Ramakrishna Mission Home of Service, Varanasi
  • The Beginning

    Ramakrishna Mission Home of Service was started in 1900 in Varanasi
The Beginning

Ramakrishna Mission Home of Service (Sevashrama) was started in a modest way in 1900 by three young men at Varanasi, viz, Sri Charu Chandra Das (later Swami Subhananda), Sri Kedar Nath Moulik (later Swami Achalananda) and Sri Yamini Ranjan Majumdar. They were greatly inspired by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. 

Swami Achalananda
Swami Achalananda
Swami Shubhananda

One afternoon in the peak summer of June 1900 Sri Charu Chandra Das decided to have a bath in the Ganges before taking his noon meal. As he was going down the 'ghat' a flight of steps leading down to the river, he found an old, ailing woman lying in a very precarious condition on the bank of the river, utterly neglected. He instantly realized that she was very ill and needed immediate attention. At that moment the prophetic words of Swamiji flashed in his mind: 'Where are you searching for God, when He is right in front of your eyes in so many forms'.

Charu Chandra immediately set himself to work. He cleaned and bathed her and begged from people around for giving her some food. He got 25 paise (one fourth of a Rupee) and with that he purchased and fed her with two pieces of bread and a little warm milk from a mud cup. After making her rest comfortably under some shade, he rushed to his friends who were meditating in the Club Room - the place where they used to meet and read scriptures, meditate and discuss spiritual topics. He explained to them what had happened and roused them to a life of practical religion, of serving God in Man. 

The friends formed the 'Poor Men's Relief Association'. They surveyed the various ghats and gullies (lanes) of the city and brought the helpless poor patients to the Government Hospital for treatment. When in due course the Government Doctor pleaded his inability to treat them, they started a small dispensary in a rented building at Jangambadi. Later in 1901 the dispensary was shifted to a bigger house at Ramapura.

The Old Outdoor Dispensary Building

In February 1902 Swami Vivekananda came to Varanasi. He was immensely pleased to see the dedicated service of the youths and re-named the Association as 'The Ramakrishna Home of Service.' Swamiji also issued an appeal for funds to the public on behalf of the Sevashrama. Eventually the present land was purchased in 1906. Swami Brahmananda, the first President of the Ramakrishna Order, laid the foundation stone. Swami Vijnanananda completed the construction work. Thus the institution took a concrete shape. With the formal registration of Ramakrishna Mission as a society at Calcutta on 4th May 1909, the Sevashrama became a branch centre of the Ramakrishna Mission. The Sevashrama had the unique privilege to be blessed by the visit of the Holy Mother, Sri Sarada Devi, Divine Consort of Sri Ramakrishna, and many of the direct disciples of the latter.

Swami Brahmananda
Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vijnanananda
Swamiji transmitted his power to Charu Babu and asked him to devote his energies particularly for this kind of service. He told us many a time, "You should think that even a pice of the poor public is a drop of your blood. How can you relieve the poor with relief societies? Do not march in false colours. Name it Shri Ramakrishna Home of Service and give it to the Mission for its complete management." We did the same. Thus the Sevashrama was established.

- Swami Sadashivananda
Daridra Narayan Seva on the occasion of Swami Vivekananda's tithi.

As years rolled by, great help came from generous donors. The hospital grew in all proportions from a small dispensary to 230 bedded hospital with modern infrastructure. New service wings were added to the Sevashrama and it stands today in a sprawling 13 acre plot of land as a multidimensional institution of service and spirituality.