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Ramakrishna, a Phenomenon
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A birth horoscope and a biography should correlate well. Well, do they? Read on and see what you get.

Ramakrishna Paramahansa
Paramhansa Ramakrishna (1836-86). Studio photo.

Gadadhar Chatterjee is more commonly known as Ramakrishna and Ramakrishna Paramahansa. He was born around 5:25 am. on February 18, 1836, at Kamarpukur, about sixty miles north of Calcutta.

In cases of difficult psychological diagnosis, the Swiss Carl G. Jung would draw up a horoscope. "I must say," said Jung, "that I very often found that the astrological data elucidated certain points which I otherwise would have been unable to understand" (Jung 1948, in Per).

Jung regarded the signs and planets of astrology as symbols of archetypal processes, of deeply embedded organizing and motivational principles (1976, in Per) He thought that astrology

consists of symbolic configurations: the planets are the gods, symbols of the power of the unconscious . . . There are many instances of striking analogies between astrological constellations and psychological events or between the horoscope and the characterological disposition," wrote Jung (1976, in Per).

Jung firmly stated "One can expect with considerable assurance, that a given well-defined psychological situation will be accompanied by an analogous astrological configuration." (Per, a 1954 interview)

What Jung seeks to say, is that people function along gross lines quite as their birth horoscopes say. However, much depends on the chances they are given in life to fulfill inborn leanings and goals, and what is afforded them.

Shall we apply Jung's ideas and see to what degree they seem to work? Below is Ramakrishna's approximate birth horoscope and comments that are singled out from what an astrologer says in standard ways about someone born at a place and time approximately like that, that is, about the configurations (patterns) that show up in his approximate birth horoscope.

Friend, the longer I live the more I learn. - Ramakrishna
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Ramakrishna Interpreted

Ramakrishna's horoscope
This is a study of the inborn sides to Ramakrishna, based only on his approximate birth horoscope.

Almost everything in the following article is adjusted from a big part of Robert Hand's standard interpretations of the birth configurations - the placements and relations of heavenly bodies, star signs, and houses - for the ones born about the time and place given, give or take.

To the degree birth horoscopes are worthwhile, much of the following has to be about Ramakrishna, his life and doings and the "whole picture". However, some facets of ourselves are subject to changes, so there is no reason to expect a horoscope to come perfectly true in all respects.

Also, conformism works like lawn mowers and garden shears on "trimmed" people; you may have to guess what sort of grass or bush that was stunted and kept down to keep the large corporation or culture running in an age dominated by economy and mercantilism apart from warfare. According to that view, native capacities for this and that may not come to grow and bloom and set seeds in a life.

All of the foregoing has to be reckoned with. Yet, for some persons who have realised themselves a lot, tenets of horoscopy should be fit. Let us see:

LoA genius in dealing with others has the basic capacity for leading others too, when given time to develop into a guru

THIS soul easily become distraught over conditions he is powerless to do anything about.

He will enjoy travelling. Happy to travel, he feels alive.

His dealings and sustenance comes from relating well to many people, also through popular activities.

Professionally he will be successful in modern science, electrical work, photography, archaeology, astrology, radio etc.

He should try to channel his gifts of character in such ways that he will not be prey to exploitative persons.

Always humanistic, he possess the genius and power to see the future and he may also participate in movements connected with social or educational reform (Brahmo Samaj)

He may get nervous from exhausting himself. He will work very hard to get what he wants. His manner is gentle and kindly.

Money will stream in regularly and readily. Unusually sensitive, he is able to sense the moods and feelings of others even before they say anything.

His grip on things is very assertive. His outgoing disposition and personable manner usually make a good impression on people. ◊

He is a humane person in search for liberation in some form or other. There is a great need for money for things he wants and tries to handle.

He has capacity for leadership, for he tend to attract people and to have a strong influence on them.

LoAn ability to succeed along with occult leanings may bring on a New Deal of some sort or other

HE tends to be easily moved by beauty and sentiments.

He possess the ability to succeed when in touch. His life will be in search for liberation.

There is a great need for his sympathetic understanding. ◊

He should prefer to retire to some dark corner and employ his powerful imagination, which he can put to good use, and he could develop his psychic and occult leanings.

His mind is constantly at work, skilful at presenting handy thoughts.

He looks at the positive side and try new, smart ways to deal with it.

LoA great freedom lover has to venture into the superconscious to get it

HE is lively and likes stories, and likes to talk with people. He soon comes to understand human nature in a sympathetic manner. Very sensitive, he has a delicate and refined nature, and was born with a natural disposition to be humane.

