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Sri Ramakrishna in all his beautiful glory in this 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 black and white photo. This particular photo comes from a senior monk in the Ramakrishna order who has edited the original version from the 1800s to capture the fine details of Sri Ramakrishna's body and face.
This makes a perfect picture for a home shrine or altar.
- Choose from 8 x 10 or 5 x 7
- Pair with our Sarada Devi or Swami Vivekananda pictures to make the Holy Trio.
This picture was taken in front of the Krishna temple at Dakshineswar in 1884, when Sri Ramakrishna was 48 years old. According to Swami Nirvanananda, “Bavanath Chatterjee, the Master’s devotee from Baranagore, wanted to take a photograph of the Master. One day he requested him very strongly to give his consent, and on the afternoon of the next day brought a photographer along with him from Baranagore. He could not make the Master agree. The Master just went away near the Radhakanta [Krishna] temple.
“In the meantime Narendra arrived on the scene and heard everything; he said, ‘Wait a bit. I shall put everything straight.’ Saying this, he went to the veranda to the west of the Radhakanta temple where Sri Ramakrishna was sitting and started a religious conversation with him. The Master went into samadhi. Swamiji went and called the others and ordered them to get ready quickly to take the picture.
“In the state of samadhi the Master’s body was bent on one side and therefore the cameraman went to make him sit erect by softly adjusting his chin. But as soon as he touched his chin the whole body of the Master came up like a piece of paper – so light it was!
“Swamiji then told him, ‘Oh, what are you doing? Be quick. Get the camera ready.’ The cameraman took the exposure as hurriedly as possible. The Master was completely unaware of this incident.
“After some days when Bavanath brought the printed copy of the photo the Master remarked: ‘This represents a high yogic state. This form will be worshipped in every home as time goes on.’” (“Concerning the Photographs of Sri Ramakrishna” by Swami Vidyatmananda; Vedanta and the West, No. 172).
Swami Vishuddhananda stated that when Sri Ramakrishna saw the photo he went into ecstasy and touched the photo to his head several times, saying: “The photo is nicely taken. This mood is very high – fully merged in Him. Here the Lord is fully depicted in his own nature.”
The following is a quotation from Sri Sarada Devi: The Holy Mother, (p. 416) concerning one of the prints of this photograph:
“Disciple: Mother, that photograph of Sri Ramakrishna which you have with you is a very good one. One feels it when one sees the picture. Well, is that a good likeness of the Master?
“Mother: Yes, that picture is very, very good. It originally belonged to a brahmin cook. Several prints were made of his first photograph. The brahmin took one of them. The picture was at first very dark, just like the image of Kali. Therefore it was given to the Brahmin. When he left Dakshineswar for some place – I do not remember where – he gave it to me. I kept the photograph with the pictures of other gods and goddesses and worshipped it. At one time I lived on the ground floor of the nahabat. One day the Master came there, and at the sight of the picture he said, ‘Hello, what is all this?’ Lakshmi and I had been cooking under the staircase. Then I saw the Master take in his hand the bel leaves and flowers kept there for worship, and offer them to the photograph. This is the same picture. That brahmin never returned, so the picture remained with me.”
This picture which Sri Ramakrishna worshipped is now on the shrine at the Udbodhan Office in Calcutta, where it is worshipped daily. This fact was authenticated by Swami Madhavananda, Swami Vireswarananda, and Swami Nirvanananda. Swami Atmabodhananda, who was the head of Udbodhan for many years until his death in 1959, stated that the Udbodhan print was the same one that Sri Ramakrishna worshipped at the nahabat. (“Concerning the Photographs of Sri Ramakrishna” by Swami Vidyatmananda; Vedanta and the West, No. 172).
In 1982 Swami Chetanananda received a negative from the original picture of Sri Ramakrishna mentioned above. It was made by Braja Kishore Sinha, the Curator of Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta. Swami Chetanananda brought that negative to the United States and gave it to Mr. John Hench, Vice President for Creative Development of Disneyland, who worked on this picture for two years. Mr. Hench carefully removed the scratches, black dots, and other imperfections from this historical, one hundred-year-old photograph without disturbing its originality.
