Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in West Bengal State
Taraknath Temple, TarakeshwarThe principal attraction is the Taraknath Temple. Pilgrims visit the temple throughout the year, especially on Mondays. But thousands of pilgrims visit Tarakeswar on the occasions of 'Shivaratri', month of July-aug(Srabon in Bengali) and 'Gajan'.
Tarakeswar (pronounced Tarokeshshor) is a town and a municipality in Hooghly District in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is a police station in Chandannagar subdivision. Tarakeswar is a renowned place of pilgrimage and the greatest centre of the Shiva sect in West Bengal. 58 km away from Kolkata, Tarakeswar can be reached conveniently by train.
Mayapur is located on the banks of the Ganges river, at the point of its confluence with the Jalangi, near Navadvip, West Bengal, India, 130 km north of Kolkata (Calcutta). It is the headquarters of ISKCON and is considered a holy place by a number of other traditions within Hinduism, but is of special significance to followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism as the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, regarded as a special incarnation of Krishna in the mood of Radha. It is visited by over a million pilgrims annually.
TravelMayapur can be reached by boat, and more commonly by train or bus. ISKCON Kolkata operates regular bus service from Kolkata to Mayapur Frequent train service is available to Krishnanagar, Nadia from Kolkata's Sealdah Station, then 18 km by auto or cycle rickshaw to Mayapur. During the visit one can see "the huge headquarters of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)" and "a long stream of saffron-robed devotees chanting" the Hare Krishna mantra
MemorialsA main attraction in Mayapur is Srila Prabhupada's Samadhi Mandir, a memorial to ISKCON's founder. The main shrine is surrounded by a museum depicting Srila Prabhupada's life, using fiberglass exhibits. The International Society of Krishna Consciousness is also planning to construct a garden in memory of George Harrison.
Gaudiya Vaishnava templesThe headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has been located in Mayapur since the 1970s. In addition, there are a number of other Gaudiya Vaishnava organisations in Mayapur, such as the Gaudiya Math. The town is heavily centered around this particular Vaishnava religious tradition, officially known as the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya, with temples devoted to Radha and Krishna or Gaura-Nitai throughout; however, there is a sizable Muslim population in the historical center, previously called Miyapur.
Mayapur is the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He appeared in the year 1486 and then performed many of his early pastimes here. Mayapur is 130 km north of Calcutta and across the Ganges from the city of Navadvipa. Navadvipa was at that time the capital of Bengal.
Mayapur is one of the most sacred and peaceful areas in all of India. Sri Chaitanya is non different than Lord Sri Krishna. Lord Sri Krishna appeared as a devotee of the Lord in the form of Lord Chaitanya. He showed us all by example how to perform the Yuga Dharma and please the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. At Mayapur Sri Chaitanya displayed His childhood pastimes and one can see through them Sri Krishna's lilas. Mayapur is non different than the holy land of Sri Vrindavan dham.
After Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left this world, many of the holy places were temporarily hidden by the jungle and the veil of ignorance. Sriman Bhaktivinode Thakur has played a very instrumental role in their rediscovery in the recent age. He revealed to the Gaudiya Vaisnava Community the exact spot where Sri Chaitanya appeared, and displayed many pastimes.
Late one December night in the year 1887, while sitting on the roof of the Rani Dharmashala in Navadwip, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur was concentrating on chanting the Hare Krishna mantra on his japa beads. Suddenly his meditation was disturbed by a divine vision appearing toward the north across the river Ganga. He looked up and saw an unusual illumination in which he noticed a very tall palm tree. Just near the tree he saw a small house which was producing this brilliant effulgence. Srila Bhaktivinode immediately understood that his long search to uncover the factual birthsite of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was drawing to a successful close.
For centuries the followers of Lord Chaitanya were uncertain of the exact location of Sri Chaitanya's birth as the place had been inundated by flood soon after His disappearance. Srila Bhaktivinode had long cherished a dream to reestablish the true birthplace and erect a glorious temple for Lord Chaitanya. He had studied old manuscripts of Chaitanya Bhagavata, Narahari Sarkar Thakur's Navadwip Dham Parikrama, 18th century maps by the British surveyors, gazettes and old government records, and ascertained that ancient Nadia was previously on the eastern bank of the Ganga -- from where the wonderful illumination was coming.