His grip on the real world is loose; also when he asserts himself.

He is also aware of sufferings of people and animals, and sympathetic toward the oppressed. He hold on to good friends, and they are pleased to help him when he needs it. In love he is a strange character. ◊

His inborn concern over impermanence will urge him to limit his activities somehow, while his quick mind and wit helps him to learn discipline and to work steadily and long enough to reap good fruits of his endeavours too, one way or the other.

Of great artistic sensibility and very calm-natured, he is a lover of freedom some way or other, and related to it are his growing interests in unusual concepts and ideas. He has a natural inclination toward the esoteric and mystical side of life, and is likely to get spiritual with an interest in supernatural things. He has intense interest in all unusual, occult, metaphysical subjects, and his attitude is that of a studious, serious, and meditative person. ◊&loz

Gist

IN SUM
  1. A genius in dealing with others has the basic capacity for leading others too, when given time to develop into a guru.
  2. An ability to succeed along with occult leanings may bring on a New Deal of some sort or other.
  3. A great freedom lover has to venture into the superconscious to get it.
IN NUCE The genius that succeeds big time, rises into freedom deep inside. What about that?

Have you studied the pages on how to draw enourmous amounts of information from articles like this one? If you have, you may detect many alternative and maybe interchangable paths (at least on some of the stretches) toward the welcoming arms and solvency - in part such terms serve as modern terms for Tao. [Get Tao page]

It is no joke; the page just referred to takes you into how to glean fine keypoints from an essay. Maybe you can use them. In that case, a sensible exercise program helps.

You can even write poetry from it. Here is an example of an alternative summary of selected and fused keypoints from the article above.

Maddening Figure (poem)
Great concern over impermanence,

may not go well along with gentle, kindly old manners.

Married in a loose and maddening real world

A mystical figure ventures.

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From Ramakrishna's Biography

His religious activity and experience were, in fact, comprehensive to a degree that had perhaps never before been attained by any other religious genius, in India or elsewhere." - Arnold Toynbee, historian

Biographers and horoscope keypoints should agree. Do they? When biographers do not agree?

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay, was a famous Indian mystic of the 1800s. His attainments, friendships, and the over-all conditions led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission. Before that happened, Ramakrishna had become an influential figure in the Hindu renaissance. He was first thought to be mad, and was later considered an avatar or incarnation of God by many followers.

The horoscopes of someone who has realised himself or herself substantially - both the birth horoscope and the progressive horoscope - should be backed up by the life story of that one. Some way or other one has to know the life story of the individual in question.

Gleanings from rather typical assertions from a birth chart are given above. To validate them more or less substantially and not just in flimsy ways, There are many biographies of Ramakrishna. Max Muller has written one, Romain Rolland one, Nikhilananda one. The latter introduces his English translation of Mahendranath Gupta's large biography with a whole lot of Ramakrishna quotations.

There are reasons to look into several biographies if chances are given, since biographers write from a position (angle) which somehow differs. They colour their presentations by their main focuses, what is included and what is left out, and also by their choices of words and phrases. That is common knowledge. Still, the whole picture as well as prominent, salient parts should be there in a good biography. And what is more, the horoscope gleanings here, they fit.

Nowadays Britannica Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia both have information about Ramakrishna on-line. You can read into them as you like. As for biographies, the translation by Nikhilananda is a good one, and it is on-line now. So is the biography by Max Muller.

Most of what is below consists of extracts from what is told of Ramakrishna's life in the Wikipedia encyclopedia:

A sensitive kid and teen, marrying without having sex with his five-year-old wife

Ramakrishna was born in Kamarpukur in rural Bengal, about 100 km west of Calcutta. He was born with a natural gift for fine arts, and was educated quite regularly for twelve years. He could read and write in Bengali, but he was not interested in "bread-winning education". He came in contact with renunciates and wandering monks and other wanderers in his home village, and from what they told while staying in Kamarpukur, Ramakrishna became well-versed in the Puranas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavata Purana.

His first spiritual teacher was an ascetic woman skilled in Tantra. Later a naked, wandering man, Totapuri, taught him non-dual meditation, and according to Ramakrishna, he succeeded very quickly under his guidance - in three days.

Ramakrishna describes his first spiritual ecstasy: When he was six and walking along the paddy fields, he saw a flock of white cranes that flew against a backdrop of dark thunder-clouds. He was enraptured by the beauty of it, lost outward consciousness and experienced great joy in that state. He had quite similar experiences a few other times in his childhood, and from his tenth or eleventh year on, trances became common.

