Activities of the Ashrama along the lines laid down by Swami Vivekananda – "Atmano Mokshartham Jagadhitaya cha" or "for the liberation of self & welfare of the world."

Become a Monk

What is Monasticism?

Monasticism is living life in preparation for or under religious vows. The goal of life in the view of Vedanta is to realize our true nature as one with God. Each person must decide what lifestyle will best enable him or her to work efficiently and sincerely toward this goal. The path of the lay person usually involves married life. The individuals within the family strive to serve God in each other. Lay people serve society by raising children with sound values and by contributing through their work life. They must juggle the priorities of job, family, and spiritual life and incorporate their spiritual practice into their jobs and family lives.The path of the monastic involves renouncing the pleasures of family life and adopting vows of celibacy.
In order to be able to give more focus directly to spiritual practices. Many spiritual traditions have monastics, including Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian. In the tradition of the Ramakrishna Order the purpose of monastic life is to work out one’s own liberation and to train oneself to do good to the world, along the lines laid down by Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda.

Requisites for joining the Ramakrishna Order

One aspiring to be a formal member of the Ramakrishna Order of Monks must be a male within certain age which depends on one’s educational qualification, maximum age being 30.  Absolute celibacy, burning renunciation, obedience to seniors and readiness to practise all the 4 yogas as depicted by Swami Vivekananda either singly or totally according to the circumstances he is placed in, are required. Those who are desirous of joining may contact any of the Ramakrishna Centres either in India or abroad.

Only bachelors are eligible. The married can associate as part-time/full time volunteers. One can find a list of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Centres here. Women may please contact Sri Sarada Math.

Life in the Ramakrishna Order

To satisfy that curiosity, the following passages, with some minor modifications, are quoted from a booklet (For Enquirers About Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. Second revised edition, pp. 46-50. Publishers: Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras, India) by Swami Tapasyananda, one of the Ramakrishna Orders past Vice-Presidents.

In monastic life, as in community life, the individual is participating in the general group consciousness and is therefore propped up or pulled down by that consciousness as the case may be, according to the standard of excellence prevailing in the group. The new self-consciousness of being the member of a group of elite, together with a host of inhibitions like vows, traditions, dress, association and so on, raises a solid barrier of protection behind which even one comparatively weak can operate with sure chances of success, provided one is sincere.

Bhakti-yoga, Jnana-yoga, Raja-yoga and Karma-yoga (in other words, the path of devotion, the path of philosophical inquiry, the path of meditation, and the path of right action), all form the recognized Sadhanas of the Order. But work has special importance, because according to the rules laid down by Swami Vivekananda, every member, whatever his predilections, must do some work in the service of Sri Ramakrishna. Work cannot therefore be avoided in the name of a pseudo-spirituality, and those who are of that mentality will find themselves misfits in the Order.

An organization, like a State, however, requires not only geniuses but also ordinary folks, not only leaders but also followers. In the Order of Sri Ramakrishna all are therefore welcome, talented and highly qualified persons as also those who are not extraordinary, provided that they are attracted by the idea of living a life of renunciation and service. Renunciation implies the eschewal of personal ambitions, family relations, possessions, luxury and sex. An individual can practice renunciation only if the urges mentioned before find fulfillment in the higher satisfaction which devotional life offers.

Service implies the dedication of one’s energies and capacities to the works of the Order conceiving it as a symbol of Sri Ramakrishna. Spiritual talents are therefore more important than worldly abilities, but by the very nature and object of the Order a harmonious combination of both is the ideal.

Monastic life, therefore, offers to persons having the required temperament, the best opportunity of developing their capacities and of living their lives in a way that will be of maximum benefit to themselves and the world at large. The conditions of life in the Order are such that any one with the right temperament can easily adjust himself to them.

In the matter of food, clothing and housing, no doubt, simplicity is the rule, but conditions are not prohibitively austere. Middle class standards obtaining in the country are generally observed in these matters in the Math (monastery). Though the monks have no salaries or any other kind of personal income, all their legitimate needs are met by the institution (Order). The monastic vow of poverty therefore does not mean penury and indigence. So also obedience and discipline, while being fundamental in the monastic code of conduct, are not allowed to degenerate into servility and abjectness. While personal ambition has no place, scope for great achievements is open to persons of ability and courage.

Swami Vivekananda lived and preached at a time when India was yet in political bondage. Young men were, therefore, naturally engaged in the struggle for political freedom in the belief that it would solve all our problems. After political independence was attained, we have now come to understand that it has no meaning without economic independence, and the country is, therefore, struggling for that through planning and industrialization. But sooner or later it will be realized that without moral, religious and spiritual freedom—freedom from the animal in man—even economic freedom can offer no solace to the people. It is desirable that at least the more thoughtful sections in the country are prepared to face this disillusionment sufficiently early.

For the attainment of this spiritual freedom the country requires a huge army of workers cast in the mold that Swami Vivekananda has prepared through the harmonious combination of Jnana-yoga, Bhakti-yoga, Raja-yoga, and Karma-yoga. The monastic Order is the great legacy he has left to posterity for accomplishing this purpose. Now that the country is independent, there are no patriotic inhibitions standing in the way of the youth taking to a life of spiritual life and service. It is up to them to respond to the call of Swami Vivekananda, join the Order in large numbers and get their lives molded for special service in India and abroad.

148 comments on “Become a Monk

  1. Sandeep Verma
    February 5, 2016

    Namaskaar swamiji
    I m 22 year old from Rishikesh, i have completed my graduation(bca).,I have been reading “Vivekananda” from nearly 3-4 years ,I’ve just started on “gosple of sri Ramakrishna” ….. i want to join the order as a monk please guide me…

  2. Ahamjit Dasmahapatra
    February 7, 2016

    Dear Swamiji,
    I wish to get introduced to the philosophy and works of the ramakrishna Mission. I have often been attracted to this but don’t know the rules in details. I am an engineer and currently working for a PSU.

    • rkma
      February 9, 2016

      Dear Ahamjit,

      We cannot answer you by mail, but may be, can point you in the right direction. You will have to look for answers yourselves. Please visit this link: http://belurmath.org/Ideology.htm This will give you a decent idea. You may also visit other links on this website. This is the website of the Belur Math – Head Quarters of Ramakrishna Math & Mission. Many centers have their own websites as well. A few resource books: 1. For enquirers about Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission by Swami Tapasyanandaji 2. History of Ramakrishna Math & Mission by Swami Gambhiranandaji 3. The Story of Ramakrishna Mission – This is a voluminous book.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  3. Sandeep Verma
    February 12, 2016

    Namaste Swamiji,
    Please reply to my comment .My English is very bad, so please don’t mind if I may seem incoherent.

    As I stated in my previous comment I’ve been reading swami Vivekananda from nearly 4 years.
    I first read “Swami Vivekananda on himself” which intrigued me to study more about swamiji.
    Then I bought “complete works of Swami Vivekananda” and started reading it, after some time of reading I was convinced that I want to realize that ultimate reality and this is the way I‘m going to follow in my life.
    I also studied Upanishads (katha, mundaka, ISHA), Swami Shivananda of Divine life society(practice of brahmacharya),Ekhart tole(power of now), Gandhiji(the story of my experiment with truth), Bhajgovindam, Bhagwat Gita translated by Swami Ramasukh das
    Also I watched video lectures of various swamijis of math(swami narsimhananada, swami sarvapriyananda, swami atmapriyananda etc) and listened audio lectures by swami atamananda,
    swami atmasharddhananda etc as much I could.
    ….I cannot say that I understood all these study completely but as much I could , my conviction grew stronger and I thought that there is nothing in worldly life and its hollow pursuits . So I decided to take sannyasa later in my life, but I didn’t want to be someone who renounce worldly life by renouncing nothing. I thought what relatives and people might think that I‘m someone who can’t achieve so he flee. So my plan was to complete my graduation and then get good job to be self-reliant and then embrace sannyasa.
    So I completed my graduation, and as I’m just an average student I didn’t get a good paying job but I got a low paying job…I thought it would be nothing in people’s eye to renounce so didn’t took it …at that time my elder brother was preparing for govt. job so I also started taking coachings with him.
    While I was in coaching in april 2014 I got really ill, I came back to home. I didn’t know what it was at that time and no dr , no medicine worked enough to cure me… for 4 months…my weight went down very fast from 78 I fell to around 50 . My mother and father are very believer of kundali and all kind of these things they arranged all kinds of grah shanti pooja , mata pooja etc……
    All this time because of illness I was in physical pain but not as much as pain the thought that
    All this study is going vain,I’m never going to realize that ultimate reality and the regret that I didn’t pursue this truth as I was, Made me feel mentally.
    Finally one dr recognized it and said it’s a chronic problem and will persist as far as my suffering medicine can ease them..
    so I turned to Ayurveda medicine and after 2-3 months of changing medicines I started to heal.
    There were some ups and down but till last November I was completely cured.
    Now here I’m , I can’t pursue any worldly object, my mind doesn’t let me . I can’t see any reason in living this worldly life. It seems to me to wasting life. I can’t careless what relatives think of my renunciation.

    I want to pursue truth here itself.. I can’t let it to be something to do in future, because I don’t know tomorrow more less what comes after that, may I die or live I can’t know.
    I want to be a monk, through mission’s site I found this addresh of kutir..
    Ramakrishna Kutir, Mayakund, Rishikesh, Dist. Dehra Dun, Uttaranchal 249201;
    I went there and couldn’t find it.
    Swamiji please provide some contact info of kutir ,if there swamijis meet outsiders if not please provide some info about other ashrams….where if they find me worthy enough I can be a sannyasin, if not guide me what should I do in order to pursue this path….

    also what do you think swamiji what else I can do in mean time as stated in my previous comment
    I’m reading gospel now…..

    • rkma
      February 17, 2016

      Dear Sandeep,

      You may try and meet the Swamijis at Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama at Kankhal in Hardwar.

      Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama Kankhal Hardwar, Uttarakhand 249408 Phone : 01334-24 6141 & 24 4176 Email : kankhal@rkmm.org, rkmkankhal@gmail.com

      However, your joining the Ramakrishna Order will depend on the kind of chronic illness you have. But you can get guidance about leading a spiritual life at Hardwar centre. Please go there and meet them.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

      Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Fort, Belgaum 590 016 Ph: (0831) 2432789, 2430789 Email: mail@rkmissionashrama.org Website: http://rkmissionashrama.org

    • vickchaudharyyy
      October 15, 2016

      Dear Sandeep,

  4. thanks swamiji i am 25 year old and graduate in computers

  5. swamiji recently i visited delhi RK ashram as i reside in gurgaon but not able to contact anyone as it was my first visit just bought some books and come back .Is it possible to meet some swamiji over there and discuss . i want direction in life.

    • rkma
      February 17, 2016

      Dear Ashish,

      Please enquire about the Vivekananda Youth Forum in Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi and join it. That way you will get the necessary direction in life.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  6. Gautam Mehra
    February 18, 2016

    Dear Swamiji,

    For many years now, I have been wondering about questions like what is the meaning of life? why are we here? is there god? if so why has he left us alone here?

