Ramakrishna Mission, Delhi formally started in 1927. As the Mission approaches closer to its centenary, a comprehensive history of the centre was unavailable. We have arranged some of these details that we could gather from old annual reports, our older site (rkmissiondel.org) and arranged them in the form of a timeline, reflecting its history, heads, progress down the ages along-with the history of the Ramakrishna Mission Free T.B.Clinic and Medical Centre, Karol Bagh,New Delhi.
History of the Ramakrishna Mission, Delhi - A timeline
- Start of the Delhi Centre
The Delhi Centre was started in a rented house on 966, Garstin Bastion Road, Old Delhi in May, 1927, at the invitation of the local public. The installation ceremony was performed by Swami Ambikananda.
Swami Nirgunananda remained to supervise the two study circles organized at Raisina and Timarpur and other activities of the budding centre.
- Swami Satprakashananda (Jan. 1931 to Dec. 1935)
Swami Satprakashanandaji was appointed as the head of the Delhi centre.
- Students' Home
The Mission accepted Rai Saheb Pundit Ram Sharma’s offer of his Dharmashala at Upper Bela Road, Billi Maran, located near the Railway bridge over the Jamuna; the one-storey house offered an attractive house for organizing a Students’ Home. However this was a temporary venture, and the Mission authorities closed the Home in July 1932. During its short life of 18 months, the Students’ Home maintained 20 college students.
- Ashrama acquires permanent land
In 1931, the permanent place where the current Ashram stands was secured from the Government. The centre was moved to a second rented house at 1, Mutiny Memorial Road, New Delhi, closer to the permanent place, in June, 1932.
- Ramakrishna Mission Free Tuberculosis Clinic started
With many people suffering from TB, the centre decided to start a novel medical clinic, dedicated to handle TB cases, in a small rented house at Chunamandi, Pahargunj.
- Foundation for a temple at the Ashram
SRI RAMAKRISHNA JAYANTI
At the crossing of Ramakrishna Ashram Marg (earlier known as Ibbetson Road) and Panchakuiya Road, New Delhi, the foundation stone of the first building was laid by Swami Sharvanandaji Maharaj, on the 99th birthday of Sri Ramakrishna, 15 February, 1934. Srimat Swami Shivanandaji (Mahapurush Maharaj), the then President of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math was unable to come to participate in the function on account of his ill-health. A brick sent by Rev. Shivanandaji Maharaj was laid at the foundation.
- Visit of Srimat Swami Vijnananandaji
Swami Vijnananandaji, then Vice-President, visited Delhi. On this occasion, he narrated the reminiscences of Sri Ramakrishna on April 30 and May 1, 1934, to the joy of all.
- TB Clinic moved to Old city
It was noticed that most of the patients had been coming from the city proper. The Clinic was, therefore, shifted to a comparatively spacious house called Dewan Bhavan behind Jama Masjid in August, 1934.
- Inauguration of the temple and office building at the Ashram
The construction of the temple building was started in April, 1934 and completed in November. The architect was Mr. D.A. Mande, F.I.A.A., A.I.A.A, who designed the building and the building’s construction was supervised by Mr. Chanan Ram, Overseer, New Delhi. The opening ceremony of the building was held on 12 December 1934, with the Hon’ble Sir Nripendranath Sircar presiding over the function. With the Govt. of Delhi creating hurdles to actual residency, the occupancy of the building permanently began only on 16th October, 1935.
Meanwhile, the management transferred the Clinic to ‘Hanging Bridge’ near Edward Park at Victoria Zenana Hospital in Daryagunj (close to Daryagunj Post Office).
- Foundation of a new building for T.B. Clinic in Karol Bagh
Mr. A.V.Askwith, I.C.S., Chief Commissioner, Delhi, who was very supportive of the T.B. Clinic's efforts, allotted two plots of land in Karol Bagh in 1940 for building a permanent Clinic. He also laid the foundation stone of the Clinic building in November 1941.
- Swami Ranganathananda (Jan. 1949 to Mar. 1962)
Srimat Swami Ranganathanandaji was appointed as the head of the Delhi centre.
- Opening of the T.B.Clinic building at Karol Bagh
The tumultuous World War 2 and the Independence struggle caused a long delay and finally the building was ready for occupation in 1948. Mr. N. K. Kothari, the well-known architect of New Delhi was its architect.
On May 4, 1949, the formal opening was performed by Hon. Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Minister of Health, Government of India.