He soon discovered that the site of the wonderful illumination had many rumors and stories attached to it. The area contained seven large dirt mounds on which nothing would grow except tulasi plants. On different nights strange sounds and lights emanated from the spot and the superstitious Muslim villagers would keep a respectful distance.
After speaking with many respected saintly persons, Srila Bhaktivinode decided to bring his spiritual master, Srila Jagannath das Babaji, to that spot. Srila Jagannath das Babaji was at that time very old and infirm; he could not walk and had to be carried in a basket. His vision was obstructed because his eyelids had grown so loose over the years that he could barely open them. They crossed the river Jalangi in a small wooden boat and gradually made their way to the spot. At once Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj discerned that this was indeed the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya and in great transcendental joy he leaped from the basket and jumped high in the air shouting the names of the Lord, even though minutes before he was incapable of even standing on his weak and aged limbs. Srila Bhaktivinode and Srila Jagannath das Babaji both wept tears of ecstasy. Lord Chaitanya's birthplace had been found!
Soon, by the single handed efforts of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, a beautiful temple was erected on the spot and Srila Bhaktivinode's vision began to expand. He predicted in his Sri Chaitanya Sikshamrita a day when people of foreign lands would join with their Indian brothers at the holy land of Sri Mayapur chanting "Jaya Sachinandana, Jaya Sachinandana" and dancing in the ecstasy of Sri Krishna Sankirtan. And he wrote of a great personality who would soon appear to fulfill this prediction.
Srila Bhaktivinode personally went door to door, to raise funds for the construction of this temple.
This is where Srivasa Pandit lived. Lord Chaitanya and his associates used to have Sankirtan all nightlong here. This is where the Chand Kasi broke the Mrdunga drum and demanded kirtan be stopped. Mahaprabhu also displayed his Maha-prakash here and accepted worship for 21 hours.
Sri Chaitanya Math
This temple is located 1 km past Sri Chaitanya's birthplace. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Gaura Kishora das babaji's Samadhi's are located here as well as the spot where Chandrashekar's home used to be. Chandrshekar's wife was the younger sister of Saci devi ( Chaitanya's Mother ).
Murai Gupta's House ( Temple )
The dieties of Sita Rama and Hanuman at this temple are said to have been worshipped by Murai Gupta and his family. It is located behind the Sri Chaitanya Math near the bank of the Ballal Dighi. It is about a ten minute walk.
Chand Kazi's Samadhi
Initially Chand Kazi , the chief magistrate at the time of Mahaprabhu, tried to stop the chanting of the holy names. He was later converted and became a pure devotee. His samadhi is located here and from it sprouts a Campaka tree. It is said to be 500 years old.
Jagannatha Mandir ( Sabara Danga )
Lord Jagannatha reveled himself to his pure devotee here. All the pastimes of the Lord are found in Sri Gaura Mandala and all His Jagannatha pastimes can be realized here in and around this location. One story in relation to this holy place is that a devotee by the name of Jagadish Ganguli used to visit the Jagannatha Puri every year to have darshan of Mahaprabhu and Jagannatha Swami. In his old age he became blind and could no longer make the pilgrimage. Lord Jagannatha spoke to him in a dream and said: "When you take your bath in the Ganges you will find a log and from that log I will manifest. After carving the Jagannatha deities from the log, the blindness of the devotee vanished.
This is where Kolaveca Sridhar had his home.
This is where Kolaveca Sridhar had his home.
Nandan Acaraya's House
At this location, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda prabhu had their fist meeting. A temple marks the spot where the house used to be.
Bhaktivinode Thakur's House
While living here Bhaktivinode wrote the Navadvipa Mahatmya, which describes the glories of Navadvipa Dham. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur's Samadhi and the Bhajan Kutir of Gaura Kishor das babaji are also located here.
This is the location of the world headquarters for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Inside the wonderfully landscaped yard is the Temple of Sri Sri Radha Madhava surrounded by the Gopi's. A Vedic Planetarium is underway and the original living quarters ( Mud Hut ) and Puspa Samadhi of founder Acarya A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj are located here.
