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Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and Swami Vivekananda Documentary(Vedanta Society)

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Published on May 15, 2012

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (February 18, 1836 - August 16, 1886), born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay is a famous mystic of nineteenth century India. His religious school of thought led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda—both were influential figures in the Bengali Renaissance and the Hindu renaissance during 19th and 20th century. He was considered an avatar or incarnation of God by many of his disciples, and is considered as such by many of his devotees today.
Ramakrishna was born into a poor Brahmin Vaishnava family in rural Bengal. He became the priest at the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, dedicated to Mother Kali, which had the influence of the main strands of Bengali and Indian bhakti.[2] His first spiritual teacher was an ascetic woman skilled in Tantra and vaishnava bhakti. Later an Advaita Vedantin ascetic taught him non-dual meditation, under whom Ramakrishna experienced Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Ramakrishna also experimented with other religions, notably Islam and Christianity, and said that they all lead to the same God.[2] He had wide popular appeal, speaking in rustic Bengali, making use of many stories and parables. Though conventionally uneducated, he attracted attention among the Bengali intelligentsia and middle classes. By the mid-1870s Ramakrishna had become the focal point of a resurgence of Hinduism, particularly among Westernized intellectuals. He eventually gathered and organized a group of followers, led by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda, who continued his work as a monk following Ramakrishna's death in 1886.
Ramakrishna's ideas were spread to the West by Swami Vivekananda, beginning in 1893 as the spokesman for Hinduism at the first Parliament of the World's Religions at Chicago. There Vivekananda's message of universalism was well received and he attracted widespread support. He eventually established the Vedanta Society to spread the universal truths of Hindu philosophy in America and in India he founded the Ramakrishna Mission—a monastic society that promotes Ramakrishna's ideas of religious pluralism and carries out social service. The Ramakrishna movement has been termed as one of the revitalization movements of India. As of 2008, Ramakrishna Mission has 166 branch centers all over India and in different parts of the world and the headquarters is located at the Belur Math.

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