Pre-monastic name : Shashi Bhushan Chakravarty
Date of Birth : 13 July 1863
Place of Birth : Ichapur in Hooghly district, West Bengal
Shashis father Ishwara Chandra Chakravarty was an expert in
ritualistic worship, and Shashi imbibed from him love for ritualistic
worship. After passing out of the village school, he went to Kolkata
and lived with his cousin Sharat (later, Swami Saradananda) for higher
education. A brilliant student, he chose mathematics for the B.A.
course which, however, he could not complete owing to the terminal
illness of Sri Ramakrishna at Cossipore.
While studying in college Shashi and Sharat joined the Brahmo Samaj,
and heard about Sri Ramakrishna from Keshab Chandra Sen himself. In
October 1883 they visited Dakshineswar and were deeply attracted to
Sri Ramakrishna. The Master used to say that Shashi and Sharat had
been the followers of Jesus Christ in their previous birth.
Shashi distinguished himself most by the self-sacrificing spirit and
devotion with which he served Sri Ramakrishna during his last illness
at Shyampukur and Cossipore. After the Masters passing he joined the
Baranagar Math and underwent sannyasa ordination, assuming the name
Ramakrishnananda. He took charge of the worship of the Atmaramer kauta,
the urn containing the relics of Sri Ramakrishna in the Maths shrine.
He felt the living presence of the Master, and so his worship was not
a mere ritual but loving service to a living God. It was Swami
Ramakrishnananda who formulated and introduced the system of daily
ritualistic worship to Sri Ramakrishna that is followed in the
He seldom went out on pilgrimage, and devoted himself to daily worship
at the Math. But when Swami Vivekananda, after his return from the
West, asked him to go to Chennai and open a branch centre of
Ramakrishna Math there, he obeyed without any hesitation. The saga of
sacrifice and hardship that he underwent in preaching the message of
Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda for 14 years under unfavourable
conditions has been recorded in letters of gold in the annals of the
Ramakrishna Movement. In the South he travelled extensively. The
starting of centres in Trivandrum, Mysore, Bangalore and Mumbai owed
much to his pioneering efforts.
Incessant work, however, told upon his health, and he contracted
tuberculosis. He breathed his last in a state of ecstasy on 21 August
For further reading
: 1. Swami Ramakrishnanandaa Portrait in Pictures. Published by
Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.
2. God Lived with Them by Swami Chetanananda.