Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa, or Paramahansa Sri Ramakrishna, born on Feb. 20, 1836, and died on Aug. 16, 1886, is perhaps the most famous Indian holy man of recent times. A Bengali Brahmin originally named Gadadhar Chatterji, he experienced ecstatic Mystic visions as a child.
He became a priest at the temple of Kali in Dakshineswar near Calcutta and experimented with many different religious practices, Including Tantra, Vedanta, Vaishnava cults, Islam, and Christianity. He pronounced that all religions were directed toward the same God along different paths.
Although Ramakrishna was not a scholar, he was praised by his pupils for illuminating old truths, and his influence on those who visited him was profound.
His wife, Sarada-Devi, and other pupils, such as Vivekananda and Keshab Chandra Sen, spread his ideas, Vivekananda founded (1897) the Ramakrishna Mission, which is committed to social service in India and the teaching of Ramakrishna’s ideas in its many centers abroad.
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