    I was told to find out who I was and so have spent a lot of time thinking, questioning, reading and listening to spiritual masters like Ramana Maharshi, Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle Jiddu Krishnamurti, Ramakrishna, many more and finally Swami Sarvapriyananda’s IIT lectures on who am I? I have also remained associated with iskcon.

    Here are a few questions

    1) on basis of advaita, there is only God. Then where does this illusory world exist? why does it exist?
    2) why is the purpose of life self knowledge? I understand the philosophy to an extent that I agree completely that I am the one who is observing everything, experiencing everything, and that I am separate from the mind since I am aware of it. Knowing all this no way proves that I am eternal.

    2.1) Secondly, even if i do get the complete understanding and have the experience, how would it set me free from the cycle of birth and death; since the “me” is just my mind, and with each birth I will have a new image- a new mind… How can I even be certain that I wont be born again.

    3) Since according to advaita I am eternal, where is the question of becoming free, i am , i was and I will be.

    4) And since everything is God, even if I decide not to pursue self knowledge I will still die and be born in me… I mean since there is only me, why should one even bother about becoming a monk, stay single, follow disciplines?

    I mean whatever this is, will remain so irrespective of my actions. This illusion of separate u and me, will die with the illusory death of me, and even if was reborn (makes no sense to me would I still be the same I since I = mind, and mind develops after birth) I would not know my previous births. It dosent matter if I have taken a million births earlier because I dont remember.

    I think I have been beating around the bush, but I dont think I can express my dilemma more eloquently. I am drawn to spirituality and see the pointlessness of doing the same things my parents did and their parents did. But I fail to see how self knowledge is going to add any meaning to life. The worst I will see the illusion and I fear that would only make me feel lonely, devoid of any experience.
    isnt the ups and downs of mortal life lovely? I see colors, smell different aromas,, hear beautiful compositions, taste awesome food, image wildly, and see. If I someday I realize that all this is a illusion created by me for me and everything is just me. I would be alone.

    I am sure I dont make complete sense and everything I have said is mixed up. But I hope you would be able to see what is going on.Please guide me. I see the pointlessness of material life but find myself too attached to my parents, and neither do I see how I could give up on my carnal desires to become a monk.

    I am 25, pursuing masters in USA.


    • Kumar Kavi K
      March 2, 2017

      Swamiji can u please reply to Gautam’s question i have same questions in mind?

    • Dear Gautam,
      please do 10 day vipassana course. Most of your doughts will clear.

  7. Jaideep Shukla
    February 18, 2016

    Pranam Swami

    I am from Satna (M.P) and currently i am an final year B.tech student in NIT bhopal. since childhood i thought myself to be somewhat different than others means too much self-conscious.
    My mother taught me good morals,habits like always respect others,never get angry,don’t argue,simply accept,but when i really saw the real world in college and outside,it is too much different. everyone here is selfish,running for money,impatience, argue in every aspect. etc. they don’t thrive for knowledge,they always have the ability of showing other people down. they all just want money and fame somehow.
    I have read books of vivekanand ji (raja yoga, lectures etc) and found that i can get immense knowledge which is within myself,only when i am free from all this materialistic world. i want to learn the science of yoga which our yogi’s have created to attain the ultimate truth of life. what we say science in this world is just a bit of yoga science.the type of science we learn here in college and universities are for making money ultimately to live the rest of live but not for self realisation but, the yoga science is the practice by which i can learn the truth of live. i have ready biographies of many philosopher and scientists,, ultimately they have the same thought at the end… so this all what i have learned till now is just for earning money and surviving in this material world,, but what i want to learn next and practice next is for self realisation. I could probably started practising yoga but it requires good guidance so, i just want to join the math as soon as possible.

    • rkma
      February 20, 2016

      Dear Jaideep,

      Since you are in Bhopal, please get in touch with our Bhopal center and interact with Swamijis over there. That will give you necessary guidance.

      Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama Swami Atmananda Marg, MP Nagar, Near Press Complex, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462011 Phone : 0755-255-0520 Email : bhopal@rkmm.org, rkmbpl@hotmail.com

      Best wishes, Swami Atmapranananda

  8. Satish Naik
    February 20, 2016

    Pranam swamy ji

    I am Satish Naik. from Gunupur,Rayagada State of odisha.Brahmin By caste ,I am completed my Master in Library And informaion science.I working in a Engineering collage in Bhubaneswar.In child hood i inspired in Ramakrushna Mission.I Want to be a monk. I Want to jain the math as soon as possible.please guide me.

    please Reply

    • rkma
      February 25, 2016

      Dear Satish,

      With your qualification, you need to be within 30 years of age, unmarried and with normal sound health. If so, you are eligible to join Ramakrishna Order. It will be better if you have cleared few basic ideas before taking the decision. What do you think is the goal of human life? What is the way to attain that goal? What do you think of Sri Ramakrishna? etc. May be you can visit local Ramakrishna Math and seek guidance from Swamiji. The address is:

      Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Marg Bhubaneswar, Orissa 751002 Phone : 0674-243 2028, 243 0059 & 243-0159 Email : bhubaneswar@rkmm.org, rkmbbsr@gmail.com

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  9. Satish Reddy
    February 22, 2016

    Respected Swamyji

    I am Satish from Andhrapradesh. I am 32 years old. Is there any chance to join in RK Math order.

    • rkma
      February 25, 2016

      Dear Satish,

      Since you are 32, you have crossed the limit upto which one can join Ramakrishna Order. As you are thinking on these lines, hope you have sorted out certain basic issues like goal of human life and the ways to attain it, the form of God that appeals to you most etc.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  10. susilcom
    February 26, 2016

    Adaraniya swamiji,

    I am susil from bhubaneswar. I am a science graduate with 28 years old. I have influenced by ramakrushna mission. So guide me to become a monk.


  11. Tanmay Pandey
    February 27, 2016

    Dear Swami ji

    I am 20-year-old, pursuing my bachelor’s (B. Tech.) degree in chemical engineering from ISM(IIT) Dhanbad, highly influenced by the ideas of swami Vivekananda and wanted to walk on the paths of swami ji and strongness. I wanted to serve my country from the bottom of my heart and decided to remain bachelor for the above mention purpose , to do so I wanted to burn my two bad habits 1-anger 2- little bit of lust. I am facing the problem of lack of strong concentration and attention during my work.
    I need your urgent guidance to burn away my all weakness .

    Tanmay Pandey

  12. Dale Saxby
    February 28, 2016

    I notice monks and the swamis in the Vedanta centres outside of India and the Ramakrishna order generally do not wear beards. Is it okay for a lay member to keep their beard on ?

  13. Rahul Gaikwad
    March 10, 2016

    Pranam swamyji

    I am Rahul Gaikwad from Indore, Madhya Pradesh. I’m 25 years old and completed my B.Tech from NIT Raipur. I also got 99.06 percentile in cat 2015. I’m completely fed up with this world and my life. I want peace and spiritual enlightenment. I want to leave this materialistic world and live rest of my with peace and doing social services.
    I also want to leave my home town and therefore would like to join math in some other city. Swamyji please help me to become a monk.


    • rkma
      March 16, 2016

      Dear Rahul,

      By your age and qualification you are eligible. Hope you are unmarried and in sound health. Apart from these criteria, certain preparations are required to join Ramakrishna Math/Mission. Attached herewith is a pdf. This is from a book ‘For enquirers about Ramakrishan Math and Ramakrishna Mission’. Please go through it. Having mere dispassion for the world is not enough. It has to be accompanied with desire for God realization and a spirit of service. Please think over. Do not take any hasty decision. You are always welcome to join at Belgaum. Swami Vivekananda visited Belgaum and this Ashrama is in the very place where Swamiji stayed.

      Best wishes, Swami Atmapranananda (Secretary)

      • pratik deshmukh
        December 7, 2017

        Pranam Maharaj,

        Can you please email me the pdf :’For enquirers about Ramakrishan Math and Ramakrishna Mission’. I wanted to go through the book as I am interested in joining the order.
        my email id: pratik97899@gmail.com

        Yours sincerely,

  14. visgopal
    March 17, 2016

    Pranam Maharaj,

    I am Vishwanath from Bangalore, and I am 23 years old working as a software engineer. I stayed at Sri Ramakrishna Vidhyarthi Mandiram during my college days. I came from a poor background, my relatives helped me with my education and brought me up.
    I am very thankful to swami swatmaramanandaji Maharaj who gave me shelter in the hostel for 4 years. it is here where I learnt lot about Sri Ramakrishna, sharadha mathe and swami Vivekananda. Whenever I read yugavathara Sri Ramakrishna and virasanyasi vivekananda i get myself involved into it and i feel like as if its happening in front of me. I use to do meditation, participate in bhajans and all these makes me to think beyond the ocean. I use to collect all the good points and tried to implement myself in life. It is where I learn discipline and what’s the duty of each individual in the society.
    I believe gita and I try to follow in daily life.But unfortunately this society is filled with sin people not following dharma, I see politicians doing good things only during election times to attract voters, I see people taking/giving bribes to make their life’s easy.My family would say if you were like this you can’t grow and make money in this competitive world.
    Some of my friends say making money is talent, I see my friends doing illegal activities which is against law.Everyone is making money in unrighteous way (adharma)
    Sri Krishna paramatma said all the sin will be lost if you tell my name/surrender, keeping this intention in mind people visit holy places to clean up their sins.
    I don’t understand why parents would force their children to take up engineer/ doctor even though they aren’t interetested.If someone is interested to do literature / philosophy they would say what will you get from it, you can’t make money.
    Do something which will make you rich. I see our society is behind money. They always look for fastest way to become rich, they wouldn’t bother about cheating/killing if someone interferes in their path.
    I see people telling the name of vivekananda, great persons and they say I know bhagavad gita etc…but 99% tell but they would have never read.1% of the them knows the essence of great epics but they won’t follow.
    With increasing technology, domination of English language, western culture our traditon, culture, and values are going deep into the ocean.
    I have seen people hesitating to speak their mother tongue in cities. This has become a materialistic world.
    Why I wanted to become a monk is to know ultimate truth through self realization….I want to serve the society and bring change in the minds of the people and I feel it can be achieved through spirituality.If one can bring the change in minds of the people I don’t think we would need / ask someone to help others..as said in gita/ by vivekananda every human being will serve others.


    • rkma
      May 11, 2016

      Please read Swamiji’s Karmayoga. We help ourselves, not the world. He compares the world to a training machine, where we train ourselves. World does not stand in need of being corrected. If we correct ourselves, that would make one fool less in the world.

