It was one Saturday afternoon when we went to the Ramkrishna Math in Khar West, Bombay. For people who hail from Calcutta, Ramkrishna Math has a special relevance.
Way back in 1897, an enlightened man, who had earned the reverence of the entire world with his vision and religiosity, had started an Indian religious organisation, which forms the core of a worldwide spiritual movement known as the Ramakrishna Movement or the Vedanta Movement. This young liberated man was Swami Vivekananda and he built this mission after and inspired by the Indian saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
For a person who has beautiful childhood memories of Dakshineswar Kali Temple, the place that amazingly amalgamates religiosity and humanism, the abode of Sri Ramkrishna, beside his Kali Temple, where Vivekananda often frequented, Ramkrishna Math is the perfect address for a retreat.
Even my mother who often complains about the business sheen of uber urbanity of Bombay city was relived to discover a trace of her good old Calcutta amidst the chaos of the Maratha land.
The main mandir with the statues of Ramkrishna in the centre and Vivekananda and Ma Sharada reverberated an essence of extraordinary calm. It was like we were transported to a territory of peace far away from a world of materialism and avarice. One does not have to be religious to respond to the call. You automatically bow down in reverence in such an ambience.
The vegetarian lunch that followed satiated us and all the others who had visited the Math for reasons unknown.
Before leaving as we were taking a stroll at the campus, we were amazed to witness the lush greenery amidst the concrete structure of our city lives.
We could finally breathe and feel incredibly alive in such an ambience.
It’s rightly said that we don’t find God when we seek religion, we imbibe such an essence from the company we keep, from the surroundings we grow up in.
We parted with the promise of coming back again and again.