About Us

Born in 1836 at Kamarpukur, a remote village of West Bengal, Sri Ramakrishna attained an exalted state of spiritual illumination that had never before been achieved by any other religious genius in India or elsewhere. Shortly after the passing away of this prophet of Harmony, in August 1886, a monastic order bearing his name was organized in pursuance of his own instructions, with a monastery at Baranagore, a northern suburb of Calcutta, by his Sannyasin (monastic) disciples headed by Swami Vivekananda. Gradually it set for itself a twofold ideal: to create a band of Sannyasin teachers of Vedanta as propounded by Sri Ramakrishna and practically illustrated by his own life; and in conjunction with the lay disciples to carry on missionary and philanthropic work, looking upon all, irrespective of caste, creed or colour, as the greatest manifestation of the Divine. For some time the latter work was carried on through an association called the Ramakrishna Association, started by Swami Vivekananda in May 1897, shortly after his triumphant return from the West, in 1899 he shifted the math, which had changed places by then, to its present site at Belur, across the river Ganges, where it set itself more vigorously to the task of training a band of monks inspired with the twin ideals of Self-Realization and service to the world as worshipping God. Soon after this, the Math authorities took upon themselves the work of the Mission Association.

The Ramakrishna Math was registered as a trust in 1901. To facilitate the work through Mission Association and for giving it a legal status, a society named the Ramakrishna Mission was registered in 1909 under Act XXI of 1860. Its management was vested in a Governing Body. Both the Math and the Mission gradually extended their spheres of activity as a result of which a number of branches in different parts of the country and abroad came into existence. At the present, excluding the Headquarters at Belur, there are 149 branches in all, of which 65 are Mission centers, 25 combined Math and Mission Centres and 58 Math Centres. Moreover, attached to some of the branches 30 sub-centres, where monks reside. These centres besides maintaining a number of Ashramas and temples with their programmes of worship, religious services and preaching, run several schools, colleges, libraries, students’ homes, hospitals with indoor facilities, mobile dispensaries, rural and tribal development centers and invalid homes, relief operations in times of natural calamities etc.
Though the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission with their respective branches, are distinct legal entities, they are closely related, inasmuch as the Governing Body of the Mission is made up of the Trustees of the Math; the administrative work of the Mission is mostly in the hands of the monks of the Ramakrishna Math, and both have their Headquarters at Belur Math. The Math organization is constituted under a trust with well-defined rules of procedure. The Mission is a registered society. Though both the organizations take up charitable and philanthropic activities, the former lays emphasis on religion and preaching, while the latter is wedded mainly to welfare services undertaken with a spiritual outlook.This distinction should be borne in mind, though ‘Ramakrishna Mission’ is loosely associated by people with Math activities also. It is necessary, moreover, to point out that the appropriation of the name of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda by any institution does not necessarily imply that it is a branch of either the Ramakrishna Math or the Ramakrishna Mission. The Math and the Mission own separate funds and keep separate account of them. Both the Math and the Mission receive grants from the Centre and State Governments and public bodies, donations from the public for their activities. The accounts of both the Math and the Mission are annually audited by the qualified auditors and will be released for public knowledge.