Sashi Maharaj with Swami Brahmananda

Swami Ramakrishnananda was born in an orthodox Brahmin family of Hooghly district, Bengal, on 13th July 1863. His father, Ishwarachandra Chakravarti, a strict observer of religious traditions and a devout worshipper of the Divine Mother, gave the early training that laid the foundations of the lofty character exhibited in the life of his great son.Shashi went to school and having successfully completed the school course he entered the Metropolitan College, Calcutta. He was a brilliant student at college and his favourite subjects were literature (both English and Sanskrit), mathematics and philosophy .

School (present) where Sashi Maharaj studied

He and his cousin Sarat Chandra - afterwards Swami Saradananda - came under the influence of the Brahmo Samaj. Shashi became intimately known to the Brahmo leader Keshab Chandra Sen, and was appointed private tutor to his sons.


On a certain day in October 1883, Shashi and Sarat, along with a few other boy-companions, arrived at Dakshineswar to see the Master. Shri Ramakrishna received them with a smile and began to talk to them warmly about the need of renunciation in spiritual life. Shashi was then reading in the First Arts class and the others were preparing for matriculation.

Baranagar Math - begining of the Order

As Shashi was the oldest of the band, the conversation was addressed to him. Shri Ramakrishna asked Shashi whether he believed in God with form or without form. The boy frankly answered that he was not certain about the existence of God and was not, therefore, able to speak one way or another. The reply pleased the Master very much. Shashi and Sharat were fascinated by the personality of Sri Ramakrishna whom they henceforth accepted as their Master, the pole-star of their lives. Of Shashi and Sharat, Sri Ramakrishna used to say that both of them were the followers of Jesus the Christ in a former incarnation. Shashi was the very embodiment of service. Other disciples also gave the best in the service of Master. But Shashi's case was conspicuous.


Ice House - begining of Madras Math

After the Master death, the boys who were children of the Master gathered together at the newly founded monastery at Baranagore. While others were indifferent as to whether the body lived or went in their intense search for the Highest, Shashi took care that his brother disciples had not to face any starvation actually. The time came when the boys decided to renounce the world formally by taking the monastic vows. They changed their names. Shashi became Swami Ramakrishnananda.


Early days of Madras Math

In 1897, Ramakrishnananda became the founder of the Ramakrishna Mission in Madras and remained in the charge until his death in 1911. He was very strict in his choice for novices for the Madras monastery; and he could be strict to them and with the householder devotees. He was instrumental in the spread of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda ideology in the South.

[ courtesy : RMIC, Golpark. ]