FOR ONE’S OWN SALVATION, AND FOR THE WELFARE OF THE WORLD
|A Short Life Story of Sri Ramakrishna|
The history of a nation is not made in a day. It is the result of centuries of silent working of manifold creative forces. It is in this way that the distinctive culture of a nation is formed. The history of India proves that a nation which stands loyal to its cultural traditions can never die. Religion is the backbone of Indian national life. From the hoary past India has passed through numberless vicissitudes. That she has survived them is due to the fact that the nation has remained true to its spiritual instinct. At every time of spiritual crisis in Indian national life there has been born a saint or a prophet who has saved the nation from the impending danger. Sri Krishna, Buddha, Shankara, Nanak, Chaitanya – each fulfilled a great demand of the age in which he was born.
The nineteenth century saw India faced with a great crisis. With the British conquest of India came the invasion of Western civilization upon the country. Awed by the material power of the conquering nation, Indians hailed everything Western as a thing to be welcomed. In the meanwhile Christianity, one of the greatest proselytizing religions of the world, began to work silently for a thorough cultural conquest of the land.
At this psychological moment appeared Sri Ramakrishna, the embodiment of the spirit of India’s culture and religion. He opened the eyes of the Indians to the beauty, grandeur, and strength of Hinduism at a time when their faith in it had greatly slackened. His life stood as a bulwark against those alien forces which attempted to undermine the spirit of Indian civilization. Sri Ramakrishna was born not only to save Hinduism from a dire calamity, but also, as it were, to resuscitate all faiths. As a result of his having practised other religions besides his own and directly experiencing all to be true, any man belonging to any religion will find his faith in his own system strengthened. As such Sri Ramakrishna’s life is sure to stem the tide of the general disbelief in religion all the world over. Already the influence of his spiritual realizations has travelled abroad. Who will doubt that it will gather strength as years roll on? For Sri Ramakrishna represented not only Hinduism but all faiths.