The Vedanta Society is spiritually affiliated with the Ramakrishna Order of India. The Order was founded by Sri Ramakrishna and organized by Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th century with the ideal of “atmanomokshartham jagad hitaya ca” or “for one’s own liberation and for the good of the world.”
The ideology of the Ramakrishna Order consists of the eternal principles of Vedanta, the ancient spiritual tradition of India, as lived and experienced by Sri Ramakrishna and expounded by Swami Vivekananda. This ideology has three characteristics: it is modern in the sense that the ancient principles of Vedanta have been expressed in modern terms; it is universal, that is, it can be applied by anyone anywhere; it is practical in the sense that its principles can be applied to solve life’s day-to-day problems.
- God realization is the ultimate goal of life. One of the important discoveries made in ancient India was that the universe arises from and is sustained by infinite consciousness called Brahman. It has both impersonal and personal aspects. The personal aspect is known by different names, such as God, Ishvara, Jehovah and so on. Realization of this Ultimate Reality is the true goal of life, for that alone can give us everlasting fulfilment and peace.
- Harmony of religions is based on Sri Ramakrishna’s transcendental experience that all religions lead to the realization of the same Reality known by various names in different religions. The Ramakrishna Order honors and reveres the founders of all world religions such as Buddha and Christ.
- All work should be considered as worship, and service to humanity should be considered as service to God. Work becomes a spiritual discipline: the mind gets purified and the potential Divinity of the soul manifests itself more and more. Thus service done as worship of God in man helps in two ways: it helps physically or mentally the person who is served, and it helps spiritually the person who serves.
- One should develop a balanced, integrated personality by the removal of ignorance and the manifestation of inner divinity through a synthesis of the four main Yogas: Jnana Yoga (Yoga of Knowledge), Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of Devotion), Raja Yoga (Yoga of Meditation) and Karma Yoga (Yoga of Work).
- The realization of the potential divinity of the soul and how to manifest it through every action and thought is the goal of life.
The Order’s headquarters are located at Belur Math in Kolkata, India, with branch centers in India as well as in many cities in the United States, Europe, and South America.
(Monks Conference November 2015)
Emblem of the Ramakrishna Order
Shown here is the emblem of the Ramakrishna Order, with which the Vedanta Society is spiritually affiliated. The emblem was designed by Swami Vivekananda, the founder of our Society, and it depicts the four great spiritual paths: unselfish action, represented by the waves; love or devotion to God, represented by the lotus; knowledge, represented by the rising sun; and the awakening of spiritual power, represented by the serpent. The swan represents the Supreme Self. The idea is that, by the union of all the paths, the vision of the Supreme Being is attained.