The Ramakrishna Mission was conceived and founded by Swam Vivekananda in 1897, eleven years after the death of Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna; Paramahansa was a poor priests at the Kali temple in Dakshineswar near Calcutta. His thinking was rooted deeply in Indian thought and culture, although he recognised the Truth in all religions.
He considered and emphasised the Krishna, Hari, Rama, Christ, Allah are different names for the same God unlike the Arya Samaj, Ramakrishna Mission recognises the utility and value of image worship in developing spiritual fervour and worship of the Eternal Omnipotent God.
However, Ramakrishna put his emphasis on the essential spirit, not the symbols or rituals. He stood for selfless devotion to God with; view to the ultimate absorption in Him.
This spiritually and compassion for suffering humanity inspired those who listened to him. It was left to Swami Vivekananda to give an interpretation to the teachings o Ramakrishna and render them in an easily understandable language to the modern man.
Vivekananda emerged as the preacher of Neo-Hinduism. He attended the Parliament of Religions held at Chicago in 1893 and made a great impression by his learned interpretations.
The keynote of his opening address was th need for a healthy balance between spiritualism and materialism. He envisages a new culture for the whole world where the materialism of the West and the spiritualism of the East would be blended into a new harmony to produce happiness for mankind.
The Swami decried untouchability and the caste system. He strong! Condemned the touch-me-not attitude of Hindus in religious matters he regretted that Hinduism had been confined to the kitchen. He frowned at religion’s tacit approval to the oppression of the poor by the rich.
He believed that it was a insult to God and humanity to teach religion to a starving man. Once he saic “Him I call a Mahatma whose heart bleeds for the poor, otherwise he is Duratma.
So long as millions live in hunger and ignorance I hold every man traitor who while educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to man’ Thus, Vivekananda emphasised the fundamental postulate of his Master the best worship of God is through service of humanity. In this way he gave a new social purpose to Hinduism.
Vivekananda never gave any political message. All the same, through his speeches and writings he infused into the new generation a sense of pride in India’s past, a new faith in India’s culture and a rare sense of self-confidence in India’s future.
He was a patriot and worked for the uplift of the people. “So far as Bengal is concerned” writes Subhas Bose “Vivekananda may be regarded as the spiritual father of the modern nationalist movement”.