Sri Ramakrishna was born in the little village of Kamarpukur in West Bengal on February 18, 1836. When he was a young man, he joined his brother,
Ramkumar, who had been appointed to be a priest at the newly constructed temple of Kali at Dakshineswar near Calcutta.
Sri Ramakrishna was put in charge of decorating the image of Kali with flowers, sandal paste, jewelry and clothes. As he worshipped the Divine Mother,
he became obsessed with the thought that if the Divine Mother was real, he should be able to see her living form. He developed a deep yearning for the
vision of God; over time, his yearning became so intense that one day he grabbed the ceremonial sword from the wall of the shrine and was ready to kill himself
if he could not have the Mother's vision. Finally, upon reaching that supreme intensity, he was overwhelmed by an ineffable bliss and had the direct vision of the Divine Mother Kali.
Nonetheless, his yearning for God-realization was not satiated and he resumed his austere disciplines. His disciplines were so intense that his family
feared for his sanity and suggested marriage as an antidote. To their surprise he agreed, even indicating that the appropriate bride was to be found in a
Saradamani Mukerji, whom we now call Sri Sarada Devi, came to Dakshineswar at the age of 16, remaining as his helpmate and disciple until his death.
Over a period of several years, a series of teachers made their way to Dakshineswar and instructed Sri Ramakrishna in their various paths of spiritual practice.
One of the most noteworthy aspects of Sri Ramakrishna's life is the fact that he achieved God Realization on each of these various spiritual paths.
He began to attract followers, who would visit him in his room at Dakshineswar. Among those who were attracted to his teachings was Keshab
Chandra Sen and other members of the Brahmo Samaj. One of these was a young boy named Narendra Nath Datta, who was to become Swami Vivekananda.
In 1885 Sri Ramakrishna was diagnosed as having cancer of the throat and was eventually moved to the garden house at Cossipore for treatment.
In order to nurse him during his illness, a small band of his closest disciples coalesced around him. They were to become the first monks of the
After Sri Ramakrishna left the body in 1886, it was Naren, who became Swami Vivekananda, who formed the young boys into an order
of monks and then spread his master's teachings throughout the world.