Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission at Mangalore is a branch of the worldwide organization, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission started by Swami Vivekananda with the motto of “service of God in man’” With this ideal we are striving “for the good of many and for the welfare of many”.

Our Ramakrishna Math is situated in the auspicious neighbourhood of the ancient temple of Goddess Mangaladevi in Mangaluru, a beautiful coastal city nestling between the rolling hills of the Western Ghats and the Arabian sea. Sprawling across seven acres of land with hundreds of trees and plants, the ashram complex reflects an ambience of peace and tranquillity and provides a place of solace to the members of the monastic order, the students, visitors and the devotees.

The history of the Math dates back to the ‘Parivrajaka’ days of Swami Vivekananda. Some young students from Mangalore, Shrinivas Pai and his friends met Swami Vivekananda when he visited Madras as a wandering ascetic in the year 1892. They were deeply influenced by him and when they returned from Madras after their studies, they founded an organization called “Vivekananda Society” in Mangalore to promote and spread the ideologies of Swamiji.

Under this organization, they tried to propagate the teachings of Swami Vivekananda and his spiritual master Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa by organizing many public celebrations and awareness programs. In connection with this, they organized a three-day lecture series by Revered Swami Yatishwaranandaji Maharaj in Mangalore on 11th February 1927. People were greatly inspired by Revered Swamiji’s talks. A public meeting was held at Canara School in the year 1932 where Mr Srinivas Pai shared his memories of meeting Swami Vivekananda before and after Swamiji’s visit to America.

There seemed to be a revival of interest in the people, especially the youth of Mangalore with adherence to Swami Vivekananda’s messages of harmony of religions, potential divinity of every soul, the welfare of humanity, education of the masses and so on.

Sahukar Venkatesh Pai was one such person who was greatly influenced by the ideals of Swami Vivekananda. In the year 1940, he and his friends started a ‘Balakashram’, a free hostel for boys from the poor financial background which catered to their need for education, food and shelter. In the later days, Balakashram was administered by Hindu Seva Sangha Trust.

There was an increasing demand from the people to establish a centre of Ramakrishna Math in Mangalore. To fulfil the aspirations of the people, thanks to the efforts of Rao Bahadur Dr Keshava Pai & other devoted friends, the Headquarters in Belur Math sent Swami Vimalanandaji to Mangalore and the Ramakrishna Math was founded in a small rented house in the neighbourhood of Lalbhag in Mangalore city on 3rd June 1947.

Accompanied by a few Brahmacharis, Swamiji carried on various spiritual activities such as daily worship, prayers and spiritual discourses. Initially, Swami Vimalanandaji Maharaj delivered his lectures in English but very soon he learnt Kannada and started giving talks in the Kannada language as well. The profound Scriptural knowledge of Swamiji and his total commitment to the betterment of the Math and the devotees contributed extensively to the propagation of Ramakrishna – Vivekananda ideologies among the people.

Meanwhile, Sahukar Venkatesh Pai who was running the ‘Balakashram’ with his peer group made a very generous offer of handing over the Balakashram to the Ramakrishna Mission along with a beautiful property of seven acres of land consisting of an elegant mansion and a few other buildings. Hence, on 11th August 1951, the Balakashram along with the property was handed over to the Ramakrishna Order. The Ramakrishna Mission took care of the Balakashram and the Ramakrishna Math looked after all the spiritual activities of the centre.

A few months later Swami Adidevanandaji Maharaj was appointed as the new head of the Mangalore centre. Now under the Ramakrishna Mission the Balakashram boys, along with their regular schooling, received personality development training enabling them to lead a life of moral, ethical and spiritual values.

Owing to the medical needs of the local people, the Mission started a charitable medical care centre on the premises of the ashram on 30th April 1955. Very soon the dispensary with its finest medical doctors gained popularity among the people of the surrounding area.

As years rolled by, the strength of the boys at the Balakashram increased and this created a need for a bigger space. The new Balakashram building was constructed commemorating the hundredth birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda in the year 1963.

This centenary memorial had big dormitories and classrooms to cater to the needs of the boys residing there. The building had large open halls to conduct lectures and spiritual retreats for the devotees of the ashram.

Swami Adidevanandaji was proficient in Kannada, English and Sanskrit Languages. He delivered lectures regularly in many educational institutions and public gatherings and was instrumental in promoting the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Ramakrishna Mission. While he was in Mangalore he translated various scriptures such as Gita, Upanishads, and Prakarana Granthas from Sanskrit to Kannada which has been his great contribution to Kannada literature.

