Revered President Maharaj is at Belur Math.
Swami Gautamananda ji will be visiting Srinagar and Jammu from 5 to 12 May, and Sri Lanka from 18 to 26 May.
Swami Suhitananda ji will be visiting Agartala from 3 to 14 May, and Almora, Mayavati and Shyamlatal from 23 May to 7 June.
Swami Bhajanananda ji is at Belur Math.
Swami Girishananda ji will be visiting Bankura, Kamarpukur and Durgapur from 4 to 14 May, Gadadhar Ashrama, Kolkata, on 19 and 20 May, and Tezpur, Dhekiajuli and other places in Assam from 24 May to 9 June.
All of them are keeping well.
New Mission Centre
Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Institute of Values, Gurugram (Gurgaon), which was started as a sub-centre of Delhi Ashrama last year, is now upgraded to the status of a full-fledged branch. The contact details of the centre remain the same as announced in December 2022 Bulletin.
Delhi centre has discontinued its phone numbers: 2358 7110 and 2358 3023. The centre’s TB Clinic and Medical Centre has discontinued its phone numbers: 2875 7608 and 2875 5570 and has obtained the following new numbers: 4356 0486, 4650 7512 and 97112 76395.
Jaipur centre has discontinued its phone number: 222 8704.
Kankhal centre has the following telephone numbers: 244020 (Central Office), 244176 (Hospital), and 244985 (Math / Guest House). All other telephone numbers have been discontinued.
Yadadri Bhuvanagiri centre has an additional mobile phone number: 94921 27265.
Commemoration of the 125th Anniversary of the Ramakrishna Mission
The following centres conducted programmes mentioned against their names:
Basavanagudi, Bengaluru: Renowned musicians gave concerts on 14, 15 & 16 April; each day about 600 people attended the programme.
Bhopal: A programme with lectures and cultural performances was held on 17 April; it was attended by 800 students, teachers, parents and devotees.
Chandigarh: A public meeting was held on 2 April in which Sri Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh, addressed the audience as the Chief Guest.
Jalpaiguri: A Ratha Yatra was conducted in 7 districts of North Bengal from 28 March to 26 April. Programmes were held at 38 ashramas and educational institutions along the 1428 km traversed by the Ratha. A total of 17,000 people, mainly youths and students participated in these programmes.
Malda: The centre received the Ratha launched by Jalpaiguri centre and arranged a procession in Malda city covering a few educational institutions on 31 March and 1 April.
Medinipur: A parents’ meet was held on 9 April in which more than 200 parents participated.
Rajkot: Three public meetings on the topics ‘Sri Ramakrishna and Ramakrishna Mission’, ‘Sri Sarada Devi and Ramakrishna Mission’ and ‘Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Mission’ were held respectively on 7, 8 and 9 April. Each day around 200 devotees listened to the discourses.
Ramanathapuram: Sri R N Ravi, Governor of Tamil Nadu, graced the celebration conducted by the centre on 18 April.
Salem: A youths’ convention was conducted at an engineering college in Salem on 12 April. In all, 840 youths and 20 staff members from 14 colleges in and around Salem district participated in the convention.
Silchar: A devotees’ conference was held on 23 April in which 340 devotees took part.
Thanjavur: In association with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a public meeting was conducted at a place in Thanjavur on 16 April; 150 people attended the meeting.
A new film show based on Kathopanishad and Swami Vivekananda was inaugurated at Vivekananda House of Chennai Math on 14 April. The film show employs many latest technologies to give a multi-sensory experience to the audience.
News of Branch Centres (in India)
In commemoration of Chennai Math’s 125th anniversary, a public meeting was held on the Vivekananda House campus on 8 April. Sri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India; Sri R N Ravi, Governor of Tamil Nadu; Dr L Murugan, Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting; Sri Thangam Thennarasu, Tamil Nadu Minister for Industries, and other dignitaries attended the programme. The Prime Minister and Swami Gautamanandaji addressed the gathering.
Swami Girishanandaji inaugurated the new physiotherapy clinic at Barisha Math on 20 April.
