Adres: De Vlaschaard 57, 1183KM, AMSTELVEEN  E-mail: vedanta.nederland@gmail.com Telefoon: (0031) 020-441 0155 KvK nummer: 40411683

HET LEVEN VAN SRI RAMAKRISHNA

BEKENDE PERSOONLIJKHEDEN OP SRI RAMAKRISHNA

"De boodschap van Sri Ramakrishna was uniek omdat hij in actie werd uitgedrukt. De boodschap zelf was de eeuwige boodschap van het hindoeïsme. Volgens de hindoeïstische visie is elk van de hogere religies een ware visie en een juiste manier, en ze zijn allemaal onmisbaar om de mensheid, omdat elk een andere glimp van dezelfde waarheid geeft, en elk langs een andere weg leidt naar hetzelfde doel van menselijke inspanningen. Elk heeft daarom een eigen spirituele waarde die in geen van de anderen. "

ARNOLD TOYNBEE

'Dit is het verhaal van een fenomeen. Om te beginnen noem ik hem gewoon zo, in plaats van' heilige man ',' mysticus ',' heilige 'of avatara; alle emotionele woorden met gemengde associaties die sommige lezers kunnen aantrekken, anderen afstoten Een fenomeen is vaak iets buitengewoons en mysterieus. Ramakrishna was buitengewoon en mysterieus; vooral voor degenen die hem het best konden begrijpen. Een fenomeen is altijd een feit, een voorwerp van ervaring. Dat is hoe ik zal proberen Ramakrishna te benaderen . "

 CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD

Het leven van Shri Ramakrishna was een buitengewoon zoeklicht onder wiens verlichting men in staat is de hele reikwijdte van de hindoe-religie echt te begrijpen. Hij was de objectles van alle theoretische kennis die in de Shastra's (geschriften) werd gegeven. Hij toonde door zijn leven wat de Rishi's en Avatara's echt wilden onderwijzen. De boeken waren theorieën, hij was het besef. Deze man had in eenenvijftig jaar de vijfduizend jaar van het nationale spirituele leven geleefd en heeft zichzelf dus tot objectles voor toekomstige generaties verheven. . '

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

Het Leven van Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna werd geboren op 18 februari 1836 in Kamarpukur, een dorp zo'n zestig kilometer ten noordwesten van Kolkata. Zijn ouders, Kshudiram Chattopadhyaya en Chandramani Devi, waren arme maar vrome en deugdzame brahmanen. Ramakrishna's jeugdnaam was Gadadhar. Als kind was Ramakrishna zeer geliefd bij de dorpelingen - dankzij zijn geweldige capasarada om vreugde in het hart van iedereen te brengen. Hij kon zingen, nabootsen, dansen, verhalen vertellen, toneelstukken uitbeelden en er kwam geen einde aan zijn diverse manieren om vreugde en vrede in andere harten te brengen. Op zesjarige leeftijd beleefde hij de eerste extase toen hij naar een vlucht witte kranen keek die tegen de achtergrond van zwarte wolken bewogen. Deze neiging om extase aan te gaan, nam met de jaren toe. De dood van zijn vader toen hij zeven jaar oud was, diende alleen om zijn introspectie te verdiepen en zijn afstandelijkheid van de wereld te vergroten.

 

Toen Sri Ramakrishna zestien was, nam zijn broer Ramkumar hem mee naar Kolkata om hem bij te staan in zijn priesterlijke professie. In 1855 werd de Kali-tempel in Dakshineswar, gebouwd door Rani Rasmani, ingewijd en Ramkumar werd de hogepriester in die tempel. Toen hij een paar maanden later stierf, werd Ramakrishna tot priester benoemd. Ramakrishna ontwikkelde een intense toewijding aan moeder Kali en besteedde uren aan het liefdevol aanbidden van haar beeld, waarbij ze de rituelen van priesterlijke plichten vergat. Zijn intense verlangen culmineerde in het visioen van Moeder Kali als grenzeloze uitstraling die alles om hem heen overspoelde.

