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Spreading inner peace through spirituality
The Ramakrishna Mission in Jammu & Kashmir is fast emerging as a bright spot and a centre for social service. The mission can certainly play a pivotal role in soothing souls of people in the conflict-torn Himalayan region through spiritual enlightenment
The Ramakrishna Mission, located in Udheywala, Jammu, is fast emerging as a bright spot; emitting a strong spiritual light; and is also fast becoming a centre for social service. A new dimension has been added to it with the establishment of new educational and cultural complex, which is gaining popularity among the people.
In addition to propagating the message and philosophy of Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, this place is joining the chain of other such branches of the mission across the country (there are a total of 142 centres) and abroad (there are over 46 centres in 20 countries). It may be recalled that the sensitive and stress-torn Jammu & Kashmir is in urgent need of harmony, peace and universal brother-hood and this mission can certainly play a pivotal role in soothing the soul through spiritual enlightenment.
Spread over an area of five acres, the ashram is well managed and maintained. It is quite clean and green with fruit trees and buds of multi-coloured flowers, which gives a calm and congenial environment amidst the impressive building blocks and prayer halls.
Origin and growth of the mission: In an exclusive interview, Swami Nirantarananda, Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission, Jammu, told about the activities and achievements of this centre, which was established on December 6, 2000, and the purposeful work done for transforming the masses, especially the younger generation.
He informed about the role being played in shaping the life of the people with positive thinking which is rooted in ancient wisdom tampered with modern scientific outlook and holds a vision for a bright future. It will be worthwhile to mention the pioneer service rendered by Swami Girijeshanandaji, the founder secretary for 13 years.
A newly constructed educational and cultural complex was inaugurated by Jammu & Kashmir Governor, NN Vohra, last month. The academic building adorns India’s map on the ground floor, Swami Vivekananda’s portrait on the first floor and the second floor has a picture of Sister Nivedita, spiritual daughter of Swami Vivekananda. A library, an academic coaching centre and a computer training institute are housed in this building. Yoga classes are also run.
Dedicated service: Soft-spoken Swami Vivekananda, clad in gerua, struck me as a learned monk, gave specific replies to my queries and explained the message of the both, Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, with great depth and clarity. He took me round the entire campus which kindled my thirst for knowledge of the lives, the great philosophy and the immortal message of the holy trio.
He said, “That service to man (man and woman as well) is worship to god and this is the core philosophy behind all the humanitarian services of the Ramakrishna Mission. The focal point is to undertake activities in the field of spiritual, educational, medical, cultural and various other philanthropic services. The Jammu ashram is also adopting this idea and ideal”.
The centrally located spacious shrine and prayer hall is simple but is an inspiring place to provide spiritual ambience to aspirants for self-development through prayer and meditation. Puja and celebrations as also lectures and discourses are held regularly. Daily puja, arti, bhajans and readings from sacred books are regularly conducted for the people. Vivekananda said that ramnam sankirtan is conducted on every ekadashi day while Sunday lectures and other special discourses by invited Swamis from outside Jammu are also occasionally arranged.
Welfare activities: Significantly, a book centre has been set up about religious and philosophical ideals and ideas of Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda and of vedanta. A few books are in dogri and urdu are also available.
Bal vikas kendra: A sunday school for children, for giving social and moral education to a group of 25-30 children has also been set up. Other welfare activities are also carried on.
The Medical Centre in the Ashram serves the poor and needy patients of Jammu with over 75 patients daily on an average. Qualified doctors provide the multi-specialty clinical consultation and treatment. A mobile unit is also there.
It is worth mentioning that Swami Vivekananda, the great teacher of the 19th century, twice visited Jammu & Kashmir in 1897 and in 1898 and had cherished the desire to establish a centre in this part of the country. Now both the capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu have realised his vision and propagating his eternal message.
(The writer is a Jammu-based journalist)
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