Ramakrishna, Sri (1836-1886)
Ramakrishna grew up worshiping Kali but later formally taught Vedanta, literally the concluding portion of the Vedas. He experienced ecstatic visions and trances and the highest states of samadhi, and allegedly performed miracles. When he died of cancer on August 16, 1886, it was proclaimed that he passed into mahasamadhi, the “great sleep.” His teachings were exported to the West by his disciple Swami Vivekananda, beginning in 1893.
Vivekananda believed that in order for religion and philosophy to be effective, they must become socialized. Therefore, he founded the Ramakrishna Movement, which includes the Ramakrishna Mission, devoted to philanthropic, educational, medical, and social activities; and the Math of Belur, the sanctuary of the Ramakrishna Order, the largest monastic order in India that oversees the Mission. (see Hinduism) A.G.H.