|Author: F. Max Muller|
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Ramakrishna (1833-86), was a Bengali Hindu sage. Although theoretically a high-caste Brahamin by birth, he came from a poor, low-caste village and had little or no education. He did not know a word of Sanskrit and his knowledge of the Vedas, Puranas, and Hindu Epics was obtained orally (in the Bengali language). In spite of this, he managed to convey in his aphorisms the essence of the Hindu religion. Ramakrishna also worshipped with Muslims and Christians, and propounded a simple approach to religious tolerance: "Creeds and sects matter nothing. Let every one perform with faith the devotions and practices of his creed. Faith is the only clue to get to God." (#200). His often earthy sayings and short fables are immediately comprehensible to everyone, using vivid metaphors which employ everyday objects and settings to express deep Hindu philosophical concepts. This collection of sayings was collected by his followers after his death and translated by Max Muller