Direct Disciples

Direct Disciples of Sri Ramakrishna : Short life and Teachings

In India, since time-immemorial spiritual knowledge has been imparted through Guru-Shishya Parampara, this is only the tradition of Teacher-Student or Master-Disciple hierarchy. The spiritual teacher is an illumined soul who transfers the spiritual power to a fit disciple who is capable of grasping it. The word “disciple”, used in connection with Sri Ramakrishna, refers to one who had been initiated and guided into spiritual life by Sri Ramakrishna and who regarded him as his guru. His disciples were of two kinds: the householders, and the young men, some of whom were later to become monks.

For householders Sri Ramakrishna did not prescribe the hard path of total renunciation. He wanted then to discharge their obligations to their families. Their renunciation was to be mental. But to the young men destined to be monks he pointed out the steep path of renunciation, both external and internal. They must take the vow of absolute continence and eschew all thought of greed and lust. By the practice of continence, aspirants develop a subtle nerve through which they understand the deeper mysteries of God. For them self-control is final, imperative and absolute. The Sannyasis are teachers of men, and their lives should be totally free from blemish. They must not even look at a picture, which may awaken their animal passions. The Master selected his future monks from young men untouched by “woman and gold” and fit enough to be cast in his spiritual mould. When teaching them the path of renunciation and discrimination, he would not allow the householders to be anywhere near them.

The monastic disciples of Sri Ramakrishna are his apostles who represented him and carried his message throughout the world. They lived the life of complete renunciation and selfless service – the ideal for which Sri Ramakrishna stood for. When the Great Light disappeared, the lamps that had been kindled by it began to shed luster in innumerable places. Indeed each monastic disciple of the Master became a centre of wide influence and was instrumented in transforming hundreds of lives. Each one of them was a gigantic spiritual personality – superb in character, unique in achievement, and an asset to humanity. When considers this, one wonders how so many almost superhuman characters could cluster together at one and the same time. Truly Sri Ramakrishna was a great jeweler, who could collect so many jewels and leave them as a legacy to the world.