Math and Ramakrishna Mission are worldwide, non-political, non-sectarian
spiritual organizations which have been engaged in various forms of
humanitarian, social service activities for more than a century.
Inspired by the ideals of renunciation and service, the monks and
lay devotees of the Math and Mission serve millions of men, women
and children, without any distinction of caste, religion or race,
because they see the living God in them.
The organizations were brought into existence by Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886),
the great 19th century saint from Bengal who is regarded as the Prophet
of the Modern Age, and Sri Ramakrishna's chief disciple, 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 ways
and are regarded as twin organizations.
These twin organizations have set in motion a non-sectarian, universal
spiritual movement which has been silently working for more than
a hundred years to catalyze the spiritual regeneration of humanity.
Motto: The motto of the twin organizations is Atmano mokshartham
jagad hitaya cha, “For one’s own salvation and for the
welfare of the world”. It was formulated by Swami Vivekananda.
Ideals: Work as worship, potential divinity of the soul, and harmony
of religions are three of the noteworthy ideals on which these two
organizations are based. It is this ideal of service to man as service
to God that sustains the large number of hospitals, dispensaries,
mobile medical units, schools, colleges, rural development centres
and many other social service institutions run the twin organizations.
Headquarters: The headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna
Mission are situated at an area named Belur in the district
of Howrah, West Bengal, India. The entire campus of the headquarters
known as ‘Belur Math’. Sprawling over forty acres of
land on the western bank of the river Hooghly (Ganga), the place
is an hour’s drive from Kolkata.
Branch Centres: The Math and Mission have 166 centres all over the
world: 124 in India, 13 in USA, 12 in Bangladesh, and one each in
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Japan,
Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, South Africa,
Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and UK. Besides, there are 33 sub-centres
attached to some of these centres.
Besides these branch centres, there are about one thousand unaffiliated
centres (popularly called ‘private centres’) all
over the world started by the devotees and followers of Sri
and Swami Vivekananda.
Educational Work: The Math and Mission run 748 educational institutions
(including 12 colleges, 22 higher secondary schools, 41 secondary
schools, 135 schools of other grades, 4 polytechnics, 48 vocational
training centres, 118 hostels, 7 orphanages, etc) with a total student
population of more than 200,000.
Medical Service: The twin organizations run 15 hospitals (with 2182
beds), 125 dispensaries, and 48 mobile medical units which treat
about 8,000,000 patients every year. Besides these, a considerable
number of medical camps are organized, mostly in rural areas, where
thousands of patients are treated and more than 3000 operated on
for cataract free of cost every year. The Math and Mission run a
medical research institute and 5 nurses' training centres.
Work in Rural and Tribal Areas: For rural and tribal people, the
Math and Mission run 3 institutes of agriculture and 4 rural development
training institutes. Besides, farmers are taught improved methods
of cultivation and also provided with agricultural inputs and financial
help. Projects such as construction of pucca houses, wasteland development,
planting of fruit and forest trees, etc are undertaken. Drinking
water is provided by digging bore wells and tube wells.
Relief: During natural or man-made disasters, the Mission’s
work includes primary relief with food, clothes, medicine and
permanent relief activities like construction of new full-fledged
townships, bridges, and roads, sometimes a project going over Rs. 150
Publication: The Mission’s publication centres produce
some of the best publications on religion, philosophy, and spiritual
culture. The total turnover in 2004-05 was Rs. 86 million.
Spreading Religion and Culture: The Math and Mission spread the
spiritual teachings and cultural ideals through a large number of
public libraries, lectures, discourses and seminars, audio-visual
units, exhibitions, museums, retreats and publishing books, journals,
etc. Books on Vedanta, the message of Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother
Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda, spirituality and world religions
in almost all the major languages of India and in some of the important
languages of other countries are published form the 21 publication
centres of the Math and Mission.