Devananda Gaudiya Math
Sri Caitanya Sarasvat Math
Other place near by;
Prithu Kund ( Ballil Dighi )
Narasimha Palli ( Deva Pali )
Hamsa Vahana Siva Temple
Vrndavan Das Thakur's House
Belūr Maṭh or Belur Mutt is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur, West Bengal, India and is one of the significant institutions in Calcutta. This temple is the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement. The temple is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions.
HistoryIn January 1897, Swami Vivekananda arrived in Colombo with his small group of Western disciples. Two monasteries were founded by him, one at Belur, which became the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission and the other at Mayavati on the Himalayas, near Almora called the Advaita Ashrama. These monasteries were meant to receive and train young men who would eventually become sannyasis of the Ramakrishna Mission, and to give them a training for their work. The same year the philanthropic activity was started and relief of the famine was carried out.
Swami Vivekananda's days as a parivrajaka (wandering monk) before his visit to Parliament of Religions, took him through many parts of India and he visited several architectural monuments like the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri palaces, Diwan–I–Khas, palaces of Rajasthan, ancient temples of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and other places. During his tour in America and Europe, he came across buildings of architectural importance of Modern, Medieval, Gothic and Renaissance styles. It is reported that Vivekananda incorporated these ideas in the design of the Belur Math temple.
Swami Vijnanananda, a brother-monk of Swami Vivekananda and one of the monastic disciples of Ramakrishna, who was, in his pre-monastic life, a civil engineer, designed the temple according to the ideas of Vivekananda and Swami Shivananda, the then President of Belur Math laid the foundation stone on 16 May 1935. The massive construction was handled by Martin Burn & Co.. The mission proclaims the Belur Math as, "A Symphony in Architecture".
The 40-acre (160,000 m2) campus of the Belur Math on the banks of the Ganges includes temples dedicated to Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda, in which their relics are enshrined, and the main monastery of the Ramakrishna Order. The campus also houses a Museum containing articles connected with the history of Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Several educational institutions affiliated with the Ramakrishna Mission are situated in the vast campus adjacent to Belur Math. The Belur Math is considered as one of the prime tourist spots near Kolkota and place of pilgrimage by devotees. The ex-president Abdul Kalam regarded Belur Math as a "place of heritage and national importance."
Sri Ramakrishna Temple
The design of the temple was envisioned by Swami Vivekananda and the architect was Swami Vijnanananda, a direct monastic disciple of Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna Temple was consecrated on 14 January, the Makar Sankranti Day in 1938.
The Ramakrishna temple at the Belur Math is designed to "celebrate the diversity of Indian Religions" and resembles a temple, a mosque, a church if seen from different positions. The architectural style and symbolism from a number of religions have been incorporated into the design of the temple at Belur Math, to convey the "universal faith" in which the movement believes. The temple is considered as a prime example of the importance of "material dimension" of religion.
The main entrance of the temple, has a facade influenced by Buddhist style. The structure which rises over the entrance is modelled on the Hindu temples of South India with their lofty towers. The windows and balconies inside the temple draw upon the Rajput (Hindu) and Mughal (Islamic) style of north India. The central dome is derived from European architecture of the Renaissance period. .
The height of the temple is 112.5 feet (34.3 m) and covers a total area of 32,900 sq ft (3,060 m2). The temple mainly is built of chunar stone and some portion in the front is of cement. The high entrance of the temple is like a South Indian Gopuram and the pillars on both sides represent Buddhistic architectural style. The three umbrella-like domes on the top built in Rajput-Moghul styles give an idea of thatched roofs of the village Kamarpukur.
The circular portion of the entrance is an intermingling of Ajanta style with Hindu architecture and within it, placing the emblem of the Order is representation of beauty and solemnity. Just above seen is a replica of a Shiva lingam. The natmandira, the spacious congregational hall attached to the sanctum, resembles a church. The pillars in a line on its both sides are according to Doric or Greek style and their decorations are according to the Meenakshi Temple at Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
The hanging balconies above the temple nave and the windows show the effect of Moghul architecture. The broad parikrama path for doing circumambulatory rounds on all sides of the garbhamandira (sanctum sanctorum) are built like Buddhist chaityas and Christian Churches. The lattice work statues of Navagraha figures are etched on semi-circular top of outside the temple. The golden kalasha is placed on the top of the temple and has a full-bloomed lotus or Amlaca below. The architecture of the big dome and of the other domes show a shade of Islamic, Rajput and Lingaraj Temple styles. The entrance doors on both east and west of the temple having pillars on both sides are like Rajasthan Chittor kirti-stambha, the victory-pillars. Ganesha and Hanuman images, representing success and power.