      Since you are from Mandiram, please be in touch with Swamiji over there. You can discuss with him as well.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  15. ANISH ANAND (@ash_xcd)
    March 27, 2016

    Namaste Swamiji,

    I am Anish Anand, 23 yrs old from Bhubaneswar currently pursuing Msc in mathematics. I wanted to ask that if there is any monk currently living who has realized the ultimate Brahman as realized by Ramakrishna Paramhamsa and Swami Vivekananda. I am facing many doubts regarding nature of existence, reincarnation or even existence of Atman. I know that it can’t be expressed through speech or mind and it is beyond space, time and causation or questions like “why” and “how” cant be asked with respect to absolute as it presumes space, time and causation, and that lies within the domain of Maya, but as far as intellect is concerned it thinks it as a theory or mere speculation because it finds no proof of it. Whatever Upanishads or gita says it presumes the existence of Atman but how do we know that reincarnation happens, Argument for it is it is accepted that all our knowledge has experience as its basis and we see different child shows different behaviour and some of them are born with peculiar psychological condition like fear from water, sound, etc. it is not possible for them to acquire these knowledge in this birth so there must be a previous existence to justify this state, but materialist hold that these experiences are the experiences of his ancestor transmitted through heredity by chance. But still I do not know what is actually happening, if there is no reincarnation(materialistic view) there is no Atman and whole of our vedas and upanishads are waste but if there is reincarnation all teachings of upanishads are relevant. No amount of studying or thinking helps me in all this matter and these doubts troubles me a lot, Even if i start practising japa and pranayama but i have to believe in something which i do not know whether it is true or not, who can give some glimpse of something which is beyond sense and intellect so that I may have faith in Yoga practices. Realization is only proof of Brahman, who can show real Brahman, one who has become one with it. According to the shastras he can be the only Guru thats why I asked you if there is any realized Sage who can dispel the darkness of my heart. I have gone through the literature of Swami Vivekananda, Vivekchudamani, Gita and some of upaishads but more i study more i am troubled. I would be grateful if you would help me.
    I beg your pardon if I offended you in any way.

    Anish Anand

    • ANISH ANAND (@ash_xcd)
      April 20, 2016

      Swamiji it’s been around 20 days and i didn’t get your reply. Please reply if you have seen my comment


      • rkma
        May 11, 2016

        Dear Anish,

        As I understand your situation is thus: We have two sets of evidences: one (i.e. the scriptures and testimonies of holy persons) asserting the existence of entities such as Atman and the other denying such existence. Whom do we believe? Hence you want assurance from a living person. The problem is, no God realized person will proclaim himself/herself to be so. Secondly, even if you meet such a person, what is the guarantee that you will have faith in his/her words? Our only hope is to weigh the two sets of evidences mentioned above. The test is the character. When upanishadic seers or a Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Ramana assert that Atman or God exists, what self-interest do they have? Their lives were grounded in truth and nothing but truth came from their lips. We trust many persons in our lives. We trust reporters, anchors, health professionals, financial analysts. We stake our health and wealth on that trust. But when it comes to religion, we wish to be rationalists! The trust or faith that religion demands is not the end of the road. We do not have to and should not live in that belief all our life. It is just as much as a scientist expects. You believe the scientist and conduct the experiment to find the results for yourself. So is true in religion as well. When we work based on that trust, we get the proof for ourselves.

        Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

      • Dear Anish,

        Perhaps you have misconceived my words, ‘I’ never ever inteneded to suggest that the observations of the Advaita philosophy (presence of a divine reality, of which, the entire universe is an illusion) are false. ‘I’ only tried to tell you that truth can be observed from different angels, so every observations are are true, not a speceific faith is ultimate. One may claim that “Only my observations are supreme and others beliefs are false .”, he says such things because of his ignorance.
        Secondly, ‘I’ donot promote any of the organized religions. Some of ‘my’ self realizations may be identical with the Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, but this by no way means that I am ‘Preaching’ Buddhism ! Why should ‘I’? ‘I’ only tried to help you to find your own path. It depends upon your own realization.
        Againly ‘I’ say you there are numerous beliefs, inspite of being contradictory among themselves, each of them calim themselves to be true. A specific faith, that is “Supreme” to you, may be heresy to others. Sri Ramakrishna Dev gave a wonderful parable about it. “Asume a blind and a deaf person went together to watch a drama. After watching the drama, both of them fell in quarrel! Why? because the blind person told that there was only the music, no acting, where the deaf protested him and reported the totaly opposite view of him.” Now, you decide yourself, which one of them is true and which one is false? Christians believe in their “Heavenly Father”, Muslims belive in “Allah”, Jews in “Jehovah”, Dualist Hindus along with the Theists of the Abrahamic faiths, believe that “God” exists along with the universe, Monoists belive in only the supreme reality of God, of which the universe is an illution, Pantheists believe that the divine being is identical with the nature. All of this faiths have tried to demonstrate the truth from different angels, so neither they are false, nor one of them is ‘Supreme’. Why we fail to understand the truth and have doubts in our mind? Because of it is front of it, ignoring which, we go in scearch of the “supreme”. In his trial, when Jesus Christ was brought in front of Pontius pilate, pilate asked him about the ‘truth’- “Pilate said. ‘You say that I am a king,’ Jesus answered. ‘For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth.’ ‘What is truth?’ retorted Pilate. With this he went out again …….” Truth was in front of Pilate, but he ignored him and handed him over to crucify him.

    • Abhishek Chatterjee
      April 21, 2016

      Dear Anish,

      I understand that you are suffering from doubts of some philosophical questions, you are seeking answers to remove the doubts from your heart. It is very good to hold a skeptical mind, for the ultimate truth can be discovered only after questioning everything, and getting their satisfactory answers.

      In the post Vedic age,curiosity arose in human mind, that from where the world would come or how the consciousness came in existence.Many philosophical texts tried to gave answers to that question, some held an opinion that there is a creator who created this world, Later the Advaita theory arose and stated that there is only an ultimate pure consciousness, the Brahman or the eternal being is only truth and the hold world is an illusion.There are some never stopping arguments between such philosophical explanations, none of them are without contradictions.

      But think yourself, does we really require such answers to have peace in our life?
      Lord Buddha explained that by a parable. Consider a man is wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends, companions & relatives provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.’ He says, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me… until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short… until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored… until I know his home village, town, or city… He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.’ The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

      So the important thing is to get rid of the arrow, not to enquire where it came from.The entire Rig Veda is silent of such metaphysical questions and shows doubt about the creation of the universe(Read Nasadiya Suktam).Their is no mention of God,Soul, Dvaita-Advaita or any other metaphysical matters in Rig veda.So as Lord Buddha was also silent to such metaphysical questions.

      The only thing we should imagine is the theory of re-incarnation.Rig veda also tells about it; “ā ta etu mana punah kratve dakshāya jīvase, Jyok ca sūryam drishe”(–Rig Veda For it is essential for balance of good and evil Karma.As a lamp can be enlighten from another lamp, re-incarnation happens this way.And when your all desires, which are compared to Lamp’s oil, ends, you can attain Nirvana, Become extinguised from this sorrowful world.

      The only Guru is yourself. None but only you can clear your misconceptions and get Nirvana.So find the Guru in self.”Atma-dipo bhava,”Atma-sarana bhava” ” Become your own lamp and refuge” –That were the last words of Buddha.
      So be honest yourself and become kind to every living being.Thus yoy’ll get true inner peace.

      “What we are is the result of what we have thought,
      is built by our thoughts, is made up of our thoughts.
      If one speaks or acts with an impure thought,
      suffering follows one,
      like the wheel of the cart follows the foot of the ox.”—Lord Buddha,Dhammapada

      • Dear Abhishek,

        First of all I was aware of the Buddha’s analogy of arrow, but the question is if there is no reincarnation then after death suffering will end for eternity, in that case this example won’t hold true. And secondly many people don’t see the life as suffering, for them answer to the metaphysical question matter most, so for them this analogy will not work. I was also aware of Nasdiya Sukta which says about ultimate truth “maybe god knows it, maybe he does not”. Again example of lamp is just an analogy but that does not mean that it is the proof of reincarnation. Regarding Guru what you said is partially true. As suppose there is a group of blind men and you are also blind, then you can’t say i know the way nor anyone in that group can lead anyone, there comes the need of a man who can is not blind and only he can tell what is the way, so in our case also we are blind in our path towards Brahman, there comes a need of a Guru who himself has experienced it and only he can lead us there, you yourself can also try but it may take many lifetimes, people who didn’t needed Guru had already worked out samaskar in his previous birth. Guru can clear your doubt and metaphysical question by showing you something which you could never know by intellect , that will clear your doubt, as Ramakrishna Paramhamsa showed something beyond sensual perception to Swami Vivekananda which helped him clear his doubts about ultimate, earlier he was skeptic. So saying “None but only you can clear your misconceptions ” is not completely true. And how can you get peace if your mind is troubled by thoughts, only after realising ultimate reality you can be at peace, otherwise what you conceive of peace is just a modification of mind just as the type of experience we have in deep sleep in which there is no thought but after some time again everything follows. So the thing is all of us can’t follow path of Buddha, many of us has different path.

    • Dear Anish,

      Truth can never be proven by arguments, but only through experience. Suppose I have gone to a place “X” and returning from that place I am giving description of place “X” to you. You can simply admit that place “X” really exists, or may think that I am lying to you.So that really depends on your belief. You can get firm belief if only experience it YOURSELF. And their is no truth that is Universal, the concept of an Ultimate reality is a foul lie. But every faiths or religions can be true, if one believe in them.The famous quote of Sri Ramakrishna ” As there are a number of beliefs, there are a number of ways” suggest all faiths to be true, even they contradict themselves. In simple words, what you believe, is that Ultimate reality to to yourself, not a specific faith is supreme.
      If your’e a theist/ pantheist/Deist/christian/Hindu/Buddhist…..simply if you believe that their may exist a different reality distinguished from the world that we observe with our sense, you may read a book “YOUR SACRED SELF”

      that really can clear your doubts. https://www.scribd.com/read/163656885/Your-Sacred-Self-Making-the-Decision-to-Be-Free

      • ANISH ANAND (@ash_xcd)
        June 24, 2016

        Dear Abhishek,
        It seems that you have proved that it is indubitable that there is no such thing as ultimate reality and according to you whatever Upanishads and Gita teaches is a lie, which by the way says that ultimate reality is Brahman and all else is misapprehension of it. It is the only thing that exists. I do not know that yet but i am certain that i can’t disprove it either.” As there are a number of beliefs, there are a number of ways” it is true but all leads to the same reality even though they seem to be contradictory. “In simple words, what you believe, is that Ultimate reality to to yourself, not a specific faith is supreme.” i didn’t said that my faith was supreme it was you who was preaching Buddhism (there is no ultimate reality everything is illusion) and i was doubting almost every faith and according to vivekananda brahman is only reality. “According to the Advaita philosophy, there is only one thing real in the universe, which it calls Brahman; everything else is unreal, manifested and manufactured out of Brahman by the power of Mâyâ. To reach back to that Brahman is our goal. We are, each one of us, that Brahman, that Reality, plus this Maya. If we can get rid of this Maya or ignorance, then we become what we really are.”

      • ANISH ANAND (@ash_xcd)
        July 18, 2016

        Dear Abhishek,

        I never said that any faith is supreme or whatsoever. I personally try to follow Advaita, but I am not saying that it is the only way. Ofcourse there are various paths to realize the same, To claim my faith to be supreme would be foolishness on my side. We are not proceeding from error to truth but from truth to truth. So from the rudimentary form of religion which originated as worshiping of departed spirit to fully developed various religion are all true. Common thing among all this various path is the idea of freedom despite of us being bounded by nature. If one religion is false all must be false and if one is true in some sense then all must be. So again I am saying that i am not hostile to another belief whatever it maybe. My question was something different but it doesn’t matter as i can’t get it here, and personally i worship Gautam Buddha and i believe him as an avatar so please don’t think i am in any sense disrespecting Buddhism. As far as arguments are concerned it will go on forever. I apologize if I demeaned you in anyway. I wish you best in your journey towards nirvana.


