|Ramprasad (Ramprasad Sen) |
India (1718? - 1775?) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu : Shakta (Goddess-oriented)
Poems by Ramprasad (Ramprasad Sen)
Ramprasad was born in a small village along the Ganges, just outside of Calcutta in Bengal, India. His father was an Ayurvedic doctor.
As a boy, Ramprasad showed himself to be an excellent student and displayed a natural talent for poetry and language.
Although he impressed everyone with his intellectual abilities, he showed no interest in taking up the family profession of Ayurveda or any profession, for that matter. His increasing otherworldliness and interest in spiritual practices worried his parents, who were afraid he would renounce the world. To head off that possibility, his parents married their meditative son to a beautiful young girl.
Soon after the marriage, Ramprasad's father died, leaving the family in poverty. As the oldest son within a traditional family, the responsibility fell on Ramprasad to provide for the entire family. Despite his bright mind, Ramprasad struggled to find employment.
He eventually found a job as an accountant's clerk in nearby Calcutta. But he couldn't prevent his devotional poetry from pouring out. Lacking good paper, he wrote his poems in the margins of his account ledgers. Some of his coworkers noticed this and complained to the manager that Ramprasad was writing poetry rather than keeping the accounts. The manager demanded to see Ramprasad's ledgers. Upon reading Ramprasad's songs to the mother goddess Kali, the manager was so moved that he told Ramprasad to go home and devote all his time to his writing -- and he would still draw the same monthly pay.
Ramprasad turned deeply to his spiritual practices and poetry, often singing his songs by the banks of the Ganges or immersed, neck-deep in the sacred waters.
One day a local prince heard Ramprasad singing songs to Kali. He appointed Ramprasad as court poet, granting him enough land to support his family. It was then that Ramprasad delved more deeply into his spiritual practices, often fasting and sitting in a nearby meditation garden.
He began to have visions of Mother Kali. His songs and quiet charisma started to draw devotees.
Ramprasad and his wife had four children. Finances continued to be a challenge for Ramprasad and his family. His intense focus on spiritual practices meant he neglected the day-to-day maintenance of his land, yet the family continued to get by.
Ramprasad's poetry to the Mother Goddess Kali is playful, petulant, blissful, rageful -- and sometimes shocking. His poetry shows the whole tempestuous relationship between a child and his Mother, between the soul and God. He doesn't just show one face to the Divine Mother, he doesn't just pretend to be 'the good little boy.' He communicates everything to Her nakedly. And, in doing so, he achieves a profound intimacy with the Divine.
Poems by Ramprasad (Ramprasad Sen)
- Come, let us go for a walk, O mind
- Conquer Death with the drumbeat Ma! Ma! Ma!
- I drink no ordinary wine
- In the world's busy market-place, O Shyama
- Its value beyond assessment by the mind
- Kulakundalini, Goddess Full of Brahman, Tara
- Love Her, Mind
- Ma, You're inside me
- Meditate on Kali! Why be anxious?
- Mother, am I Thine eight-months child?
- Mother, this is the grief that sorely grieves my heart
- O Death! Get away; what canst thou do?
- O Mother, who really
- Of what use is my going to Kasi any more?
- Once for all, this time
- So I say: Mind, don't you sleep
- Tell me, brother, what happens after death?
- This time I shall devour Thee utterly, Mother Kali!
- Who in this world
- Who is that Syama woman
- Why disappear into formless trance?