In the year 1966, Swami Vijnanandaji Maharaj was appointed as the new president of the centre. He carried on the activities of the Math with unconditional love towards all. He was loved and respected by all the devotees, the students of the Balakashram and the monks of the order for his simplicity and his compassionate nature. It was during his time that more and more devotees came to the Math and got themselves involved in its activities. He too contributed immensely to spreading the life and teachings of Ramakrishna – Vivekananda by giving inspiring talks at many schools, colleges and also in public gatherings.

In the year 1981, Swami Sundanandaji Maharaj was appointed as the new head of the centre. Even before he became the president, Swamiji had played a major role in the development of the Math, ever since the time, it got shifted to the current premises from its earlier rented location. He was the motivation behind the construction of Mission’s dispensary. His interest in gardening led to the growth of the huge green cover in the Math premises.

Swami Sundanandaji was instrumental in conducting various activities such as spiritual and moral classes for children, summer camps for students, teachers’ workshops etc. Under his leadership, the ‘Ramakrishna Balavrinda’ was started to impart value education to local children and these classes were held on Sundays in a devotee’s residence at Mannagudda Mangalore. A group of female devotees inspired by the spiritual ideas of the Holy Trio formed a non-formal group known as Sharada Mahila Vrinda under the guidance of Swamiji to carry on spiritual practices such as bhajans, prayer meet, chanting and various other devotional activities at the Math.

Swami Sundanandaji by his benevolent and gracious nature became very dear to the students and all the devotees. The Balakashram boys fondly called him “Warden Swamiji”. He certainly has a very special place in the history of the Ramakrishna Math, Mangaluru.

Swami Purnakamanandaji Maharaj took charge of the Math in the year 1998 right after Swami Sundanandaji. Continuing all the spiritual, cultural and developmental activities initiated by his predecessors, Swamiji worked wholeheartedly for the welfare of the ashram. Under his supervision, a very beautiful bookstall was constructed on the premises containing a wide range of literature on Vedanta philosophy propagated by Swami Vivekananda.

Swami Purnakamanandaji was the inspiration behind the magnificent bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda erected on the exact spot at the ashram which was very dear to Swami Sundanandaji Maharaj where he would sit every evening talking to the devotees. During the tenure of Swami Purnakamanandaji as the president of the Math, a very splendid structure ‘Swami Vivekananda Auditorium’ was constructed to commemorate the golden jubilee year of the Mangalore Ramakrishna Ashram. This imposing building has two floors and a basement with a surface area of 20,000 square feet. It consists of a huge auditorium, guest rooms, library, reading room and many other amenities. The complete financing of this construction came up to Rs. 1.2 crores was borne by the devotees, the alumni and the other generous well-wishers of the Math. The auditorium was sanctified and inaugurated by the most Revered Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj, the then President of the Order on the auspicious day of Chandramana Ugadi on 26th March 2001.

After nurturing the Math with all his heart and soul Swami Purnakamanandaji handed over his responsibilities to his successor Swami Jitakamanandaji on 15th August 2010.

Swami Jitakamanandaji entered the life of renunciation at a young age being profoundly influenced by the teachings of the Holy Trio and the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. After embracing the monastic order, he served at Thrissur and Kalady ashrams in Kerala. Swamiji served in the Balakashram of Ramakrishna Mission Mangaluru for sixteen long years. He has guided numerous students towards excellence by promoting their holistic well-being. He has travelled extensively all over the state giving talks on various topics ranging from spirituality, human values, ethics and the importance of moral education.

Under the auspices of the Ramakrishna ashram Mangaluru, Swami Jitakamanandaji is striving to integrate spiritual practices with humanitarian service keeping up with the main ideal of the Order, “Service to mankind is service to God”. Mangaluru Math has expanded its horizon of service through various activities under his guidance. The ashram has become a place of solace for the spiritual aspirants who come here to take shelter in the teachings of the Ramakrishna Movement.

Under the guidance of Swami Jitakamanandaji, the Ashrama has undertaken several novel initiatives like Swacch Mangaluru Abhiyan, State Level Youth conventions, Mega Cultural events for the promotion of local art & culture, Value Inculcation seminars for students, youths and lecturers etc. He has visited hundreds of educational institutions upon invitation. The Ashrama at Mangalore has been recognized for its noble contribution to society by the Dakshina Kannada Dist. administration by Rajyotsava Award in 2012, the prestigious Erya Award in 2013 and U Srinivasa Mallya Award by Mangalore city Corporation in 2019 & “Amrita Mahotsava State Award” during Kannada Rajyotsava 2021. Swamiji is a much sought-after speaker and thinker.