Thursday, June 20, 2013

Swami Vivekananda - A Man of Cosmic Vision & with Global Mission

150th The birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda  . Date of Birth 12th Jan, 1863.

The Swami’s mission was both national and international. A lover of mankind, be strove to promote peace and human brotherhood on the spiritual foundation of the Vedantic Oneness of existence.

A mystic of the highest order, Vivekananda had a direct and intuitive experience of Reality. He derived his ideas from that unfailing source of wisdom and often presented them in the soul stirring language of poetry.

The Ramakrishna Mission (Ceylon Branch), from the day of its inception in Sri Lanka in 1930, has been maintaining a cordial relationship with the people of all faiths and the successive Governments as well.  Our sole motto is spiritual growth, which is stimulated by meditation inwardly, and by work done in a spirit of service outwardly to the needy without any distinction.  Harmony of all faiths and creeds is our ideal.

The Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission is dedicated to the twin ideals of - Realizing God Within- Serving God In Man.

In 1893, Swami Vivekananda Introduced universal spirit of Hinduism - soul that is everyday realizing its oneness with the Brahman, a heart, that is every moment expanding to reach oneness with the Universal. His famous speech that began with the words "Sisters and brothers of America."

Swami Vivekananda was a global leader with a global vision and a global mission. Former Director General of UNESCO in his speech in 1993 (during the centenary celebration by UNESCO of the participation of Swami Vivekananda in the World's Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893,) said, "I am indeed struck by the similarity of the constitution of the Ramakrishna Mission which Vivekananda established as early as in 1897 with that of UNESCO drawn up in 1945.

 Federation-ground of Universal religious ideas. Swami Vivekananda spoke the following of the SCOPE & IDEALS on the CONSECRATION of the Ramakrishna Math “Know for certain that so long as His name shall inspire His followers with His ideals of purity, holiness and loving spirit of charity to all men…. It should be a centre in which would be recognized and practiced a grand harmony of all creeds and faiths as seen in the life of Sri Ramakrishna, and only life-giving ideas of religion in its universal aspect would be preached”. 
RamakrishnaParamahamsa belonged to no sector denomination or to put it in another way, he belonged to all sects and denominations both Indian and non-Indian. He was a true Universalist. Swami Vivekananda preached   the message of universal brotherhood.

Swami Vivekananda was offered academic positions in two American universities - one for the chair of Eastern Philosophy at Harvard University and another similar position at Columbia University - which he declined since such duties would conflict with his commitment as a monk. The University of Chicago recently established a new visiting professorship in Indian studies.

 Ramakrishna Mission stands for the promotion of Universal Brotherhood in all time and in all countries.

by Ramakrishna Mission,


Unity, The Goal of Religion – Swami Vivekananda

        “This universe of ours, the universe of the senses, the rational, the intellectual, is bounded on both sides by the illimitable, the unknowable, the ever unknown. Herein is the search, herein are the inquiries, here are the facts; from this comes the light which is known to the world as religion. Essentially, however, religion belongs to the supersensuous and not to the sense plane. It is beyond all reasoning and is not on the plane of intellect. It is a vision, an inspiration, a plunge into the unknown and unknowable, making the unknowable more than known for it can never be “known”. This search has been in the human mind, as I believe, from the very beginning of humanity. There cannot have been human reasoning and intellect in any period of the world’s history without this struggle, this search beyond. In our little universe, this human mind, we see a thought arise. Whence it arises we do not know; and when it disappears, where it goes, we know not either. The macrocosm and the microcosm are, as it were, in the same groove, passing through the same stages, vibrating in the same key.”

- Swami Vivekananda

          "All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything."
Swami Vivekananda –

           Vivekananda proved that man and his true nature is already divine. But that divinity is hidden. Therefore, the realization of that divinity is the purpose of life; that is the religion. To realize that religion, man should have to practice four yogas. Those are the yoga of knowledge or control of mind, or of selfless work, or of love of God. That is the realization of religion. Therefore, religion is the main essence of human life and it has the great motive power to life. Accordingly to him, religion is a value oriented concept too.