Mumbai centre inaugurated its year-long centenary celebrations with a grand function from 21 to 23 April. Governor of Maharashtra Sri Ramesh Bais, Swami Gautamanandaji, the General Secretary and other distinguished people attended the function. Special worship, public meetings, a procession, screening of films, bhajans and music concerts formed part of the three-day programme in which 184 monks and thousands of devotees took part. A commemorative volume was also released on the occasion. In connection with the inaugural ceremony, special discourses were held from 24 to 26 April.
Jayrambati Matri Mandir celebrated the centenary of the Holy Mother’s Temple with special worship, colourful processions and day-long music and drama performances on 23 April, the sacred Akshaya Tritiya. Cultural programmes were also held on the previous and the following day. About 50,000 devotees attended the programmes over the three days with great joy and enthusiasm.
At a function held in Ranchi on 27 March, Sri Hemant Soren, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, felicitated three students of Deoghar Vidyapith for their excellent performances in last year’s class‑10 and class-12 examinations.
Values Education and Youth Programmes
The following centres held programmes mentioned against their names:
Coimbatore Mission Vidyalaya: Two youths’ conventions in the polytechnic college of the Vidyalaya on 28 and 31 March which were attended by a total of 213 students.
Delhi: Three workshops on values education in offline mode and six in online mode from 27 March to 13 April; in all, 408 school teachers from different parts of India participated.
Malda: A youths’ camp from 16 to 19 March attended by 14 youths.
Medinipur: Two values education programmes at two educational institutions in West Medinipur district on 4 and 9 April in which 700 students and 40 teaching faculty participated.
Silchar: A two-day values education programme on 21 and 22 April in which 348 school students and 80 teachers from 47 schools in and around Silchar took part.
Thanjavur: A values education programme at a school in Thiruvarur on 18 April, attended by 100 students.
Yadadri Bhuvanagiri: A values education programme on 26 March, which was attended by 45 class-10 students.
Eye Camps and Medical Camps
The following centres conducted medical camps. A summary of the services provided by them is given below.
Baranagar Math: Glaucoma screening test on 19 March in which 65 patients were tested.
Coimbatore Mission: Eight medical camps (1 cancer, 1 cardiology, 1 ENT, 1 orthopaedics, and 4 general camps) in rural and tribal areas of Coimbatore district from 2 to 23 April in which a total of 436 patients were treated.
Delhi: Eye operations on 33 patients and distribution of spectacles to 17 patients in March.
Digboi: Two cataract screening camps on 26 March and 23 April in which a total of 48 people were checked.
Durban, South Africa: A medical camp in Pietermaritzburg on 2 April in which 317 patients were treated.
Hatamuniguda: An eye camp on 25 and 26 March – 130 patients were screened, 18 were given spectacles and 29 were operated on.
Jamshedpur: Two eye camps on 1 March and 7 April in which a total of 89 patients were screened and 49 patients were operated on.
Kamarpukur: 1571 eye patients were checked, 278 were operated on and 402 were given spectacles from February to April.
Lucknow: 7038 eye patients were checked and 360 were operated on and given spectacles in March.
Manasadwip: (i) Conducted an eye camp on 30 April in which 125 patients were treated, and (ii) Arranged cataract surgery for 27 patients on 11 April in association with another institution.
Madurai: An eye camp on 16 March – 131 patients were screened, 49 underwent cataract surgery and 26 were given spectacles.
Porbandar: An eye camp on 14 April – 102 patients were treated and subsequently 45 were operated on for cataract.
Rahara: Two medical camps on 12 and 26 March at two villages in North 24 Parganas district in which a total of 972 patients were treated.
Ranchi Morabadi: Cataract screening camps from 29 March to 25 April in which a total of 291 people were checked.
Thanjavur: A medical camp at the Ashrama’s rural centre on 23 April in which 25 patients were treated.
Vrindavan: A urology-cum-general-surgery camp from 5 to 9 April – 9 specialist doctors examined 255 patients and performed 80 surgeries.
We record with sorrow the passing away of two of our brother-monks.
The news of his passing away was conveyed to the public through electronic and print media. The body was brought to Belur Math on the same day (1 April) at 10.15 pm and kept in the Cultural Hall (Sanskriti Bhavan). On the following day, a large number of monastics from various branch centres, and thousands of disciples, devotees, admirers and friends paid their last respects and homage to the departed soul. At about 9 pm, the body was taken in a procession to the courtyard in front of the Math Office and kept on a platform for some time. Then it was taken for the last rites of cremation, which started at 10 pm and were completed after two and a half hours.
