The Devotion of Ramakrishna

Essay by IreeMamaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

download word file, 12 pages 5.0

Downloaded 49 times

There is no Indian saint that is more of an archetypical prophet than Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He was an extraordinary and mysterious man; nothing less than a phenomenon. His entire life was devoted not only to the Goddess Kali, whom he worshipped, but also to his many devotees. As he lay on his deathbed, his body in immense pain, he proclaimed, "I will give up a thousand such bodies to help one man... It is glorious to help even one man" (Schiffman 216). This was the type of man he was; he would sacrifice a great deal in order to aid others. Much in the way the Dalai Lama suffers through samsara to help all those on the path to enlightenment, Ramakrishna devoted himself to helping others on the path to moksha, sacrificing his body in the end to lead the way for his faithful followers. He had an exuberant personality and was often mistaken for a madman.

His most faithful devotee, said of their first encounter, "I was altogether taken about by his conduct. 'Who is this man whom I have come to see,' I thought, 'he must be stark mad!'" (Sil 57-8). After the seeming insanity ceased, no one doubted this man's astounding powers.

Ramakrishna was born into a family that had a history of psychic visions to almost all of its members (Sil 96). During pregnancy his mother had frequent visions of gods, which she spoke of casually, as if it was not at all abnormal. After Ramakrishna's birth in 1836, there were several occurrences that made the child seem quite extraordinary. Right after birth his mother had laid the baby down, turning away for only a second, found he had rolled across the floor. The astonishing thing is that the baby, lying in the...