Ramakrishna Mission

ABOUT ASHRAM :Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are twin organizations which form the core of a worldwide spiritual movement known as Ramakrishna Movement or Vedanta Movement. The Ramakrishna Mission is a philanthropic, volunteer organization founded by Sri Ramakrishna's chief disciple Swami Vivekananda on May 1, 1897. The Mission conducts extensive work in health care, disaster relief, rural management, tribal welfare, elementary and higher education and culture. It uses the combined efforts of hundreds of ordered monks and thousands of householder disciples. The Mission bases its work on the principles of karma yoga. The Mission, which is headquartered at Belur Math near Kolkata, India, subscribes to the ancient Hindu philosophy of Vedanta. It is affiliated with the monastic organization Ramakrishna Math, with whom it shares members. Ramakrishna Mission is based on the philosophy of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. As per this philosophy, the main aim in the life of an individual is the upliftment of himself as well as others. Each human being is gifted with enormous moral and spiritual potential. The only thing he has to do is work towards the discovery and development of that potential. The mission does not believe in the superiority of a particular religion, nor does it prescribe the necessity of shastras (religious texts) and anushthana (rites and rituals). Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ( 1836–1886 ), a 19th century saint was the founder of the Ramakrishna Order of monks and is regarded as the spiritual founder of the Ramakrishna Movement. Ramakrishna was a priest in the Dakshineswar Kali Temple and attracted several monastic and householder disciples. Narendranath Dutta, who later became Swami Vivekananda was one of the chief monastic disciples. Shortly before his death in 1886, Ramakrishna gave the ocher cloths to his young disciples, who were planning to become renunciates. Ramakrishna entrusted the care of these young boys to Vivekananda. After Ramakrishna's death, the young disciples took informal monastic vows on Christmas Eve in 1886. After the death of Ramakrishna in 1886, the monastic disciples formed the first Math (monastery) at Baranagore. Later Swami Vivekananda became a wandering monk and in 1893 he was a delegate at the 1893 Parliament of the World's Religions. His speech there, beginning with "Sisters and brothers of America" became famous and brought him widespread recognition. Vivekananda went on lecture tours and held private discourses on Hinduism and spirituality. He also founded the first Vedanta Society in America at New York. He returned to India in 1897 and founded the Ramakrishna Mission on May 1, 1897. Though he eventually became a the prominent Hindu missionary, he would often exhort his disciples "to become like Jesus Christ, and to aid in the redemption of the world." The same year, famine relief was started at Sargachi by Swami Akhandananda, a direct disciple of Ramakrishna. Swami Brahmananda, a direct disciple of Ramakrishna was appointed as the first president of the Order. After the death of Swami Vivekananda in 1902, Sarada Devi, the spiritual counterpart of Ramakrishna, played an important role as the advisory head of an nascent monastic organization. Gayatri Spivak writes that Sarada Devi "performed her role with tact and wisdom, always remaining in the background."

Mission :

The principal workers of the Mission are the monks. The activities of Ramakrishna Mission covers the following areas, * Educational works * Health care * Cultural activities * Rural uplift * Tribal welfare * Youth movement etc. The Ramakrishna Mission has its own hospitals, charitable dispensaries, maternity clinics, tuberculosis clinics, and mobile dispensaries. It also maintains training centers for nurses. Orphanages and homes for the elderly are included in the Mission's field of activities, along with rural and tribal welfare work. In educational activities, the Ramakrishna Mission has established many renowned educational institutions in India, having its own university, colleges, vocational training centers, high schools and primary schools, teacher's training institutes, as well as schools for the visually handicapped. The Ramakrishna Mission has also involved in disaster relief operations during famine, epidemic, fire, flood, earthquake, cyclone and communal disturbances. The Ramakrishna Mission played an important role in the installation of Photovoltaic (PV) lighting systems in the Sunderbans region of West Bengal. Due to the geographical features of the Sunderbans, it is very difficult to extend the grid network to supply power to its population. The PV lighting was used to provide electricity to the people who were traditionally depending on kerosene and diesel. Religious activities The Ramakrishna Mission is a non-sectarian organization and ignores caste distinctions. Ramakrishna ashrama's religious activities include satsang and arati. Satsang includes communal prayers, songs, rituals, discourses, reading and meditation. Arati involves the ceremonial waving of lights before the images of a deity of holy person and is performed twice in a day. Ramakrishna ashramas observes major Hindu festivals, including Maha Shivarathri, Rama Navami, Krishna Asthami and Navarathri. They also give special place to the birthdays of Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda and other monastic disciples of Ramakrishna. The January 1 is celebrated as Kalpataru day. The Math and Mission are known for their religious tolerance and respect for other religions. Among the earliest rules laid down by Swami Vivekananda for the Math and Mission was, "Due respect and reverence should be paid to all religions, all preachers, and to the deities worshiped in all religions." Acceptance and toleration of all religions is the one of ideals of Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Along with the major Hindu festivals, Prophet Mohammad's birthday, Christmas Eve and Buddha's Birthday are also devoutly observed. Professor Cyril Veliath SJ of Sophia University writes the Ramakrishna Mission monks are a relatively orthodox set of monks who are "extremely well respected both in India and abroad", and that they "cannot be classified as just another sect or cult, such as the groups led by the gurus". Veliath writes that "of the Hindu groups I have worked with I have found the Ramakrishna Mission to be the most tolerant and amenable to dialogue, and I believe that we Christians couldn’t do better, than to cooperate wholeheartedly in their efforts towards inter-religious harmony. Bob Robinson writes, "Unlike more militant Hindu organizations, the mission has consistently advocated and itself displayed a tolerant, friendly attitude towards minority religious traditions and a sympathetic acquaintance with at least parts of the scriptures of those faiths."


How To Reach - Ramakrishna Mission By Road : You can reach Belur by buses, mini buses and taxis that are available from various parts of Kolkata.

How To Reach - Ramakrishna Mission By Train : Nearest Railway stations are Belur (Suburban) & Howrah (Main Junction) while the nearest Metro Station is Dum Dum.

How To Reach - Ramakrishna Mission By Air : Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Intrnational Airport

Posted By : Vinod Jindal on Dec 16, 2010
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Belur Math Kolkata(Calcutta ) West Bengal
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