           His formation of new ideal on universal religion, we can call as universal love or  universal brother-hood. It is given an equal value for all of religions of the world, as it is exists with truth. His identification of truth is not only absolute truth but also scientific. And his religion can be practice by each and every body. To understand that it is not necessary deep literacy knowledge, but the practice, it is very much needed. Therefore, it can be applied for all nations, all societies and individuals. It is the harmony of the all religions, so that it is one of best solutions for the prevalent religious conflicts in the world.
The Concept of Religion according to Swami Vivekananda
R. A.N.FERNANDO,  Lecturer in Philosophy, Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies,
University of Sri Jayawardenepura.

Quarterly Tamil Religious Magazine -

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Previous Releases of Stamps

Short History of Ramakrishna Mission (Ceylon Branch)


Inspired by Sri Ramakrishna (1836 - 1886), Swami Vivekananda started the Ramakrishna Mission Association on the 1st May 1897. It was subsequently registered as the present Ramakrishna Mission in 1909. He also started the Ramakrishna Math in 1897 which was registered as a Trust in 1901. The Headquarters of these twin institutions is located at Belur, near Kolkata, India on the banks of the holy Ganga. It has now more than 150 branches throughout the world.
Swami Vivekananda visited Sri Lanka on three occasions. The activity of the Ramakrishna Movement in Sri Lanka started with the Swami’s second visit to the island on the 15th January 1897. He visited several places, including Kandy, Matale, Anuradhapura and Jaffna, and delivered several lectures during his ten-day stay in the Island on that occasion.
Subsequently, on invitation from local devotees, several monks of the Ramakrishna Mission frequently visited the Island and conducted series of spiritual discourses. Regular activities of the Mission started in the Island when the Jaffna Vaideeshwara Vidyalayam was handed over to the Mission in 1917.
The First Ramakrishna Ashrama was opened on the 9th May 1925 at Trincomalee. The Students’ Home started by Swami Vipulananda on the 6th June 1926 in Jaffna was later shifted to Batticaloa on the 26th November 1929.

Ramakrishna Mission (Ceylon Branch) was incorporated by a special Act of Parliament i.e. Ordinance No. 8 of 1929 and declared as an APPROVED CHARITY vide the Extra Ordinary Issue No. 10358 of the Ceylon Government Gazette published on the 22nd of February 1952. It is a world wide organization, serving in various fields of human needs – medical, educational, cultural, moral and spiritual for more than 120 years.


The Ramakrishna Mission, Colombo Centre was formally inaugurated by Swami Sharvananda on the 22nd October 1930 at a rented house named ‘Kamalyn’ at No. 48, Harmer’s Avenue, Wellawatta. Since then this Ashrama has been functioning as the Headquarters of the Mission Centres in the Island. Later the centre was shifted to a house at No. 49, Sri Wickrama Road (now known as International Buddhist Centre Road), Wellawatta in January 1932.
In February 1935, a piece of land was purchased at 44th Lane (now known as Ramakrishna Road), Wellawatta, to provide a shrine room, office facilities and living quarters for the resident Swamis at Colombo. The foundation stone for the present Headquarters of the Mission was laid by Swami Asangananda on the 6th March 1935 and the construction was completed in 1936.
         The Library and the Reading Room was opened to the public in the year 1948. The library now has a collection of more than 7500 books. It also serves the general public with 16 periodicals and 7 newspapers.
         A Children Park was constructed in front of the Library and was formally opened to the public in the year 1964.
         The foundation stone for the International Cultural Centre was laid on the 17th June 1959 by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the then President of the Republic of India, and was declared open on the 15th October 1962 by Sri Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India. This centre provides accommodation to guests and tourists.
         The construction work of the Swami Vivekananda Memorial Hall was started in 1965 and was completed in March 1969. This Hall, fully furnished and equipped, is one of the biggest and magnificent halls in the Island. It is widely used by the public for holding religious events like discourses, lectures, seminars, etc. and for staging cultural events like musical concerts, dances, dramas, etc.