Swami Vivekananda Picture
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Swami Vivekananda's famous meditation pose, black and white photo. This particular photo comes from a senior monk in the Ramakrishna order who has edited the original version from the 1800s to capture the fine details of Swamiji's body and face.
This makes a perfect picture for a home shrine or altar.
- 8 x 10
- 5 x 7
Pair with our Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Sarada Devi pictures to make the Holy Trio.
They Lived With God
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By Swami Chetanananda. How did Ramakrishna’s aptitude for inner experience translate into the lives of the ordinary man and women he inspired? The 31+ devotees in They Lived with God had to face addiction, abusive husbands, disobedient children, indifferent or hostile relatives, bereavements, and spiritual doubts and misgivings. Particular attention is paid to the way they faced death. Their failures and triumphs are entertaining, practical examples for anyone seeking to work and live with an awareness of God’s abiding presence. The revised second edition has been enlarged to include three new biographies; Bhavanath Chattopadhyay, Narendra Nath Mitra, and Tejchandra Mitra.
M. (MAHENDRA NATH GUPTA)
Sri Ramakrishna had asked M. to work for the Divine Mother, and he did so for fifty years. Even though his health was delicate, he never gave up working. Swami Nityatmananda wrote of a touching incident in his memoirs: ‘I was responsible for the printing of the Kathamrita [the Bengali Gospel] while it was at the printer’s, but I had many things to do and was unable to finish the proofreading in time. At one o’clock at night I saw a light in M.’s room. I entered and found he was reading the proofs of the Gospel by a kerosene lantern. He was not well at all, and moreover, as he was working at an odd hour, his eyes were watering. I was pained at this. I lovingly chastised him and he replied with affection: “People are finding peace by reading this book, the Master’s immortal message. It is inevitable that the body will meet its end, so it is better that it is used for spreading peace to others. We are in the world and have utterly experienced how much pain is there, yet I have forgotten that pain through The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. I am hurrying so that the book may come out soon.” Indeed, M. died while the last portion of the last volume was at the press. He was born to write and teach The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.’
On June 4, 1932, M. left his body in full consciousness. He breathed his last saying this prayer, ‘Mother–Guru Deva–take me up in thy arms.’ The Mother took her child up in her arms and the curtain fell.
NAG MAHASHAY (DURGA CHARAN NAG)
When a wild lion is encaged, he roars and tries his utmost to break out of the cage. Similarly, Durga Charan was desperately trying to sever the bonds of maya. His heart was crying for freedom. Once he met a holy man who told him, ‘However strong might be your faith, and intense be your love for God, unless you are initiated by a guru and practise sadhana according to his instructions, you cannot have the vision of God.’
The lives of the mystics prove that when intense longing for God dawns in a soul, God responds and makes everything favorable for the devotee. One morning Durga Charan was seated on the bank of the Ganga when his family guru arrived there, unexpectedly, on a boat. When he was asked the reason for his coming to Calcutta, the guru replied, ‘I have come at the special command of the Divine Mother to initiate you.’ However, the initiation only created in him more hunger for God. He was carried away by divine intoxication and often lost outward consciousness. Once, while he was meditating on the bank of the Ganga, the flood tide rose and swept him into the river. It was several moments before full consciousness returned to him and he was able to swim ashore.
See God with Open Eyes: Meditation on Ramakrishna
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See God with Open Eyes is a meditation on Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Chetanananda, a senior monk with the Ramakrishna Order. This book is a must-have for seekers of Truth; devotees of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, and Sri Sarada Devi; and students of Vedanta and Bhakti traditions alike. Swami Chetanananda breaks down important concepts about Sri Ramakrishna as an avatar and also explains Hindu concepts such as categorizations of the Vedas in an easy-to-understand manner that is so characteristic of his writing. All of his books are highly recommended. We carry his most popular titles in our Inspiring Books collection.
From the publishers: "This title raises several questions: Does God have a form? Can we see God as we see other objects and beings in this world? Can we hear or touch God? Ramakrishna answered these questions with his words and through his life — and many of those answers are collected in this book.
