The altar of the New Temple has been designed to represent, as fully as possible, the Vedantic concept of God. On the upper part is the Sanskrit word OM, which is regarded as the word symbol of Divinity in all its aspects. Since Vedanta recognizes that God has many aspects—transcendental and immanent, formless and with form—the all-inclusive OM was proposed by Swami Vivekananda as the most appropriate symbol of worship in a Vedanta temple.
Beneath OM are enshrined Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Sri Ramakrishna. The representations of these three great teachers express reverence for all the great teachers of the world and respect for the religions they have inspired. Also enshrined on the altar are Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. Sri Sarada Devi, the Holy Mother, was Sri Ramakrishna’s first disciple, and in the latter part of her life she carried on his ministry. Her life was one of total purity, selflessness, compassion, and, above all, of great spiritual experience and power. Swami Vivekananda was Sri Ramakrishna’s foremost apostle. In addition to his own immense spiritual attainments, his brilliant intellect, wide learning, and profound feeling for humanity, the swami inherited the vast spiritual powers of his Master.