. Narendra’s quest for God ended at the doorstep of Raamkrishn Paramhans. He said to Narendra, "Whatever you have to ask, go and ask the mother Kaalee. Don’t tell me any thing."

After five years, one day Ramkrishn Paramhans told a disciple that "I will not be able to talk to people anymore, so I have requested mother Kaalee to give power to Narendra, Raajaa, Taarak, Baaboo, Shashi and other disciples. From now onwards, these disciples will impart spiritual knowledge to devotees." This shows firm belief in Idol worship and the way of spiritual attainment.

Preach Only What You Practice
Once Raamkrishn had a poor woman among his disciples. One day, she came to him with her son and said - "Gurudev, my son wants to eat sweets every day. This habit is spoiling his teeth, and I also cannot afford to buy them for him everyday. My advice, warning and even beating have all been in vain. Please give him some advice and also bless him so that he stops the bad habit." Raamkrishn looked at the boy, but instead of talking to him, asked the woman to bring him back after two weeks.

The woman brought the boy to him again after two weeks. As both sat down, Raamkrishn kindly looked at the boy and said - "My dear son, is it true that you trouble your mother for sweets every day?" The boy hung his head and said, "Yes, Sir." and became silent. Raamkrishn said - "You are an intelligent boy. You know that those sweets are spoiling your teeth and your mother is worried about you. If she spends money on sweets everyday, how can she buy new books and good clothes for you? Don’t you think you are making a mistake?"

Raamkrishn’s words touched the boy’s heart. He looked at Raamkrishn and said, "Yes, Sir." and became silent again. "Then, will you stop asking for sweets from today?" asked Raamkrishn in an appealing tone. The boy smiled this time and said, "Yes, Sir, I will stop troubling my mother for sweets from today and stop eating them everyday." Raamkrishn, pleased with the boy’s reply, lovingly drew him close and said: "My son, you are a nice boy. You understand what is good and what is bad for you. You will surely grow up to be a happy man." As the boy bowed down in Namaskaar, Raamkrishn blessed him and turned to the other devotees.

After the boy went out into the garden, his grateful mother asked Raamkrishn, "Gurudev, why did you make us wait for two weeks to give these few words of advice?" Raamkrishn smiled and said, "You see, when you came two weeks ago, I, too, was in the habit of eating sweets brought by devotees. How could I ask your son not to do something which I myself was doing almost everyday? So, from that day I stopped eating sweets. That gave me enough strength and power to advise your son to do what I myself have done. Only when we preach what we practice, are our words full of sincerity and appeal to the listener."All the devotees in the room felt that they, too, had learnt a great lesson from Raamkrishn.

Repair the Idol, Do Not Change It
This story took place in Dakshineshwar, a small town in Calcutta, India. The town had been blessed with several temples devoted to various deities, such as Goddess Kali, Lord Krishn and Lord Shiv. Every day, the priests would worship all of the idols and perform sacred rituals in honor of them. Raamkrishn was living in this town. He was an ardent devotee of Goddess Kali and worshipped her day and night. One day, while performing his daily rituals, a priest noticed that the idol of Krishn looked old and worn, with its colors faded, so he suggested to the other priests that it be replaced with a new one. Everyone agreed that the idol needed replacement. Suddenly, an elder realized that no one had asked Raamkrishn for his opinion on the matter. On being asked, Raamkrishn replied - "If a loved one falls ill, do we have him replaced? Or do we seek a cure for their illness? The same should be done in this case. Let us paint and restore the idol and re-install it for worship. An idol of God should be viewed not merely as a statue, but as a symbol of God. Only when treated with reverence and worshipped with faith and devotion, can any benefit be derived from its worship." The townspeople were moved by Raamkrishn's words. The idol was painted anew and re-installed for all to worship.

Some Events of His Life
(1) Raamkrishn was worshiping his Kaalee idol but he achieved Nir-Vikalp Samaadhi through an A-Dwait Sanyaasee Totaapuree. When Raamkrishn meditated, he used to see the image of Kaalee in his meditation - dancing, talking, laughing. Seeing this condition Totaapuree told him that what he had achieved till now was nothing great. It was only a part of mind game (Maayaa) and he had to get rid of this mind game. And Totaapuree finally told him to cut the Kaalee image in meditation by sword. Raamkrishn asked him from where he would bring the sward in his meditation? Totaapuree said to him - "You have to create it in the same way as you are imaging Kaalee. You can image sward also and cut the Kaalee's body." Raamkrishn did the same thing and the moment he cut the Kaalee's image by sword he entered in Nir-Aakaar Brahm.

When Kali fell apart he became non-dual, the wave dissolved in the ocean, the river fell into the ocean. It is said that he stayed immersed in this ultimate silence for six days. He was neither hungry nor thirsty – there was no consciousness of the outside, no awareness. All was forgotten. And when he opened his eyes six days later, the first thing he said was - "The last barrier has fallen."