"When God takes a human form, we want to see how that avatar lives, acts, talks, walks, laughs, cries, eats, and sleeps like other human beings. This book depicts how lovers of God can establish and deepen their relationship with Ramakrishna through prayer and meditation, and that strong bond makes them feel safe and secure."
Sri Sarada Devi and Her Divine Play
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This epic biography of Sri Sarada Devi is a must-have for devotees of Sri Ramakrishna and followers of Vedanta, as well as anyone wanting to learn more about exemplary motherhood and selfless service to humankind. Sri Sarada Devi and Her Divine Play is the story of Sarada Devi (1853–1920), the wife of the Indian sage Ramakrishna. The God-man of the nineteenth century, Ramakrishna is known worldwide for demonstrating religious tolerance and respect for all traditions. He was truly a spiritual phenomenon, and his disciple Swami Vivekananda was among the first to bring the wisdom of yoga and Vedanta to the West.
The author, Swami Chetanananda of the Vedanta Society of St. Louis, describes how Sarada Devi, known affectionately as “Holy Mother,” carried out her husband’s spiritual ministry for 34 years after his passing. Her life is a glowing example of Vedanta in practice, as exemplified by her final message: “My child, if you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. See your own faults. Learn to make the world your own. No one is a stranger, my child; the whole world is your own.”
Visit our Inspiring Books collection for more works on Vedanta and how to meditate.
Hardback; Includes 876 pages. 125 illustrations.
Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
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This is the marvelous story of Sri Ramakrishna's life—the intimate details of how he realized God and how he taught his disciples to do the same. It is the authentic, factual, descriptive, interpretive, and comprehensive biography of Ramakrishna, the spiritual phenomenon of our age.
Written by Swami Saradananda and Translated from the Bengali by Swami Chetanananda
This is the marvelous story of Sri Ramakrishna’s life—the intimate details of how he realized God and how he taught his disciples to do the same. It is the authentic, factual, descriptive, interpretive, and comprehensive biography of Ramakrishna, the spiritual phenomenon of our age.
This source biography of Ramakrishna (1836-1886) is based on interviews with those who knew him. It is also an interpreted description of the entire range of Ramakrishna’s spiritual disciplines and experiences, explained as much as possible in terms of reason and common empirical experience, with reference to Hindu scriptures and spiritual traditions, western philosophy, Hindu psychology, and Western religious tradition. The setting is Northeast India from 1775 to 1886.
- for experienced meditators this book offers delightful and profound answers to deeper questions about traveling the spiritual path.
- for scholars this book offers the source biography for Ramakrishna’s life and teachings, as well as an authentic look into India’s spiritual history and its various religious and philosophical traditions.
- for those simply interested in adventure, this book provides absorbing details of the journey through consciousness of one of the greatest spiritual figures of all time.
Ramakrishna and His Disciples
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This biography of Ramakrishna was written for the West by one of England's most talented authors, Christopher Isherwood. This is simply a great introduction to Sri Ramakrishna. Highly recommend to the reader who is curious about lives of Avatars, mysticism, devotion and Vedanta philosophy. Isherwood lived at the Vedanta center in Hollywood for a time with the senior monk there, Swami Prabhavananda and was a very influential writer in Hollywood and all of the US and the West.
The writing is beautiful in itself, but the story of a most unusual man with unheard of spiritual yearning is what this book is really about.
Excerpt: "This is the story of a phenomenon. I will begin by calling him simply that, rather than "holy man,""mystic,"or "saint"; all emotive words with mixed associations which may attract some readers, repel others.
"A phenomenon is always a fact, an object of experience. That is how I shall try to approach Ramakrishna . . . I only ask you to approach Ramakrishna with the same open-minded curiosity you might feel for any highly unusual human being."
- 368 pages, US paperback
Sri Sarada Devi: The Holy Mother
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This is one of the first comprehensive biographies of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi in English. Swami Tapasyananda has incorporated all relevant biographical materials from various literary sources in Bengali, along with first-hand testimonials and information gathered from monks and women disciples of the Holy Mother. He has interpreted the life of the Holy Mother as the expression of the ideal of Divine Motherhood.by Swami Tapasyananda
- 359 pages, Indian paperback
The original edition of this book, published in 1940, contained a chapter called Conversations which has been deleted from this 6th edition. This has been done because these Conversations , along with many others, have been included in the book The Gospel of the Holy Mother This 6th edition has, however, included an additional forty pages of new material discovered since the book’s original publication.
