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Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna, born in Kamarpukur, an obscure village not far from Calcutta, became one of the world’s most highly revered saints within a few years of his passing away. His message of the harmony of religions, based on his own realizations of the truth of various religious paths, opened the way for a new era of mutual understanding among the world’s great religions. His special message was the oneness of existence and the divinity of humankind. He taught that God, or the higher Self, could be realized in this very lifetime through the paths of knowledge, meditation, ecstatic love and selfless service.

Swami Vivekananda said of him: In the presence of the Master I found out that man could be perfect, even in this body. Those lips never cursed any one, never even criticized any one. Those eyes were beyond the possibility of seeing evil, that mind had lost the power of thinking evil. He saw nothing but good. That tremendous purity, that tremendous renunciation is the one secret of spirituality.

Sri Sarada Devi

Sri Sarada Devi affectionately known as Holy Mother, was at once devoted wife, spiritual companion and object of worship of Sri Ramakrishna. After the passing away of Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother became the spiritual guide of the fledgling Ramakrishna Order and countless devotees. She is revered as a symbol of universal motherhood, whose wisdom and spiritual grandeur remained hidden beneath her natural veil of modesty.

Swamiji’s main emphasis was on the direct experience of truth. “Religion is not in books, nor in theories, nor in dogmas, nor in talking, nor even reasoning. It is being and becoming.”

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda was the chief monastic disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and the bearer of his message to the West. Swamiji, as he was affectionately known, introduced the liberal and universal teachings of Vedanta to the Western world at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. The enthusiastic response to his message and personality marked the beginning of the Vedanta movement in the United States and the founding of centers in many of the major cities of the country. Swamiji, on his return to India, also founded the Ramakrishna Order of Monks and the Ramakrishna Mission, which carries on educational and social service work throughout India and the world in addition to spreading the spiritual teachings of Sri Ramakrishna.

Swamiji’s main emphasis was on the direct experience of truth. “Religion is not in books, nor in theories, nor in dogmas, nor in talking, nor even reasoning. It is being and becoming.”