Famous Kali Devotees from Bengal

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Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

GoBengal-Sri-RamkrishnaSri Ramakrishna (Ramkṛiṣṇa Paramhangsa) was born as Gadadhar Chattopadhyay in 18th February 1836. He was a famous mystic of 19th century India. His religious philosophy led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda. Also referred as “Paramahamsa” by his ddevotees, and popularly known as ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Ramakrishna was born in a poor Brahmin Vaishnava family in rural Bengal. He was the priest of the dakshineswar Kali Temple, dedicated to Goddess Kali, which was influenced by the Bengali Bhakti tradition. The most well known amongst his spiritual teachers was an ascetic woman called Bhairavi Brahmani. She was a Vaishnav as well as well versed in Tantra. Later on he learned non-dual meditation from an Advaita Vedantin ascetic. And experianced nirvikalpa samadhi under his guidance. He died in 16 August 1886.

Sadhak Bamakhyapa

GoBengal-Sadhok-BamakhyapaSadhak Bamakhyapa, popularly known as the “mad saint”, was a Hindu saint, held in great reverence in Tarapith.His shrine is located near the Tara temple. He was born on a Shivaratri (the holy night dedicated to Shiva) at the midnight hour, at a village named Atla of Birbhum district a Shyama Sangeet singer Sarvananda Chattopadhyay. He was named Bamacharan (one who is dedicated to the lotus feet of Bama, the Devi with the left foot forward on the chest of Shiva, i.e., Goddess Tara). Amongst a very few, he holds the title Sadhak-pravar Bamdev. He is a true yogi, and was known to have tremendous supernatural powers. While he was called ” Bamakhyapa” and “Khyapa” means mad, devoted Shakti worshippers doesn’t think of him like that, its just a folklore. He is ‘Mad of Bama or divinely intoxicated’, thus he gets the name. Locals refer to him as Khepya-baba, Bama as well. ‘Khepa’ is used in Tantrik traditions to praise a worshipper. He is also referred as Shri Bam, Bamdev in the Shakta community, and is the Bhairav of Tarapith.

Sadhak Ramprashad

GoBengal-Sadhok-RamproshadSadhak Ramprashad Sen was a Shakta poet and a saint in Bengal in the eighteenth century. His bhakti poems, also known as Ramprashadi, are still now popular in the bengali culture. They are usually addressed to the Hindu Goddess Kali and are written in Bengali. Srories about Ramprashad’s life revolve around legends and myths mixed with his own biographical details. It is said that he was born in a Tantric family, and showed an inclination towards poetry writing from an early stage in life. He was a disciple of Krishnananda Agamavagisha, a Tantric scholar and yogi. He got famous for his devotional songs, and was appointed as the court poet of King Krishna Chandra of Nadia. There are many strories depicting his devotion to Goddess Kali. His literary works include Vidyasundar, Kali-kirtana, Krishna-kirtana and Shaktigiti.

Sadhak Kamalakanta

GoBengal-Sadhok-KamalakantaKamalakanta Bhattacharya is popularly known as Sadhak Kamalakanta. He was a poet in 18th century Bengal. He is often referred to have followed Ramprasad both in poetry style and in lifestyle. He was born in Bardhaman, to a Brahmin priest. His father died when he was a little boy. His mother struggled financially with the meager income from the small amount of land left to them, but she successfully sent Kamalakanta for higher studies. He was a bright student, he studied Sanskrit and showed an early talent in poetry and music.People say that “his heart opened to the love of God” at the time he received the sacred thread and was initiated spiritually by Chandra Shekhar Goswami. He was interested in spirituality from an early age and later he was initiated into Tantric Yoga from a Tantric Yogi named Kenaram Bhattacharya.

Maa Sarada Devi

GoBengal-Maa-Sharoda-DeviMaa Sarada Devi, was born in 22 December 1853 as Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya. She was the wife and spiritual counterpart of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, a nineteenth-century mystic of Bengal. Sarada Devi is also addressed as the “Holy Mother (Shree Ma)” by the followers of the Ramakrishna’s school of thought. Sarada Devi played an important role in the propagation of the Ramakrishna Movement. She was born in Jayrambati. She was betrothed to Ramakrishna when she was five years of age. later she joined him at Dakshineswar Kali temple in her late teens. According to the biographers they lived lives of unbroken continence, maintaining the ideals of a householder and of the monastic ways of life. After Ramakrishna’s death she stayed mostly either at Jayrambati or at the Udbodhan office in Calcutta. The disciples of Ramakrishna regarded her as their own mother, whom they looke at for advice and encouragement after Ramakrishna’s death. They regarded her as an incarnation of the Devine Mother.

Swami Vivekananda

GoBengal-Swami-VivekanandaSwami Vivekananada was born in 12th january 1863, as Narendra Nath Dutta. He was a Hindu monk and the chief disciple of the 19th century Sri Ramakrishna. He played an important role in introducing the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and raised interfaith awareness, taking Hinduism to a height to be regarded as a major world religion during the late 19th century. He was a important force behind revival of Hinduism in India, and nurtured the concept of nationalism in British India. He founded the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. He is most well known for his inspiring in the Parliament Of World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.Born into an aristrocratic bengali family in Kolkata.

Sri Annada Thakur

GoBengal-Sadhok-Annada-ThakurAnnada Thakur was born in Chittagong (presetly in Bangladesh) in a Brahmin family. He came to Calcutta to study Ayurvedic medicine. Thakur started a business of manufacturing Ayurvedic remedies in Calcutta, but often had visions of Goddess Kali in his dreams which made his work difficult. Then Saint Ramakrishna Paramahansa appeared in a dream, instructed him to bring back the statue which he would find hidden at Eden Gardens, a park in Calcutta. And he did as was told. The idol was a little more than a foot tall, carved out of one solid piece of black marble, with sparkling jewels set in her eyes. She was completely intact.
In 1919, Sri Ramakrishna told him that the objective of Annada’s life is to establish a temple of the devine mother Adya Ma. And Sri Ramakrishna also defined the temple. On January 14, 1921, a celebration was held, which is still celebrated at the temple as Siddhotsab. And on January 31, 1928, Annada Thakur broke ground for the temple came to known as Aadyapeath.

Anthony Firingi

Anthony Firingi was born as Hensman Anthony. The sobriquet Firingi (somebody of Western origin)was used as he was Portuguese by origin. We don’t have much information about his early life. He arrived in Bengal sometime in the early nineteenth century and settled down in Farashdanga, known today by the name of Chandannagar in West Bengal. He married Saudamini, a Hindu Brahmin widow going against the local practices. He was deeply influenced by Bengali culture and language. The Hindu religion also attracted him. He learned the Bengali language and composed and sang many Bengali religious songs devoted to Goddess Kali and Goddess Durga. He is noted for his Agamani songs and Kavigans. He was attached to a Kali Temple in Kolkata, which later came to be known by his name as Firingi Kalibari.

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