Why is Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa revered as a great saint?

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was not just a saint, but an Avatara Purusha. To his closest devotees, he had revealed that he was an avatar. There are so many aspects of him that make him great and we shall briefly see some of them here:

  • He was one of the great contributors to the revival of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) , which was precariously eclipsed by Western (Christian) influence due to the British Raj prevalent during his time (1836–1886).
  • He was one standing example to prove that every facet of Hinduism — be the path of Bhakti (including worship of multiple God forms), the path of Gnyana (ending up in Advaita Philosophy), the path (Pathanchali) Yoga (practices in meditation ending in Nirvikalpa Samadhi), the path of Kundalini Yoga (from Tantra) etc are all valid and true, by undergoing intense spiritual practices and experiencing Ultimate Truth in every path.
  • During his period, the path of Tantra, which was highly secretive was being practiced by some people for wrong purposes. Tantra involved spiritual practices involving experimentation in intimate man-woman relationship as a means to attain union of Soul and God and many of its rituals looked rather very extreme, dirty and abhorrent. Sri Ramakrishna was bold enough to even tread this path (guided by a senior lady Guru Bhairavi Brahmani) and was successful experiencing the highest state, by undergoing all the rigorous practices.Based on this experience, he could declare that even Tantra was a valid path to attain God; but he did not recommend it as a practice to his disciples, warning that there are more chances of falling rather than rising in that path for most people.
  • By his basic mindset, he was a Shakta (worshiper of Divine Mother, Shakti – Kali). At his earliest sadhana periods, he did intense tapas to get a darshan of Bhavatarini Kali (at Dakshineswar Temple) and got Her darshan. Devi merged in Him. He practiced Vaishnavism and had visions of Sri Rama, Devi Sita, Lord Krishna, Radha, Hanuman and many such God forms. He realised that all these God forms are verily inside Him.
  • Having tasted experience in God through various paths of Hinduism, he tried Islam and Christianity too and practicing and meditating on these paths, he realized that those paths also lead to God.
  • With such a varied experience behind him, he declared “As many faiths, so many paths”. He was a Vaishnava amidst devotees of Vishnu; he was a Shakta amidst devotees of Devi; he was a Christian amidst worshipers of Jesus. He was a Gnyani amidst Advaitis. He was a Yogi amidst yogis. People from every walk of life and every sect of religion who were blessed to come across him felt he was their own. Amidst all the paths, he proposed the path of Bakthi to one’s own Ishta (personal God) as the easiest and best way to attain God suited for majority of people.
  • He declared that kamini and kanchana (sex and gold) are the two greatest impediments for any spiritual seeker to attain God. He was emphatic and forthright that without relinquishing both, no spiritual attainment is ever possible.
  • He had no education beyond some primary schooling. This unassuming Brahmin was a simpleton to the core. He only spoke rustic Bengali. He could not touch money with his hand. He could not carry anything with him for tomorrow’s use.
  • He married when he was 24 years old and Saradadevi was 5 years old at that time. When Saradadevi came to live with him at Dakshineshwar, he declared to her that she was no different from the Divine Mother at the temple. Their life was a wonderful example to the world that a husband-wife relationship of the highest caliber was indeed possible without sex between them.
  • He spoke about God and spirituality all the time. Whatever he spoke was of the simplest and most easily comprehensible knowledge of the Supreme. What Pundits and scholars could not understand by reading Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, they could get clarification and clarity from this rustic Poojari who did not study Sanskrit.
  • After 12 years of intense sadhanas in so many paths, he was ready to teach the world. He cried to divine mother to send qualified and eager aspirants who are yearning for divine knowledge. And young and educated aspirants started coming. During his living time, hardly three dozen people knew that he was a Mahatma/ Avatara par excellence.
  • It was his divine scheme that all his teachings and all his spiritual wealth was meant to be distributed to the outer world after his death (that happened due to his throat cancer when he was 50).
  • Lead by Swami Vivekananda, 16 of his young disciples left worldly life and took up Sanyas and lead a life of intense austerities after his death. Sarada Devi gave them emotional and spiritual support. Initiated by Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math came up much later after his death.
  • Selfless service was one of the activities of Sri Ramakrishna Math. The inspiration for this came to Swami Vivekananda from Sri Ramakrishna who declared that as every human being is verily a form of God, we can serve God by serving them.
  • All his precious teachings of spirituality in the simplest language was destined to be given to the world after his death by his house Holder devotee Sri Ma- (Mahendra Nath Gupta). His Bengali book Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamritam (later in English The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna) became a source book of Hinduism for every ordinary person to read, grasp and practice.