A poor priest at the Kali temple in Dakshineswar, Calcutta. Ramakrishna Paramhansa was one of the most prominent socio-religious reformers of his time. After realising oneness with the Absolute, he became a saint.

He sought salvation through traditional ways of renunciation, medita­tion and prayers rather than through meaningless rites and rituals. He recognised the oneness and formlessness of God and emphasised that Krishna, Hari, Ram, Christ, Allah are different names of the same God.

He organised his young disciples to form a Ramakrishna Math. The math consisted of monks who lived a life of renunciation and practical spiritu­ality. These monks were then sent out as teachers and workers to spread the universal message of vedanta.

Ramakrishna also taught that all men and women, irrespective of caste or creed were manifestations of the Divine and that selfless service to these men and women was selfless service to God. Ramakrishna’s philosophy helped a great deal in bringing about a social regeneration in Bengal.


After his death, Narendranath Dutta (Swami Vivekananda) founded the Ramakrishna Mission (in 1897) to propagate the teachings of Paramhansa. The headquarters of the math and the mission are at Belur near Calcutta.