Born in Kamarpukur, a small village in India, Sri Ramakrishna (1836–86) was attracted to spiritual life from his childhood. As a young man he became a temple priest and was seized by an unquenchable longing for God. He immersed himself in intense meditation and other spiritual practices. He would often go into high spiritual states where he would merge with the Infinite Reality. For him, the Vedanta teaching of unity of all existence was more than a theory. He experienced it directly and knew it to be true.
In his thirst for the Divine, Ramakrishna followed different religious paths including various branches of Hinduism. Not content to stop there, he also practiced Islam and later meditated deeply on Christ, experiencing the same divine Reality. Thus from his own direct experience he came to the conclusion that all religions are equally true and all religions lead to the same goal.
Ramakrishna's love for humanity was limitless. He often said that human beings were the highest manifestations of God. Among his many other noteworthy characteristics were his universality, childlike purity, and extraordinary power to transform lives.
Ramakrishna's teachings regarding the highest truths of spiritual life were delivered in the simplest language, punctuated by rustic parables and metaphors as illustrations. The English translation of his conversations is available in a book titled The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. His life and teachings are a testament to truth, love, purity, and universality.
Books on Sri Ramakrishna
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Tr. Swami Nikhilananda
Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, Swami Saradananda (Tr. Swami Chetanananda)