      • No, my ultimate goal is not nirvana, Shakyamuni addressed the path of nirvana to the people who have lost their way in the cycle of rebirth. But in the Mahayana scriptures, the Mahakarunika stated that all these things, that are happening and existing in the universe, are the part of a celestial drama – born and die, again and again, you have two choices, come back to this world, or escape. Apart from that, indeed there is a divine reality, that is called “Shunya” by the Madhyamak Buddhists, and “Brahman” by the Advaitins. Apparently, they seem to be totally contradictory from each other, as the meaning of the first one is “Selfless.” and the second one “Ultimate self”(not to be cofused with God or Isvara). But believe me, thats a misconception, they are not contradictory, they are same things seen differently. And I worship Adi Shankarachariya as an incarnation of Arya Avalokiteswara, who vowed not to achive Nirvana, until the entire play is over, and the whole thing starts a new cycle.

        You said that “I personally try to follow Advaita” — this is your problem I think. I repeat, why do you “Try”? Why not do so in a firm belief? You dont have any proof that can ensure that Advaita is realy supreme? Do you ?

        I have an answer for that, dont you belive that the black hole exists? Because of the physicsts told you that and gave some mathematical equatitions as proof, so you believed that black hole exists, without any doubts. But a recent study of Physicist Abhas Mitra has proved mathematically that black holes cannot exist, a recent observation of Nasa has told that the celestial bodies, that were considered Black holes, have emmited X ray, which suggests that the bodies are nothing but extremely hot balls. So you believed in blackholes, though they are proven false now. So why did you believe? Because the mass of the people believed in it. But alas, there arent many people who promote the Indian philosophy….this is the cause of your doubts.

        Try to think in the way of Sri Shankara :

        Mano-Buddhy-Ahangkaara Cittaani Naaham
        Na Ca Shrotra-Jihve Na Ca Ghraanna-Netre ||
        Na Ca Vyoma Bhuumir-Na Tejo Na Vaayuh
        Cid-Aananda-Ruupah Shivo[a-A]ham Shivoham ||
        Neither am I the Mind nor Intelligence or Ego,

        Neither am I the organs of Hearing (Ears), nor that of Tasting (Tongue), Smelling (Nose) or Seeing (Eyes),
        Neither am I the Sky, nor the Earth, Neither the Fire nor the Air,
        I am the Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness; I am Shiva, I am Shiva,
        The Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness.

        Na Me Dvessa-Raagau Na Me Lobha-Mohau
        Mado Naiva Me Naiva Maatsarya-Bhaavah ||
        Na Dharmo Na Ca-Artho Na Kaamo Na Mokssah
        Cid-Aananda-Ruupah Shivoham Shivoham ||

        Neither do I have Hatred, nor Attachment, Neither Greed nor Infatuation,
        Neither do I have Pride, nor Feelings of Envy and Jealousy,
        I am Not within the bounds of Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Wealth), Kama (Desire) and Moksha (Liberation) (the four Purusarthas of life),
        I am the Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness; I am Shiva, I am Shiva,
        The Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness.

      • ANISH ANAND (@ash_xcd)
        July 23, 2016

        Dear Abhishek,
        When I said, I personally try to follow Advaita it doesn’t mean that i dont have a firm faith in Advaita but rather i meant to say that i try to incorporate the teachings of Advaita in my life (practicing brahmacharya, truthfulness, etc) which i may not be able to do it completely now because of several reasons. Again I say no path i consider to be supreme, there are various paths which are suited to different people according to their state of mind, all of them are equally good so there is no question of proving advaita to be supreme. About the black hole existence it doesn’t exists in sense that we used to think about it. but do you know what people will say? They will say that is the beauty of science unlike religion which claims something to be true and which cannot be altered. But in science we believe something or some theory to be true as long as it is supported by facts and observation. we came to know something different about black hole and in future we may now something more different thats how knowledge advances. if the reasoning is proper and observation is in favour for now we can agree about its structure which may be subject to change, that is about science it is subject to change. Like people used to believe in newtonian gravity until einstein came up with his general theory of relativity which explains gravitation more precisely that newton’s theory so theory changes according to new observation or to get more close to explain natural phenomena. i am in 5th year Msc mathematics and where i live most of the people do not believe in self but my views are different, i do not believe what majority believes here, i have studied great deal of physics here but believe me i find myself more attached to indian philosophy. i have read shankaracharya’s aparoksha anubhuti and his commentaries on gita and upanishads and by reading it i can find something meaningful in life otherwise there is no way except nihilism. My doubt about self was not of intellectual one or because minority believes in it but rather something related to experience but as veda says only after realizing self all doubts will vanish darkness will be gone. By the way what do u do?

      • Dear Anish,

        You are seeking Self Realisation, not proof. Do you know, it is called Brahm Sakshatkaram or Moksha by Advaitins and Nirvana by Buddhist Monks.
        What is realization? We have 5 organs, by which we can realize anything. We see, smell, test, hear and touch anything, by that way, we become aware of the existence of the thing.But to realize the truth or Brahman, these organs will not help us. We have the consciousness, by which, we can self-realize.
        You have also asked about myself, so I will give you an answer, that will answer both of your questions.

        I am a student of business management. I was from a science background. In my school days, I never imagined of business management. I was a fan of physics and also had interest in philosophy and literature. Overall, I had a dream to gain proper knowledge, my aim in life was to be a teacher.
        But, after 10+2 stream, instead of getting admitted to a science college, I was forced to do a BBA in a so called reputed private college. When my college life started, I discovered myself in hell. The students were smoking frequently, teachers had no attempt to well behave with the students. But that wasn’t the main problem. It was the subject that forced me to accept that money is the one and only God. Money money and money It was the only subject to study, where once in school life I study Lorentz Contraction, then I had to study how to be a rich person and have a big business. It was better to me to go to hell than to go to the college.As Adversity always presents opportunities for introspection, I realized that it was the dukkha or Maya, that was the causing my pain.

        Have you read theTaittiria Upanishad? The Upanishad mentions of a story of self-realization. <blockquote
        Bhrigu, the son of Varuna, approached his father Varuna….. Having performed austerities— He realized that food is Brahman; … He practiced austerities… realized that the prana is Brahman ….he approached his father …practiced austerities… realized that the mind is Brahman… again he approached his father ….He practiced austerities… He realized that the intellect (Vijnana) is Brahman…he again approached again his father…practiced austerities and finally realized that Bliss is Brahman

        So Bliss is the reality of Nirvana, that destroys all Maya or Dukkha.

        It seems that I and you have the same quest, I also want self-realisation to get rid of this materialistic life.But I say you that It is very hard to do that in this Samsaric life in this Kali-yuga…So I want to take Sannyasa…and renounce the materialistic life…. this is the reason why I visited this site.
        I am not encouraging you to do so, but it is better to me to enjoy the bliss and exploring the nature than to be a manager and run after the money.but believe me, you can always do so in your home…by studying the Scriptures and words of both Buddha and Shankara.

        May you achieve enlightenment.

  16. abhishek8017
    April 3, 2016


    i am a b.tech graduate and working as a software engineer in a company.i’m 24 years old.i have one elder brother. i am from Rajasthan.i want a spiritual environment where i can able to know who am i and who is god, I do not want to know it by reading some book but i want to know it by experience(anubhav) . So is there any place in your aasharm where a person have experience(saak-shaat-kaar) of god. I am like initial Vivekanand that say to Ramakrishan that he believe in god when he have any anubhav of God.I want to leave everything because there is no interest(ras) of me in world(sansaar). i will stay at my home till i could find any good place and environment for spiritual activity.

    Abhishek 8302219587

    • rkma
      May 20, 2016

      Dear Abhishek,

      No God realized person will proclaim himself/herself to be so. Nor are we capable of identifying such a person. The only means of realization and proof of existence of God is the scriptures and teachings of Holy persons. We need to have faith in their words and follow the path shown by them. But this path will lead us to realization for ourselves. It is just like putting faith in a science teacher and conducting an experiment. We get to see the results ourselves. The life and character of these holy persons is what makes them trustworthy. They are so pure, truthful, unselfish and full of love for humanity, that there is no chance that they would misguide us. Take for instance Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Chaitany, Kabir, Tulasi, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda. Why would they lie to us about God? Please go through life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. Here is a list of RKM centers: http://belurmath.org/centres/branchcentres.htm. Please visit the center near to you and interact with Swamijis over there. You can further discuss the matters in person.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  17. Roybath Mylaks
    April 27, 2016

    Namaste Swamiji,

    I sincerely want to know if a person has free will in choosing to become a monk or not, or are all these important events in a person’s life pre-destined. Ramana Maharashi in DaybyDay with Bhagvan says this ” All the activities that the body is to go through are determined when it first comes into existence” . Does one really have to make conscious efforts or not in the endeavour.

    Eagerly awaiting your thoughts on this.
    Thank You.

    • rkma
      May 11, 2016

      Dear Friend,

      It is more about one’s own experience. So long as we experience a sense of agency within us, a sense of free will, we are responsible for our actions. We should choose wisely. Definitely, one can choose to become a sannyasi or a house-holder.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

      • Roybath Mylaks
        May 19, 2016

        Thank You Swamiji. For those who are spiritually inclined are there any markers to help one decide whether/when one could renounce and become a monk. Can you please suggest some books, activities etc.. to firm up the mind in deciding to renounce or not. It feels miserable for one to experience these wild swings.


  18. Vishwas Acharya N
    May 2, 2016

    Namaste Swamiji,
    Please accept my respectful Pranaam.
    I have, for a long time been influenced by the Advaitha system of Philosophy of Adi Guru Shankaracharya. I have felt a calling to renounce for some time now and am ready to accept the Sanyasa deeksha and enter the Ramakrishna order of Sanyasins. What I do not know is which of the Ramakrishna Math branches accept brahmacharis to train them in the methods of Sanyasa. I request you to kindly guide me in this regard.

    Thanking You,

    • rkma
      May 9, 2016

      Dear Vishwas,

      Please go through the attached file (sent to your email id). This is from a book ‘For enquirers about Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission’. You may please read the whole book itself. It is a small book and will help you understand better the pre-requisites to become a monk of Ramakrishna Order.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  19. Pujala Hema Kumar
    May 15, 2016

    Hi Swami,

    I would like to become monk and leave this world fed up with all these life no peace in mind every time there is something feels like missing in my life not able to lead this life with all these in mind please guide me how to start to be live this life peacefully l

    • rkma
      May 20, 2016

      Dear Hemakumar,

      There will always be difficult situations. Our peace of mind depends on how we react to these than on the situations themselves. Becoming a monk is a decision to be taken with lot of thinking and self-analysis. Please read life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. Also another books ‘For enquirers of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission’. A list of centers of Ramakrishna Math/Mission is here: http://belurmath.org/centres/branchcentres.htm. Please visit a center near your place. You may get books there. Please also interact with Swamijis over there. If you do not get books, please send us your postal address. We will send you few complimentary books. After you have acquainted yourself with the teachings, you may decide about your future.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

      Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Fort, Belgaum 590 016 Ph: (0831) 2432789, 2430789 Email: mail@rkmissionashrama.org Website: http://rkmissionashrama.org

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    May 21, 2016

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  21. shibbyiskool
    June 3, 2016

    Dear Swamiji,

    I am a 24 year old male from Southern California, and recently graduated from a community college with an Associates degree in Art. During this past year and a half I have been reading several spiritual books, and without a doubt the books by Swami Vivekananda have had a tremendous influence on my outlook of life. “I” have also tried to work on my character, but cannot help feel how far I am from the ideal. I very often wonder about the sincerity of the feeling of renunciation that comes in waves, but today it seemed as though i should at least take this step. There are several reasons as to why there is conviction in my heart to take this path, but as honest as i hope i am being, I want to realize what I truly am. However, one question i have is whether and associates degree is considered finishing school if i have not made any commitments to another school?