Intense spirituele oefeningen

Sri Ramakrishna's door God vergiftigde toestand verontrustte zijn familieleden in Kamarpukur en ze trouwden met Saradamani, een meisje uit het naburige dorp Jayrambati. Na het huwelijk stortte Sri Ramakrishna zich op nog intensere spirituele praktijken. Gedreven door een sterke innerlijke drang om verschillende aspecten van God te ervaren, volgde hij, met behulp van een reeks goeroes, de verschillende paden die in de hindoegeschriften worden beschreven, en realiseerde God door elk van hen. De eerste leraar die in Dakshineswar verscheen (in 1861) was een opmerkelijke vrouw die bekend stond als Bhairavi Brahmani, die een gevorderde spirituele bedreven was, goed thuis in de geschriften. Met haar hulp beoefende Sri Ramakrishna verschillende moeilijke disciplines van het Tantrik-pad en behaalde succes in allemaal. Drie jaar later kwam een ​​dolende monnik met de naam Totapuri, onder wiens leiding Sri Ramakrishna Nirvikalpa Samadhi bereikte, de hoogste spirituele ervaring die in de hindoegeschriften wordt genoemd. Hij bleef zes maanden in die staat van non-duaal bestaan ​​zonder het minste bewustzijn van zelfs zijn eigen lichaam. Op deze manier herleefde Sri Ramakrishna het hele scala aan spirituele ervaringen van meer dan drieduizend jaar van de Eeuwige Religie.

Andere geloofsovertuigingen volgen

Met zijn onuitblusbare dorst naar God brak Sri Ramakrishna de grenzen van het hindoeïsme, gleed door de paden van de islam en het christendom en bereikte in elk van hen in korte tijd de hoogste realisatie. Hij beschouwde Jezus en Boeddha als incarnaties van God en vereerde de tien Sikh-goeroes. Hij drukte de essentie van zijn twaalf jaar durende spirituele realisaties uit in een eenvoudige uitspraak in het Bengaals: Jato mat, tato-pad "Zoveel geloven, zoveel paden." Hij leefde nu gewoonlijk in een verhoogde bewustzijnsstaat waarin hij God in alle wezens zag.

Zijn vrouw aanbidden

In 1872 kwam zijn vrouw Sarada Devi, nu negentien jaar oud, uit het dorp om hem te ontmoeten. Hij ontving haar hartelijk en leerde haar hoe ze huishoudelijke taken moest vervullen en tegelijkertijd een intens geestelijk leven kon leiden. Op een avond aanbad hij haar als de goddelijke moeder in zijn kamer in de Dakshineswar-tempel. Hoewel Sarada bij hem bleef, leefden ze onberispelijk zuiver en was hun echtelijke relatie puur geestelijk. Hier moet worden vermeld dat Sri Ramakrishna tot Sannyasin (hindoeïstische monnik) was geordend en dat hij de fundamentele geloften van een monnik tot in de perfectie nakwam. Maar uiterlijk leefde hij als een leek, nederig, liefdevol en met kinderlijke simplisarada. Tijdens het verblijf van Sri Ramakrishna in Dakshineswar trad Rani Rasmani voor het eerst op als zijn beschermheer. Na haar dood zorgde haar schoonzoon Mathur Nath Biswas voor zijn behoeften.

Contact met enkele notabelen

Sri Ramakrishna's naam als een verlichte heilige begon zich te verspreiden. Mathur riep ooit een vergadering van geleerden bijeen en zij verklaarden dat hij geen gewoon mens was, maar de avatar van de moderne tijd. In die tijd was de sociaal-religieuze beweging, bekend als Brahmo Samaj, opgericht door Raja Ram Mohan Roy, op het hoogtepunt van populariteit in Bengalen. Sri Ramakrishna kwam in contact met verschillende leiders en leden van Brahmo Samaj en oefende veel invloed op hen uit. Zijn leer over de harmonie van religies trok mensen aan die tot verschillende denominaties behoorden, en Dakshineswar werd een waar parlement van religies.

Komst van de toegewijden

Terwijl bijen rond een volledig tot bloei komende bloem zwermen, begonnen toegewijden nu naar Sri Ramakrishna te komen. Hij verdeelde ze in twee categorieën. De eerste bestond uit huisbewoners. Hij leerde hen hoe ze God konden realiseren terwijl ze in de wereld leefden en hun gezinsplichten vervulden. De andere, belangrijkere categorie was een groep opgeleide jongeren, voornamelijk uit de middenklassefamilies van Bengalen, die hij opgeleid had om monnik te worden en de fakkeldragers te zijn van zijn boodschap aan de mensheid. De belangrijkste onder hen was Narendranath, die jaren later, als Swami Vivekananda, de universele boodschap van Vedanta naar verschillende delen van de wereld bracht, het hindoeïsme nieuw leven inblies en de ziel van India wakker maakte.

