About Us – Our Story

Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are spiritual organizations that are engaged worldwide in various forms of humanitarian activities and social services for over a hundred years while keeping themselves independent of any political or sectarian character. Having as their motto the dictum that the Divine Being resides in the Living Being, the monastic members and lay devotees of the Math and Mission serve millions all over the world, without regard to nationality, race, creed, or caste.

The organizations were founded in the name of Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886), the 19th-century saint and spiritualist from Bengal, whose life was a watershed in the history and culture of modern India, having deep repercussions all around the world. Sri Ramakrishna’s chief disciple, Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), who was one of the most revolutionary leaders of the present age in both thought and action, brought the twin organizations into existence to represent Sri Ramakrishna and his mission on earth

Although legally and financially, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are independent institutions, they are inseparably related to each other in terms of ideology and administration. Several Ramakrishna Math centers do the work of the Ramakrishna Mission, such as running schools, hospitals, dispensaries, rural development centers, etc. The two organizations work in tandem, keeping in motion a spiritual movement that is modern, inclusive, and humanitarian.

The driving force behind this work is the Vedantic school of thought that was first developed in ancient India by the Vedic sages. Although the history of India’s philosophies is a multifarious and variegated one, the Vedanta has remained the most comprehensive and authoritative among them – over the centuries and across the country. Sri Ramakrishna’s life and teachings are a modern retelling of this ancient gospel, one that is for the modern human being faced with modern needs and travails. It is this modern interpretation of the Vedanta that Swami Vivekananda took up as his project, and successfully seeded an international community of thinkers, workers, devotees, and reformers.

The path of the Ramakrishna Order does not concern itself with religious conversion, occultism or sensationalism, or any form of ‘mystery-mongering’ – to use Swami Vivekananda’s own words. Enlightenment, both worldly and ethereal, is our guiding principle. The Order accords the highest importance to personal spiritual manifestation through selfless service. It endeavors to promote universal acceptance of all faith and creed, practicing Sri Ramakrishna’s doctrine: “As many faiths, so many paths.”

MOTTO: The motto of the Ramakrishna Order is “AMANO MOKSHARTHAM JAGAD HITAYA CHA” “For one’s salvation and the welfare of the world”. This creed was explicated by Swami Vivekananda.

IDEALS: Among the core ideals of the Order are the concept of work as worship, the potential divinity of every soul, and faith in universal religious harmony. Taking the cue from the philosophy of Karma Yoga, the twin organizations dedicate themselves to the service of humanity in various forms of social work: education, healthcare, and rural development are a few of the fronts. We consider this work to have the same essence as conventional religious worship, and thus to be a form of practical spirituality.

HEADQUARTERS: The headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are situated at Belur in the district of Howrah, West Bengal, India. The campus of the headquarters is popularly known as ‘Belur Math.’ Sprawling over forty acres of land on the western bank of the river Hooghly (Ganga), Belur Math has become, over the decades, a cultural cornerstone of the modern Indian spirit. The Math is an hour’s drive from Kolkata.