    • rkma
      June 10, 2016

      Dear Friend,

      The best course would be to get in touch with Vedanta Society of Southern California:

      Vedanta Society of Southern California 1946 Vedanta Place Hollywood, California 90068 United States of America Phone : 1-323-465 7114 Email : atmavidya@vedanta.org Website: http://www.vedanta.org

      They would be knowing exactly about the educational qualifications required to join Ramakrishna Order for candidates in the US. You could also have personal interactions which will help a lot.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

      Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Fort, Belgaum 590 016 Ph: (0831) 2432789, 2430789 Email: mail@rkmissionashrama.org Website: http://rkmissionashrama.org

  22. Maitreyee Chatterjee
    June 12, 2016

    I have read in Swami Vivekananda’s Bhakti yoga that there is a form of of worship where you see God as you lover, your beloved…. Now suppose someone wants to know God ,see him realise him. She knows that ultimately God is one with everything and he is without a form. But initially, now , she worships Lord Shiva as her husband, her beloved , her everything. She wants to be one with him. Perhaps She is an underdeveloped worshipper . So while trying to completely surrender to Lord Shiva she feels but he is Parvati’s consort, he loves Parvati , how will she reach him ? Then she faces hurdles in reaching her Lord. I think this is a question of very low standard, God should not be thought as normal human . But what to do? This is disturbing me.

    • Maitreyee Chatterjee
      June 18, 2016

      I think Shiva and Parvati are the names of one being . That great one for whom I am waiting. How do I reach God ?Many years ago Ramakrishna , Swamiji reached him, now is there anybody living who know where God is? How does he look or is he formless , how is he perceived? What should I do to see him? How will I go to him? Should I wait for death so that after that in heaven I will see him ? Or chanting his name will do? Or should I study and work perfectly, and be an even more sincere student to reach him? Please reply Maharaj , I am eager to know . Tell me what to do? Just by reading scriptures can I reach him? I think serving people will be the right path. So now I am desperately trying to become a doctor. I believe and have faith that this year I will get into a good MBBS college(though very high competition but I will do it , I must) . Please guide me and tell me ido you know anybody who has seen him? Will wait for your answer

      • rkma
        June 19, 2016

        Scriptures speak of two aspects of Truth/God. One is attributeless and the other is with attributes. All the Gods and Goddesses, vedic or puranic, are manifestations of the aspect of God with attributes.

        No spiritual practice in itself is sufficient to realize God unless it is backed by ‘seeking’. And when backed by ‘seeking’, any spiritual practice is sufficient. It will lead you to God.

        Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

    • rkma
      June 19, 2016


      Madhura bhava or the relation with God as one’s husband though acknowledged as the highest form of love, is not very much advocated by Swamiji. Ones mind needs to be very pure in order to practise this attitude. Looking upon God as our father/mother or as our master is said to be safer attitude.

      God’s love is infinite and not limited to the relatives mentioned in the Puranas. When we approach Him as His children, He loves us as much as He loves Ganesha and Kartikeya. Hope this clarifies the matter.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  23. Amoghavarsha Rajanna
    June 14, 2016

    Pranam Swamiji,
    I am 25 years old and doing BBM in Mysuru, Karnataka. I have been inclined towards spirituality from quite a long time now (but i have never been religious). Recently, I have been observing the world and all I see is death despair and other such evil things, which does not make sense as i firmly believe there’s a greater power at play. I love reading books and I stumbled upon the Ramakrishna Mission’s library in Mysuru while searching for some answers and I must say, I was amazed, quite literally. The knowledge was immense and profound. I had turned a blind-eye towards Ramakrishna mission for such a long time and this was really an eye opener and made me yearn for more. From all the research I did, I came to know that God IS consciousness and is all around us (which perfectly made sense because as I mentioned earlier I am not a religious person), but i would love to learn more, know more, see more and feel more. Swami Vivekananda was a beacon of hope. I want to know if what he did, all the pain he took to enlighten us, is it still in action? I would do anything to realize it. All I have is one question:
    DO YOU KNOW THE TRUTH? If yes, Can you please TEACH ME?
    I would gladly become a monk without the slightest hint of doubt and do everything you ask me to do.
    Eagerly waiting for your reply.

    • rkma
      June 19, 2016

      Dear Amoghavarsha,

      Thanks for a straightforward question. Here is the answer: Do you know the truth? – No. I have not realized the truth yet. If yes, Can you please teach me? – NA.

      This does not mean I have given up hope. And definitely, this does not mean that you should not try. If you are still interested, please get in touch with local Ramakrishna Math/Mission and interact with Swamijis over there. You will get necessary guidance.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  24. Ashish K Sharma
    June 18, 2016

    Swamiji,please answer me a ques….i m living a life of irregularities…no goal but have urge that someday i will do something great….many a times i ask myself….who am i?….But,to be very candid to u,i get no answer…u can say i m a man without commitment nd dedication…and i lyk to be a man who is dedicated and committed…u can say dat i m regularly irregular person…this is sure dat i m not going to get married in my whole life but one thing dat i wanna ask is…may i join a rkmission math for d time in which i get the values to live a life usefully….ryt nw u can say i m regularly irregular person….my age is only 21…i have hope dat i can improve my all habbit when i will live in a place where good people(regular) are living wid me who are regular and consistent toward their goal…could u provide me a way…..

    I remember an instance of d life of swami vivekananda :
    A foreigner told Swamiji to wear good cloths and be like a gentleman…..
    then swamiji replied in ur country tailor make gentleman and in our country character makes a man gentleman….so i want to be a gentleman…plz help me…

    • rkma
      June 24, 2016

      Dear Ashish,

      You seem to have understood the meaning of this proverb: ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’. Good intentions in themselves are of no use unless converted into good deeds. And you want to change your life according to your good intentions. It is going to be a torturous but highly fulfilling and rewarding journey.

      Staying in a place for few days following a strict routine may seem good, but ultimately, self discipline is the best discipline. You will have to make a routine for yourself and stick to it.

      Couple of books that might help are ‘Mind and its control’, ‘Will power and its development’.

      If you cannot get these, please send us your postal address. We will send you complimentary copies.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  25. Swamiji …. Is it necessary that one needs to attain his/her mother’s approval before being a monk at RKM ? I mean I always wanted to be a monk in your order … am currently 24 , did my engineering and just need to know what are formal prerequisites before presenting myself at the rkm math to apply to be a monk of this order.

    • rkma
      June 23, 2016

      Dear Bhargav,

      Your question: Swamiji …. Is it necessary that one needs to attain his/her mother’s approval…..? I assume ‘her’ is irrelevant since you are asking about being a monk and not a nun at Sarada Math. If that is the case (nun at Sarada Math), this reply does not apply. No, it is not mandatory to seek permission of the parents before joining Ramakrishna Math or Mission. It is always advisable though.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  26. Ashish K Sharma
    June 23, 2016

    swamiji plz answer my question

  27. Rajesh Chowdhary
    June 23, 2016

    Dear Swamiji,

    I am in my 40s and a businessman based in Ecuador, South America for more than 10 years. I was a normal worldly being engaged in accumulations and self indulgent. Everything changed an year back when my nephew visited me and asked, “who am I”. And that was it. I surfed the internet and read and saw videos related to this subject of my new interest. It changed my perspective completely. Currently, I am in the process of unlearning which is so difficult having no guidance or any assistance in my pursuit. I feel so handicapped being so far away from what I really need and yet its right in my backyard in India, being Hindu of Indian origin. I am single.

    All beliefs are being questioned and I find myself so far off the truth. In a very short span of time, meaning of my success and failure has lost its importance. All that I gathered in my last 20 years of professional life has turned from a source of happiness and pride to a regrettable sense of waste of time and energy. CAN YOU PLEASE SHOW ME A PATH….

    Moreover, after intense reading and listening to a number of expert spiritual speakers, both western and Indian, I must mention Swami Sarvapriyananda ji of your mission. He influenced me the most. And of all the variety of subjects I read, I am convinced that Vedanta provides for a convincing philosophy that quench my thirst. All I wish to do is to live a life where I get my stillness, recognize my witness, know the true knowledge and finally experience the Absolute. Hence, Please recommend me a place any where in the world, where I can relocate, be in the company of such like minded people and saints and monks, learn their wisdom and beliefs and the true knowledge, surrender myself with a discipline and be with the Absolute . I hope I still have time at my side as this body and my sense organs can be of help and can be used as tools to reach my goal. Can you please help me directing towards my goal.

    I wish to experience what it takes to renounce all that I have built so dearly all my life. I wish to know why everything has lost its meaning to me. I wish to experience what it takes to serve someone with a discipline without expecting anything in return, how does it feel to help and serve the humankind….. etc…etc… I hope to hear from you soonest as NOW is the action time. Lets get this done. Thanks n regards….

  28. Natarajan Sundaresan
    June 30, 2016

    Dear swamiji,

    I am unmarried bachulor and worked in various companies as mechanical engineer.I studied in RKMSH,MYLAPORE CHENNAI from 1966-73. and passed mechanical diploma.At present staying in a rented house in mannargudi,tamilnadu and living alone.Is there any chance to in Ramamkrishna mission or associated ashram doing some service pay for my food and stay.please suggest.


    • rkma
      July 18, 2016

      Dear Sundaresan,

      Here at Belgaum, we do not have such scope. I would suggest you to get in touch with our Coimbatore center or Mylapore Ramakrishna Math. These are big centers and need volunteers. These should be able to accommodate you.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  29. swamiji,

    I always wanted to understand the cause of this life ,what I will become ,what is the cause of this universe ,what it will become..i wanted to know the truth that governs the universe…
    I am 17 and hopes that the knowledge does not have any thing to do with age. I am very curious about the rebirth of humans …does that really happens? ..i have endless questions and thoughts .i hope i will get is answered but it wont be easy,i know. I would like to understand the truth but does not know the way to get to it.i hope you an help me in picking the way that could make a way for me to understand the truth.

    • rkma
      July 7, 2016

      Dear Sunil Kumar,

      Glad to know that you are interested in all these questions. I would suggest you to go through Swami Vivekananda’s works, especially ‘Paper on Hinduism’ read at parliament of religions. That contains many fundamental tenets of Hinduism.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  30. Abhishek Anand
    July 6, 2016

    i want to contact with you in concern to success rate of humans in any field…..and i also know who get success in life and who didnt get

  31. Abhishek Anand
    July 6, 2016

    abot traits………characteristics of great people

  32. vishal145
    July 10, 2016

    Im Vishal (age 22) currently pursuing aerospace studies in Moscow (originally from Chennai). After immersing myself in getting to know more about the universe and the origins of life, I have unable to come to a conclusion as to what consciousness is all about.
    And I certainly do not want to pursue the path of materialism and greed in the future.
    I wish to seek answers through spiritualism and devote my life towards service.

