AddendaA. Vortexes B. Deep-going Themes C. Ramakrishna's Influence
This small index of focal points in Ramakrishna's teachings is not exhaustive. There is a larger index in the original work from 1907. The in-text brackets of this sort - [ } - show the pages that are referred to. There is a search function on the site that may help, if you write such as "Ramakrishna stories" and add the topics you would like to inpect. - TK
A child's "I" . . . page 57
B. Ramakrishna's Deeper Themes
Hopefully, these goals won't kill you but benefit you if applied carefully and well. They all tie in with Ramakrishna's main teachings:
Reality is one; personal as well as impersonal, and wearing different names.
A pure mind is free from carnal lots. "Do not let worldly thoughts and anxieties disturb your mind."
The goal of human life is to realise Reality. "There is nothing wrong in your being in the world", but also: "He is born in vain who, having attained the human birth, so difficult to get, does not attempt to realise God in this very life."
Reality can be realised by adequate methods (including "paths") for it.
It is favourable to have and hold a positive outlook on life.
Be truthful and persist to benefit. "Be not a traitor." "Be sincere".
The Lord of Mirth and so on manifests more greatly in good people. "He especially manifests Himself in the heart of the devotee."
Householders need not renounce the world to succeed, but seek to remain as little attached as can be. "Live in the world like a mudfish. The fish lives in the mud, but its skin is always bright and shiny."
Love should be applied in practical life.
Women are to be treated with respect, and this includes fallen women too.
Practise "the name of God" (mantra meditation).
Unfurl the sails of your boat (mind) in the breeze of grace so as to make rapid headway.
How to? Many ◦practice TM.
C. Ramakrishna's Life and Influence
Ramakrishna was a Hindu priest, and took to intense tantra yoga practices as a young man, so much that his relatives were alarmed and got him married to a little girl from the neighbouring village. It hardly affected his activities. He tried various traditional ways of training, most notably tantra and Vedanta, and realized God. However, his looming front aftewards was naïve-looking devotion as described in Hindu scriptures, . His first teacher was a remarkable woman who taught him tantra. Three years later a wandering monk, Totapuri, helped him into the state called Nirvikalpa, and Ramakrishna soon remained in it for six months.
Ramakrishna had become a Vedantin monk when his now nineteen years old wife Sarada came to live with him in 1872. He taught her to attend to household duties and an intensely spiritual life. Sarada continued to stay with him. Their marital relationship was purely spiritual. Outwardly he lived with childlike simplicity. A patron took care of his needs.
Ramakrishna did not write any book or deliver public lectures. Instead, he spoke in a simple language using parables and metaphors by way of illustration. His conversations over the four last years of his life were noted down by Mahendranath Gupta, who published them. This is the first, authorised English translation of it (of 1907). A much more elaborated work appeared a generation later, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (1942); it is still popular.
Ramakrishna got throat cancer in 1885 and nursed day and night. In the small hours of 16 August 1886 Sri Ramakrishna gave up his body.
Ramakrishna and his movement - Ramakrishna Mission - played a leading role in the modern revival of Hinduism in India. They inspired and deeply influenced modern Indian history.
The name he is known by, Ramakrishna, is from the Vaishnavite tradition, where Rama and Krishna are told to be incarnations of God the Preserver, Vishnu. However, he also stuck to the goddess Kali, that he came to bond with as his Mother God.
In tantra, the predominant view is that there is One God who is seemingly branching out into many different gods and goddesses. Some gods and goddesses are taught to be sound and uplifting to man, others not really so. Several of them are described carefully in books on tantra. Goddess Kali has a dual role in this scenario. Originally a blood-thirsty killer of humans, garlanded by human skulls, she is also considered by some followers as Dear Mother. But is she all-good? That's the deep question to consider.
"It takes one to know one" – does it apply full well?
Below I just render a little:
The reputed orientalist Max Müller was inspired by Ramakrishna, and even wrote a book about him, called Tales and Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna. Muller said:
Sri Ramakrishna was a living illustration of the truth that Vedanta, when properly realised, can become a practical rule of life . . . the Vedanta philosophy is the very marrow running through all the bones of Ramakrishna’s doctrine.
Leo Tolstoy described Ramakrishna as a "remarkable sage". Romain Rolland considered Ramakrishna to be the "consummation of two thousand years of the spiritual life of three hundred million people" and "the younger brother of Christ."
Mohandas Gandhi wrote such as: "He was a living embodiment of godliness."
Sri Aurobindo considered Ramakrishna to be an incarnation of God en par with Gautama Buddha. He wrote:
All the development of the previous two thousand years and more since Buddha appeared has been a preparation for the harmonisation of spiritual teaching and experience by the Avatar of Dakshineshwar.
Jawaharlal Nehru described Ramakrishna as "one of the great rishis [seers] of India, who had come to draw our attention to the higher things of life and of the spirit."
Philosopher Arindam Chakrabarti called Ramakrishna a "practically illiterate, faith-bound, emotional, otherworldly esoteric [who] was no less a philosopher than Buddha or Socrates."
Vivekananda, Ramakrishna’s most well-known disciple, spread the message of Ramakrishna across the world and helped introduce Hinduism to the west. He founded two organisations based on the teachings of Ramakrishna.
[Cf. Wikipedia, s.v. "Ramakrishna's influence"]
Some related works
In 2006, composer Philip Glass wrote The Passion of Ramakrishna - a choral work that premiered on September 16, 2006 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, California.
Franz Dvorak (1862–1927), a painter from Prague, inspired by the teachings of Ramakrishna made several paintings of Ramakrishna and his wife, Sarada Devi.
A great many persons have also written about Ramakrishna and his legacy, including many other disciples than M (Mahendranath Gupta), who wrote a diary - later published in book form - of meetings and experiences with Ramakrishna. This is the first edition of that book.