The years rolled on, and Gadadhar (Sri Ramakrishna) was now five years old. He began to show wonderful intelligence and memory even at this early age. The precocious boy learnt by heart the names of his ancestors, the hymns to various gods and goddesses. His father surprisingly observed that after hearing the hyyms and tales from the great national epics just once, Gadadhar could recall majority of the hymm or the tale exactly as told to him previously. As he grew to be very restless, Khudiram (Sri Ramakrishna’s father) sent him to the village school. At school Gadadhar made fair progress, but he showed great distaste for mathematics. He directed all his attention to the study of the lives and characters of spiritual heroes. Constant study of those subjects often made him forgetful of the world and threw him into deep meditation. As he grew older, he began to have trances whenever his religious feelings were roused. Soon it was found that not only religious subjects but beautiful scenery or some touching incident was also sufficient to make him lose himself.
In the year 1843 Khudiram (Sri Ramakrishna’s Father) died, and the entire burden of the family fell upon the shoulders of Ramkumar, his eldest son. The death of Khudiram brought a great change in the mind of Gadadhar, who now began to feel poignantly the loss of his affectionate father as also the transitoriness of earthly life. Though very young, he began to frequent the neighbouring mango-grove or the cremation ground in the vicinity and pass long hours there absorbed in thought. But he did not forget his duty to his loving mother. He became less exacting in his importunities, and tried every means to lessen the burden of his mother’s grief, and to infuse into her melancholy life whatever joy and consolation he could. Gadadhar soon found a new source of pleasure in the company of wandering monks who used to stay for a day or two in the rest-house built by the neighbouring Laha family for wayfarers. One day Chandra was startled to find her dear boy appear before her with his whole body smeared with ashes and with pieces of cloth put on like a wandering holy man. Association with these itinerant monks and listening to their readings from the scriptures inclined the naturally emotional mind of the boy more and more to meditation and kindled in him the latent spirit of dispassion for all worldly concerns.
1. Sri Ramakrishnadev / Sri Ramakrishna Jivan Charitra by M (Vol. 1 of Complete works by Swami Vivekananda)
2. Life of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Tejasananda