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The Ramakrishna Movement

emblème de l'Ordre

“Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work or worship or psychic control or philosophy – by one or more of all of these – and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines or dogmas, or rituals or books, or temples or forms, are but secondary details.”

Swami Vivekananda

Shortly after Ramakrishna departure, a monastic order bearing his name was established, in conformity with his own instructions, by his sannyasin disciples under the authority of Swami Vivekananda. Little by little the Order established a double ideal:

The teaching of Vedanta based on the illustration that Ramakrishna had given of it through his own life,

The establishment, with the participation of lay disciples, of a missionary and philanthropic mission called to serve all human beings, looking upon them as veritable manifestations of the Divine, without distinction of caste, belief or colour.

Today the Order has about a thousand sannyasin members.

Although these two institutions are engaged in charitable and philanthropic activities, the Math

puts greater stress on spiritual life and teaching, while the Mission has the more particular vocation of charitable works, these always being accompanied by a spiritual dimension.

To carry out their activities the Math and the Mission received subsidies (from the central government of India, the provincial authorities and various public organisations) to which must be added the gifts or donations and other receipts coming for example from the entry fees of students who have the means to pay.

The Math and Mission have their headquarters at the Belur monastery on the banks of the Ganges, upstream from Kolkata.

The Order’s symbol summarises its ideal: the soul, symbolised by a swan, serenely floats on the ocean of unattached work (karma yoga) supported by the pure lotus of devotion (bhakti yoga) and illumined by the rising sun of knowledge (jnana yoga); this group is encircled by the serpent that sets everything in motion (raja yoga) and completed by a motto in Sanskrit: “May He illumine us”.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 November 2011