When Ramakrishna was into his teens, he moved to Calcutta in 1852 with an elder brother to do priestly work. At the Dakshineswar Kali Temple at the Ganges, Ramakrishna spent a major part of his adult life. Ramakrishna was first given the task of decorating the deity of the temple, Kali. She was the installed temple deity. And when his brother passed away in 1856, Ramakrishna took his place as the priest of the Kali temple, became more contemplative, and began to look upon the image of the goddess Kali as his mother and the mother of the universe. He began to ask himself why she did not respond to his worship, and was seized by a desire to see her alive, and believed the stone image to be living and breathing and taking food out of his hand. At times he would weep bitterly and cry out loudly and would not be comforted because he could not see his mother Kali as perfectly as he wished. Some people thought him to be mad, and some took him to be a great lover of God.

One day he was brought to the point of killing himself with a sword because his great yearnings went unfulfilled. He decided to end his life. He seized a sword that was hanging on the temple wall and was about to strike himself with it when he saw light waves coming from the temple image. He fell unconscious on the floor. "What I saw was an infinite shoreless sea of light; a sea that was consciousness. However, far and in whatever direction I looked, I saw shining waves, one after another, coming towards me." But he was not content with this.

Ramakrishna had become unstable at Dakshineswar, folks thought, and Ramakrishna's mother and his elder brother Rameswar decided to get him married rather than being Kali-obsessed - Far from objecting to them, Ramakrishna mentioned that they could find the bride at the house of Ramchandra Mukherjee in Jayrambati, three miles to the northwest of Kamarpukur. A five-year-old bride was found there. After the marriage, Sarada joined Ramakrishna in Dakshineswar at the age of 18, but he never had sex with her, we are told.

His training

After his marriage Ramakrishna returned to Calcutta and resumed the charges of the temple again. He would clean their quarters with his own hands and long hair, and also take gold and silver coins, mix them with rubbish and repeat "money is rubbish, money is rubbish". Then he threw both the gold and silver coins and the rubbish and threw it into the Ganges. Small wonder people he was was in great need of money, as his horoscopes suggests.

Then a middle-aged female ascetic entered the scene at Dakshineshwar. She initiated Ramakrishna into Tantra. Under her guidance, he went through a full course of sixty-four major tantric sadhanas which were completed in 1863. In Tantra one may eat fish and meat, drink wine and benefit from sexual intercourse. Ramakrishna abstained from wine and women, in that course, though. But he acknowledged the left-hand tantric path as one of the "valid roads to God-realization".

Ramakrishna also became an adept at Kundalini Yoga. He also started training in getting into bhavas - into different attitudes and moods. They include the attitude of a woman towards her lover. Ramakrishna in time engaged in the practice of the orgy-attitude of the milkmaids and the mistress Radha towards Krishna. Ramakrishna dressed himself in women's clothes for several days and regarded himself as one of the milkmaids.

In 1865, Ramakrishna was initiated into sanyasa by Totapuri, a stark naked, wandering monk. He trained Ramakrishna in a philosophy which emphasizes non-dualism.

Totapuri instructed Ramakrishna in "I am Brahman alone", and similar great sayings from the Vedas. Totapuri stayed with Ramakrishna for nearly eleven months.

Socialising well

In 1875, Ramakrishna met the influential Brahmo Samaj leader Keshab Chandra Sen. Following Keshab, other Brahmos such as Vijaykrishna Goswami started to admire Ramakrishna, propagate his ideals and reorient their socio-religious outlook. Many prominent people of Calcutta began visiting him during this time (1871-1885). The German indologist Max Muller became aware of him at that time.

Ramakrishna also had interactions with the father of Rabindranath Tagore, and a renowned social worker. Ramakrishna is considered as one of the main contributors to the Bengali Renaissance.

Most of Ramakrishna's prominent disciples came to him between 1879-1885, and were influenced by his style of preaching and instructing. A small group of women disciples including Gauri Ma and Yogin Ma. Among the women, Ramakrishna emphasized service to other women rather than austerities. Gauri-ma founded an ashram at Barrackpur, which was dedicated to the education and uplift of women.

An ever shifting crowd of all classes and castes visited Ramakrishna. According to his biographers, Ramakrishna was very talkative and would out-talk the best-known orators of his time. For hours he would crack jokes, sing songs, and mimic the ways of all types of worldly people, and much else, and visitors were kept enthralled.