    Can you let me know what is the best way to achieve my goals through RMK Math?


    • rkma
      July 18, 2016

      Dear Vishal,

      Since you are in Moscow, best would be to get in touch with our Moscow center. The address is:

      _*St. Petersburg, Russia*_ Obschestvo Ramakrishni (Ramakrishna Society) Ulitsa Pestelya, Dom 8, Apartment 70 St. Petersburg 191028 Russia Phone : 7-812-273-3544 Email : rkmpeter@gmail.com

      _*Moscow,Russia*_ Obschestvo Ramakrishni—Centr Vedanti (Ramakrishna Society-Vedanta Centre) Ul Bolshaya Nabereznaya, House 11, Block 3, Apt. 16, Moscow 125362 Russia Phone : 7- 499 740 8269 Email : moscow@rkmm.org; rkmmoscow@gmail.com Website: http://www.rkm-vedanta.ru

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  33. Maitreyee Chatterjee
    July 12, 2016

    Can a bhakta yogi simultaneously become a karma yogi? Say someone is preparing for medical entrances to become a doctor because she wants to serve God by serving ailing patients. Simultaneously she has a strong drive to reach Lord Shiva and for that she wants to sit quietly and meditate on him for at least few hours. Without seeing him she is feeling like to cry. But the medical entrance exam is within few days where she has to compete with 7 lakhs students and rank within 1500 to get a seat. For that the only thing needed is 15 to 16 hours of only studying . She has met with many failures along with success earlier and it has been full of struggle and the struggle is still going on. But now she is desperate to seek her Lord . Both the work (meditating and studying to be a doctor ) has the same goal. But somehow she can’t balance? What should she do? Please guide Maharaj , maintaining balance is become tougher day by day.

    • rkma
      July 18, 2016

      Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga etc are not water tight compartments. Every sadhaka follows all these with predominance of one. Karma Yogi does work for the Lord and thus the two Yogas meet. In your case, you can think of preparation for entrance itself as a worship of God. You wish to serve God by becoming a medical professional. So this is a preparation for that. When you have free time, you can pray or chant Lord’s name.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  34. sohineegod
    July 30, 2016

    Pronam swamiji, I am Sohini chakrabortyI. just completed my MSc in biotechnology, and will go for PhD research work. .I live in howrah . Since my childhood I read lots of swamiji as well as MA sarada and paramhangso deb’s spiritual books… In m just 24 years old. I like to dedicated my entire life as a Nun. Plz guide me how can I fulfill my hidden desire to dedicate..

  35. sohineegod
    July 30, 2016

    Pronam swamiji, Guide me how to fulfill my hidden desire to dedicate my entire life as a Nun.. I m sohini chakraborty live in howrah, 24 years old. Completed my MSc in biotechnology. Will go for PhD research also.. But want to dedicate my lyf to be a Nun plz guide

  36. Roy Roy
    August 2, 2016

    Hello Maharaj, With respect I would like to know that I have been associated with Ramakrishna Mission for last 10 years. I have been initiated by Swami Atmasthananda Maharaj in 2003. I am a post-graduate and I have been working in a US based company for last 5 years. My age is now 30 years 6 months. I have made my mind for sacrifice, and I would like to join the Ramakrishna Mission as a monk to serve the ‘living god’. As mentioned in this blog, the maximum age is 30. I am very curious to know if the restrictions of age is relaxable on certain grounds. Please help me.

  37. jay ganatra (@ganatra_jay)
    August 21, 2016

    Pranam Swamiji,I m Jay Ganatra 19 years old from Mumbai….I’m in TYBcom …but have this strong desire for renunciation,serving people and God realization….please guide me

    • rkma
      August 26, 2016

      Dear Jay,

      Glad to receive your mail. Please complete your education. Meanwhile, please keep reading books on/by Swami Vivekananda. Also about Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi. If you can, please visit our center in Mumbai. Once you complete your graduation, please approach us and we will guide you.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  38. Diwakar Sharma
    August 28, 2016

    Namaskar Swami Ji,
    I am Diwakar (aged 30), living in Kathmandu. I don’t believe in materialistic world and for past few years I am planning to quit the materialistic world and become a monk. I have read philosophy about the ultimate truth from great humans like Gautam Buddha, Maharshi Raman, Swami Vivekananda, Osho Rajneesh, and so on. I do not want to spend my life with raising family, accumulating wealth, and then dying without even knowing myself and the purpose of life. What I used to think that I should be doing intense meditation under the guidance of guru, live a sanyasy life in a secluded place, or join any ashrams where I can live a monastic life. All I want to do this by going far away from my city. I want to do this because remaining with family in society and also wanting to live a sanyasy life at the same is not possible. I often used to fell in depression due to such situation. So what I want to know is there any ashrams in India where I can stay and do meditation, or is there any sadh guru whom I can serve throughout life and get he guide me to find the ultimate truth.

    • rkma
      September 6, 2016

      Dear Diwakar,

      There are many ways in which one can lead a monastic life. The monastic life practiced in Ramakrishna Mission is not dedicated only to meditation. It is inclusive of meditation, devotional practices, study of scriptures and service of God through service of society.

      I would advise you to get in touch with our Kathmandu center and seek guidance from Swamiji over there. The address is: Ramakrishna Ashrama House Number 236, Tukucha Marg, Baluwatar, Ward No. 4 Kathmandu, Nepal Phone : (977) – 9803473037 Email : kathmandu@rkmm.org, ramakrishnaashramnepal@gmail.com

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  39. Pranam Swami Ji,

    Can the strict age limit of 30 years be relaxed in any scenario?

    Thank You.

    • rkma
      September 6, 2016


      That is a decision only our Headquarters can make. It depends on circumstances that made one wait beyond 30 years for joining.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  40. vigneshzerogravity
    September 7, 2016

    Namaste Swami
    My name is Vignesh, 22 years old. I’m from Kerala. I have completed my B.Tech Degree in Computer Science and Engineering. Now I’m preparing for Civil Service Examinations. From childhood itself, my parents had nurtured me in such a way to live unselfishly. From 10 years I’ve started learning Sanskrit and Gita. But as my life drifted in a wave of thoughts somewhere I dropped spiritual learning. As I started Civil Service preparations I again started to live with spiritual learning. I’m an ardent follower and reader of Swami Vivekananda. For a couple of weeks, I’m thinking to be a Monk of Sree Rama Krishna Mission. I don’t know whether I’m considering it as a relief as I couldn’t achieve worldly success. Success has many meanings in different perceptions. I know that ultimate success is self-realisation as the motto of mission says “Atmano mokshaartham Jagadhithaya cha”. My parents love me a lot. and I too. So Swamiji, please guide me. Give me some suggestions. I want to be detached. I wish to be in a state of “Sama Dukha Sukham Dheeram Amritaya Kalpate”.

    • rkma
      September 25, 2016

      Dear Vignesh,

      Glad to receive your mail and sorry for delayed reply.

      The highest goal of human life as pointed out by our scriptures is God realization. Every soul, in some life or the other, needs to pursue worldly prosperity in a righteous manner. This – so to say – ‘matures’ the soul to appreciate and accept the highest goal as goal of one’s life.

      Even when one pursues prosperity one should spare some time and energy for less fortunate ones by serving them.

      It takes some time for one to find out what one is really aspiring for. It is better to lead a righteous life and wait for our thoughts to clear. You are young, please pursue your preparations for the exams. Also keep reading Swami Vivekananda’s books. That will help.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

      • vigneshzerogravity
        September 29, 2016

        Thank you Swami Ji. So as to prepare myself into initiation for becoming a monk in a later period would you give me few valuable suggestions for me to lead my life in a valuable righteous way…

      • rkma
        October 8, 2016

        Dear Vignesh,

        Our scriptures already have guidance: Satyam vada, dharmam chara. Matru devo bhava, pitru devo bhava.

        Swamiji added: dukhi devo bhava (let the suffering persons be your God). Please keep reading life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. You will get necessary guidance.

        Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  41. Eti Chiranjeevi
    September 25, 2016

    Greetings Swamiji,
    My name is chiranjeevi from Andhra Pradesh.I am at present in Hoshangabad near Bhopal pursuing my job as a textile engineer at trident.I studied the life of Sri Ramakrishna and his Gospel and decided to mould my life accordingly.My age is 25 and am the only son of my parents.Though i have an intense desire to serve humanity by taking up life as a monk,I have a fear of abandoning my duty towards my parents. Swamiji can you please advise me.

  42. RS Rahul
    September 26, 2016

    Namaskar Swami ji,

    I am Rahul Saha from Burdwan , West Bengal i am an MBA from IIPM Indore , pass out in 2012 with 70 % marks. Currently i am working in a very reputed Media group. Swami ji i am completely frustrated with my life and this materialistic world. I want piece in life by doing something for others and completely i want to dedicate my life in the service of god. I want to leave my home and this materialistic world and i don’t want to turn around. I want to become a monk and wanted to do something for others.

    • rkma
      September 29, 2016

      Dear Rahul Saha,

      Frustration/suffering in life does turn many towards spiritual life. But out of such, many forget the lesson taught by frustration and go back to old ways of life. The cause of frustration needs to be analyzed and lessons need to be learnt. Please read life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. You will get lot of guidance. You have not mentioned your age, marital status etc. Please go through our blog post and see if you are eligible. We have many centers in West Bengal. Please visit one near your place and interact with Swamijis over there. That will also help.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  43. Respected Maharaj,

    I am 18 years old, currently doing bachelor in business administration. I am a believer of Advaita Vedanta and want renunciation from this materialistic life. I want to join the Mayavati Ashrama, if you kindly guide me, I will be highly obliged.

  44. Hemant Taylor
    October 4, 2016

    Respected swamiji,

    I am 27 year old, a lawyer by profession, unmarried, frm jaipur(raj.). I have been practicing since 2012, but by the passage of time i realize that these all are materialistic things. everyone is running towards money, exploiting others and taking advantage of others people or their positions. earning money is not bad but earning money by exploiting others is bad. i don’t know, i have not read any vedas/ upanishadas or sacred text. I really think life is like a cycle “a never ending cycle” rotating on MONEY. I m in search of peace. I want to devote myself to god and society at large. I consider everything materialistic and baseless if no peace is there. i some times think to renounce myself. even money can’t buy me happiness or peace. i want to abandon all these things and live freely to serve society. pls guide.

    • rkma
      October 8, 2016

      Dear Hemant,

      It is indeed frustrating to see people running after money even at the cost of else’s suffering. This makes us think about the real purpose of life and how to achieve it. But many times this frustration and subsequent search of higher goal lose steam and we go back to our life as if nothing has happened. For few this search continues. I would like you to go through this link: http://belurmath.org/Ideology.htm Also please read life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. Whenever you wish to join Ramakrishna Math & Mission as a monk, please get in touch with any center of Ramakrishna Math & Mission. You are welcome.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  45. nandu619
    October 8, 2016

    Pranam swamiji
    I have a small query. In the eligibility section it is mentioned that in order to become an initiated devotee or shishya one needs to have at least a graduation degree. My question is why is it compulsory to have a university degree to become a monk at belur when swami vivekananda ji himself persuaded his fellow brothers to leave home and stop seeking something as worthless as a graduation degree. It is further mentioned in swamiji’s biography that swami vivekanada believed that one does not need a degree in order to attain self realization and also to realize the supreme personality of God heads. But as i went through the criteria i was baffled. So does that mean that if someone wants to take sanyas but does not possess a degree is not fit enough for realizing God? Please kindly do reply and clear my doubt.

