Ramakrishna Mission Home of Service, Varanasi
  • Visit of Swami Vivekananda 

    Swami Vivekananda visited Varanasi quiet a few times in his lifetime.
Visits Swami Vivekananda

Visit of Swami Vivekananda to Varanasi

It is said that Swami Vivekananda's grandfather renounced the world and stayed as an ascetic in Varanasi. Years later, grandmother Shymasundari Devi on her visit to Varanasi with her son Vishwanath Dutta (Swamiji's father) as a small boy accidentally met Durgaprasad momentarily. 
Vireshwar Shiva, Varanasi
Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda's mother Bhubaneswari Devi in her longing for a son (after the untimely death of first two children and birth of three daughters subsequently) had requested a lady she knew to regularly pray and worship in her name at the temple of Vireshwar in Varanasi. No doubt, Swami Vivekananda was born on a Monday - the day of Lord Shiva.

Sri Pramada Das Mitra

After Sri Ramakrishna's passing away, Swami Vivekananda left Calcutta and came to Varanasi during his journeys as a wandering monk and stayed as a guest of the eminent citizen of Kashi Sri Pramada Das Mitra.

Durga Temple and Durga Kund, Varanasi

"Once when I was in Varanasi, I was passing through a place where there was a large tank of water on one side and high wall on the other. It was in the grounds where there were many monkeys. The monkeys of Varanasi are huge brutes and sometimes surly. They now took it into their heads not to allow me to pass through their street, so they howled and shrieked and clutched at my feet as I passed. As they pressed closer, I began to run, but the faster I ran, the faster came the monkeys, and they began to bite at me. It seemed impossible to escape, but just then I met a stranger who called to me, 'Face the brutes?'. I turned and faced the monkeys, and they fell back and finally fled. That is the lesson for all life – face the terrible, face it boldly"
Old Photo of Gopal Lal Villa, Varanasi

Swami Vivekananda came to Varanasi for the last time in 1902 after his triumph at Chicago, establishment of Ramakrishna Mission and whirlwind tour of the world and stayed for about three weeks at "Sandhyabas", the garden house of zamindar Kali Krishna Tagore of Calcutta, also known as "Gopal Lal Villa" located at Orderly Bazar. During his stay, he immensely inspired the young men who had in the meantime begun an association and were serving the poor and destitute patients of the city. He even drafted an appeal for the work and under his influence, the effort was brought under the umbrella of the Ramakrishna Order and came to be known as the "Home of Service".

Old Photo of Home of Service : Aseptic Surgical Ward & Operation Theatre (Outside)

With a gift of Rs.500/- donated by the Raja of Bhinga who was immensely impressed by Swamiji, Swami Shivananda was asked to open a monastery in the name of Sri Ramakrishna at Varanasi which ultimately took shape in the form of renting of a garden in July 1902.

Swami Shivananda
Old Photo of Ramakrishna Advaita Ashrama, Varanasi
Sri Kedareshwar Mahadev Temple, Varanasi
Swamiji met eminent ascetics like Swami Bhaskarananda during his stay and was received very well by people. The chief priest of Kedareswar temple personally came to invite him to the temple which he gladly oblidged.
This was his last trip after which he passed away on July 4th, the same year, at Belur Math.

An appeal by Swami Vivekananda for the Home of Service in 1902

Swami Vivekananda Statue at Sevashrama
Read the Appeal in Hindi
Dear -

We beg your acceptance of the past year's Report of the Ramakrishna Home of Service, Benares, embodying a short statement of our humble efforts towards the amelioration, however little, of the miserable state in to which a good many of our fellow-beings, generally old men and women, are cast in this city.

In these days of intellectual awakening and steadily asserting public opinion, the holy places of the Hindu, their condition, and method of work, have not escaped the keen eye of criticism; and this city, being the holy of holies to all Hindu, has not failed to attract its full share of censure.

In other sacred places people go to purify themselves from sin, and their connection with these places is casual, and of a few days' duration. In this, the most ancient and living centre of Aryan religious activity, there come men and women, and as a rule, old and decrepit, waiting to pass unto Eternal Freedom, through the greatest of all sanctifications, death under the shadow of the temple of the Lord of the Universe.

And then there are those who have renounced everything for the good of the world, and have for ever lost the helping hands of their own flesh and blood, and childhood's associations.

They too are overtaken by the common lot of humanity, physical evil in the form of disease.

It may be true that some blame attaches to the management of the place. It may be true the priests deserve a good part of the sweeping criticism generally heaped upon them; yet we must not forget the great truth - like people, like priests. If the people stand by with folded hands and watch the swift current of misery rushing past their doors, dragging men, women and children, the Sannyasin and the householder, into one common whirlpool of helpless suffering, and make not the least effort to save any from the current, only waxing eloquent at the misdoings of the priests of the holy places, not one particle of suffering can ever be lessened, not one ever be helped.

Do we want to keep up the faith of our forefathers in the efficacy of Eternal City of Shiva towards salvation?

If we do, we ought to be glad to see the numbers of those increase from year to year who come here to die.

And blessed be the name of the Lord that the poor have this eager desire for salvation, the same as ever.

The poor who come here to die have voluntarily cut themselves of from any help they could have received in the places of their birth, and when disease overtakes them, their condition we leave to your imagination and to your conscience as a Hindu, to feel and to rectify.

Brother, does it not make you pause and think of the marvellous attraction of this wonderful place of preparation for final rest? Does if not strike you with a mysterious sense of awe - this age-old and never-ending streams of pilgrims marching to salvation through death?

If it does, - come and lend us a helping hand.

Never mind if your contribution is only a mite, your help only a little; blades of grass united in to a rope will hold in confinement the maddest of elephants, - says the old proverb.

Ever yours in the Lord in the universe, - Vivekananda