- Vedanta Samiti at Delhi University formed
Some of the staff and students of the Delhi University formed themselves into a Vedanta Samiti with the three-fold object of
- Study of Vedanta in all its phases
- Understanding the essentials of indian culture
- Promotion of spiritual life
Under the auspices of the Samiti, a weekly class was inaugurated at the hall of the Delhi University (DU) for the study of Vedanta on Sunday mornings at 9 am. The Katha Upanishad was taken up for study.
- M.S.Subbulakshmi recital at YMCA grounds
A classical recital by Smt. M.S.Subbalakshmi, which was presided over by the Prime Minister of India, Sri Jawaharlal Nehru, was held at the vast YMCA grounds to raise money for a new library and auditorium building.
About Rs.33,000/- were raised from ticket sales and Rs.59,842/- from donations towards the new building.
- Foundation of Library and Lecture Hall building
SRI RAMAKRISHNA JAYANTI
The foundation of the Library and Lecture Hall building was laid by Swami Nisreyasananda on the Janma Tithi of Sri Ramakrishna.
- Kitchen complex completed
The construction of a new kitchen block taken up in May 1954 was completed.
- Foundation of temple to Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna
The foundation of the proposed temple to Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna was laid by Srimat Swami Sankaranandaji Maharaj, President, Ramakrishna Math & Mission. Copper plates with inscriptions announcing the foundation in four languages – Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali, and English – were kept inside the crevice of a 9 inch cube concrete slab and filled with sacred earth from Jayrambati, Kamarpukur, Dakshineshwar, Cossipore, and Belur Math besides Pancha Ratna, holy earth of Yamuna, and the holy dust of Brindavan.
Sri G.R.Ranade was the honorary architect and Sri Chanan Ram Uppal the honorary supervising engineer.
- Opening of new library and lecture hall by Jawaharlal Nehru
Opening of the new Library and Auditorium by Sri Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India. Sri Jayaveera Kuruppu, Minister of Cultural Affairs, Ceylon and Dr. Von Glasenapp of Germany also attended the function.
- Dedication of temple to Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna
Dedication of the new temple by Srimat Swami Sankaranandaji Maharaj, President, Ramakrishna Math and Mission. 110 monks including the President Maharaj, General Secretary Swami Madhavanandaji and others witnessed the function.
In connection with the new temple, on 30 November, a public meeting presided by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President of India was held.
- Swami Swahananda (Apr. 1962 to May 1968)
Swami Swahanandaji was appointed head of the Delhi centre.
- Centenary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda
Centenary Celebrations of Swami Vivekananda at Ramlila Maidan grounds. Addresses by the Secretary, Swami Swahanandaji, Mayor Sri Nur-ud-Din Ahmed (in Hindi), Right Reverend Sri S.K. Mondol, Bishop of Delhi (in English), the Prime Minister, Sri Jawaharlal Nehru (in Hindi). The meeting was attended by nearly 80,000 persons.
- Swami Budhananda (12th May 1976 to 11th Jun. 1983)
Swami Budhanandaji was appointed head of the Delhi centre.
- Flood Relief in Delhi
Flood Relief by the Mission for affected people in Jahangirpuri area of Delhi from 8 - 28 August, 1977.
The relief was done in the form of cooking and distribution of Tandoori-chapaties and cooked vegetables. Nearly 676 flood-affected families were adopted by the mission and each member received one food-packet every day. Nearly 55,282 food packets were distributed during the entire period.
- Medical Centre started attached to T.B.Clinic
Medical Diagnostic Centre, consisting of 2 wings, a clinical wing and an investigative wing, was started as a development project of the RKMTBC.
- Swami Nihswananda (18 Jun. 1983 to Nov. 1983)
Swami Nihswanandaji was appointed as the Officiating Secretary of the Delhi centre.
- Swami Swananda (Jan. 1986 to Aug. 1986)
Swami Swanandaji was appointed as the Secretary of the Delhi centre.
- Inauguration of Sadhu Niwas
Dipanwita Amavasya Day – Inauguration of the newly constructed Sadhu Niwas by Srimat Swami Gambhiranandaji Maharaj, President, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math on November 8, 1988.
- Celebrating 100 years of Swamiji's visit to Delhi
Centenary Celebration of Swami Vivekananda’s Delhi visit to Delhi during his Bharat Parikrama. A public meeting was also arranged on 15 Jan 1993 to commemorate the same event.