Multi-Religious Activities:
In keeping with the ideal of Religious Harmony, every year the Mission celebrates the Maha Shivaratri, Vesak, Vinayaka Chaturti, Sri Krishna Jayanti, Navaratri and Christmas in a fitting manner. Eminent persons from various religions are invited to deliver special lectures on the lives and teachings of the prophets of their respective religions.
Another very significant annual event is the Birthday Celebration of Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna, where students from four major religions (Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus) get together at the Mission and stage cultural programmes that reflect the rich teachings of their respective religions.
Schools Run by the Mission:
         The Mission managed several schools in the Island, staring with the management of the Vaideeshwara Vidyalayam from 1917. In 1960, by an Ordinance, the Government of Sri Lanka took possession of all the twenty-six schools run by the Mission at that time.

Other Educational Activities:
         The Religious School, which was inaugurated on the 17th August 1952 with just 15 students, now has more than 700 students on roll. This weekly school provides the Hindu children of the Metropolis with the general background of their religion. The curriculum comprise of the study of the tenets of Hindu Dharma, rendition of Thevarams and Thiruvasagams, Gita Chanting, the study of the lives of saints, singing of devotional songs, and directing the children towards character building. Yogasanam has been taught on a regular basis to the students from 1997. The classes are conducted by a band of fifty honorary teachers.
The Mission provides guidance and conducts occasional training programme for the teachers of other religious schools throughout the Island.
Annually the Mission conducts a number of religious lectures and seminars at several schools. The Mission also organises occasional residential camps for school children and youth to inculcate ethical values, moral values and leadership qualities.
The Mission extends financial assistance to the needy students for their education in schools and Universities. The Mission also provides books, exercise books, etc. to the students of backward schools.
The Mission maintains a Book Sales section where Ramakrishna Mission publications and other religious books are made available for the general public at nominal cost.

The Madam at Kataragama:
The Mission started serving the thousands of pilgrims flock to the Holy Shrine at Kathirgamam in the year 1943. Spacious buildings were constructed and the Ramakrishna Mission Madam was formally opened on the 2th July 1953 by Hon’ble Dudley Senanayake, the then Prime Minister of Ceylon. Since then pilgrims, irrespective of denominations, were provided with free food and accommodation. The Mission used to serve free meals to over ten thousand (10,000) pilgrims per day, continuously for 17 days, during the annual festival in July-August. Religious lectures, discourses and Bhajans were regular activities at the Madam. The Mission continued its noble services under the supervision of a resident Swami till it was taken over by the Government on the 10th November 1976.

Religious Classes for the Juvenile Delinquents:
         The Ramakrishna Mission conducted weekly Religious School at the training school for the Juvenile Delinquents at Wattupitiwela, from 13th December 1953 to July 1983.

Home for the Disabled Labourers:
         In the year 1968, the Colombo Mission took over the management of the Home for the Disabled Labourers, Ampitiya, Kandy, and run the Home till it was closed in 1979. 

Relief and Rehabilitation Activities of the Mission:
The Mission is always in the forefront in rendering help during natural calamities like flood, cyclone, earthquake, drought, fire etc. Since its inception, the Colombo Mission has carried out several relief and rehabilitation work, including housing projects, for several thousands of people affected by natural and other calamities in the Island. A few are highlighted below:
Cyclone in Batticaloa in November 1978: The Colombo and Batticaloa Mission Centres carried out relief work in ten villages. Foodstuff, clothes and household articles were distributed among the affected people in these villages.
Draught in Hambantota in September 2001: Dry rations and other provisions were distributed among more than two hundred families in the affected areas of Hambantota district.
Flood havoc in Ratnapura in June 2003: Dry rations, clothes and other provisions were distributed to more than one hundred families in three villages.
Tsunami in December 2004: In the wake of the devastating Tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the Ramakrishna Mission started, from the very first day of the calamity, massive relief and rehabilitation operations for thousands of affected people in the Island. Several thousands of victims were served with water, cooked food, dry food, clothing, medical aids, mats, mosquito nets, kitchen utensils, exercise books, study materials, uniforms, shoes, bags, boats & fishing nets, sewing machines, etc. to the tune of Rs. 17 million. The children were provided with the services of counsellors to cope up with the traumatic experiences.
              Tsunami Relief Housing Project - Construction of 116 Houses
     The massive Tsunami rehabilitation housing project initiated by the Mission in 2005 had been successfully completed in July 2007. Total cost of the project was Rs.102,318,265/-

 Vaharai Refugee Relief for IDPs in Batticaloa - Dec 2006 to July 2007.
     The Mission did relief work among the refugees displaced from Vaharai due to war.  The relief work was done with the help of  local people and volunteers and with the contributions from the general public and welfare organizations. The  Ramakrishna Mission maintained 6 Refugee Camps of  the Internally Displaced persons providing them with Food, Medical facilities and Sanitation for 8 months. Total amount spent Rs.19,628,447/-

Vanni Relief & Rehabilitation started in May 2009.

