Swami Vivekananda the great patriot saint of modern India founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission on the national ideals of renunciation and service with the aim to train Brahmacharins and sannyasins to serve mankind in the spirit of worship as a means to self-realization. He wanted to create a new type of monastic order, which will reconcile the highest Vedanta Philosophy with the practical life of the world and will work for the regeneration not only of India but also of the whole world. He also believed that a new society would emerge thereby, made of human beings who are conscious of their spiritual identity, a society based on Universal love, tolerance and harmony.
Swamiji was very eager to start similar organisations for women for he knew that a bird could not fly with only one wing. Once Swami Vivekananda said, “Hence it is, my first endeavour is to start a Math for women.” He also wrote, “With Holy Mother as the centre of inspiration, a Math is to be established on the eastern bank of the Ganga.
Though the Swami was very eager to have a women’s Math started as quickly as possible, it could not take shape at that time because of lack of education among women and the prevailing social conditions.
However, as prophet’s vision never remains unfulfilled. Fifty years after his passing away, a number of dedicated women, inspired with his ideals of renunciation and service, came to dedicate their lives. In 1954, in the year of Holy Mother’s birth centenary, the authorities of the Belur Math thought that it was high time to give a concrete shape to the ideas of Swami Vivekananda.
A suitable piece of land with some buildings was procured on the Eastern bank of the Ganga for women’s Math by the Trustees of Belur Math, as visioned by Swami Vivekananda. It was a garden house, namely “Suradhuni Kanan” located in Ariadaha, a little north of Dakshineswar Kali Temple, the abode for ‘sadhana’ of Sri Ramakrishna..
On the 2nd December, 1954, Swami Shankarananda, the seventh President of the Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission, performed the opening ceremony of the Women’s Math. The Math was run by the Brahmacharins for some years successfully under the guidance of the Trustees of the Belur Math.
The opening of Sri Sarada Math, added a new and very significant chapter to the socio-religious history of India.
On the 1st January, 1959, on the birth day of Holy Mother, eight senior members of the Sarada Math were invested with Sannyasa by Swami Shankarananda, the then President of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission in the old shrine in Belur Math. This was a preliminary step to the formation of an independent women’s organization. On the 26 August, 1959, Sri Sarada Math was given independent status and the Sannyasins became its Trustees by virtue of a Deed of Trust executed by the President of Ramakrishna Math.
In May 1960 the trustees of Sri Sarada Math started the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission (Registered Under Act XXI of 1860) with the object to carry on educational, cultural, charitable and similar activities among women and children irrespective of caste, creed and nationality.
Thus, Sri Sarada Math and the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission, though legally separate, are basically one with the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission, being their counterparts.
The above mentioned premises is the Head Quarters of Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission from its inception. At present Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission run 30 centres in India and abroad.
The emblem of the Ramakrishna Order, designed by Swami Vivekananda, represents the motto and the ideal of the Organization :
“Atmono Mokshartham Jagaddhitaya Cha”
For one’s own Self-realization and for the good of the world.
May the Supreme self (The Swan) give us the light of knowledge (the sun) to discriminate between the real and the unreal through the discipline of yoga ( the serpent) the power of Love (the lotus) and energy of Action ( the stormy water).