- Swami Vivekananda's Chicago Address Centenary
Centenary Celebrations of Swami Vivekananda’s participation at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 – Held at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, the proceedings were presided by Sri P.V.Narasimha Rao, Prime Minister of India. Sri Mukul Wasnik, Minister of State, Human Resource Development, Swami Atmasthanandaji, General Secretary and Swami Lokeshwaranandaji were among the speakers.
- Exhibition on Swami Vivekananda inaugurated
Inauguration of an Exhibition on Swami Vivekananda by Srimat Swami Bhuteshanandaji, President, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math. The exhibition through photos, paintings and sketches covered important facets of Swamiji’s life.
- Book-sales and Office building inaugurated
On 17 Jan 1996, the laying of the foundation stone for the construction of Book Sales-Cum-Office building was done by Srimat Swami Gahananandaji Maharaj, Vice President, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math. This was formally inaugurated by Srimat Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj on 27 September 1997.
The Administative Section with the Office of Secretary is on the first floor, the ground floor accommodates a Computerized Sales Counter and Showroom of the books and other articles of the Mission.
- Diamond Jubilee of the T.B. Clinic
Srimat Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj, Vice President, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, presided over the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the T.B. Clinic. Sri Vijay Kapoor, Hon’ble Lt.Governor of Delhi was the Chief guest.
On 22 Dec, a Mobile Medical Unit was also inaugurated by Atmasthanandaji Maharaj.
- Booksales counter at New Delhi Railway Station
Inauguration of the Ramakrishna Mission’s bookstall at Platform No.12, New Delhi Railway Station by Ms. Mamata Banerjee, Hon’ble Minister of Railways.
- Platinum Jubilee Celebrations (1927-2002)
A public meeting with Srimat Swami Gahananandaji Maharaj, Vice President, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, presiding.
Srimat Swami Smarananandaji, General Secretary, Dr.Karan Singh and others also participated in the function. Various programs were conducted throughout the year to commemorate the event.
- Sarada Auditorium Inauguration
The Bhoomi Puja for a new building housing the current coaching centre and staff quarters as well as Sarada Auditorium was performed by Srimat Swami Gahananandaji Maharaj on 17 Jan 2001. The building was inaugurated by him on 3 Mar 2002. Swami Ranganathanandaji, President,Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, inaugurated the Sarada Auditorium on November 3, 2002.
On this occasion he also consecrated the photos of Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda on either side of Sri Ramakrishna’s idol in the temple.
- 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Holy Mother
SRI SARADA DEVI JAYANTI
Start of year long celebrations – 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Holy Mother, Sri Sarada Devi. Various programs were held in the Ashram as well as in surrounding areas of the city.
- Swami Ranganathanandaji memorial meeting
Memorial meeting at the passing away of Srimat Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj. The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, former PM Sri Inder Kumar Gujral, Sri L.K.Advani and the then General Secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Smarananandaji attended the meeting and gave their reminiscences on Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj.
Doordarshan broadcast this event live all over the country.
- 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Swami Vivekananda
To mark the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh inaugurated a year long celebrations at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. Many organisations across the world conducted various programs.
The Delhi centre too organised many programs like the Awakening India project, Future Leader project, cultural events like music recitals, dramas, laser-shows, puppet-shows and other events for youth. - Read more about these events.
- Inauguration of the renovated Vivekananda Auditorium
Inauguration of the Renovated Vivekananda Auditorium at the Ramakrishna Mission, Delhi on August 12th, 2012 by Smt.Kiran Walia. Swami Suvirananda ji, Assistant Secretary, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, and Swami Shubhakarananda ji, Belur Math, also were present on this occasion.
- Inauguration of Exhibition on Swami Vivekananda
The inauguration of a new exhibition on Swami Vivekananda was done by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Designed and developed by National Science Centre, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, the exhibit covers various facets of Swamiji’s life through photos, paintings, murals and audio/video multimedia. The 3D movie on Swamiji’s Chicago Address is a delightful experience.
- Handover of Vivekananda Shelter for Homeless to DUSIB
The four-storeyed Vivekananda Shelter for the homeless constructed at a cost of Rs. 1.65 crores was handed over to the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) on 12th November, 2014 in the presence of Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Govt. of India. - Full Report
- Foundation Stone Laying for new building
Srimat Swami Smarananandaji Maharaj, Vice President, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, laid the foundation stone for the new building for educational activities on the 20th of November, 2015 i.e. on the sacred Jagaddhatri Puja day.