Rs. 28 million has been spent for providing food, clothing, medicine, and education of the war refugees. Rehabilitation work is progressing in the form of providing educational equipments, nutritional food, vocational training, etc in Vanni and other areas.

Flood Relief in Batticaloa in January 2011

The Mission  is providing  Food,  Sanitation, Clothing and Medical facilities to the flood victims . There were more than 500,000 people displaced / Livelihood affected / housing affected in Batticaloa. Rs.5 million has been already spent. Flood Jan 2011 Bat 28Flood Jan 2011 Bat 5Flood Jan 2011 Bat 28

Educational Aid to Needy Students

Per Annum
No of Years
Mode of Payment
1st   to 5th
Once a Year
6th to GCE O/L
Twice a Year
Twice a Year
University Students
3 to 4
Monthly 1500/-
Family / Child Support
5 to 10
Monthly 3500/-
Free Medical Clinic:
         A Monthly free medical clinic was formally inaugurated at the Colombo Mission in October 1995. Since then it provides monthly medical care for the needy people living the suburbs of Colombo City. In addition, the Mission conducts occasional free medical camps in remote areas of the island. Since 1995, the Mission has conducted more than one hundred and forty free medical camps which provided basic medical tests, diagnosis & essential medicines for more than twenty thousand patients.

Other Social and Welfare Activities of the Mission:
Housing project for the needy people is one of the major welfare activities undertook by the Mission in the past. A ten-house project was completed in Akkaraipattu and handed over to ten needy families in January 1993. A model village, Vivekanandapuram (in Batticaloa), with 27 houses was constructed for the sanitary labourers. The project was completed and handed over to twenty seven families on the 4th May 1997. Each house unit of this village is complete with a well and a toilet. The village is enriched with a nursery school, a community hall, a children’s park, a network of gravel roads and a temple.

Other Cultural and Spiritual Activities of the Mission:
The Mission conducts regular Puja in the Ashrama shrine, Bhajans programmes on Fridays and on special occasions, and spiritual retreat on Poya-days. Annual Maha Shivaratri observance with Pujas in the four Yamas and Homa draws very large numbers of devotees who keep the traditional vigil throughout the night. On every ekadashi day Ramanam sankirtan is held in the evening. The birthday anniversaries of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda and other prophets of major world religions are celebrated and special lectures on their lives and teachings by eminent persons are held.
Scriptural classes on the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Bhagavata & the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna are conducted regularly. Spiritual retreat is conducted on Full-Moon (Poya) days.
Resident Swamis visit various institutions, temples and remote hamlets to deliver talks on Hindu Dharma and on the lives and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda.


         Golden Jubilee of the Ramakrishna Mission, Colombo was celebrated in a fitting manner. The week long celebration was inaugurated by Hon. R. Premadasa, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on the 21st September 1980. The Commemorative Souvenir was released by the Prime Minister. Twenty-one Gold Medals were given away to the winners of the All Island level Essay and Elocution contests, conducted in Tamil, Sinhala and English medium. H.E. J.R. Jayawardene, President of Sri Lanka was the chief guest at the concluding day celebration on 27th September 1980.
         A postage stamp of Swami Vivekananda and a first day postal cover was released by the Government on the 15th January 1997 to mark the Centenary year of Swamiji’s visit to the Island after his world famous address at the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago.
         A statue of Swami Vivekananda, erected in the premises of the Vivekananda Society at No. 34, Vivekananda Hill, Colombo - 13, was declared open on the 15th January 1997 by Srimat Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj, Vice-President, Ramakrishna Mission and Math.
         Golden Jubilee Commemoration of the Ramakrishna Mission Religious School, Colombo was celebrated from 12th August 2001 to 15th September 2002. The most significant feature of this year long celebration was the implementation of more than twenty welfare projects throughout the island by the students and voluntary teachers of the school.
         A year long Platinum Jubilee Commemoration of the Colombo Mission is being celebrated from 22nd October 2005. The second edition of “The Ramakrishna Movement in Sri Lanka”, an english book, was released on the inaugural day. Several welfare projects will be implemented during the year long celebrations.
         A postage stamp  and a first day postal cover was released by the Government on the 19th October 2001 to mark the Platinum Jubilee of the Ramakrishna Mission Children Homes (Orphanages) , Batticaloa.