Transmitted teachings

For fifteen years or so the godman instructed his disciples, and in humourous veins too. He told parables and metaphors to impart his teachings in rustic Bengali, and delighed in songs. There are over a thousand sayings and parables of Ramakrishna. Yet Ramakrishna taught more by his bliss-intoxicated life than by words. His spiritual movement indirectly aided nationalism.

Ramakrishna emphasised God-realisation as the supreme goal of all living beings. [cf moksha, freedom]

A few Ramakrishna sayings

If you want to go east, don't go west.

A newcomer to a city should first secure a comfortable room for his rest at night.

The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole.

I say, "Even though my guru frequents a grog-shop, still to me he is the embodiment of Eternal Bliss."

Ramakrishna's death and afterwards

His life crumbled under attacks from relentless and habituated people. In the beginning of 1885 Ramakrishna suffered from clergyman's throat, which gradually developed into throat cancer. When his condition aggravated he was relocated to a large garden house at Cossipore near the end of 1885. During his last days, he was looked after by his monastic disciples and his wife. Ramakrishna asked monastic disciples to look upon his dear disciple Vivekananda (Narendranath Gupta) as their leader. After Ramakrishna's death, these young boys and men formed a fellowship at a half-ruined house at Baranagar near the Ganges. This became the first place of the disciples who constituted the first Ramakrishna Order.

Ramakrishna practised several religions, and several organizations have been established in the name of Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna and his movement, the Ramakrishna Mission, played a leading role in the modern revival of Hinduism in India, and on modern Indian history. His life and teachings were an important part of the renaissance that Bengal, and later India, experienced in the 19th century. Many great thinkers including Max Muller, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sri Aurobindo, Leo Tolstoy have acknowledged Ramakrishna's contribution to humanity.

Literary sources

According to Malcolm Mclean, the central text for Ramakrishna's teaching is Mahendranath Gupta's Sri-Sri-Ramakrisna-Kathamrita, written in Bengali. The text was published in five volumes from 1902 to 1932. Based on Gupta's diary notes, each of the five volumes purports to document Ramakrishna's life from 1882-1886. [◦A translation]

The main translation of the Kathamrita is The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by Nikhilananda. Nikhilananda's helpful translation rearranged the scenes in the five volumes of the Kathamrita into a linear sequence. [Rap]

In his 1899 book ◦Ramakrishna: His Life and Sayings, the German philologist and Orientalist Max Müller portrayed Ramakrishna as "a wonderful mixture of God and man."

Indologist Heinrich Zimmer was the first Western scholar to interpret Ramakrishna's worship of the Divine Mother as containing specifically Tantric elements.

In 1927, Sigmund Freud's friend Romain Rolland wrote to him that he should consider spiritual experiences, or "the oceanic feeling," in his psychological works. Romain Rolland described the mystical states achieved by Ramakrishna and other mystics as an "'oceanic' sentiment," one which Rolland had also experienced [cf Hib].

A very extensive Ramakrishna biography is Sri Ramakrishna: The Great Master by Jagadananda. It recounts numerous and baffling incidents and estimates that other biographers do not contain. The book is warmly recommended.

There is also a pious biography by many disciples [Lrr].

No matter what many scholar argue for a variety of viewpoints, Ramakrishna's religious practices were largely in line with Bengali tradition. By studying the large picture and adjust our understanding of various fragments accordingly, we may get mature outlooks too. [cf. Tos 109n].

Collection

Paramhansa Ramakrishna  

Goa: Nikhilananda, sw. tr: The Gospel of Ramakrishna. Abr. ed. Ramakrishna-Vivekananda. New York, 1974.

Gra: Jagadananda, sw. tr: Sri Ramakrishna: The Great Master. 4th ed. Ramakrishna Math. Mylapore, 1970.

Hib: Romain, Rolland: The Gospel of Ramakrishna. 8th ed. Advaita Asram. Calcutta, 1970.

Lrr: Advaita Asram: Life of Sri Ramakrishna. Advaita Asram. Calcutta, 1971.

Per: Perry, Glenn, Ph.D. The Birth of Psychological Astrology. San Rafael, CA: Association for Psychological Astrology. Nd. www.aaperry.com/index.asp?pgid=20

Rap: Gupta, M.: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna-Vivekananda. New York, 1942.

Rls: Müller, F. Max. Ramakrishna: His Life and Sayings. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1898. Online.

Tas: Ramakrishna: Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna. 5th ed. Ramakrishna Math, Madras, 1974.

Tos: Advaita Asram: Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna. Advaita Asram. Calcutta, 1975.

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