Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are well recognised as the asrham of Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna and The Mother. There are formally established Centres of the Ramakrishna Mission in Australia: these exist for the welfare of the world.
Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are worldwide, non-political, non-sectarian spiritual organizations which have been engaged in various forms of humanitarian, social service activities for more than a century. Inspired by the ideals of renunciation and service, the monks and lay devotees of the Math and Mission serve millions of men, women and children, without any distinction of caste, religion or race, because they see the living God in them.
The headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are situated at an area named Belur in the district of Howrah, West Bengal, India. The entire campus of the headquarters is popularly known as ‘Belur Math’. Sprawling over forty acres of land on the western bank of the river Hooghly (Ganga), the place is an hour’s drive from Kolkata.
The branches of the Ramakrishna Order located outside India are generally known as Vedanta Societies, and are under the spiritual guidance of the Ramakrishna Order. The work of the Vedanta Societies in the west has primarily been devoted to spiritual and pastoral activities, though many of them do some form of social service.
Vedanta Centres in Australia
Vedanta groups are already functional since the 1980s in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Perth. In October 2000, the Trustees of the Ramakrishna Math at Belur Math in Kolkata deputed a Swami to take charge of the Sydney Centre, which was declared to be an official Branch of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, India. Since then, all other Centres in Australia have also grown into a Centre of its own and are functioning as an official branch (Chapter) of the Sydney Centre. Most of the centres in Australia have a resident monk in-charge of the Centre and all the centres are gearing up to become full-fledged Vedanta Centres.
The chief catalyst in this ongoing transformation is India’s ancient religious philosophy known as Vedanta. Although several other systems of philosophy arose in India at different times, they were confined to small groups. Vedanta alone has remained the dominant philosophy of India’s religious tradition from Vedic times to the present day. In modern times this ancient system of thought has been purified, unified and energized by Sri Ramakrishna, and expounded in the modern idiom by Swami Vivekananda and thus made available to all people all over the world without any distinctions of caste, creed or race.
The Ramakrishna Order does not believe in conversion, nor does it indulge in the occult or the sensational. The Order places utmost importance on personal spiritual unfoldment and selfless service. Inspired by the idea of the harmony of all faiths, its centres encourage adherents of different faiths to meet in a spirit of friendship and mutual appreciation, and to learn from one another without having to give up one’s own faith.
In the words of Sri Ramakrishna: “God has made different religions to suit different aspirants, lives and countries … all doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no means God Himself. Indeed one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with whole-hearted devotion.”
MOTTO: The motto of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission is ATMANO MOKSHARTHAM JAGAD HITAYA CHA, “For one’s own salvation and for the welfare of the world”. It was formulated by Swami Vivekananda.
The ideology of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission and the Vedanta Centres in Australia consists of the eternal principles of Vedanta as lived and experienced by Sri Ramakrishna and expounded by Swami Vivekananda.
This ideology has three characteristics:
- it is modern in the sense that the ancient principles of Vedanta have been expressed in the modern idiom;
- it is universal, that is, it is meant for the whole humanity;
- it is practical in the sense that its principles can be applied in day-to-day life to solve the problems of life.
The basic principles of this ideology are given below:
1. God realization is the ultimate goal of life
2. Potential divinity of the soul
3. Synthesis of Jnana, Bhakti, Karma and Raja Yoga.
4. Morality based on strength
5. Harmony of Religions
a. Harmony within Hinduism
b. Harmony among world religions
6. Avatarhood of Sri Ramakrishna
7. A New Philosophy of Work: Swami Vivekananda has given a new philosophy of work for the modern world. This philosophy of work is based on the following principles.
a. All work is sacred
b. Work as worship
c. Service to man is service to God
d. Focus on service to the poor and the downtrodden
e. Work is a spiritual discipline
This two-fold aim of service activities, indeed the whole ideology of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, has been put in a nutshell in the MOTTO of the twin organizations, Átmano mokshártham jagad hitáya cha‘, ‘For one’s own salvation and for the welfare of the world’, formulated by Swami Vivekananda.
All the Vedanta Societies in Australia celebrate the Birthday anniversaries of the Spiritual Masters Sri Ramakrishna , Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda.
In addition, all other important holy days as per the Hindu tradition are also celebrated. Further, all the Centre regularly conduct Spiritual classes based on various scriptures. These lectures are offered to all members of the community and the Vedanta Centre welcomes all to these events.
The monks at the Vedanta centre also offer spiritual guidance to all spiritual seekers and also offer counselling services to all in need.
Special activities are also conducted for the children and youth of the society.
The spiritual lectures as well all other events are offered to all members of the community and the Vedanta Centre welcomes everybody to these events.
Please check on the website of the specific centre for more details.
The following are the details of the various Vedanta Centres in Australia:
The Vedanta Centre of Adelaide
16 East Terrace, Kensington Gardens SA 5068
Phone: 8431 9775
Vedanta Centre Melbourne
5-7 Angus Ave, Ringwood East VIC 3135
Ph: +61 413 040 599, +61 426 864 750, 03 8684 9594
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.vedantamelbourne.org
Vedanta Church of Universal Religion
51 Golf View St, Yokine WA 6060
Ph: +61 8 9446 9585
Vedanta Centre of Sydney – Canberra Chapter
Ph: +61 2 6258 7612, +61 2 6247 8519
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