Het evangelie van Sri Ramakrishna
Sri Ramakrishna schreef geen boek en hield ook geen openbare lezingen. In plaats daarvan koos hij ervoor om in eenvoudige taal te spreken met behulp van gelijkenissen en metaforen bij wijze van illustratie, ontleend aan de waarneming van de natuur en alledaagse dingen. Zijn gesprekken waren charmant en trokken de culturele elite van Bengalen aan. Deze gesprekken werden genoteerd door zijn leerling Mahendranath Gupta, die ze publiceerde in de vorm van een boek, Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita in het Bengaals. De Engelse weergave, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, werd uitgebracht in 1942; het blijft tot op de dag van vandaag steeds populairder vanwege zijn universele aantrekkingskracht en relevantie

.
Laatste dagen
De intensiteit van zijn spirituele leven en onvermoeibare spirituele bediening aan de eindeloze stroom zoekers vertelde over Sri Ramakrishna's gezondheid. Hij kreeg keelkanker in 1885. Hij werd overgebracht naar een ruime villa in een buitenwijk waar zijn jonge discipelen hem dag en nacht verzorgden. Hij bracht hen liefde voor elkaar bij en legde zo de basis voor de toekomstige monastieke broederschap die bekend staat als Ramakrishna Math. In de kleine uurtjes van 16 augustus 1886 gaf Sri Ramakrishna zijn fysieke lichaam op en sprak de naam van de Goddelijke Moeder uit, en ging over in de eeuwigheid.

Kamer van Sri Ramakrishna

 

HET LEVEN VAN HEILIGE MOEDER SRI SARADA DEVI 

Endearingly known as ‘Holy Mother’, Sri Sarada Devi, the spiritual consort of Sri Ramakrishna, was born on 22 December 1853 in a poor Brahmin family in Jayrambati, a village adjoining Kamarpukur in West Bengal. Her father, Ramachandra Mukhopadhyay, was a pious and kind-hearted person, and her mother, Shyama Sundari Devi, was a loving and hard-working woman.

Marriage

As a child Sarada was devoted to God, and spent most of her time helping her mother in various household chores like caring for younger children, looking after cattle and carrying food to her father and others engaged in work in the field. She had no formal schooling, but managed to learn the Bengali alphabet.

When she was about six years old, she was married to Sri Ramakrishna, according to the custom prevalent in India in those days. However, after the event, she continued to live with her parents, while Sri Ramakrishna lived a God-intoxicated life at Dakshineshwar.

MOTHER SARADA

At the age of eighteen she walked all the way to Dakshineshwar to meet her husband. Sri Ramakrishna, who had immersed himself in the intense practice of several spiritual disciplines for more than twelve years, had reached the highest state of realization in which he saw God in all beings. He received Sri Sarada Devi with great affection, and allowed her to stay with him. He taught her how to lead a spiritual life while discharging her household duties. They led absolutely pure lives, and Sri Sarada Devi served Sri Ramakrishna as his devoted wife and disciple, while remaining a virgin nun and following the spiritual path.

Sri Ramakrishna looked upon Sarada Devi as a special manifestation of Divine Mother of the universe. In 1872, on the night of the Phala-harini-Kali-puja, he ritualistically worshipped Sri Sarada Devi as the Divine Mother, thereby awakening the Universal Motherhood latent in her. When disciples began to gather around Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi learned to look upon them as her own children. The room in which she stayed at Dakshineshwar was too small to live in and had hardly any amenities; and on many days she did not get the opportunity of meeting Sri Ramakrishna. But she bore all difficulties silently and lived in contentment and peace, serving the increasing number of devotees who came to see Sri Ramakrishna.

After Sri Ramakrishna’s passing away in 1886, Mother Sarada Devi spent some months in pilgrimage, and then went to Kamarpukur where she lived in great privation. Coming to know of this, the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna brought her to Kolkata. This marked a turning point in her life. She now began to accept spiritual seekers as her disciples, and became the open portal to immortality for hundreds of people. Her great universal mother-heart, endowed with boundless love and compassion, embraced all people without any distinction, including many who had lived sinful lives.

When the Western women disciples of Swami Vivekananda came to Kolkata, the Holy Mother accepted them with open arms as her daughters, ignoring the restrictions of the orthodox society of those days. Although she had grown up in a conservative rural society without any access to modern education, she held progressive views, and whole-heartedly supported Swami Vivekananda in his plans for rejuvenation of India and the uplift of the masses and women. She was closely associated with the school for girls started by Sister Nivedita.

She spent her life partly in Kolkata and partly in her native village Jayrambati.

