The magnitude of the greatness of a great institution lies in its simplicity and unassuming style discovers G V Ramesh as he explores the simple, unpretentious and serene Ramakrishna Mission Ashram in Vizag.
Just how many are aware of an abode of absolute symphonic serenity in close proximity to the cacophonous hustle-bustle of the most populous place in Visakhapatnam, the RK Beach? Open almost every day of the whole year, its existence is known to few even though almost every visitor to the prominent RK beach invariably rushes past it. No wonder, for the magnitude of the greatness of all great institutions lies in their simplicity and unassuming style. Simple, unpretentious and serene, it is the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram. In fact, RK Beach got its name because of this Ashram.
The Ramakrishna Mission as an organisation was started with the motto of ‘Atmano mokshartham Jagat hitaya cha (for one’s liberation and the good of the world)’ in 1897 by Swami Vivekananda in Kolkata. And as “good of the world” cannot be achieved unless the goodness reaches every nook and corner of the world, it became imperative to spread its wings. Accordingly, with the support of locally prominent people, a plot of land near the beach in Maharanipeta was acquired from Government in 1938. Sri Kancharla Ramabrahmam, a rich philanthropist of those times constructed the main Ashram. Later, his sons chipped in and added another block and thus satisfied the main need of accommodation for monks. Subsequently, many wings were added for different spiritual and social activities. The mission also imparts value-based knowledge through their school established near Collector’s office. The importance of this endeavour can be gauged from the fact that the world-renowned philosopher, Dr. S Radhakrishnan in the capacity of President of India visited and inaugurated a hall in that school in 1962.
The main hall in the campus near the seafront where discourses are regularly held is a wonderful serene prayer hall with the statue of Ramakrishna for performing puja and aarti. The monk-quarters, behind the prayer hall, in a beautiful garden where the resident-hermits and ascetics perform their dhyana (meditation) on the way to their individual liberation and enlightenment add a rare mysticism to this campus. The most impressive feature is the library. Housed in a well-maintained big hall, through its extensive collection of rare books like original Sanskrit sacred texts of Vedas and complete works of Max Muller’s, this library helps spread spiritual knowledge. It contains as many as 18000 books, that include the rarest of the rare scriptures, treatises, commentaries of ancient Hindu texts such as Vedas, Upanishads, Itihasas, Puranas in Sanskrit, English, Hindi, and Telugu. There is a children’s collection as well for young impressionable readers. With Swami Nitya Yogananda, presently overseeing the library activities, yours truly observed that the treasure trove of knowledge is being maintained impeccably with a rare missionary zeal. After all, it is Ramakrishna Mission. In addition to this, the library has a doll-exhibition displaying the life and times of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda. The mission also provides free treatment to cerebral palsy patients in its centre as part of social service activities.
Presently, this ashram is headed by Sri Swami Amritananda, a renowned spiritual and philosophical scholar himself. He, in the capacity of Secretary, is supported by managing committee comprising of eminent personalities of Vizag and his other fellow swamis. The Vizag centre’s prominence can be measured from the fact that Swami Nitya Yogananda of this mission has been specially invited recently as a keynote speaker by the Central University, Koraput, Orissa for one of its national level conventions to speak on ‘Swami Vivekananda’s concept of Education’.
As anyone will agree, the first and last impression of any visitor to this abode of quietude is the serene stillness, tranquillity, and soul-stirring calmness.
For more details visit http://rkmissionvizag.org/