Thursday, June 14, 2012

Founding of Ramakrishna Mission

Soon after his return to Kolkata, Swami Vivekananda accomplished another important task of his mission on earth. He founded on1 May 1897 a unique type of organization known as Ramakrishna Mission, in which monks and lay people would jointly undertake propagation of Practical Vedanta, and various forms of social service, such as running hospitals, schools, colleges, hostels, rural development centres etc, and conducting massive relief and rehabilitation work for victims of earthquakes, cyclones and other calamities, in different parts of India and other countries.

Belur Math
In early 1898 Swami Vivekananda acquired a big plot of land on the western bank of the Ganga at a place called Belur to have a permanent abode for the monastery and monastic Order originally started at Baranagar, and got it registered as Ramakrishna Math after a couple of years. Here Swamiji established a new, universal pattern of monastic life which adapts ancient monastic ideals to the conditions of modern life, which gives equal importance to personal illumination and social service, and which is open to all men without any distinction of religion, race or caste.

It may be mentioned here that in the West many people were influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s life and message. Some of them became his disciples or devoted friends. Among them the names of Margaret Noble (later known as Sister Nivedita),Captain and Mrs Sevier, Josephine McLeod and Sara Ole Bull, deserve special mention. Nivedita dedicated her life to educating girls in Kolkata. Swamiji had many Indian disciples also, some of whom joined Ramakrishna Math and became sannyasins.

Last Days
In June 1899 he went to the West on a second visit. This time he spent most of his time in the West coast of USA. After delivering many lectures there, he returned to Belur Math in December 1900. The rest of his life was spent in India, inspiring and guiding people, both monastic and lay. Incessant work, especially giving lectures and inspiring people, told upon Swamiji’s health. His health deteriorated and the end came quietly on the night of 4 July 1902. Before his Mahasamadhi he had written to a Western follower: “It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body, to cast it off like a worn out garment. But I shall not cease to work. I shall inspire men everywhere until the whole world shall know that it is one with God.”

Main Events related to Swami Vivekananda

1863January 12Birth in Kolkata
1879Enters Presidency College
1880Transfers to General Assembly Institution
1881NovemberFirst meeting with Sri Ramakrishna
1882-1886Association with Sri Ramakrishna
1884Passes B. A. Examination
Father passes away
1885Sri Ramakrishna’s last illness
1886August 16Sri Ramakrishna passes away
FallEstablishes Baranagar Math
December 24Informal vow of sannyasa at Antpur
1887JanuaryFormal vows of sannyasa at Baranagar Monastery
1890-1893Travels all over India as itinerant monk
1892December 24At Kanyakumari, South India
1893February 13First public lecture, Secunderabad, South India
May 31Sails for America from Mumbai
July 25Lands at Vancouver, Canada
July 30Arrives in Chicago
AugustMeets Professor John Ft. Wright of Harvard University
September 11First address at Parliament of Religions, Chicago
September 27Final address at Parliament of Religions
November 20Begins mid-western lecture tour
1894April 14Begins lectures and classes on East Coast
May 16Speaks at Harvard University
July-AugustAt Green Acre Religious Conference
NovemberFounds Vedanta Society of New York
1895JanuaryBegins classes in New York
June 4-18At Camp Percy, New Hampshire
June-AugustAt Thousand Island Park on St. Lawrence river, N.Y.
August-SeptemberIn Paris
October-NovemberLectures in London
December 6Sails for New York
1896March 22-25Speaks at Harvard University, offered Eastern Philosophy chair
April 15Returns to London
May-JulyGives classes in London
May 28Meets Max Muller in Oxford
August-SeptemberIn the Europe for six weeks
October-NovemberGives classes in London
December 30Leaves Naples for India
1897January 15Arrives in Colombo, Sri Lanka
February 6-15In Chennai
February 19Arrives in Kolkata
May 1Establishes Ramakrishna Mission Association, Kolkata
May-DecemberTours northwest India
1898JanuaryReturns to Kolkata
MayBegins North India pilgrimage with Western devotees
August 2At Amarnath, Kashmir
December 9Consecrates Belur Math
1899March 19Establishes Advaita Ashrama at Mayavati
June 20Leaves India for second visit to the West
July 31Arrives in London
August 28Arrives in New York City
August-NovemberAt Ridgely Manor, New York
December 3Arrives in Los Angeles
1900February 22Arrives in San Francisco
April 14Founds Vedanta Society in San Francisco
JuneFinal classes in New York City
July 26Leaves for Europe
August 3Arrives in Paris for International Exposition
September 7Speaks at Congress of History of Religions at Exposition
October 24Begins tour of Vienna, Constantinople, Greece and Cairo
November 26Leaves for India
December 9Arrives at Belur Math
1901JanuaryVisits Mayavati
March-MayPilgrimage in East Bengal and Assam
1902January-FebruaryVisits Bodh Gaya and Varanasi
MarchReturns to Belur Math
July 4Mahasamadhi

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