Talk: The Phenomenon of Sri Ramakrishna – Br. Shankara

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

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Click for PDF of Quotes & Notes from this talk

February is a month for study of Karma Yoga, a spiritual path leading to the abandonment of selfishness, and freedom form worry and care.

As a karma yogi, you practice offering all your thoughts, actions, and perceptions to the Divine Presence. Even before fully knowing this Presence, you hold firmly to the belief that the Presence is within each person or other living being that you interact with or serve. Working and abiding in this spirit, you are increasingly able to release attachment to your activities and their results.

This yields the freedom promised by Karma Yoga.

Sri Ramakrishna, painted by Swami Tadatmananda
Sri Ramakrishna, painting by Swami Tadatmananda

On Sunday, February 18th, we will joyously celebrate the birthday of Sri Ramakrishna. There is a direct link between that Great Master’s life and teachings and what you are reading just now. This coming Sunday — the 11th — we will talk about that timeless connection.

Here is what Christopher Isherwood wrote about Sri Ramakrishna, as he starts his book Ramakrishna and His Disciples:

“This is the story of a phenomenon.

I will begin by calling him simply that, rather than `holy man’, `mystic’, `saint’, or `avatar’; all emotive words with mixed associations which may attract some readers, repel others. A phenomenon is often something extraordinary and mysterious.

Ramakrishna was extraordinary and mysterious; most of all to those who were best fitted to understand him …”

Two people who were best fitted to understand Sri Ramakrishna are Swami Vivekananda, his most famous disciple, and his wife, Sri Sarada Devi.

In this talk, we explore and discuss some of what Swamiji and Holy Mother wrote and said about Ramakrishna. As their knowledge of him is shared, the connection between the Master’s life and your presence in our Chapel next Sunday morning may become clear.