There is another report on this. When Totaapuree came, Raamkrishn told him that he (Raamkrishn) would have to get mother's permission to do the same. Totaapuree told him to get the permission. When Raamkrishn told Mother Kaalee about his talk to Totaapuree, Mother told him that it was she who brought Totaapuree to initiate into A-Dwait. Later on, of course, he was having difficulty in leaving Mother and Totaapuree had to scratch / make a small incision on Raamkrishn's forehead to help him overcome his last barrier.

(2) Once Raamkrishn stretched out his hands and said to Kaalee - "O Mother, I offer my Kaam (desires) and Krodh (anger or rage) to you." Suddenly he felt a hand taking hold of his outstretched hand. He then heard a voice say - "Do not offer these to Kaalee. Whatever you offer to Kaalee will return to you in multifold." So "Our offerings to Saints (Saadhu) do not go a waste. When we offer something to the Guru, to Saadhu, to Lord it comes back to us in multifold. This is true, so give them carefully what do you want back from them."

(3) In 1866, Govinda Roy, a Hindu Guru who practiced Soofeesm, initiated Raamkrishn into Islam. Raamkrishn said that he "devoutly repeated the name of Allaah, wore a cloth like the Arab Muslim, said their prayer five times daily, and felt disinclined even to see images of the Hindu gods and goddesses, much less worship them - for the Hindu way of thinking had disappeared altogether from my mind." According to Raamkrishn, after three days of practice he had a vision of a "radiant personage with grave countenance and white beard resembling the Prophet and merging with his body".

At the end of 1873 he started the practice of Christianity, when his devotee Shambhu Charan Mallik read the Bible to him. Raamkrishn said that for several days he was filled with Christian thoughts and no longer thought of going to the Kaalee temple. Raamkrishn describes of a vision in which the picture of Madonna and Child Jesus became alive and had a vision in which Jesus merged with his body. In his own room amongst other divine pictures was one of Christ, and he burnt incense before it morning and evening. There was also a picture showing Jesus Christ saving St Peter from drowning in the water.

(4) Girish Chandra Ghosh was a man full of vices. Name the vice and he had it. However, he had deep affection for Shree Raamkrishn Paramhans.
Raamkrishn asked him to chant the Lord's Divine Name every morning and evening.
Girish Chandra Ghosh said, "I cannot. It is not possible for me to chant the Divine Name every morning and evening."
Raamkrishn said - "Well! Chant it just before you take your meals."
Girish Chandra Ghosh, "No, Sir. This is not possible for me."
Raamkrishn said - "Well, Chant then just once before going to bed."
GirishChandra Ghosh - "No. This, too, is not possible for me."
Raamkrishn said - "Well! then, surrender to me. I will take care of you. I will take you to Moksh. Give the power of attorney to me."

Girish Chandra's joy knew no bounds. He thought, "What fortune. I can lead my life as I have been living. The Master will do Jap for me and take me to Moksh." At once he gave his power of attorney to Raamkrishn.

But, what happened after this? The moment Girish lifted the wine bottle he saw Raamkrishn's face on the bottle. He could not drink the wine. When he visited any woman for company he saw Raamkrishn in her and could not go near her. Girish was unable to carry on his life in his old style.

He thought, "I thought that surrender was very easy. But, it is not so." Every moment, in all actions, he saw only the Master. He just could not forget him. And that is how Raamkrishn Paramhans brought change in Girish Chandra Ghosh.

(5) Raamkrishn had predicted two things, (1) that he would not live up to 40 years of age; (2) that the moment he discovered who he was, he would cast his mortal body. He had in fact confided in one of his confidents about his real self and also fixed the date for the departure after
looking into the Bangaalee Panchaang.

(6) In later years, as Raamkrishn Paramhans was diagnosed with cancer, Vivekaanand Jee went to a doctor and asked him to come and examine his Guru. The doctor said he was willing to do so, but on one condition: neither Raamkrishn nor Vivekaanand Jee should try to make him believe in God, for he was an atheist. As Vivekaanand Jee agreed, the doctor visited Raamkrishn Paramhans and offered him what respite he could.

One day, Vivekaanand Jee put a coin beneath Raamkrishn's bed-sheet and asked the doctor to observe what was going to happen. Raamkrishn twisted and turned in discomfort, until the coin was removed. Vivekananda said the reason was that Ramakrishna never touched money, and any contact with it made him uncomfortable. But the doctor said that what Ramakrishna Paramhansa had experienced must have been physical discomfort. He could not see it as spiritual discomfort.

When Raamkrishn Paramhans had died, Vivekaanand Jee asked the doctor if he had changed his mind, after his acquaintance with Raamkrishn Paramhans for some time. “Do you believe now that God exists?" asked Vivekaanand.
"God no longer exists, for He has just died," the doctor replied, referring to Raamkrishn Paramahans himself as God. Thus, the atheist had seen God in the saint, and had been converted against his will.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 06/27/13