16 August: Remembering the great sage Sri Ramkrishna on the day of his Mahasamadhi.
“If you must be mad, be it not for the things of the world. Be mad with the love of God.“
This quote of Sri Ramakrishna pretty much summarizes his life and his message to the world. He was one of the most ideal examples of Bhakti Yoga or devotion to God. Whenever he discussed with his Shishyas(devotees) about God or whenever he heard anything which touched his heart about God, he would reach into a higher state, a state which is also called Samadhi.
It was very easy for him to merge his soul with that of God. But he did not, after staying for a few moments in the ecstatic state, he would again regain his consciousness of the world. Because he knew that he needed to pass his message to the world and the world requires higher knowledge of God.
He considered LUST and DESIRE as the biggest obstacle for a person in reaching God. Sri Ramkrishna was born on 18 February 1836. His real name was Gadadhar Chatophadyaya. He was a priest at the Dakshineshwar Kali temple. He experienced ecstatic states and felt a longing for God. He was so desperate to get a glimpse of God that one day he took a knife in his hand and pleaded God that if he did not reveal to him, he will cut his nerves. And then Goddess Kali revealed herself to Sri Ramskrishna Paramhansa.
Sri Ramkrishna started getting unstable by frequently getting into ecstatic states and would also become unconscious. His parents decided that if he got married, he might regain his composure. Sri Ramkrishna got married to Sri Sarada Devi at the age of 23. But even in his wife, he saw a glimpse of his mother and was never involved in a sexual relationship with her. Sri Ramkrishna’s guru was Totapuri.
Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa always lived in the company of his disciples and most of them were unmarried and had taken the vow of brahmacharya(abstinence from sex). He knew that it was very difficult for worldly people to take time out of their family life and be in his company. One of the chief disciples of Sri Ramkrishna was Narendra who later on was recognized as Swami Vivekananda. Sri Ramkrishna and Swami Vivekananda are recognized as an ideal example of the Guru Shishya relationship. Sri Ramkrishna passed on all his knowledge and power to Swami Vivekananda.
Sri Ramkrishna was very specific about the role which Vivekananda had to play in spreading religion in the world. When Vivekananda showed his desire to do meditation and attain Nirvana, Sri Ramkrishna stopped him. He told Vivekananda that he should not be selfish and attain enlightenment but he should spread his message to all people in the world.
All the dialogues of Sri Ramkrishna’s with his Shishyas are recorded in the book titled, “GOSPEL OF SRI RAMKRISHNA” which was written by his disciple M(His disciple did not reveal his identity and referred to himself as M in the book).
Sri Ramkrishna finally attained Mahasamadhi on 16th August 1886 due to lung cancer.
More are the names of God and infinite are the forms through which He may be approached. In whatever name and form you worship Him, through them you will realise Him.
Some of his famous quotes are:
If you first fortify yourself with the true knowledge of the Universal Self, and then live in the midst of wealth and worldliness, surely they will in no way affect you.
I see God walking in every human form. When I meet different people, I say to myself, “God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.”
It is the mind that makes one wise or ignorant, bound or emancipated.
It is easy to talk on religion, but difficult to practice it.