* * * * * * * *

 The Ramakrishna Movement in Sri Lanka
By Swami Virupakshananda
Mr. Nagamuttu was in close contact with all the visiting Swamis, and with the Mission’s activities in India and else where. He strongly felt that the school would be put on a sound footing if it was handed over to the Ramakrishna Mission. His brother who was in India at the time had closely observed the functioning of the Mission in India and noticed its unique success in running the various institutions under its aegis. He too began pressurising Mr. Nagamuttu to take a quick decision in the matter. When, at the invitation of the Vivekananda Society, Colombo, Swami Sharvananda visited the Island in 1915, he sought his guidance in the matter and urged him to take over the management of the School. Finally, in the year 1917, the Vaideeswara Vidyalayam was formally handed over to the Mission. With the take-over of this School, the Mission formally launched its activities, mainly in the field of education, in Jaffna.
As there was no branch of the Mission in Ceylon then, Swami Sharvananda transferred the responsibility of managing the School to a local committee. The Swami paid frequent visits to Jaffna, to supervise & advise the local committee.
Page 137
The Mission Activities in Batticalao
A Society bearing the name of Swami Vivekananda was established by the admirers and devotees of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, and a few schools were run by this Society for the benefit of the local students. On 28th May, 1925, five schools were handed over to Swami Vipulananda by Mr. Chinniah, President of the Batticaloa Vivekananda Society. On October 25th, 1925, Mudaliyar K. V. Marcandu gifted the building known as “Vivekananda Hall”, Batticaloa, for opening a Hindu School in the Town. Foundation stones were laid for the Karaitivu Sarada Vidyalayam Girls’ School and the Kallady-Uppodai Shivananda Vidyalayam English School on 28th October, 1925 and 6th November, 1925 respectively. In the year 1928, His Excellency Sir Herbert Stanley, the then Governor of Ceylon, declared open the Vivekananda Hall in the presence of Swamis Yatiswarananda & Ananthananda. On January 15th, 1929 the Mission started the Karaitivu Sarada Vidyalayam Buildings for girls. In February 1929, the Shivananda Vidyalayam Buildings, 15 acres of land and two Tamil Schools at Kallady, Uppodai and Morokkottan-chenai, were handed over to the Mission by the heirs and descendants of Messrs. Kathirgamathamby Udayar and Sabapathipillai Udayar of Kalladi-Uppodai.  Page 139

The Mission Activities in Trincomalee

The Vivekananda Society, established in Trincomalee around 1906, was making steady progress. They had a library containing many volumes of the published speeches and writings of Swami Vivekananda. They held regular religious classes to study Hindu Scriptures as interpreted by Swami Vivekananda. In 1924, the Hindu public of Trincomalee had the unique privilege of hearing the inspiring lectures of Swami Sharvananda, who had visited the province accompanied by Swami Vipulananda. The visit gave a big boost to the various activities the Vivekananda Society was conducting. This resulted in the opening of a Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama at Trincomalee on 9th May, 1925. The Monastic members visited the centre now and then, and carried on the preaching and educational work. On 1st June 1925, the management of the Trincomalee Hindu Boys English School and the Hindu Boys Tamil Schools were transferred to the Mission. On 30th November 1925, the foundation stone for the new building of the English School at Trincomalee was laid. On 5th July 1928, His Excellency Sir Herbert Stanley the then Governor of Ceylon, ceremoniously opened the Trincomalee School Buildings.
Page 140

