Sri Ramakrishna Ashram is home to an important spiritual movement that aims to help achieve harmony among world religions, cultures and societies through the twin organizations, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. Based on the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda, this unique spiritual center aims to teach people how to achieve spiritual fulfillment, develop one’s total well-being, realize social equality, and attain peace for all men regardless of one’s caste, race or religion. It is a worldwide movement that initializes and implements a number of philanthropic activities.
Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886) is considered by many as a prophet of the modern age and a saint of Bengal. He established Ramakrishna Math, a monastic order for men that later established the Ramakrishna Mission. The Mission is a society of lay devotees and monks of Ramakrishna Math whose goal is to implement different social services around India. The Mission was founded by Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), a leading disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.
Together, these two organizations make up the Ashram and have worked silently for more than a century now. They uphold Vedantic philosophy, which is India’s most ancient and dominant religious philosophy that has remained relevant through the years. During his time, Sri Ramakrishna successfully purified, unified and energized the philosophy.
The teachings of these movements include the philosophy of life, development and integration of one’s personality, meditation and concentration, and ethics and morality, as well as the scientific and cultural heritage of India. The Ashram also established the Yuva Jagrati, a network of college student groups that joined together in order to tackle important issues such as Philosophy, Life, Values and Culture.
Some of the activities of the network include donating books to college libraries, encourage students to study better, pursue a deeper understanding of these new lines of thoughts, distribute copies of the book, “Swami Vivekananda – His Call to the Nation”, create study circles in colleges around India, conduct regular retreats and conventions for the youth, organize exhibitions and sales of Vedantic literatures, and maintain the Ashram’s website.
Yuva Jagrati is primarily a youth awareness program. Swami Vivekananda hopes that the youth of India will have a better understanding of life and Vedantic philosophies someday. He said, “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man…. We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.”
The former leaders of these movements and the Sri Ramakrishna Ashram of today believe that with a better understanding of the philosophy of life, values and culture, the young people of India can become beacons of light that build the future direction of the country. The youth awareness program of Ramakrishna Math is now based in Ulsoor, Bangalore in the state of Karnataka, South India. The Ashram is about 35 km from Bangalore’s international airport and is accessible by bus or taxi. The spiritual complex is beautifully surrounded by tall trees, pleasant gardens, a lawn and several statues of saints.