History

Swamis Siddheswaranda and Ritajananda
Swamis Siddheswaranda and Ritajananda

In 1936 the Musée Guimet (with Professor Masson-Oursel, holder of the chair of Indian Philosophy) celebrated the hundredth birthday of Ramakrishna. In the same year, the Université de la Sorbonne (with Professor Fouché, Member of the Institute) paid homage to Swami Vivekananda, the disciple of Ramakrishna and founder of the Ramakrishna Mission.

The names Ramakrishna and Vivekananda had been known in France since Romain Rolland (winner of the 1915 Nobel prize for literature) had published biographies of each in 1929 and 1930, respectively.

Following these events, the “Friends of Indian Thought” petitioned the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission in Kolkata to send a member of the Order to reside in France, in order to teach the philosophy of the Vedanta.

Swami Siddheswarananda arrived in Paris the following year and began teaching immediately. His many lectures, both at the home of his hosts (Mr. And Mrs. Sayton), as well as at the Sorbonne and the universities of Toulouse and Montpellier, expanded the Centre’s connections, making it both necessary and possible to acquire after World War II (in 1948) a property to create an ashram.

Swamis Ritajananda  and Veetamohananda
Swamis Ritajananda and Veetamohananda

In 1961 Swami Ritajananda succeeded Swami Siddheswarananda (who passed away in 1957).

Since the passing of Swami Ritajananda (in 1994), Swami Veetamohananda was, until his passing in November 2019, the monk responsible for the Vedanta Centre. Swami Veetamohananda participated in this capacity in the Monastic Inter-religious Dialogue.

As a representative of Hinduism in France, Swami Veetamohananda was often invited to deliver talks across mainland and overseas France (e.g. Antilles, La Réunion) as well as further abroad. He regularly visited Spain, Italy, Germany and England, as well as Belgium, Holland, Bulgaria, Guatemala, Brazil and the United States of America.

 

Since November 2019, Swami Baneshananda—President of the German Centre—has been appointed by the Order of Ramakrishna in Belur Math as acting President of the Ramakrishna Vedantic Centre in Gretz until the permanent arrival of a new Swami. It is not yet known when this will take place, but the process is expected to last one year or possibly longer.

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Swami Baneshananda has been living according to the Vedanta for more than 40 years. He had the privilege of working for more than a decade in Belur Math alongside Swami Bhuteshananda, former President of the Order of Ramakrishna.

Swami Baneshananda is also a scholar, and has been editor-in-chief of the "Vedanta Kesari—one of the two leading English-language periodicals of the Order of Ramakrishna. In 2004, Swami Baneshananda was appointed President of the Ramakrishna Vedantic Centre in Germany.

The Swami teaches both theories of meditation, as well as the tangible steps involved during meditation. He also teaches meditation classes that follow Vedanta Yoga. By invitation, he delivers conferences and retreats in the United States and throughout Europe.

Swami Baneshananda is available to provide guidance relating to spiritual questions and requests for advice, and can be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.