The Educational Activities of the Mission in the Island:

The educational activities of the Mission in the Island were making steady progress. The Mission managed the following twenty-six schools in the Island before the Government of Sri Lanka took possession of all the 26 schools by an Ordinance in 1960.
01.  J     /  Vaideeshwara Vidyalayam Mixed Senior Secondary English School.
02.  J     /  Kokuvil Senior Secondary Tamil Mixed School.
03.  T    /  Trincomalee Hindu School.
04.  T    /  Primary Tamil Boys’ School.
05.  T    /  Tambalagamam Tamil Mixed School.
06.  V   /  Thandikulam Tamil Mixed School.
07.  Bd /  Lunugalai Junior Secondary Tamil Mixed School.
08.  Bt  /  Akkaraipattu Senior Secondary Tamil Mixed School.
09.  Bt  /  Karaitivu Senior Secondary Tamil Mixed School for Boys.
10.  Bt  /  Karaitivu Senior Secondary Tamil Mixed School for Girls.
11.  Bt  /  Kalmunai Senior Secondary Tamil Mixed School.
12.  Bt  /  Mandur Senior Secondary Tamil Boys’ School.
13.  Bt  /  Mandur Girls’ Tamil School.
14.  Bt  /  Kaluthawalai Senior Secondary Tamil Mixed School.
15.  Bt  /  Palugamam Senior Secondary Tamil Mixed School.
16.  Bt  /  Kokkotichcholai Junior Secondary Tamil Mixed School.
17.  Bt  /  Araipattai Senior Secondary Tamil Mixed School.
18.  Bt  /  Eachanthivu Junior Secondary Tamil Mixed School.
19.  Bt  /  Kallady-Uppodai Senior Secondary Tamil Girls’ School.
20.  Bt  /  Shivananda Vidyalayam Senior Secondary Boys’ English School.
21.  Bt  /  Anaipanthi Residential Senior Secondary Girls’ English School.
22.  Bt  /  Anaipanthi Junior Secondary Boys’ Tamil School.
23.  Bt  /  Sittandy Senior Secondary Tamil Mixed School.
24.  Bt  /  Morokkottanchenai Junior Secondary Tamil Mixed School.
25.  Bt  /  Karadithottam Tamil Mixed School.
26.  Bt  /  Veeramunai Tamil Mixed School.
With the take-over of these schools, the Mission’s concentrated activities in the field of education in the Island came to an end. However, the Mission’s educational service did not stop there and continues in various forms.
The Mission runs two Sunday Religious Schools, one at Colombo Mission Centre (from 1952) and one at Batticaloa Mission Centre (from 1963).
The Mission provides guidance and training to the teachers of various Sunday Religious Schools throughout the Island. The Mission gave complete support in staring one Saturday Religious School for the inmates of Colombo Hindu College Hostel at Ratmalanai in 1998, and another Saturday Religious School for students of Nugegoda Tamil Maha Vidyalayam in 2001.
In addition to frequent seminars and lectures at schools, the Mission conducts occasional residential camps for school children and youth to inculcate ethical, moral and leadership qualities and to induce an overall personality development in them.
The Mission annually grants financial assistance to the needy students to continue their education in schools and in Universities, and provides books, exercise books, etc. to the students of backward schools.


My dear Avinashananda

Yatiswarananda is here. He will be soon leaving for Madras and will carry for you some used articles of Sri Guru Maharaj to be enshrined there.
It reminds us of the expedition of Mahinda, son of Ashoka, who carried with him some relics of Buddha, and converted the whole country into Buddhism – which brought new life into the Pear Island.
So we expect you to be the pioneers and may you succeed in permeating through and through the life of the Ceylonease with the ideas of Sri Guru Maharaj.
But this time they shall not have to be converted yet the search light of Sri Ramakrishna idealism will help the people to live in the true spirit of their own ideal and profession. That is the beauty of the New Testament.

Swami Shivananda
Belur Math, Calcatta.

Swami Shivananda (1854 - 1934)
Swami Shivananda, the Second President of the Ramakrishna Order, was popularly known as `Mahapurush Maharaj'.