The statueA full size statue of Sri Ramakrishna is seated on a hundred petalled lotus over a damaru shaped marble pedestal wherein the Sacred relics of Sri Ramakrishna are preserved. The Brahmi-Hamsa on the front represents a Paramahamsa. The statue of Sri Ramakrishna was made by the famous sculptor late Gopeswar Pal of Kolkata and the decorations of the temple were conceived by artist late Sri Nandalal Bose. The Canopy above the deity and all the doors a
Swami Vivekananda Temple
The Swami Vivekananda Temple stands on the spot where Swami Vivekananda’s mortal remains were cremated in 1902. Consecrated on 28 January 1924, the temple has in its upper storey an alabaster OM (in Bengali characters). Beside the temple stands a bel (bilva) tree in the place of the original bel tree under which Swami Vivekananda used to sit and near which, according to his wish, his body was cremated. On July 4, 1902 at Belur Math, he taught Vedanta philosophy to some pupils in the morning. He had a walk with Swami Premananda, a brother-disciple, and gave him instructions concerning the future of the Ramakrishna Math. He left his body (died) in the evening after a session of prayer at Belur Math. He was 39. Vivekananda had fulfilled his own prophecy of not living to be forty-years old.
The Holy Mother's temple is dedicated to Sarada Devi, the spiritual consort of Ramakrishna. The temple is over the area where her mortal remains were consigned to flames. The temple of the Holy Mother was consecrated on 21 December 1921.Another temple dedicated to Swami Brahmananda—a direct disciple of Ramakrishna—is situated near Holy Mother's temple.
Ramakrishna MuseumThe two-storeyed Ramakrishna Museum hosts artifacts used by Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda and some of his disciples. These include the long coat worn by Vivekananda in the West, Sister Nivedita's table and an organ of Mrs Sevier. The museum chronicles the growth of the movement and the Bengal of those times.
The museum has a realistic recreation of the Panchavati—the clutch of five sacred trees of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple where Ramakrishna practised sadhana (spiritual disciplines). The black stone bowl from which Ramakrishna took payasam (a sweet Indian dish) during his final days while suffering from throat cancer and the pillow he had used, in the house in Calcutta where he spent his last few months are on display. Ramakrishna's room in the house where he distributed ochre clothes to 12 disciples anointing Vivekananda (then Narendranath) as their leader has also been shown with a model of Ramakrishna bestowing grace on his disciples and the footwear used by Ramakrishna has been put on the model. The room at Dakshineswar where Ramakrishna lived has been recreated with display of clothes and other objects used by him, the tanpura used by Vivekananda to sing to his master, and the copies of two charcoal drawings sketched by Ramakrishna are on display.
Sarada Devi's pilgrimage to Chennai, Madurai and Bangalore has also been exhibited along with the items used by her then in 1911. The museum show cases a huge replica of Swami Vivekananda in the front of the Chicago Art Institute where the famous Parliament of the World's Religions was held in September 1893. Alongside the same display is a letter by Jamshedji Tata, Swami Vivekananda's co-passenger on the trip. The letter reveals an important and well-known work that Jamshedji did, inspired by Swamiji—the founding of the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore.
The wooden staircase and the lotus woodwork of Victoria Hall in Chennai, where Vivekananda gave inspiring speeches to a large congregation have been brought over. A few displays away from this is a show on Miss Josephine MacLeod who met Swamji in the U.S. in 1895 and served India for 40 years thereafter. She played an important role in the Ramakrishna movement. At this enclosure is a crystal image of Swamiji that was done by the Paris jeweller, René Lalique.
ActivitiesThe Belur Math conducts medical service, education, work for women, rural uplift and work among the labouring and backward classes, relief, spiritual and cultural activities. The center also celebrates annual birthdays of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Sarada Devi and other monastic disciples. The annual celebrations of Kumari Puja and Durga Puja are one of the main attractions. The tradition of Kumari puja was started by Vivekananda in 1901.[
The following units belong directly to the main monastery:
1. The MONKS’ QUARTERS : Apart from the main Monks’ Quarters, there are a few other buildings in which the monks and novices stay permanently. These quarters are out of bounds for visitors and even to lay devotees.
