Tag Archives: Our Ashrama History

Our Ashrama History

karimganj_ashramaThe Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Seva Samiti, Karimganj is about a century old. It had its modest beginning in 1917 in the hands of some local devotees. The most notable of them are Late Rukmini Mohan Choudhury, Bana Behari Dutta, Kalisaday Pashchima and Satish Chandra Dev.That was the time when the waves of ideas and ideals of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda were stirring the world. Those devotees were inspired by Revered Swami Premeshanandaji Maharaj (then Shri Indradayal Bhattacharjee) of Sylhet.Then Karimganj was a part of Sylhet district of present Bangladesh.

Marble-image-of-Ramakrishna-Deva-of-RKM-KarimganjThe Sylhet centre of Ramakrishna Mission is a very old and well-known centre graced by the visit of many disciples of Holy Mother Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. In the pre-independence days, old monks from Sylhet centre would regularly visit this centre to spread the messages of Sri Sri Thakur, Ma and Swamiji through their holy presence, spiritual discourses and services to the people of all sections of the society irrespective of their race and cast. Their dedicated and selfless service to the society then reflected the Vedantic philosophy and way of living as preached by Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. It had its deep impact on the local society. Happily, the Seva Samiti, Karimganj was affiliated by Belur Math as a branch centre of Ramakrishna Mission Seva Samity, Sylhet in 1929.

After partition of India, Karimganj was separated from Sylhet and the plains of Bengal and became a remote corner of Assam province. Yet the ideas and ideals preached by the old monks of Sylhet and Belur Math in the earlier days of the Seva Samiti, Karimganj, continued to spread among the people of the society here. As a result of those propitious happenings, the Seva Samiti was finally recognized as an “Independent Branch Centre” of Ramakrishna Mission from 1st October 1947.

With the recognition of the Centre, Swami Gopeshwaranandaji Maharaj was appointed its first Secretary by the Headquarters. After his tenure, this holy responsibility was carried successively by Swami Shivaramanandaji (Achintya Maharaj), Swami Sattwanandaji Maharaj and Swami Udgeetanandaji Maharaj.Swami Nareshanandaji Maharaj is its present Secretary.

Mission-campus-of-RKM,KarimganjIn keeping with the tradition of service to the distressed, set up by Swami Soumyanandaji, Swami Suddhatmanandaji, Swami Pratibhanandaji, Swami Kamakhyanandaji, Swami Mananandaji, Swami Sukshamanandaji, Swami Prameyanandaji, Swami Kshantyanandaji, Swami Prathamanandaji and many other monks of the different centres,the Seva Samiti of Karimganj has been carrying on welfare works ever since its beginning.Broadly,the activities of this Mission Centre   are educational and philanthropic, and those of the Math are religious and cultural.

The significant relief works that this Seva Samiti did in the past are the Burma Evacuee Relief during World War II, the East Pakistan Exodus Relief in 1950 and the Bangladesh Evacuee Relief in 1971.Being impressed by this Seva Samiti’s interest in social works, the Govt. of India considered this centre fit to handle a very serious and sensitive project for settlement of lakhs of Hindu refugees from East Pakistan who entered India through Karimganj border. The centre gave them shelter, food and permanent settlements. Those settlements are now well-established villages developed in many ways. This was a unique project this centre handled in a skilful way and nurtured for many years.

Boys-Hostel-of-RKM,KarimganjAfter the completion of the project, this centre started a boys’ hostel in its campus in with students from Class V to Class X from many distant villages. This was done to encourage education among the poor and backward people of this place, a very remote part of the Northeast region of the country. Today the hostel continues to function spreading the philosophy of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda.

This centre introduced a Mobile Dispensary in 1998 to take medical facilities to the distant villages that are practically inaccessible. The Dispensary carries  doctors,para-medical staff and other volunteers who offer free medical check-up and medicines to all those who attend the medical camps, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. In addition, the centre occasionally runs free eye camps with eye specialists and even carries out free cataract operation.

Almost every year, this Mission renders relief services like distribution of blankets, winter garments, dhuties, sarees etc. to the poor people of remote villages.Karimganj district is a flood-prone region. Very often floods affect a large number of people here. Then flood relief is provided in affected areas through distribution of essential commodities to the distressed people.

 There is a library with a reading room in the Mission premises where access is open to all. The library has over 3700 books, 10 periodicals and 5 daily newspapers.

During 1970-1980 this centre carried out a programme to uplift the economically weak people like cultivators, small traders, cobblers and rickshaw pullers by offering financial assistance to them.

Nat-Mandir-of-Innerside--of-the-RKM-Temple,-KarimganjIn religious and cultural fields, the Seva Samiti started regular activities in 1949.Puja of Sri Sri Thakur is held daily since then. The birth anniversaries of Sri Sri Thakur,Sri Sri Ma and Swami Vivekananda are celebrated every year. On these occasions, public meetings are held in centre premises with talks and discourses on their lives and teachings and with devotional songs and related cultural events. The birth anniversaries of other direct disciples of Sri Sri Thakur are also celebrated in a fitting manner. The birth anniversaries of other eminent religious teachers are observed. On special occasions like Kalpataru Day, meetings are held to discuss the lives and teachings of the Holy Trio by monks from Belur Math or some other centres.Besides, Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Saraswati Puja, Janmasthami and Shibaratri Puja are held regularly with due solemnity. On every Ekadashi Tithi, Ram-Nam Sankirtan is held. Discourse on religious scriptures is held daily after Sandhya Aratrik before a significant number of devotees. Monks from the centre go to different places to teach the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda philosophy.

With increase in the number of devotees the shrine was found too small and so the construction of the present temple was undertaken in 1990.By the grace of Sri Sri Thakur, the construction was completed smoothly. On February 5 1992, the temple with a life-size marble image of Sri Ramakrishna was dedicated with customary rituals by His Holiness Srimat Swami Bhuteshanandaji, the then President of Ramakrishna Math and Mission. This opened the opportunity for devotees here to come into the temple in large numbers and spend peaceful time in prayer and meditation.

Recently, considering the needs of the people here, the Seva Samiti has taken up a major project of constructing a three-storied building in a newly-acquired land close to it for running a coaching centre. The construction of the building is largely over. The Seva Samiti aims to open the building and the project by the end of this year as a memorial to Swami Vivekananda in connection with his 150th birth anniversary celebrations.

The project is to be dedicated to the services of Swamiji’s Nara-Narayan.This highly expensive work is being done with generous support from numerous well-wishers, sympathizers, subscribers, donors, doctors, volunteers and the staff members of the Seva Samiti.

It is our firm belief that efforts will continue without end to achieve more and more the educational, philanthropic, religious and cultural objectives with which this Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Seva Samiti was born about a hundred years back. Let us all realize more and more the ideal—Atmano mokshartham jagad hitaya cha(“for one’s own salvation and for the welfare of the world”)—with which the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda thought movement started to spread its luminous waves across this country and the world.