Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 9:29AM
Vedanta Society of St. Louis

Sri Ramakrishna’s Life and Message in the Present Age: 

With the Author’s Reminiscences of Holy Mother and Some Direct Disciples

by Swami Satprakashananda

Hardback. 208 pages. ISBN 091635654X


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Ramakrishna’s message is based solely on his own experience -- his direct perception of God. This book clearly brings out exactly what his message is and how much it is needed at this time. The author’s reminiscences in Part II add an attractive and personal touch to the volume.

This short and seemingly simple book is really a deep study of a great soul’s immense personality . . . Sri Ramakrishna’s life was a spiritual drama. Not blindly accepting authority, not relying on the words of the scriptures, ... not relying on the opinions of philosophers, not at first going to a teacher, the young aspirant directly knocked at the gate of heaven, and the door opened, and he saw light.
- Vedanta Kesari

Many authors have highlighted the significance of the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna on our modern society and mankind. Swami Satprakashananda, unlike most of them, has presented much authentic material in such a simple manner that even an unfamiliar western reader will find the book very attractive.
- Hinduism

Summing up the precise truths that are...significant, the author writes: God is real, God can be realized; this longing for eternal life can be completely fulfilled; there are many ways to the attainment of this goal. And Sri Ramakrishna’s is a life that demonstrates these truths in practice.
- Prabuddha Bharata (Awakened India)


Part I - The Significance of Sri Ramakrishna’s Life and Message in the Present Age
  1. Sri Ramakrishna: His Divine Life and Mission
  2. Sri Ramakrishna: The Great Master
  3. Sri Ramakrishna: His Relation to Vedanta
  4. His Image, Its Significance
  5. The Classified Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna
  6. Life and Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna in the Modern Age

Part II - The Authors Reminiscences of Holy Mother and some Direct Disciples of Sri Ramakrishna
  1. Sri Sarada Devi, The Holy Mother
  2. Swami Vivekananda
  3. Master Mahasaya ("M")
  4. Swami Brahmananda
  5. Swami Premananda
  6. Swami Shivananda

Appendix A  Vedanta in America
Appendix B  Ramakrishna Math and the Non-dualistic Order of Shankara
Appendix C  Sri Ramakrishna’s Message of Renunciation and Realization in Terms of Vedanta
Appendix D  The Master’s Self-Revelation and the Bestowal of Freedom from Fear as recorded by Swami Saradananda

Part I  The Significance of Sri Ramakrishna’s Life and Message in the Present Age
Chapter I: Sri Ramakrishna: His Divine Life and Mission

This universe is dependent upon our body-idea. The moment we recede from body-consciousness, as in dreams or in deep sleep, we are not aware of this universe. The ego persists in the waking state and is associated with this psychical system. It has some perception of this objective universe and of the psychical universe. But the moment the ego goes beyond them, as in the sleep state, what does it know? In the sleep state a person does not know whether he or she is a man or a woman, a teacher or a student. He does not know if he is an American or a Chinese. He does not know anything in the sleep state, because in that state this ego becomes merged elsewhere. There is no idea, no feeling, no memory, no imagination of any kind. All the features of the mind are lost in unspecified ignorance. The mind is in a featureless, causal state. Nothing is perceived because the ego, upon which all these diversities are centered, is lost. Something like this happens in samadhi also.

In sleep, this ego enters into unspecified ignorance; in samadhi, the ego enters into unspecified, formless, featureless consciousness. Instead of darkness, it enters into light, and that light removes all darkness, the roots of all weaknesses forever. When we enter into sleep, our ego-consciousness for the time being becomes merged in ignorance. When this ego-consciousness returns from that ignorance to what we call the normal state of consciousness, our weaknesses are not removed; all the roots of our weaknesses remain there. This is the whole difference.


Part I  The Significance of Sri Ramakrishna’s Life and Message in the Present Age
Chapter VI Life and Teaching of Sri Ramakrishna in the Modern Age

Another contribution of Sri Ramakrishna in the modern age is his teaching that if man can worship God through symbols or images, he can worship God in human form. One day somebody referred to the teaching of a Hindu spiritual leader, saying that he emphasized compassion. Sri Ramakrishna said, "Why compassion? It means condescension. Who are you to be compassionate to the children of the Lord! Not compassion, but serving your fellow-beings in the spirit of serving God." It is the temple of the body where God actually shines.

This is the message that Swami Vivekananda at once took up. And on the basis of this message he organized the Ramakrishna Math and Mission.

Article originally appeared on Vedanta Society of St. Louis - A Branch of The Ramakrishna Order of India (
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