2. MATH OFFICE : This is the main office of Belur Math. Situated behind the main temple, it is the nerve centre of all the activities concerning worship in the temples, annual celebration of Durga Puja and other festivals, maintenance of the premises, maintenance of monks, taking care of devotees, distribution of prasad, etc. Pranami (offerings) for worship and contributions for the maintenance of monks are received at the Math Office.
3. SACRED SHRINES : The imposing sandstone temple which enshrines the sacred relics and a beautiful marble statue of Sri Ramakrishna is one of the most unique temples built in modern times. It combines the architectural features of a Hindu temple, Buddhist cave, Christian church and Islamic mosque. There are also smaller temples dedicated to Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda and Swami Brahmananda. A few other buildings associated with the early history of Ramakrishna Math are:
i. the Old Shrine where worship to Sri Ramakrishna was conducted for more than three decades;
ii. the room in which Swami Vivekananda spent his last years;
iii. the ‘Old Math’, earlier known as Nilambar Mukherjee’s Garden House, which was sanctified by the Holy Mother’s stay on several occasions, and which served as the monastery of Ramakrishna Order for a short period.
4. PROBATIONERS’ TRAINING CENTRE : All the Probationers of the Ramakrishna Order have to stay for two years at the Training Centre before they are given Brahmacharya Ordination. It is a three-storied building where the novices and Acharyas (teachers) stay. In this institution regular classes are conducted for the novices on basic Hindu scriptures, lives and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda and other incarnations and prophets, Indian philosophy, Western philosophy, Comparative Religion, etc. The novices are also given training in music, Vedic chanting, performing Puja, keeping accounts, gardening, etc. During 2004-05 there were 94 Probationers and 7 resident Acharyas at the Training Centre.
5. MATH LIBRARY : The Math has a library, meant for the use of monastics and lay Mission members; it has 21,481 books and 79 periodicals, including a collection of books used by the direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna.
6. CELEBRATIONS : Apart from the celebration of traditional Hindu festivals such as Durga Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Kali Puja, Saraswati Puja, Shivaratri, and the birthdays of Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother and Swami Vivekananda, Belur Math also observes in a solemn way the birthdays of Sri Krishna, Buddha, Jesus Christ and Chaitanya. The Christmas Eve celebration with the singing of Carols and reading from the Bible is very impressive.
Apart from the institutions mentioned above, which belong to the Belur Math Monastery, the Secretarial Office of the Headquarters of the worldwide Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission is also situated on the grounds of Belur Math. The work of coordinating and supervising the innumerable activities of the 161 branch centres of the Math and Mission is carried on in this office by the General Secretary, assisted by four Assistant Secretaries. The Secretariat has various departments such as Central Office, Cash, Accounts, Investments, Audit, Law, Relief and Rehabilitation, Welfare, Construction and Maintenance, etc.
See also THE SECRETARIAT
The Headquarters office also directly conducts the following activities.
1. CHARITABLE DISPENSARY: Begun on a modest scale with free allopathic and homoeopathic sections in 1913, the dispensary started functioning in its own building in 1938. At present the allopathic section has several departments such as general, dental, ophthalmology, ENT, dermatology, gynaecology, radiology (including ultrasonography), pathology and biochemistry. During the year it treated 7,53,216 cases.
2. HELP TO THE POOR : The Headquarters did considerable work in this respect this year by giving regular monetary help to 309 families and 2340 students and one time help to 338 families and 253 patients, incurring a total expenditure of Rs. 22,72,378. Besides this monetary help, 9717 pieces of clothing, 3 tricycles and one Caliper Shoe were distributed to needy persons.
3. RELIEF AND REHABILITATION : During the period under review, the Mission and the Math undertook relief and rehabilitation works, involving an expenditure of about Rs. 13.05 crore, in response to the cry for succour from thousands of distressed people affected by Tsunami, devastating floods, cyclones and other calamities in several parts of India. These activities have been mentioned in greater detail Types of Service under the head Relief and Rehabilitation Work.
