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Kali temple of Dakshineswar

Listed under Sacred Spaces in Kolkata, India.

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Following a dream of the goddess Kali, the wealthy widow Rani Rasmani had the temple complex of Dakshineswar built between 1847 and 1855. A scholarly sage was chosen as the head priest but within the year he died and his responsibilities passed to his younger brother, Ramakrishna. From the first days of his service in the shrine of the goddess Kali, Ramakrishna was filled with a rare form of the love of God known in Hinduism as maha-bhava. Worshipping in front of the statue of Kali, Ramakrishna would be overcome with such ecstatic love for the deity that he would fall to the ground and, immersed in spiritual trance, lose all consciousness of the external world. These experiences of God-intoxication became so frequent that he was relieved of his duties as temple priest but allowed to continue living within the temple compound. During the next twelve years Ramakrishna would journey ever deeper into this passionate and absolute love of the divine. His practice was to express such intense devotion to particular deities that they would physically manifest to him and then merge into his being. Various forms of gods and goddess such as Shiva, Kali, Radha-Krishna, Sita-Rama, Christ and Mohammed frequently appeared to him and his fame as an avatar, or divine incarnation, rapidly spread throughout India. Ramakrishna died in 1886 at the age of fifty but his life, his intense spiritual practices, and the temple of Kali where many of his ecstatic trances occurred continued to attract pilgrims from all over India and the world.

Sacred Sites Information on the Kali Temple of Dakshinewar.

Written by  Martin Gray.

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