Ramakrishna Paramhansa was one of the leading Hindu spiritual leaders in 19th century Bengal, nay entire India, Ramakrishna Paramhansa was born as Gadadhar Chattopadhyay on February 18, 1836, in Kamarpukur, in Hooghly district of West Bengal.
Born into a poor family who lived a hand to mouth existence, Ramakrishna was neither interested in going to school nor in business. He was a non-conformist and questioned existing beliefs and conventions.
Ramakrishna’s elder brother Ramkumar started a Sanskrit school in Kolkata and sometimes also served as a priest. During this time, a rich lady of Kolkata, Rani Rashmoni, founded a temple at Dakshineswar. She approached Ramkumar to serve as a priest in that temple. Ramkumar agreed and the mantle passed on to Ramkrishna when Ramkumar retired. As Ramakrishna started worshipping the deity Bhavatarini, many a question started to trouble him. He started praying to Goddess Kali to reveal Herself to him and one fine day, Ramakrishna is said to have seen light coming from the deity. This incident changed his life overnight and began to flock to him from far and wide.
Ramakrishna emphasised that the realization of the existence of God is the supreme goal of all living beings. For him, various religions were only a means to reach the Absolute. This great saint passed away on August 16, 1886. Among his most famous disciples was Swami Vivekananda, who became famous across the world in his own right.