Swami Tapasyananda was president of Sri Ramakrishna Math from 1971 to 1991. A profound scholar, deep thinker, and prolific writer and translator, he was never happier than when an individual approached him for spiritual clarification.
Sarada Devi for Children
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translated by, Swaraj Mazundar
An illustrated young people's biography of Sri Sarada Devi, The Holy Mother. This is an excellent introduction to Holy Mother for children. It tells of special and interesting incidents in her life that children enjoy listening to.
- 39 pages, Indian paperback
A Short Life of Sri Ramakrishna
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This book is a relatively short biography of Sri Ramakrishna, one of Indian's greatest spiritual figures. This is a great introduction to Sri Ramakrishna's life in a short read.
- 128 pages, Indian paperback
"Sri Ramakrishna’s life is a life of spirituality in practice, a sublime sonnet with a singular note of God consciousness, a summary of all that the scriptures of the world have to say, and even much more. To contain such a boundless life and personality within a few pages is certainly as audacious a task as to attempt to contain the ocean in a pot. Yet this book humbly attempts to portray his life and personality in a clear and candid style." Advaita Ashram Publications.
Vivekananda: East Meets West
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A Pictorial biography of Swami Vivekananda By Swami Chetanananda
Hardback, 11″x9 ½”. Pages 176.
Today, as the global community grows more interconnected, we discuss — even encourage and accept — other cultures, ideas, religions, and ways of life, as we become more aware of our common human bond. This was envisioned over 120 years ago by Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), a monk from India.
In 1893 Vivekananda brought the universal message of Vedanta to the West. He wanted to infuse the ancient, spiritual values of Vedanta into the dynamic, creative power of the West. He hoped the West would temper its materialism by learning from India, the home of ancient Vedic culture. In exchange, he wanted the West’s vitality to rub off on India, to help India shake off its lethargy. His life and teachings stand as a meeting point between East and West.
This pictorial biography celebrates Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary and his universal message of Vedanta. He reiterated the great Vedantic truth — “unity in diversity.” People, languages, cultures, customs, and religious beliefs may differ, but “human consciousness, human nature, and the aspiration for freedom are always the same.” Vivekananda called for the acceptance of universal truths common to all humanity; he called for the spiritual awakening of the world. His ability to communicate spiritual ideas in a practical, straightforward way has always appealed to Western minds; his universal message has enriched the spiritual lives of countless Westerners.
Vivekananda: East Meets West is an excellent survey of Vivekananda’s life and teachings and his encounter with many distinguished Western savants; it reveals where the eastern and western cultures and religions can find a common ground to live in harmony and derive benefit from each other; and finally it provides what the West needs badly today — pure spirituality devoid of narrowness and bigotry, commercialism and politics.
Michlet wrote in The Bible of Humanity: “Man must rest, get his breath, refresh himself at the great living wells, which keep the freshness of the eternal.” This book fulfills that purpose.
About the Author
Swami Chetanananda is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order, India. Before coming to the United States he worked in the editorial and publication departments of Advaita Ashrama in Mayavati, Himalayas, and also at its Calcutta branch. He served as an assistant minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern California from 1971 to 1978 before taking his present position as the minister of the Vedanta Society of St. Louis.
Among his many publications are: A Guide to Spiritual Life; Avadhuta Gita; Meditation and Its Methods; Ramakrishna and His Divine Play; Ramakrishna as We Saw Him; Ramakrishna: A Biography in Pictures; Sarada Devi: A Biography in Pictures; They Lived With God; God Lived with Them; How to Live with God; How a Shepherd Boy Became a Saint; Spiritual Treasures; Vedanta: Voice of Freedom; Girish Chandra Ghosh; and Mahendra Nath Gupta (M.).
Front Cover: A photo illustration using Swami Vivekananda’s portrait from a poster printed by Goes Lithographing Company in 1893. The swami delivered his epoch making speech on the universal message of Hinduism at the Columbian Exposition’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago on 11 September 1893.