History of Khetri Center
Shri Sarda Devi
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What is Ramakrishna
After the passing away of his
master-Sri Ramakrishna-Swami Vivekananda wandered throughout India mostly on foot
and without a single penny as an ascetic before he left for West. During this time
he came across the pathetic life of the masses in India. He used to talk to rich people,
kings of that time to take up different activities for the welfare of the poor. But,
except a very few, none gave special interest to actuate the words of the Swami - the
unknown & the penniless ascetic among hundreds of other monks, though everybody was
spellbound by his all-round personality, wherever he went. With tearful eyes he used to
think deeply about the means to uplift the fallen and miserable. This wrung his heart
& soul and after a long deep meditation over it he decided to go to West to attend the
Religious Parliament at Chicago and preach Indian Spiritual Knowledge & in turn bring
Science & Technology to the home. The Swami was well received and the teachings of
Hinduism appreciated by the people of West.
Returning from the West, the Swami
gave a heart-stirring call to his countrymen, especially to young men & women -
steady, unselfish, pure & sincere to the backbone, fortified with eternal faith in the
Lord and nerved to lion's courage, who would renounce everything and sacrifice their lives
for the upliftment of millions of the poor, ignorant & downtrodden, paving the path
for their own salvation. That is why to uplift the masses, he envisaged to form an organisation which will work for upliftment of the poor and downtrodden with an attitude
of Worship of the Lord in them. He also specially laid down that this organisation should
not become a mere temple for ceremonial worship. Hence he founded the 'Ramakrishna Mission
Association' in 1897. This body received a legal status and was registered by the
name 'Ramakrishna Mission' in 1909. The Swami has declared in
unmistakable language that its object is to form character, combining Jnana
(reasoning), Bhakti (Love for God), Yoga (Practices of Mind control) and
Karma (doing work in a spirit of worship to Lord).
What is Ramakrishna Math
During the last days of Sri
Ramakrishna a band of young boys, sincere and pure in heart, were living with him and
serving him with utmost care. Then they were full of renunciation and tremendous longing
in heart for God realization and accordingly they were sincerely practicing Spiritual
Disciplines under the guidance of Sri Ramakrishna whom they took as their Spiritual
Master. Narendranath, the future Swami Vivekananda, was foremost among them. Sri
Ramakrishna commissioned him to organize these young spiritual aspirants whose lives were
being molded by him and to start an apostolic succession of monks to continue his
spiritual ministry for the benefit of future generations.
After the Master's passing, the young
disciples under the leadership of Narendranath left their hearth & home and took to
the life of renunciation staying in a rented house at Baranagar, Calutta, which turned
into a monastery - the first monastery with the ideal of Sri Ramakrishna. Then their whole
time was devoted to severe Spiritual Practices, intense austerity, study of scriptures and
wandering as ascetics to places of pilgrimage, or solitary mountain caves for spiritual
practices. In between the monastery was shifted to Alambazar on the bank of the Ganges.
The monastery received its definite shape, both in its form and function, after
Narendranath emerged as a world figure - Swami Vivekananda, from the Parliament of
Religions, held in Chicago in 1893. In 1901, this monastery got registered as a trust
& named as 'Ramakrishna Math'. During this time the Math got shifted
to its present site at Belur on the west bank of the Ganges. Thus Ramakrishna Math came
Ramakrishna Math &
Ramakrishna Mission are together referred to as the Ramakrishna
Order. From the legal point of view the organisation has two distinct wings - the
Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. But this distinction is tenuous, often
overlaps and therefore, more theoretical than real. The Math and Mission are closely
To stress the point - though both the
Math and the Mission take up charitable and philanthropic activities, the former lays more
emphasis on spiritual development of the people and the latter gives priority to welfare
The motto the twin organisations
follow is the same, one that Swami Vivekananda put before them:
Mokshartham, Jagad Hitaya Cha (For the
Liberation of the Self and For the Good of the World)'.
There are over 138 official
centres of the Ramakrishna Order, and many more unofficial, or unaffiliated ones. These
centres not only cover the length and breadth of the Indian sub-continent, but also
are in Europe, Russia, Japan, South America, Africa, Canada and the United States.
The Emblem of the Ramakrishna Order
The wavy waters in the picture are
symbolic of Karma Yoga (Yoga, i.e., the communion with God through
Action), the lotus of Bhakti Yoga (Yoga through Divine Love), and
the rising-sun of Jnana Yoga (Yoga through Reasoning). The encircling
serpent is indicative of Raja Yoga (Yoga through Mind Control) and
awakened Kundalini Shakti (Coiled-up Energy), while the swan in the picture
stands for the Paramatman (the Supreme Soul). Therefore, the idea of the picture
is that by the union of Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga & Raja Yoga,
the vision of Paramatman is obtained.
Activities of the
To carry out this ideal of
Swami Vivekananda into practice, the Order through its different centres does the following
Rehabilitation Activities at the time of natural calamities like flood, earthquake,
draught, famine, etc.
through indoor hospitals, out patients' dispensaries, mobile health clinics, different
medical camps, etc.
Activities by running Schools, Colleges, Students' Homes, Teachers' Training
Colleges, Polytechnics, Schools of language, Blind Boys' Academies, Orphanages, etc.
Work for Women
through running specially for women - Maternity sections, Domiciliary, Invalid Women's
Home, Girls' Schools, Training Schools for Nurses, etc., to uplift the womenfolk, apart
from the common services for men also. The Services for womenfolk is extensively done by
Ramakrishna Sarada Math & Mission with the same ideal, which is completely different
from Ramakrishna Math & Mission.
Work for the
Youth through running study circles, youth forums, seminars, youth
conventions, etc., wherefrom the youth gets acquainted with the uplifting message of
Swami Vivekananda which in turn improves their life, apart from the ones mentioned above.
the Weaker Sections through sending out dedicated workers to rural areas to raise
their life status by giving secular knowledge, special training for farming, etc., - in a
word, integrated rural development and welfare programmes, apart from the distress relief,
medical services & educational activities, etc.
Cultural Activities through regular Worship, Prayers, Devotional Singing, Classes,
Meetings, Spiritual Gatherings, Public Celebrations, Publication of Books, Magazines,
etc., to make the people aware of their moral and spiritual values which if cultivated
properly, bring happiness and joy to their life.
Know the Inspirations behind the Ramakrishna Order
To know more about the
Ramakrishna Order, suggested readings:
MOVEMENT for ALL - by Swami Gahanananda. published by - Sri Ramakrishna Math,
Enquirers about Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission - by Swami Tapasyananda.
Published by - Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.
Ramakrishna Movement - published by Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture,
History of Khetri Center
of Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission - by Swami Gambhirananda. published
by - Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta.