Establishment of the Universal Temple
Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are twin organizations which form the core of a worldwide spiritual movement (known as Ramakrishna Movement or Vedanta Movement), which aims at the harmony of religions, harmony of the East and the West, harmony of the ancient and the modern, spiritual fulfillment, all-round development of human faculties, social equality, and peace for all humanity, without any distinctions of creed, caste, race or nationality.
RAMAKRISHNA MATH is a monastic organization for men brought into existence by Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886), the great 19th century saint of Bengal who is regarded as the Prophet of the Modern Age.
RAMAKRISHNA MISSION is a registered society in which monks of Ramakrishna Math and lay devotees cooperate in conducting various types of social service mainly in India. It was founded by Sri Ramakrishna’s chief apostle, 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 other ways, and are to be regarded as twin organizations.
Belur Math, The Headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission
It was at Belur Math that Swami Vivekananda, the foremost disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, lived the last years of his brief life.?Here Swami Vivekananda?established a new, universal pattern of monastic life which adapts ancient monastic ideals to the conditions of modern life, which gives equal importance to personal illumination and social service, and which is open to all men without any distinction of religion, race or caste. He consecrated the grounds in 1898 by worshipping the urn containing the sacred relics of Sri Ramakrishna, which he himself carried on his shoulders to the place of worship.? On that occasion he uttered these prophetic words about Belur Math: “The blazing light of universal harmony that will emanate from here will flood the whole world.”? On another occasion he said that “the power that will have its rise from here [Belur Math] will flood the whole world and turn the course of men’s lives into different channels; from this place will spring forth ideals which will be the harmony of Knowledge, Devotion, Yoga, and Work … all true seekers of spirituality will in course of time assemble here.”? True to that prophecy, Belur Math has become the hub of a worldwide spiritual movement known as the Ramakrishna Movement.
The serene campus of Belur Math on the Ganga includes temples dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda, in which their relics are enshrined, and the main monastery of the Ramakrishna Order.? The place has been sanctified by the stay of Swami Vivekananda and most of the monastic disciples of Sri Ramakrishna who spent several years here.? Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi also visited this place on several occasions.? The room in which Swamiji attained Mahasamadhi has been preserved here.? The headquarters of the worldwide twin organizations known as Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are also situated here.? An added attraction is the Museum which contains articles connected with the history of Ramakrishna Math and Mission.? The green lawns and lush growth of trees and bushes everywhere add to the serenity and beauty of the place.? All this has contributed to an elevating spiritual ambience that has made Belur Math an important place of pilgrimage for people all over the world.? A degree college, a polytechnic, and several other educational institutions of the Ramakrishna Mission are situated in the vast campus adjacent to Belur Math.