    • nandu619
      October 8, 2016

      Also wouldn’t a person be given formal initiation at belur if s/he does not possess a graduation degree?

  46. nandu619
    October 8, 2016

    My name is nandu. I am 21 years old and currently doing my B.A.

    • rkma
      October 14, 2016

      Dear Nandu,

      From our blog post: “One aspiring to be a formal member of the Ramakrishna Order of Monks must be a male within certain age which depends on one’s educational qualification, maximum age being 30.”

      In order to attain God-realization, no degree is necessary. Though it is not mandatory to be a graduate in order to join Ramakrishna Order, it is advisable for practical reasons. 1. The person will be at least 21 years of age, matured enough to take decision. 2. It may help in serving the society better. Service to society as a service to God is one of the important spiritual practices in Ramakrishna Math & Mission

      In the Ramakrishna Order there is a practice of ‘spiritual initiation’. This has nothing to do with monasticism. Any spiritual seeker who believes in Sri Ramakrishna to be an incarnation of God is eligible for this.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  47. Nipu Sen
    October 17, 2016

    Pranam swamiji

  48. Nipu Sen
    October 17, 2016

    Pranam swamiji

    My name is Nipu. I have recently completed my graduation with a bachelor degree in English. I want to join Sri Ramakrishna order and become a brahmacharin at Sri Sarada devi math. Under the eligibility criteria it’s mentioned that only a male under 30 can join the order and he will have to go through a probationer’s training before being initiated as a monk, so does it apply the same for a woman too? Will i be given a probationer’s training on vedanta to become a nun? If yes, then what are the charges for the training? also is a probationer allowed to meet visitors (including parents) during this period? under sri ramakrishna order are women given the same rights as men in terms of responsibilities and authorities? I came across many international lectures delivered by reverend swamijis of belur math but i have come acoss a few nuns. Please kindly clarify my doubts swamiji.

    • rkma
      October 18, 2016

      Dear Nipu Sen,

      There is a separate monastic organization for women. As mentioned in our blog, please contact Sarada Math.

      Quoted from our blog: “Only bachelors are eligible. The married can associate as part-time/full time volunteers. One can find a list of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Centres here http://belurmath.org/centres/branchcentres.htm.

      Women may please contact Sri Sarada Math http://www.srisaradamath.org/home.php.”

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  49. debanjanrblog
    October 30, 2016

    Pranam maharaj,
    I want to know what are the difficulties and challenges
    faced by a brahmachari during the initial years after joing
    the ramakrishna order. And can you please give the daily
    routine of the PPTC. How many years are to be spent at the
    PPTC and when is the first posting given. What are the things
    that are tought during training?

  50. Vishwesh Vivek
    November 5, 2016

    Namaste swamiji,
    what is meant by “renunciation of family” as one the condition for joining the order of monk.
    Do one not get an opportunity to meet or care for his parents in case they are alone i.e without any other dependents?

    • Nipu Sen
      November 25, 2016

      Dear Vishwesh
      Renunciation of ones family means giving up all the attachments of one’s family to live a life where one devotes his/her complete heart, soul, mind as well as life to god. How can you expect to meet your family and friends once you have taken the oath before god that in this world except god nothing will ever matter to you? And if at all you have a family that solely depends on you financially then i don’t think even god will ask you to leave them. You can choose to become a general devotee i.e take diksha, pray god, perform japa and meditation in your own house while at the same time performing all your household duties.


  51. Nipu Sen
    November 25, 2016

    Pranam Swamiji

    Swamiji I wish to know what all are the important fasts that a monk at belur is expected to keep apart from ekadashi? and since i haven’t yet taken diksha from an acharya (due to geographical barriers), what would be the mantra with which I can perform my daily japa and meditation? please guide.

    Yours obediently

    • rkma
      December 14, 2016

      Periodic fasting is not mandatory for monks of Belur Math. Many observe Ekadashi, but most do observe Mahashivaratri. So far as repetition of mantra without Deeksha is concerned, it depends on your Ishta Devata.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  52. Anuragpandey (@AnuragNayan)
    January 3, 2017

    swamiji charan sparsh
    i have a goal in life but whenever i started to work on it i get distracted and resulting lost of concentration, how can i get rid of that?
    i want to start meditation but i dont know the proper way, i searched several websites but couldn’t understand exactly what is the way and also i want to join Vivekananda Youth Forum in Ramakrishna Mission.
    Thank you

  53. Anuragpandey (@AnuragNayan)
    January 3, 2017

    also please tell me how can i meet swami sarvpriyananda ji. i want some help from him.

    • rkma
      January 16, 2017

      Dear Anurag,

      What you are asking for is control of mind. This is a long process and success, though sure, is hard fought. I would advise you to go through the book mind and its control by Swami Budhanandaji. That might give you some pointers to start with. So far as meditation is concerned, it is continuous flow of thought towards one object. It happens naturally if the object of meditation interests us deeply. When it does not, then we need to create interest.

      Swami Saravapriyanandaji is currently posted in New York center of Ramakrishna Order (VEDANTA SOCIETY OF NEW YORK) whose email id is mail@vedantany.org

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  54. Prajwal Mahantesh
    January 3, 2017

    Dear Team,
    I want to become a volunteer at Belgaum ashram. Could you kindly guide me the procedure ?

    thank you,

    • rkma
      January 3, 2017

      Dear Prajwal,

      Please let us know where you are currently. If you are currently in Belgaum we shall be able to guide you accordingly.

      With best wishes, Swami Atmapranananda (Secretary)

      • Prajwal Mahantesh
        January 4, 2017

        Dear Swamiji.

        Thanks for your response. I’m currently in Belgaum for some days.

        I usually work in Bangalore. But i have had my education in Belgaum, & was a frequent visitor to Ashram, but I never got a chance to enquire about this. I thought whenever i’m here, i can provide my “seva” to Ashram.

        Do you suggest i come down to Ashram directly to enquire on it ? I was just curious to know if there are any perquisites.


      • rkma
        January 5, 2017

        Dear Prajwal,

        There are no pre-requisites. You may enquire at the Ashrama directly.

        Best wishes, Swami Atmapranananda

      • Prajwal Mahantesh
        January 5, 2017

        Thank you Swamiji.

        Thanks for catching the typo. I meant pre-requisites. 🙂


  55. LOKANANDA REDDY (@lok2red)
    January 4, 2017

    Dear Sir Namaste,
    I am 28 years old, unmarried, Engineering Graduate from Bangalore worked as a software engineer for 5 years like a robot. Now from past year or so I am always depressed, I could not concentrate on anything; I stopped interacting with family and friends. Then I resigned from job and started doing some basic yoga and meditation from which I could recover a little. Now I want to leave material life and join ashram as monk and do seva. Can you please help me? I want to join ashram far away from home so that I can forget past, stop worrying about future and only think about present.


  56. nanditas707
    January 19, 2017

    Pranam Swamiji

    Swamiji I stay in Muscat, Oman. I wanted to know if there is any SRK branch here? I wish to get in touch with the Swamijis and seek guidance.

    Waiting for your reply

    Nandita Sengupta

  57. Sandeep B Lal
    February 2, 2017

    Dear Swami ji

    I am sandeep from New Delhi, aged 34. i want to know does SRKM only initiate full time yogi or i can also be given Diksha so that i can practice it in my present life. I want to live a normal Grahstha life but as the same time wish to follow SRKM. Please guide me

    I am curious to know about it,

    best regards

    • rkma
      February 8, 2017

      Dear Sandeep,

      Please get in touch with Ramakrishna Mission, Delhi in this regard.

      Best wishes, Swami Atmapranananda

  58. Kumar Kavi K
    February 10, 2017

    Pranam Swamiji,

    I have few questions let me ask one by one,

    a) how to keep the taught of spirituality constant when i get up in the morning all my taught about god, renunciation seems to be gone again same old worldly taughts!

    b) sometimes in my dream i get erotic taught and because of that i will have night fall (i am controlling to masturbate myself in my awake state) ,how to control this?

    c) by ignorance i have committed some sins like drinking and smoking how to rectify those sins?

    Thanks Swamiji.

    • Kumar Kavi K
      February 22, 2017

      Swamiji i am expecting answers for my questions?

    • rkma
      February 24, 2017

      Dear Kumar,

      I would prefer to answer in reverse order: c. Swami Vivekananda does not like the work ‘sin’. He understands mistakes. Correct yourself, which you have already done. Now do not brood over those mistakes. b. What happens in dreams cannot be controlled. It is due to our past habits and unconscious mind. Try to control your conscious mind, i.e. during your waking state. And most importantly, do not bother yourself about what happens in dreams. It will slowly go away. a. This is most important and difficult part. To keep ourselves oriented towards spiritual goal throughout the day. We have to analyze as to what keeps us from thinking of God and then tackle those issues. To begin with, every night, before going to bed, go through your days activities – both physical and mental. That will give you a starting point. Also, repeating the name of the Lord throughout the day helps a lot. If possible, read few pages of some holy book like, Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, every night before going to bed.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  59. jaybhaipandey
    February 18, 2017

    Respected Swamiji,
    I am an 18 yr old brahmin boy from allahabad.
    Although i am good in studies as well as sports they don’t appeal much to me.I have read some books on yoga including those of swami vivekanada ,did as directed in them and got some results .But i find it difficult to completely practice yoga in my residence so i would like to enroll in one of your maths to completely become a sanayasi.If you could tell me how to do so i’ll be really thankful.

    • rkma
      February 21, 2017

      Dear Jay,

      We have a center in Allahabad. I would suggest that you visit the same and interact with Swamijis over there. It will help you.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  60. monk543
    February 23, 2017

    Is it true that Swami Vivekananda was against Marriage,Sex and Money.
    I read a quote from a book saying “Marriage and sex and money the only living devils” .

    Then should we not marry?
    Also if we become a monk will we not invite bad karma by not taking responsibility of old parents?

    • nanditas707
      April 11, 2017


      Sex and Money—Kama kanchana are the two forces that lead a spiritual aspirant astray and pave the way to lust, greed and dishonesty. A monk should therefore abstain from these in order to achieve the highest level of perfection in spiritual life.

      However, Gurudev Swami Vivekananda never asked his devotees to renunciate everything and join the order—only those who are interested (those with burning celibacy and complete indifference to worldly pleasures) can join the order. The rest are free to get married, raise family and follow the path of devotion and knowledge staying within the four walls of matrimony. One can perform the 4 Yogas–Karma, Bhakti, Raja and Jnana staying amidst the material world. In fact, he had many householder disciples like Sri Sarat Chandra and Sri Ramkrishna thakur too had many householder disciples like Mahendranath Mahashaya who were married and still performed the four yogas successfully. The underlying meaning is anything in excess is bad for a person and hence one should limit all temporary enjoyments.