During the early years of her stay in Kolkata, her needs were looked after by Swami Yogananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. In later years her needs were looked after by another disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Saradananda, who built a new house for her in Kolkata. On account of her immaculate purity, extraordinary forbearance, selfless service, unconditional love, wisdom and spiritual illumination, Swami Vivekananda regarded Sri Sarada Devi as the ideal for women in the modern age. He believed that with the advent of Holy Mother, the spiritual awakening of women in modern times had begun.Under the strain of constant physical work and self-denial and repeated attacks of malaria, her health deteriorated in the closing years of her life, and she left the mortal world on 21 July 1920.

(Text: Belur Math website)

 

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S LIFE

Swami Vivekananda, known in his pre-monastic life as Narendranath Datta, was born in an affluent family in Kolkata on 12 January 1863. By the time he graduated from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. Born with a yogic temperament, he used to practise meditation even from his boyhood, and was associated with Brahmo Movement for some time.

At the threshold of youth Narendra had to pass through a period of spiritual crisis when he was assailed by doubts about the existence of God. It was at that time he first heard about Sri Ramakrishna from one of his English professors at college. One day in November 1881, Narendra went to meet Sri Ramakrishna who was staying at the Kali Temple in Dakshineshwar. He straightaway asked the Master a question which he had put to several others but had received no satisfactory answer: “Sir, have you seen God?” Without a moment’s hesitation, Sri Ramakrishna replied: “Yes, I have. I see Him as clearly as I see you, only in a much intenser sense.”

Apart from removing doubts from the mind of Narendra, Sri Ramakrishna won him over through his pure, unselfish love. Thus began a guru-disciple relationship which is quite unique in the history of spiritual masters. Narendra now became a frequent visitor to Dakshineshwar and, under the guidance of the Master, made rapid strides on the spiritual path. At Dakshineshwar, Narendra also met several young men who were devoted to Sri Ramakrishna, and they all became close friends.

Back to Menu

Difficult Situations

After a few years two events took place which caused Narendra considerable distress. One was the sudden death of his father in 1884. This left the family penniless, and Narendra had to bear the burden of supporting his mother, brothers and sisters. The second event was the illness of Sri Ramakrishna which was diagnosed to be cancer of the throat. In September 1885 Sri Ramakrishna was moved to a house at Shyampukur, and a few months later to a rented villa at Cossipore. In these two places the young disciples nursed the Master with devoted care. In spite of poverty at home and inability to find a job for himself, Narendra joined the group as its leader.

Beginnings of a Monastic Brotherhood

Sri Ramakrishna instilled in these young men the spirit of renunciation and brotherly love for one another. One day he distributed ochre robes among them and sent them out to beg food. In this way he himself laid the foundation for a new monastic order. He gave specific instructions to Narendra about the formation of the new monastic Order. In the small hours of 16 August 1886, Sri Ramakrishna gave up his mortal body.

After the Master’s passing, fifteen of his young disciples (one more joined them later) began to live together in a dilapidated building at Baranagar in North Kolkata. Under the leadership of Narendra, they formed a new monastic brotherhood, and in 1887 they took the formal vows of sannyasa, thereby assuming new names. Narendra now became Swami Vivekananda (although this name was actually assumed much later.)

Awareness of Life’s Mission

After establishing the new monastic order, Vivekananda heard the inner call for a greater mission in his life. While most of the followers of Sri Ramakrishna thought of him in relation to their own personal lives, Vivekananda thought of the Master in relation to India and the rest of the world. As the prophet of the present age, what was Sri Ramakrishna’s message to the modern world and to India in particular? This question and the awareness of his own inherent powers urged Swamiji to go out alone into the wide world. So in the middle of 1890, after receiving the blessings of Sri Sarada Devi, the divine consort of Sri Ramakrishna, known to the world as Holy Mother, who was then staying in Kolkata, Swamiji left Baranagar Math and embarked on a long journey of exploration and discovery of India

Discovery of Real India

During his travels all over India, Swami Vivekananda was deeply moved to see the appalling poverty and backwardness of the masses. He was the first religious leader in India to understand and openly declare that the real cause of India’s downfall was the neglect of the masses. The immediate need was to provide food and other bare necessities of life to the hungry millions. For this they should be taught improved methods of agriculture, village industries, etc. It was in this context that Vivekananda grasped the crux of the problem of poverty in India (which had escaped the attention of social reformers of his days): owing to centuries of oppression, the downtrodden masses had lost faith in their capasarada to improve their lot. It was first of all necessary to infuse into their minds faith in themselves. For this they needed a life-giving, inspiring message. Swamiji found this message in the principle of the Atman, the doctrine of the potential divinity of the soul, taught in Vedanta, the ancient system of religious philosophy of India. He saw that, in spite of poverty, the masses clung to religion, but they had never been taught the life-giving, ennobling principles of Vedanta and how to apply them in practical life.

