The year-long observation of the Centenary of the Ramakrishna Mission, Karimganj, which was inaugurated by Srimat Swami Gautamananda Maharaj (Vice President, Ramakrishna Math & Mission), on 10 May, 2017, concluded with the 5 day closing ceremony, consisting of a series of cultural programmes & other events, held from 1 – 5 December, 2018.
The celebrations started on 1 December, 2018, with the unveiling of a striking, life size bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda, by Revered Swami Gautamananda Maharaj, in the holy presence of Swamis Jyotirupananda and Tattwavidananda Maharaj. Swami Tattwavidananda Maharaj gave words of benediction. This was immediately followed with a grand & colourful public procession in which 55 groups from various schools, colleges, organisations and institutions & other religious groups, apart from hundreds of devotees & volunteers, participated, with the number exceeding 7000. All the participants were provided with food packets at the end.
During past one year, a beautiful Durga Mandap for the annual worship of Sri Sri Maa Durga, was constructed at the exact spot, where a small shrine of Sri Ramakrishna existed during the founding days of the Ashram, 100 years back, in 1917. Also, attached to it a two storied multi-purpose building came up, simultaneously. The new structure houses Maa Sarada Hall (Prasada distribution hall) on ground floor, and Sri Ramakrishna Mancha (an auditorium) on 2nd floor. All these were inaugurated by Srimat Swami Gautamananda Maharaj, after the completion of the public procession.
In the evening of the 1st day, a public meeting was held, in which the Centenary Souvenir was released by the President of the Meeting, Most Revered Swami Gautamananda Maharaj. Swami Jyotirupananda (Minister In-Charge, Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre, Moscow) addressed the public, reminiscing about his 70 years of association with the Karimganj Ashram, & comparing those olden days with the present times, to establish his observation about the silent influence and acceptance of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda-Vedanta philosophy, all over the globe.Swami Tattwavidananda (Asst. General Secretary, Ramakrishna Math & Mission), recollected the impressions that the dedicated and selfless lives of the early founders of this Ashrama had on him.
Swami Hitakamananda (Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission, Agartala) also spoke on this occasion. The meeting concluded with the Presidential address by Revered Swami Gautamananda Maharaj. The meeting was attended by several monks and more than 2000 devotees.
On the 2nd day, the morning session was scheduled for another public meeting, which was presided over by Swami Gautamananda Maharaj, and was attended by a large gathering. Swami Sumanasananda(President, Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa, Durban), Swami Chandranathananda(Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission, Sylhet, Bangladesh) & Swami Satyasthananda(Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission, Shimla) gave religious discourses.
A very crucial & special feature of the 2nd day was the community feeding programme, scheduled after the meeting, open for one and all. 10,000 people attended the programme. Everyone partook of the cooked prasada, served batch wise, in the newly inaugurated Multi-purpose building. The prasada serving which started at 11:00 am continued till 5:00 pm.
The evenings of 2nd Dec to 5 Dec were all studded with several cultural programmes. All the evening programmes were attended by more than 2000 people. The gatherings were served with sweet prasad at the end, on all days.
There was an extensive coverage by several newspapers, for each day, & the events were also broadcasted live, by several news channels, including Doordarshan. Thus countless people came to know about these programmes. Consequently, in all, there were about 35,000 attendees for the events, on these 5 days.