Preface to the First Edition The aim of the book is to give to the public in English a short but comprehensive chronological account of the life of Sri Ramakrishna. Great as are the difficulties of faithfully delineating the life history of any famous personage, they are almost insurmountable when the subject of the biography happens to be such a striking figure as Sri Ramakrishna. For it is a noteworthy fact that no man has been the subject of so many conflicting estimates as the Prophet of Dakshineswar. His personality was a combination of so many apparently contradictory elements that it is baffling to the superficial observer; that is the reason that he has been so variously described as a maniac, a good soul, a devotee, a saint, a man of the highest realization, and an Incarnation of the Most High. It is impossible to give any presentation of his life that will be universally satisfying; yet no one by words and actions satisfied so many as he. We are so accustomed to gauging everything by our pet standards that anything that does not measure up to them is summarily disposed of as fantastic or impossible. A biographer of Sri Ramakrishna, therefore, must content himself with adhering to the truth, and with the presentation of the actual facts, leaving it to the reader to form his own opinion of the Master.
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