Thus the masses needed two kinds of knowledge: secular knowledge to improve their economic condition, and spiritual knowledge to infuse in them faith in themselves and strengthen their moral sense. The next question was, how to spread these two kinds of knowledge among the masses? Through education – this was the answer that Swamiji found.

Back to Menu

Need for an Organization

One thing became clear to Swamiji: to carry out his plans for the spread of education and for the uplift of the poor masses, and also of women, an efficient organization of dedicated people was needed. As he said later on, he wanted “to set in motion a machinery which will bring noblest ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest.” It was to serve as this ‘machinery’ that Swamiji founded the Ramakrishna Mission a few years later.

It was when these ideas were taking shape in his mind in the course of his wanderings that Swami Vivekananda heard about the World’s Parliament of Religions to be held in Chicago in 1893. His friends and admirers in India wanted him to attend the Parliament. He too felt that the Parliament would provide the right forum to present his Master’s message to the world, and so he decided to go to America. Another reason which prompted Swamiji to go to America was to seek financial help for his project of uplifting the masses.

Swamiji, however, wanted to have an inner certitude and divine call regarding his mission. Both of these he got while he sat in deep meditation on the rock-island at Kanyakumari. With the funds partly collected by his Chennai disciples and partly provided by the Raja of Khetri, Swami Vivekananda left for America from Mumbai on 31 May 1893.

The Parliament of Religions and After

His speeches at the World’s Parliament of Religions held in September 1893 made him famous as an ‘orator by divine right’ and as a ‘Messenger of Indian wisdom to the Western world’. After the Parliament, Swamiji spent nearly three and a half years spreading Vedanta as lived and taught by Sri Ramakrishna, mostly in the eastern parts of USA and also in London.

Awakening His Countrymen

He returned to India in January 1897. In response to the enthusiastic welcome that he received everywhere, he delivered a series of lectures in different parts of India, which created a great stir all over the country. Through these inspiring and profoundly significant lectures Swamiji attempted to do the following:
to rouse the religious consciousness of the people and create in them pride in their cultural heritage;

to bring about unification of Hinduism by pointing out the common bases of its sects;

to focus the attention of educated people on the plight of the downtrodden masses, and to expound his plan for their uplift by the application of the principles of Practical Vedanta.

Back to Menu

Founding of Ramakrishna Mission

Soon after his return to Kolkata, Swami Vivekananda accomplished another important task of his mission on earth. He founded on 1 May 1897 a unique type of organization known as Ramakrishna Mission, in which monks and lay people would jointly undertake propagation of Practical Vedanta, and various forms of social service, such as running hospitals, schools, colleges, hostels, rural development centres etc, and conducting massive relief and rehabilitation work for victims of earthquakes, cyclones and other calamities, in different parts of India and other countries.

Belur Math

In early 1898, Swami Vivekananda acquired a big plot of land on the western bank of the Ganga at a place called Belur to have a permanent abode for the monastery and monastic Order originally started at Baranagar, and got it registered as Ramakrishna Math after a couple of years. Here Swamiji established a new, universal pattern of monastic life which adapts ancient monastic ideals to the conditions of modern life, which gives equal importance to personal illumination and social service, and which is open to all men without any distinction of religion, race or caste.

Disciples

It may be mentioned here that in the West many people were influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s life and message. Some of them became his disciples or devoted friends. Among them the names of Margaret Noble (later known as Sister Nivedita), Captain and Mrs Sevier, Josephine McLeod and Sara Ole Bull, deserve special mention. Nivedita dedicated her life to educating girls in Kolkata. Swamiji had many Indian disciples also, some of whom joined Ramakrishna Math and became sannyasins.

Last Days

In June 1899 he went to the West on a second visit. This time he spent most of his time in the West coast of USA. After delivering many lectures there, he returned to Belur Math in December 1900. The rest of his life was spent in India, inspiring and guiding people, both monastic and lay. Incessant work, especially giving lectures and inspiring people, told upon Swamiji’s health. His health deteriorated and the end came quietly on the night of 4 July 1902. Before his Mahasamadhi he had written to a Western follower: “It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body, to cast it off like a worn out garment. But I shall not cease to work. I shall inspire men everywhere until the whole world shall know that it is one with God.”