|The Ramakrishna Order, with its headquarters in Belur (near Kolkata), is one of the largest and most respected religious orders in India today. The Order was inspired by the great Bengali saint, Sri Ramakrishna.|
Shortly before his passing away in 1886, Ramakrishna encouraged his young disciples to formally renounce the world by giving them the ochre cloth of renunciation. He entrusted the care of these young men to the foremost among them, Narendranath (monastic name: Swami Vivekananda), who had in him more qualities than the other boys. Later, in 1897, Vivekananda consolidated and updated the Order through the creation of Ramakrishna Mission. The monastic disciples who renounced their family and became the earliest monks of the Ramakrishna order are sixteen in number (please see the list below). The direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna including Sri Sarada Devi personified certain closely related spiritual ideas, ideals, visions, and efforts which have given rise to the Ramakrishna Movement.
The direct disciples
|Swami Vivekananda formulated the following ideal for the Order: “atmano mokshartham jagad-hitaya cha” (for one’s own salvation and for the welfare of the world).|
He wanted the Order to take the age-old Vedantic texts as the scriptures which have to be interpreted in the light of the illustration given by Sri Ramakrishna’s life. In Ramakrishna Mission, the lay members may work side by side with monastic members, and they are called to serve human beings as veritable manifestations of the Divine.
The Ramakrishna Math is dedicated to religious rites and spiritual practice, while the Ramakrishna Mission, of which the visible contour is social service, seeks spiritual development through karma-yoga. The Math and Mission have their headquarters at Belur on the western bank of the Ganges, upstream from Kolkata.
There are 177 official centres of the Ramakrishna Order (excluding the headquarters), and more than 1500 unofficial ones which maintain a close relation with the headquarters. These centres not only cover the length and breadth of the India, but are spread around the globe.
The Motto formulated by Swami Vivekananda.Sanskrit: आत्मनॊ मोक्षार्थम् जगद्धिताय चEnglish: For one’s own salvation and for the welfare of the world