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Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

(shrē rä'məkrĭsh`nə pərä'məhän`sä), 1836–86, Hindu mystic. He was born of a poor Brahman family in Bengal, and his given name was Gadadhar Chatterjee. In about 1855 he became a devotee of the goddess Kali and lived for the rest of his life at her temple in Dakshineswar outside Calcutta (now Kolkata). During a 15-year period of intense spiritual practice he mastered all the types of Hindu Yoga and also had mystical experience through Christian and Islamic worship. He concluded that all religions are valid means of approaching God. Ramakrishna had little formal learning, but his saintliness and wisdom attracted a large following. After his death his teachings were spread by his disciples and by his wife Sarada Devi. Ramakrishna's message of universal religion was carried to the West by Swami VivekanandaVivekananda
, 1863–1902, Hindu mystic, major exponent of Vedanta philosophy. He was born of a well-to-do family in Calcutta (now Kolkata), and his given name was Narendra Nath Datta.
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. The Ramakrishna Mission, founded by Vivekananda, is represented by a large monastic order in India, devoted to both contemplation and social action, and by centers in major cities of Europe and the United States. Ramakrishna's sayings are contained in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (tr. by Swami Nikhilananda, 1942).


See biographies by S. Saradananda (3d ed. 1963) and D. G. Mukherji (1985); C. Isherwood, Ramakrishna and His Disciples (1965).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Ramakrishna Paramhansa; real name Ga-dadhar Chatterjee). Born Feb. 18, 1836, in Kamarpukur, West Bengal; died Aug. 16, 1886, in Calcutta. Indian mystic philosopher and religious reformer; representative of neo-Hinduism.

Ramakrishna advanced the doctrine of “universal religion,” believing that such forms of religious worship as Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity are only different manifestations of a universal striving toward a single divine principle. The philosophic foundations of this universal religion were taken chiefly from the ancient Indian idealist school of Vedanta, whose different trends Ramakrishna attempted to coordinate by presenting them as levels of Yoga spiritual experience.

According to Ramakrishna, bhakti (boundless love and devotion to god) is achieved not by ascetic renunciation of the world but by each person’s fulfillment of his earthly obligations. While asserting the necessity of social activity, Ramakrishna understood such activity in a rather narrow sense, chiefly from the viewpoint of a universal spiritual perfecting. He believed that an ideal of self-perfection was needed for deliverance from the calamities of the “iron age” (kali yuga), an era characterized by the omnipotence of money and domination by foreign oppressors.

Ramakrishna’s teachings became widely known abroad after his most outstanding student, Vivekananda, spoke at the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago (1893). In order to progagate Ramakrishna’s ideas, in 1897 his students founded a religious reform society, the Ramakrishna Mission. Located in Belur, near Calcutta, and with branches in Europe and North America, the mission continues its activity to the present time.


Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna. Provozvestie Ramakrishny. St. Petersburg, 1914.
Ramakrishna (Biograficheskii ocherk). Moscow, [1915].
Müller, M. Shri Ramakrishna Paramagazma: Ego zhizn’ i uchenie. Moscow, 1913. (Translated from English.)
Rolland, R. Zhizn’ Ramakrishny. In Soch, vol. 19. Moscow, 1936. (Translated from French.)
Ramakrishna, 1836–1886: Memoirs of Ramakrishna, 2nd ed. Compiled by Swami Anhedananda. Calcutta [1957].
Gambhirananda, S. History of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Calcutta, 1957.

Nehru, J. Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, 3rd ed. Calcutta, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Sri . 1834--86, Hindu yogi and religious reformer. He preached the equal value of all religions as different paths to God
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
"We believe in Hinduism preached by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda.
I stand by my statement regarding Paramahamsa. I spoke the truth as always," said Jayaprakash, who is known for making enemies by speaking out the truth without hear of any organisations in the past as well.
Reading could be difficult for Diego, but nevertheless he liked to read spiritual books beyond his years, like Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahamsa Yogananda, the famous yoga master who came to the West in the 1930s.
(65) Note that, besides herons, geese (hamsa, paramahamsa) commonly stand for denominations of certain kinds of ascetics in Sanskrit literature.
Focusing on the nexus between sexuality and religiosity, Sil (History, Western Oregon University) examines the mystical experiences of 19th century Bengali saint Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Offering a nuanced analysis of the saint's religious practice, the author argues that Ramakrishna was a devotee in the Vaisnava tradition who sought a mystical dalliance with God.
Netanel Miles-Yepez: Swamiji, in the Ramakrishna Order, there is an open door to interreligious dialogue through Ramakrishna Paramahamsa because of his own personal engagement with other spiritual traditions; would you tell us something about his dialogue and how it affects members of the order to have his example.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-1886) is a renowned Hindu saint of nineteenth century Bengal.
prefaces his presentation of the Asian Jesus with an overview of the images of Jesus in the Christian tradition (in particular, in the Gospels and the councils) and in non-Christian thinkers (e.g., Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, S.
SRI RAMAKRISHNA PARAMAHAMSA used to tell his devotees that a mere intellectual understanding of spiritual life is not enough' it is necessary to put it into practice because our worldly attachments are deep-rooted and hence scriptural teachings and spiritual guidelines given by saints will not register easily.
Perhaps the spiritual power of Pizhichil may be best expressed by the words of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a 19th century saint from Bengal: "In meditation, the mind becomes like a continuous flow of oil." Pizhichil gives a renewed sense of self in physical well-being and spiritual empowerment.
Many of them are commentaries on the sruti class of Sanskrit literature, but they also include references to other devotional and sectarian traditions and modern figures such as Gandhi or Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. These were lectures or articles by Baba first published in the Sanathana Sarathi and then regrouped thematically.
He invokes the spiritual image of the paramahamsa, "symbol of the ability to live in two worlds, the physical and the spiritual" (p.