      We should learn from the life of Sri Ramakrishna how he had attained the highest level of perfection even though he was married to Maa Sarada. He is an epitome of purity and perfection.

      One can enjoy the materialistic pleasures without getting attached to them for eg: earning money is very important to live a comfortable life and Swamiji insisted on engaging in Karma. The problem arise when money-making becomes our obsession. As I said, anything in excess is harmful for the spiritual life. So, yes you can earn money but keep your eyes focused on your spiritual upliftment. Moreover, one cannot attain perfection by mere abstaining from pleasures while keeping the mind focused on them:

      Sri krishna said in Gita:

      Those who restrain the external organs of action, while continuing to dwell on sense objects in the mind, certainly delude themselves and are to be called hypocrites. (B.G: 3.6)

      However, if you are planning to become a Sanyasi, you should give up all desires for earning money and having sexual relationships. Monasticism is a double-edged sword. You cannot chase monasticism and materialism at the same time. You must give up either of them in order to attain perfection in a particular field.

      Jai Swami Vivekananda.

  61. Suman Nag
    March 9, 2017

    Dear Swamiji.For the past few days i have been reading extensively about the life and practices of swami Vivekananda .I also have seen the video lecture by swami swarvapriyananda on ‘WHO AM I’.For the past few days i think about life a lot.What is our purpose in life?should i be doing what everybody does?who am i really?.I want to lead a life without the sufferings of this mortal world and without the carnal desires which are nothing but Maya.I want to know the eternal truth.I want to be a monk.please help.Currently i am in my B.Tech last year

  62. Suman Nag
    March 9, 2017

    and Swamiji can you please suggest me some books to read

  63. Chiranjit Banerjee
    March 20, 2017

    param pujaniya o nomosya Swamiji
    I am chiranjit banerjee from Baranagar kol-700090 I have completed my B.A from Sri Ramkrishna Vidya Maha Pitha kamarpukur hoogly and M.A from burdwan University (Bengali) Also completed B.M.W (Bachilor of Multimedia & Web Technology) from N.S.O.U soltlake. Swamiji I want to do something for Ramkrishna Seba Ashram as per my ability and want to attend at list 1 single class from Swami sarvapryanandaji Maharaj please guide me jai sri sri Ramakrishnadev jai sri ma jai swami vivekananda.

  64. Animesh Bhowmik
    March 27, 2017

    Is longing for liberation is just , but a desire, like all other material desires of this world ??

  65. tapaskumbhakar
    April 3, 2017

    Swamiji, I’m Tapas Kumbhakar, 23yrs old. Failed in higher secondary school level. Then I pursued for a diploma degree in mechanical engineering. Honestly speaking, I have never been so interested in my academics as I have always wanted to be something and did something else. But the only thing that I have always loved is music. But because of the continuous economical problems, I couldn’t do much about it too. And with time, it seems I’m losing interest over it. But following the Swamiji’s path, I’m leaning to satisfy myself to accept the situation as it is. I’m trying to let go what is out of my control and disturbing my peace of mind. I’m eager to learn Rajayoga. I want to know the ultimate truth. But few things are so disturbing that I can’t find the solution. This are stopping me from concentrating. I’m so distracted. Please Maharaj ji tell me what do I do. I know that I’m eligible to be a monk. I’ve wasted the most of my life doing nothing. I don’t want to waste it anymore. I want to make it worth with what is still left. What do I do? What happens to the family when someone renounces his family(his father and mother) to pursue his spiritual journey? Is it not injustice someway to abandon them at a point when you have some responsibilities towards them? And if he doesn’t renounce his family and practices while being in the family, he needs to work for his family when he will have to meet and talk to the people he shouldn’t. And moreover, he will not feel detached as he will have to manage his time for everything. He might or might not get time to practice meditation. And even if he manages some time to practice, the time will be very limited. What will he do?

    • rkma
      April 29, 2017

      Dear Tapas,

      About your eligibility: You are still young and can easily complete graduation and become eligible. That should not be a problem. Our scriptures have emphasized that one should fulfill one’s duties towards one’s parents. There is only one exception: If one renounces the world for the sake of God, then he/she is absolved of that responsibility. Rest all depends on one’s mental preparation.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  66. tapaskumbhakar
    April 3, 2017

    sorry I mis-typed. I wanted to say that I know that I’m not eligible to be a monk as per sangha’s requirements..

  67. Satadip Ghatak
    April 29, 2017

    Pranam Swamiji,

    I’m Satadip Ghatak (30 Years Old) from Asansol, West Bengal and completed my Master Degree in Energy from IISWBM. Presently associated with Pvt. firm as Manager stationed at Kolkata.

    My family taught me all sorts of good habits. I usually feel proud for this. But now days it have been found that there is no values. Everyone in this world is ready to cheat each other and are also commitment less to his dignity & also to the relationships.

    I want to committed to the truth values.. and like to join as monk. Please guide us.



    • rkma
      May 1, 2017

      Since you live in Kolkata, please contact Belur Math at the following mail id: mail(at)belurmath(dot)org

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

  68. Suvam Banerjee
    June 21, 2017

    Pranam Maharaj,

    Just to give a short introduction about myself before putting across my question. I am Suvam Banerjee, 34 years of age and married. I have done my Masters in Biotechnology and currently based out in Germany in the clinical research field. I have been initiated by Swami GautamanandaJi in 2012 Bangalore Ulsoor math and have been associated with Ramakrishna Vivekananda thoughts and trying my level best to adapt that to my practical life since then.

    Coming to my question, I have visited RKM Kankhal in 2013 and I felt really connected to that place, atmosphere and the Sevashram. Since then I have thought several times to quit my job and be full time associated with math and mission work. I think it has reached a stage now where I want to break the shell and want to integrate myself with RKM movement completely.

    I need your direction and suggestion if there is any possibility for a householder to stay in Ashram premises and be a part of the math/mission activities full time.

    With Love and Regards,
    Suvam Banerjee

    • rkma
      June 27, 2017

      Dear Suvam Banerjee,

      Yes, it is possible for a householder to stay in the Ashrama and serve. He/She will serve as a volunteer with no remuneration or some reasonable honorarium. The decision is made by the head of the institute where s/he wishes to serve. Needless to mention, being a volunteer, s/he will have no claim whatsoever over other benefits like pension, insurance etc. You may contact the Kankhal Sevashrama directly.

      Regards, Swami Atmapranananda

      • Anwesa Chakraborty
        November 20, 2017

        At first take my regards..I am a girl of 23 years age…..I have completed graduation with chemistry honours…..Now I want to be a nun in Ramakrishna Mission…. Kindly tell me what to do????Kind give me the contact no and address of branch to which I can contact voor this reason……

      • rkma
        November 21, 2017

        Namaste. Please go through the below link. It shows the Sharada Math Head Quarters website, you can search for your nearest centres and enquire.


        Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama Fort, Belagavi (Belgaum) – 590016 Karnataka Ph: 0831-2432789, 2430789 Email: belgaum@rkmm.org http://www.rkmissionashrama.org

        On Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 7:15 PM, RAMAKRISHNA MISSION ASHRAMA, BELGAUM wrote:

        > Anwesa Chakraborty commented: “At first take my regards..I am a girl of 23 > years age…..I have completed graduation with chemistry honours…..Now I > want to be a nun in Ramakrishna Mission…. Kindly tell me what to > do????Kind give me the contact no and address of branch to which I ca” >

  69. Harish (@hlharish)
    June 28, 2017

    I am a 32 yr old male living in Bangalore. I am interested in learning more about vedanta philosophy. Could you please suggest the best approach.

  70. Bharath (@BharathJK5)
    July 12, 2017

    Namaste Swamiji,

    I am reading the books of swamy vivekananda,Sri Ramakrushna,Sister Nivedita, Bhagavadgita and upanishads, so i have got inspired to do the social service for full time . Is there any opportunity in the Ramakrushna mission?

  71. amoghavarsharajanna
    July 19, 2017

    Namaste Swamiji,
    I am a 26 year BBM graduate from Mysuru, Karnataka. This is my second query but by far the most important one. I will be completely honest with you, i have a totally sedentary lifestyle without a worry in the world. I have a lot of friends, a loving family and what not. But somehow none of this seems to fit me. I always yearn to know, feel and learn more and even after all the partying and being a social butterfly, i just can’t understand the feeling of emptiness that always lay dormant in me. Thats when swami vivekananda and his ideals came into my life and it has been of immense help. And the scriptures resonate his words that whatever you are looking for is in us and not out there in the world. I think i am quite ready to take up celibacy and become a monk but there in lies the problem. My family will never let me become a sanyasi but i cannot or rather have lost interest in the material things. I do not know how to convience them without breaking their hearts. And there is a second problem, on my quest to find the answers in the world around, abused a few illicit substances and ended up having schizoprenia and psychosis for which i have been under for treatment from the past 5 years. Though the substance abuse was stopped 5 years ago the doctors say that the negative symptoms might manifest again and have furthermore baised me to my spiritual path and want to completely devote my life and surrender to the great lord. And last but not the least, i have my mother’s and sister’s name tattooed on me along with an om in the forearm. With these many conditions am i still able to join you and the fellow sanyasis in the journey of finding the ultimate truth? Eagerly waiting for your reply.
    Thank you.

  72. Kamal Komal
    August 19, 2017

    im 28 and doing phd in nit.i wish to join the mission, but i read that upper age limit is 30, and my research will be over only in 2020. but then i will be over 31.is the age criterion relaxable

  73. S K
    October 14, 2017

    I want to join sannyas… am 32 old from mysore

  74. Ajith K N (@AjithMurthy)
    October 24, 2017

    Dear Swamiji,

    I have two questions?
    1) Why should one renounce family to become a monk? we have examples of so many avadhoot’s who were in family life? (King Janaka was also a family man right?)
    2) Can the state of self realization not happen from dream state as both waking and dream are the same?

    • rkma
      October 25, 2017

      Namaste. Please get in touch with our Haridwar Ashama, the address is : Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama Kankhal – P.O. Haridwar – Dt Uttarakhand – 249 408 Ph: 01334 – 246141 & 244176

      Yours in the Service of the Lord

      Swami Atmapranananda Secreatry

      Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama Fort, Belagavi (Belgaum) – 590016 Karnataka Ph: 0831-2432789, 2430789 Email: belgaum@rkmm.org http://www.rkmissionashrama.org

      On Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 12:22 AM, RAMAKRISHNA MISSION ASHRAMA, BELGAUM wrote:

      > Ajith K N (@AjithMurthy) commented: “Dear Swamiji, I have two questions? > 1) Why should one renounce family to become a monk? we have examples of so > many avadhoot’s who were in family life? (King Janaka was also a family man > right?) 2) Can the state of self realization not happen from dr” >

  75. Kumar Kavi K
    November 6, 2017


    I have a question,

    If god realization is the only aim of life,

    a) If everyone in this world becomes a monk who in this world will grow food, sell grains ,build houses?

    b) Is it wrong to dedicate 24hours of our time to god?

    c) Why does a monk renounce all these things can he not perform the same being in the world by working?

    d) How to realize god as effectively as a monk being an householder?

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