Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (Sanskrit pronunciation: [ɽaːmɐkr̩ʂɳɐ pɐɽɐmɐɦɐ̃sɐ]; Bengali pronunciation: [ramˌkriʃno ˈpɔromˌɦɔŋʃo] (listen), Ramkṛiṣṇo Pôromôhongśo, 18 Feb 1836 – 16 August 1886), born Gadadhar Chattopadhyaya, was an Indian Hindu mystic and religious leader in 19th-century Bengal.
Ramakrishna drew from several religious approaches, including devotion toward the Goddess Kali and observance of elements from Tantra, Bhakti, Vaishnava, and Advaita Vedanta, as well as dalliances with Christianity and Islam.
He held that the world’s various religious traditions represented “so many paths to reach one and the same goal."
His followers came to regard him as an avatara, or divine incarnation, as did some of the prominent Hindu scholars of his day.Ramakrishna experienced spiritual ecstasies from a young age.
As a priest at the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, his mystical temperament and ecstasies gradually gained him widespread acknowledgement, attracting to him various spiritual teachers, social leaders, Bengali elites, and lay followers; he eventually taught disciples, who would later form the monastic Ramakrishna Order.
After his death, his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda popularized his ideas among Western audiences and founded both the Ramakrishna Math, which provides spiritual training for monastics and householder devotees, and the Ramakrishna Mission, to provide charity, social work and education.