Tomorrow is Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s 182nd birth anniversary and somehow I accidentally found myself entering into a discussion with a youngster of almost my age on the question whether Sri Ramakrishna is an Avatar?
The first thing about the argument is what his contemporaries and later spiritual leaders have felt about him. Bhairavi Brahmani, his own Guru who taught him the Tantric Sadhana was perhaps the first to recognise a special manifestation of Lord’s power in him and she declared it in the assembly of learned Pundits and asked any of them to counter it. She used the scriptural authority to prove this. There in that assembly of great scholars of his time Sri Ramakrishna was accepted as the Avatara. Then his Advaitha Guru Sri Totapuri also discovered that Lord dwells in the body of Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna’s parents had a dream in which Lord Vishnu appeared and said that he will be born as their Son. These are all facts which form a very strong support base. (For the Dashavatara theory and that Sri Ramakrishna’s name is not there, it can be simply dismissed on the grounds that God needn’t act according to a fixed theory. He’s free and that his ways are endless.)
Sri Ramakrishna was still much unknown even when all these things happened. Later we will see that all his great disciples mainly Swami Vivekananda, Swami Brahmananda, Swami Abhedananda, Swami Saradananda, Girish Chandra Ghosh etc. entered his life. From here does more insight is developed into his personality. Everybody knew that Sri Ramakrishna went into spiritual ecstasy and entered into Samadhi just as he wished. There certainly have been many great saints in India who have entered into Samadhi and have attained individual salvation. Samadhi was not everything about Sri Ramakrishna. There was a purpose behind his advent which we will look into shortly.
In the meantime we find Swami Vivekananda who was a rebel against anything unreasonable, and anything that’s misleading testing Sri Ramakrishna very rigorously. Even after all the wonderful association that he had with his master, even with all the guidance that he received from him, with all the spiritual experiences that he got through him, he hadn’t believed that he was an Avatar. Once during his last days of illness, Sri Ramakrishna, after transferring all his powers to the then Narendra said that he will accomplish wonderful things with those powers. It was sometime then that he told Naren that, “He who was Sri Krishna in the Dwapara Yug, Lord Rama in the Treta Yug is now currently Sri Ramakrishna in the Kali Yug.” That was his own declaration. Swami Vivekananda took his time to verify this. It can safely be said that after his traveling through the entire country and after his triumphant visit to the West, the great Swami, by then had realised the significance and importance of his Guru’s advent. There was open before him the world mission, a mission that dare was never attempted before in the history of mankind in the spiritual realm. That mission was before him and that all important message that Man’s destiny is towards God. Sri Ramakrishna’s greatest contribution was that he realised that in essence, all religions can lead to God. He excluded none and didn’t put one man against the other, didn’t put the banner of conversion. He took in all that was in the name of God and recharged every path and gave confidence to each being that he will reach God in his path and that everyone will reach God in their respective paths. He put an end to all the fanatic and dogmatic ideas of God. His emphatic acceptance of all religions based on realisation is in itself a new inspiration for the world under which the whole of humanity can live together in peace and harmony. Swami Vivekananda said something very remarkable to that effect, “All that I am, all that the world itself will some day be, is owing to my Master, Shri Ramakrishna, who incarnated and experienced and taught this wonderful unity which underlies everything, having discovered it alike in Hinduism, in Islam, and in Christianity.”
Secondly, the growing impact of his wonderful mission which has inspired innumerable institutions and individuals to find a higher purpose in life and to contribute to make the world a better place is just growing day by day at an astonishing pace. I myself am verifying that with my own little life and in the organisation that we started and in many other organizations that I am tracking closely. If you open your eyes, you can see that the impact is worldwide and that it’s growing changing the thought current of the individuals and giving them higher ideals to live for. I see it penetrating deep into cities and deeper into forests and villages. The inspiration behind can be traced to Sri Ramakrishna. Yes! The world has a perfected ideal.
What do you expect of an Avatara? To kill a demon like Hiranyakashipu or Ravana? Or to preach Bhagavadgita in the war field? They both had their necessities and both have contributed for the betterment of the world. On similar grounds it looks perfectly logical to argue that for the current times, Sri Ramakrishna has contributed enough to be accepted as an Avatar. I won’t hesitate to say that we are still witnessing only a part of his greatness and soon I’m sure it will change the very complexion of this world.