At just a stone’s throw away from the hustle, crowd and noise of Vizag’s most popular destination, The RK Beach is a serene and tranquil haven; the Ramakrishna Mission. This light pink summit, emulating most Indian temples, surrounded by lush greenery lends the famed tourist beach destination its name. The modest yet inspiring edifice came into existence in Maharanipeta in 1938. The waves of the Bay of Bengal lashing persistently about a hundred yards from the ashram make it explicitly imploring. The proximity to the bay allows an early morning visitor to enjoy a panoramic view of the sun rising like a ball of fire from the blue ocean. The Ramakrishna Mission carries the work of the socio-religious Ramakrishna movement, influenced by 18th century saint, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and shaped by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda.
Take up the idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live for it. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, murmur that idea, and just leave every other idea solitary. This is the way to success; this is way great spiritual giants are produced.
– Swami Vivekananda
In front of the main ashram building, is an imposing bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda. Within, the spacious marble prayer hall harbours a unique spiritual silence. It is designed for regular worship and spiritual rituals as well as for meditation. The most mesmerising aspect in this hall is the incredible glow emanating from the eyes of the marble idol of Sri Ramakrishna. Worshiped daily, one can feel the aura of spiritualism and devoutness around the idol.
Many are known to do great work under the stress of some strong emotion. But a man’s true nature is known from the manner in which he does his insignificant daily task.
– Ma Sarada Devi
The mission regularly celebrates a number of festivals and the birth anniversaries of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. Guru Purnima, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Shivarathri, Janmashtami and even Christmas are celebrated in the ashram. It opens at 5 a.m. and the rituals begin with an aarthi, followed by the pratha bhajan or dawn prayer. Slokas from the Bhagavad Gita are recited and holy offerings are distributed among the visitors. It’s only after this that the hall is open to the general public for meditation. Bhajans enliven the ambience from 7 p.m. every evening. The summit remains open till 9:30 at night.
The mission provides a variety of educational, cultural and medical facilities, and also services for the relief and rehabilitation of the poor and needy. The ashram conducts free medical camps, an English medium school and a physiotherapy clinic for children with cerebral palsy. Spiritual retreats are conducted at different times of the year for devotees who are drawn to the mission for its piety and peace. Also within the precincts is an impressive library, inaugurated in 1997. It contains books on a variety of subjects, from religion to allied subjects to children’s titles, and also houses a reading room with about 16200 books! The library is open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. There is also a stall selling books on Vedanta and Vivekananda.
The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them.
– Swami Vivekananda
In spite of RK beach being one of Vizag’s busiest areas, the Ramakrishna Mission ashram is a temple of serenity and tranquillity. It provides peace and spiritual bliss to any visitor.