Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama

T. Nagar, Chennai

Rain water never stands on high ground, but runs down to the lowest level. So also the mercy of God remains in the hearts of the lowly, but drains off from those of the vain and the proud.

-Sri Ramakrishna

I tell you the truth : there is nothing wrong in your being in the world. But you must direct your mind towards God.

-Sri Ramakrishna

All religions are true. God can be reached by different religions. Many rivers flow by many ways but they fall into the sea. There all are one.

-Sri Ramakrishna

The earth is enjoyed by heroes”—this is the unfailing truth. Be a hero. Always say, “I have no fear.

-Swami Vivekanada

A tremendous stream is flowing toward the ocean, carrying us all along with it; and though like straws and scraps of paper we may at times float aimlessly about, in the long run we are sure to join the Ocean of Life and Bliss.

-Swami Vivekanada

Be brave! Be strong! Be fearless! Once you have taken up the spiritual life, fight as long as there is any life in you. Even though you know you are going to be killed, fight till you “are killed.” Don’t die of fright. Die fighting. Don’t go down till you are knocked down.

-Swami Vivekanada

I am the mother of the wicked, as I am the mother of the virtuous. Never fear. Whenever you are in distress, just say to yourself 'I have a mother.'

-Sri Sharada Devi

Dakshineshwar

In the year 1847, the wealthy widow Rani Rasmani prepared to go upon a long pilgrimage to the sacred city of Banaras to express her devotions to the Divine Mother. In those days there was no railway line between Calcutta and Banaras and it was more comfortable for rich persons to make the journey by boat rather than by road.We are told that the convoy of Rani Rasmani consisted of twenty four boats carrying relatives, servants, and supplies. But the night before the pilgrimage began, the Divine Mother, in the form of the goddess Kali, intervened.She appeared to the Rani in a dream and said, "There is not need to go to Banaras.Install my statue in a beautiful temple on the banks of the Ganges river and arrange for my worship there.

Then I shall manifest myself in the image and accept worship at that place." Profoundly affected by the dream, the Rani immediately looked for and purchased land, and promptly began construction of the temple. The large temple complex, built between 1847 and 1855, had as its centerpiece a shrine of the goddess Kali, but also had temples dedicated to the deities Shiva and Radha-Krishna. A scholarly and elderly sage was chosen as the head priest and the temple was consecrated in 1855. Within the year this priest died and his responsibility passed to his younger brother, Ramakrishna, who over the next thirty years would bring great fame to the Dakshineswar temple.

Ramakrishna did not serve for long as temple's head priest however. From the first days of his service in the shrine of the goddess Kali, he was filled with a rare form of the love of God known in Hinduism as maha-bhava. Worshipping in front of the statue of Kali, Ramakrishna would be overcome with such ecstatic love for the deity that he would fall to the ground and, immersed in spiritual trance, lose all consciousness of the external world. These experiences of God-intoxication became so frequent that he was relieved of his duties as temple priest but allowed to continue living within the temple compound. During the next twelve years Ramakrishna would journey ever deeper into this passionate and absolute love of the divine. His practice was to express such intense devotion to particular deities that they would physically manifest to him and then merge into his being. The various forms of god and goddess such as Shiva, Kali, Radha-Krishna, Sita-Rama, Christ and Mohammed frequently appeared to him and his fame as an avatar, or divine incarnation, rapidly spread throughout India.

Ramakrishna died in 1886 at the age of fifty but his life, his intense spiritual practices, and the temple of Kali where many of his ecstatic trances occurred continued to attract pilgrims from all over India and the world. While Ramakrishna grew up and lived within the domain of Hinduism, his experience of the divine went far beyond the bounds of that, or any other, religion. Ramakrishna fully realized the infinite and all-inclusive nature of the divine. He was a conduit for divinity into the human world and the presence of that divinity may still be clearly experienced at the Kali temple of Dakshineswar.