4. PALLIMANGAL: (Integrated Rural Development): The Math and the Mission centres continued the project, started in 1980, in and around Kamarpukur and Jayrambati. Various programmes such as agriculture, cottage industry, mobile medical service, and so on were implemented, the details of which have been mentioned in Types of Service under the head Work in Rural and Tribal Areas.
5. VEDA VIDYALAYA : Started in August 1993 in the same campus, the Vivekananda Veda Vidyalaya imparts Vedic education to the young. The students reside and study in an atmosphere similar to the ancient gurukula system. This year there were 22 students. Its library had 3389 books and 4 periodicals. Competent teachers taught the boys Vedic chanting and the rudiments of vedangas.
6. RAMAKRISHNA MUSEUM : In this Museum articles and artifacts closely associated with Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother, Swami Vivekananda and other direct disciples of the Master have been exhibited.
7. MONASTIC RETREATS:
The Headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math maintains four monastic retreats (kutias):
i) Ramakrishna Kutir, Mayakund, Rishikesh, Dist. Dehra Dun, Uttaranchal 249201;
ii) Ramakrishna Kutir, Ganganagar P.O. & Dist. Uttarkashi, Uttaranchal 249193;
iii) Ramakrishna Swargashrama, Lalgarh, Dist. Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal 721516; and
The hours are extended on special days.
1. The sanctum sanctorum or inner shrine (garbha mandira) of Sri Ramakrishna Temple is closed at 11.00 a.m. for ritualistic food offering to the Deity and opened at 11.40 a.m. for about five minutes. All other temples are closed at 11.30 a.m.
2. At the time of sunset, when the arati (evening service) begins, a bell is rung to indicate that visitors are not allowed to loiter on the Math grounds and that they are also not permitted to visit any of the temples other than Sri Ramakrishna Temple from then on. They may sit inside Sri Ramakrishna Temple and join the arati. They may also spend their time in meditation and silent prayer in the main temple (Sri Ramakrishna Temple) after the arati till the garbha mandira is closed for the ritualistic food-offering at 8.30 p.m. from April to September or 8 p.m. from October to March.
Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are twin organizations which form the core of a worldwide spiritual movement (known as Ramakrishna Movement or Vedanta Movement), which aims at the harmony of religions, harmony of the East and the West, harmony of the ancient and the modern, spiritual fulfillment, all-round development of human faculties, social equality, and peace for all humanity, without any distinctions of creed, caste, race or nationality.
RAMAKRISHNA MATH is a monastic organization for men brought into
existence by Sri Ramakrishna
(1836-1886), the great 19th century saint of Bengal
who is regarded as the Prophet of the Modern Age.
RAMAKRISHNA MISSION is a registered society in which monks of Ramakrishna Math
and lay devotees cooperate in conducting various types of social service mainly
It was founded by Sri Ramakrishna's
chief apostle, Swami Vivekananda
(1863-1902), one of the foremost thinkers and religious leaders of the present
age, who is regarded as 'one of the main moulders of the modern world', in the
words of an eminent Western scholar A. L. Basham.
Although Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are legally and financially
separate, they are closely inter-related in several other ways, and are to be
regarded as twin organizations.
The Math and the Mission together have 176 branch centres all over India and in different parts of the world.
The Headquarters of these centres are situated in Belur Math. All branch centres of Ramakrishna Math come under the administrative control of the Board of Trustees, whereas all branch centres of Ramakrishna Mission come under the administrative control of the Governing Body of Ramakrishna Mission
The main goals and objectives of these twin organizations, based on the principles of Practical Vedanta, are:
To spread the idea of
the potential divinity of every being and how to manifest it through every
action and thought.
To spread the idea of
harmony of religions based on Sri Ramakrishna's experience that all religions
lead to the realization of the same Reality known by different names in
different religions. The Mission
honours and reveres the founders of all world religions such as Buddha, Christ
To treat all work as
worship, and service to man as service to God.
To make all possible
attempts to alleviate human suffering by spreading education, rendering medical
service, extending help to villagers through rural development centres, etc.
To work for the
all-round welfare of humanity, especially for the uplift of the poor and the
To develop harmonious
personalities by the combined practice of Jnana, Bhakti, Yoga and Karma.
The motto of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission is:
Atmano mokshartham jagad hitaya cha,
"For one's own salvation, and for the welfare of the world".
Om Tat Sat
(My humble salutations to the great devotees , wikisources and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )