From the very outset of its foundation, the Ashrama is engaged in many public welfare activities with an object to serve all the living beings of God as Lord Shiva. Gurap has a long standing reputation of being an absolutely peaceful place, where people of all religions, castes and creed live together and perform their social and religious functions harmoniously.
Sri Ramakrishna(1836 - 1886):
"Ramakrishna has no peer; nowhere else in this world exists that unprecedented perfection, that wonderful kindness for all that does not stop to justify itself, that intense sympathy for man in bondage. Either he must be the Avatara as he himself used to say, or else the ever-perfected divine man, whom the Vedanta speaks of as the free one who assumes a body for the good of humanity." - Swami Vivekananda From the day Sri Ramakrishna was born dates the growth of modern India and of the Golden Age. A divine life steeped in the truest knowledge of Atman (Self), Sri Ramakrishna was the concentrated embodiment of knowledge, love, renunciation, catholicity and the desire to serve mankind. His halycon infancy at the remote village Kamarpukur where he was born on 18 February, 1836, showed the deepest inclination towards spiritual practices of Hinduism. This further led to the sincerest observance of different other faiths such as Vaishnivism & Tantrism as well as other religions like Islam & Christianity – all of which unfolded the Great Truth of One, Infinite Reality before him. Pervaded by this oneness in the state of 'Samadhi', he revalidated the Rig-Vedic declaration – 'Truth is one, the wise speak of it variously'. The Kali temple at Dakshineswar where he lived later on became the confluence of people from all walks of life; gentry as well as laity rushed to him like bees coming of their own accord to the blooming flower. His deepest devotion and unfathomable urge for seeing Mother Kali was the beaconlight for a great many contemporary spiritual aspirants. An extraordinary yet astonishingly simple speaking style adorned with knowledge of things spiritual and human was his very characteristic. Still all his knowledge was derived from direct perception. The boundless love that Sri Ramakrishna personified permeated his disciples – monastic as well as householders – and resulted in the founding of the Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission (founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1897) that would carry the torch of 'Sacrifice & Service' to humanity. Such a God-intoxicated life was really a phenomenon that influenced and transformed great Indian minds such as Vidyasagar, Bankim Chandra, Girish Ghosh, Keshab Chandra, Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Bose and western scholars like Arnold Toynbee, Leo Tolstoy, Aldous Huxley, Roman Rolland, Christopher Isherwood et al. The life that itself was the message is the 'shining pillar of illumination', as Swami Vivekananda puts it, 'and by his light alone man now crosses the ocean of Samsara'.
Sri Ma Sarada Devi(1853 - 1920) :
Inseparable from Sri Ramakrishna as is heat from fire, Sarada Devi was the divine consort of Sri Ramakrishna. Born on 22 December, 1853 at Jayrambati (Bankura) in the pious ambience of a Brahmin family, she spent her childhood in doing various domestic chores as is the case with most girls of rural upbringing. But hers was a spontaneous spiritual fervour that revealed itself amidst the usual rigour of household works. Her marriage to Sri Ramakrishna at the early age of five was indeed a divinely ordained dispensation as she was 'marked' for the great Master. However, her spirituality flourished into full bloom after coming to Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar. 'Do you want to drag me down into Maya?' – at this question she retorted to Sri Ramakrishna , 'I have come only to help you in the path of religious life'. It was a period of training and discipleship – a silent and profound process – during which the 'Mother' in her became more manifest, making her ready to take up the leadership of the spiritual movement that the Master inaugurated.
Her hours were spent in tireless but silent service to the Master & his disciples as well as in prolonged meditation & devotional disciplines. She was the figurehead, the'Mother' of the spiritual ministry after the passing away of Sri Ramakrishna – serving as guide and the supreme inspiration of the disciples who renounced all worldly ties for the sake of God-realisation. She was the embodiment of all wisdom, as Sri Ramakrishna used to say, and this wisdom, both worldly and spiritual, was the guiding force behind the establishment of the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897. Hers was a universal motherhood, characterised by unconditional love, unruffled spirituality, extreme simplicity blended with dignity and a loving temperament that accepted all irrespective of nationality, religious affiliation or social position. Even after she left her mortal coil in 1920, she remains the soothing solace for millions of afflicted hearts longing for her nonpareil, eternal bliss.
Swami Vivekananda (1863 - 1902):
Swami Vivekananda (1863 - 1902) was a preacher of 'Divinity in Man'. Born Narendranath Dutta on 12 January, 1863 in Calcutta, he gave clear indications of self-realisation in his early days. A youth of guts and gumption – with an iron determination and a fiery zeal to seek the highest knowledge of the self, he met Sri Ramakrishna at the Dakshineswar Kali temple in 1881; the incident that channelised himself later on towards the greatest cause of humanity.
The Great Master inculcated in his foremost disciple the presence of an all-pervading stream of consciousness in every being, the immanence of divinity in all existence in this world. An ardent believer in Advaita, Vivekananda also realised & recognised the dualistic as well as qualified non-dualistic faiths that were lived and approved by the Master. He presented the quintessence of Vedanta in the 1893 Parliament of Religions in Chicago , America , and, the rest is history. In the following years the 'Cyclonic Hindoo Monk' transfigured the world; hitherto unaware of its 'spirit free, blest & eternal'. All his life was an exhortation to every individual to make its potential divinity manifest. His influence led to the reaffirmation of conviction in every Indian; India was reminded of her supreme duty to don the mantle of spirituality to the world as well as to accept 'western sciences'for alleviating her condition. His two greatest ideas – Sacrifice and Service – found expression in 1897 through the establishment of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission which bears the motto 'Atmano Mokshartham Jagat Hitaya Cha' [Self realisation and the benefit of the world]. He leaves behind a legacy that transcends all bounds & so that the dormant divinity in every soul find its avenue of manifestation in any time, any place in the world itself.
Swami Vishuddhananda (1883 - 1962) :
(Monastic name Swami Vishuddhananda) was born on Sunday, the June 13th,
1883, (The 8th day after the new moon in the month of Jyaistha
according to Bengali Calendar) in his maternal grandmother’s house at Gurap, a
small village in the district of Hooghly, West Bengal. Jitendranath was the son
of Hemchandra Singha Roy and Kironbala Singha Roy of Abujhati village in the
district of Bardhaman.Jitendranath lost both his parents at
his early childhood, and was brought up by his maternal grandmother, Kulabala
Devi with great love and affection.Jitendranath appeared at the Entrance
Examination in 1901. He spent most of his times in studies and in deep
spiritual practices. He got a job in the then Bengal Nagpur Railway office at
Shalimar, Howrah; but could never concentrate on office-work. He became
restless to realise the goal of his life and to have the feeling of the
presence of God in his heart. On one summer day, Jitendranath was
in the Imperial library with a restless mind and tired body. Suddenly his eyes
fell upon a book written by Frederick Max Muller, "Ramakrishna: His Life and Sayings”.
He read the book a number of times and finally realized that he had found what
he had been seeking so long.He, then, began his visits to
Dakshineswar. One day he heard from Ramlal dada (nephew of Shri Ramakrishna
Dev) about the Holy Mother, Sarada Devi. He knew nothing, so far, about her. He
inquired about her, reached Jairambati and felt her motherly love. From the
very moment of his meeting with Shri Shri Sarada Devi, he had the good fortune
of having her sacred blessings.On December 16th, 1906, Jitendranath
got the initiation into real spiritual life from Sri Sri Sarada Devi. As a
result, smouldering fire of renunciation in his hearts burst into a blaze.
On July 28th, 1907, Jitendranath had his head shaven, received Ochre (Gairika) dhutis to wear as a mark of his Sannyasa (monastic vows) life. Following the instructions of Sri Sri Maa, Jitendranath started out on foot for Kashi in order to build up his life as Sannyasin (monastic Vow) under the guidance of Swami Shivananda (Mahapurush Maharaj). Jitendranath received his monastic name: Swami Vishuddhananda from Swami Shivananda. Swami Vishuddhananda later performed the prescribed rituals and took the formal monastic vows in presence of Swami Brahmananda ji Maharaj in Kashi.From 1907 to 1921 Swami Vishuddhananda ji Maharaj served Kashi Advitya Asharama, Madras Math, Bangalore Math and Mayavati. In 1922, Swami Vishuddhananda ji was elected a Trustee of The Ramakrishna Math and a member of the Governing Body of Ramakrishna Mission. In 1925, he was sent to Bhubaneswar as Head of the Math. In 1927 he was sent to Ranchi where he spent twenty five years. In 1947, he was elected a Vice President of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. On the 6th March 1962, he was elected the 8th President of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission at the age of 79 years.Various old age ailments were troubling him. As the days slowly passed, his physical condition started getting even worse. On June 13, 1962 he was operated on his prostate gland at Park Nurshing Home. But unfortunately making all the efforts of the surgeons invain, Swami Vishuddhananda ji Maharaj finally departed this materialistic world to reach Ramakrishnalok on June the 13th, 1962.