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Title: Modern Mystics: Ramakrishna
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Autumn_Heather
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(Date Posted:01/08/2009 05:43 AM)
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Modern Mystics: Ramakrishna

Ramakrishna was one of the greatest Indian mystics of the past 150 years. He was born in 1836 and died in 1886 and his short life represents the very core of the Vedantic spiritual realizations of the seers and sages of India throughout history.

His whole life was literally an uninterrupted contemplation of God. He reached a depth of universal consciousness that transcended space and time and had a truly universal appeal. Ramakrishna, as a silent force, influenced the spiritual thought currents of his time and at his death his reputation has been well established in his native Calcutta. But, it wasn't until Swami Vivekananda, his most famous disciple, brought his message of universal consciousness and Vedanta to America in 1893, that his name became synonymous with the best of Eastern mysticism. This God-man of nineteenth-century India did not found any cult, nor show a new path to salvation. His message was his own living God-consciousness.

At a time when the very foundation of Hinduism was crumbling under the relentless blows of colonialism, materialism and skepticism, Ramakrishna demonstrated that God can be a living presence and that consiousness can transcend all material illusions and realize true universal consiousness. Drawn by the magnetism of Ramakrishna's mystical personality, people flocked to him from all over Bengal and India. His small room in the Dakshineswar temple garden on the outskirts of Calcutta became a living parliament of religions. Everyone who came to him felt uplifted by his profound presence, boundless love, and universal outlook. Each seeker saw in him the highest manifestation of his own ideal.

The greatest contribution of Ramakrishna to the modern world is his message of the harmony of all religions. To Ramakrishna all religions are the revelation of God in His diverse aspects to satisfy the diversity of human minds. Like different photographs of a building taken from different angles, different religions give us the pictures of one truth from different standpoints. They are not contradictory but complementary. Sri Ramakrishna faithfully practiced the spiritual disciplines of all the different religions and came to the realization that all of them lead to the same goal. Truth. Universal Truth. Ramakrishna declared, "As many faiths, so many paths." The paths vary, but the goal remains the same. Harmony of religions is not uniformity; it is unity in diversity.

Extracted from The Ramakrishna Vivekananda Center site.
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