Condolence messages were received from the Prime Minister of India, the Chief Ministers of Tripura and West Bengal, Sarsanghachalak (Chief) and Sarkaryavah (General Secretary) of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and a host of others.
Special worship and sadhu bhandara in his memory were held at Belur Math on 13 April. Prasad was served to about 20,000 devotees. Swami Gautamanandaji, Swami Suhitanandaji, Swami Bhajananandaji and the General Secretary among others spoke in the memorial meeting held in the afternoon.
A life sketch of Swami Prabhanandaji, both in Bengali and English, was published on the occasion. Copies of the booklet are available at the Math Office in Belur Math.
Swami Prabhanandaji was born in Akhaura, district Tipperah (now in Bangladesh), on 17 October 1931. An initiated disciple of Swami Shankaranandaji Maharaj, he joined the order at Narendrapur centre in 1958 and received sannyasa diksha from Swami Vireshwaranandaji Maharaj in 1966.
He served the order at Narendrapur, Saradapitha and Seva Pratishthan centres as an assistant, and Purulia Vidyapith and the Institute of Culture, Gol Park, as the head. At Narendrapur centre, he served as the Director of the Institute of Social Education and Recreation (later renamed Ramakrishna Mission Lokashiksha Parishad) for two years. He was the Headmaster of the Secondary and Higher Secondary schools at Narendrapur and the Principal of Vidyamandira College at Saradapitha. He served as an Assistant Secretary of Seva Pratishthan for three years.
Swami Prabhanandaji was appointed a Trustee of the Ramakrishna Math and a Member of the Governing Body of the Ramakrishna Mission in April 1983. In 1984, he was elected an Assistant Secretary of the twin organizations in which capacity he served for eleven years. He became the General Secretary of the Math and Mission in 2007 and continued in that post until 2012 when he became a Vice-President of the order.
Revered Maharaj has several books in Bengali and English to his credit, notable among which are: Sri Ramakrishner Antyalila (Last days of Sri Ramakrishna’s Divine play), Brahmananda Charit (Comprehensive life of Swami Brahmananda), Saradananda Charit (Comprehensive life of Swami Saradananda), First Meetings with Sri Ramakrishna and Early History of Ramakrishna Movement. He also wrote a good number of learned articles in English and Bengali in the periodicals of our order and other reputed journals. His talks at various national and international seminars bear the stamp of deep thinking and scholarship.
Ramakrishna Samgraha Mandir (which houses a museum and an archives section) at Belur Math is a standing monument to his deep interest and stupendous efforts in preserving various articles and artefacts associated with the founders of the Ramakrishna Movement.
During his spiritual ministry as a Vice-President, he blessed many devotees with mantra diksha (spiritual initiation) in different parts of India, Bangladesh and Nepal. He also visited Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada, the USA, the UK, Europe, Russia, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa at different times and spread the message of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda and Vedanta.
Swami Prabhanandaji was known for his erudition, keen interest in academic pursuits and research work. He was meticulous in his daily routine and thorough in his work. He will be remembered with reverence for a long time for his able leadership, and the meticulous planning of Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary celebration. Revered Maharaj was respected by all for his austere habits, scholarship and dedication to the ideal. His sad demise is an irreparable loss to our organization, and creates a vacuum difficult to fill up.
Swami Gopendrananda (Atul of Belur Math) passed away at Seva Pratishthan, Kolkata, on 23 April, Akshaya Tritiya, at 8.35 am. He was 56 and had been diagnosed with motor neuron disease (a rare type of neurological disorder that leads to progressive weakness of limbs) a few years ago. Initiated by Swami Bhuteshanandaji Maharaj, he joined the order in 1996 at Jamshedpur centre and received sannyasa diksha from Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj in 2005. He served the order at Jamshedpur, Pune, Nagpur, Itanagar and Ponnampet centres with sincerity. When his health condition worsened in February 2021, he was brought from Ponnampet centre to Belur Math for better care and treatment. The swami was simple and austere by nature.