Rāmakṛṣṇa Mission

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An influential and socially active, male monastic association, founded in 1897 by Vivekānanda, with the motto: ‘For one's own salvation and for the welfare of the world'. It is named after Vivekānanda's teacher and inspiration, Rāmakṛṣṇa, and developed out of the monastic Order established by Rāmakṛṣṇa's disciples at his death. Its ideology, however, is very much that of its founder: ‘Hinduism’ (essentially Advaita Vedānta) is presented as a world religion, based on what are perceived to be universally valid, and scientifically consonant, ethical principles. This has proved attractive to the educated, English-speaking, middle-classes. For the first 23 years of its existence, the Mission's spiritual head was Rāmakṛṣṇa's wife and consort, Śāradā Devī, and she, Rāmakṛṣṇa, and Vivekānanda are revered as the ‘Holy Trio’ of the contemporary Mission. Its headquarters were established at the Rāmakṛṣṇa Maṭha near Kolkata (Calcutta) in 1899; it has over 100 centres throughout India, engaged in educational, medical, and other charitable work. Centres have also been established around the world, notably in the USA and Brazil.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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