Saturday, 16 January 2016

Belur Math, Kolkata - a fusion of different religions


Ramakrishna Belur Math, Howrah. en.wikipedia.org
Congragtion hall(similar to the
Church) Shrine, Sri Ramakrishna Temple, Belur Math.fvedanta.org 
Belur Ramakrishna Math serves as the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission that have branches across India and in many western countries. Located on the west bank of Hooghly River at Belur, near Kolkata, West Bengal,  India the Mission was founded  by Swami  Swami Vivekananda (Narendra Dutta; 1863-1902), a parivrajaka - wandering monk  and  foremost disciple of 19th century mystic monk  Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-1886) founder of  the math. In his early days he was a priest in the famous Kali temple, Kalighata.
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Ramakrishna Belur Math, Howrah. en.wikipedia.org/
Ramakrishna Math and Mission are two separate organizations  started to impart spiritual knowledge, combining the good aspects of various religions  of the East and West, and the underlying harmony in the context of modern living surpassing caste, race and nationality. The mission highlights on the importance of developing better human faculties, spiritual fulfillment, social equality and societal harmony.

Swami Vivekananda, Belur Muth,Kolkata. wikimapia.orgcommons.wikimedia.org
Belur Math complex (built in 1938), spreading  over forty acres of land  (160,000 m2), in Howrah district, is a  popular pilgrimage  center for people from all over the world professing different religious faith. The Math complex includes  temples  dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, his  wife Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda, where their relics are enshrined, main Monastery of the mission members and a museum. 
An impressing feature of this Math is the  incorporation of  the motifs of various religions, thus symbolizing the confluence and  the harmony of various religious beliefs taught by Sri Ramakrishna. Simply the Math is a secular institution and the focus being humanity and their welfare.   The Belur Math temple was designed by one Swami Vijnanananda, a brother-monk of Swami Vivekananda and a disciple  of Ramakrishna, who in his poorvashrama (in the pre-monastic life) was  a civil engineer, in accordance with the wish of Swami Vijnanananda. Prior to the construction of this math and the complex, Swami Vivekananda visited various religious institutions in different states including Tamil Nadu. He also visited many European countries and America. This helped him to come up with a unique  religious institution at Belur, incorporating Indian as well as Gothic  and other building styles.
Sri Ramakrishna Temple, Belur Math,Kolkata. Christmas eve.
www.anirbansaha.co
The ground plan of the temple is in the shape of a cross; the tall structures - towers or gopurams follow the temples of south India. windows, hanging balconies  and the umbrella shaped domes on top are influenced by Rajput and Mogul styles ; front part of the building incorporates Buddhists architectural features. The height of the temple is  112.5 feet (34.3 m), spreading over  112.5 feet (34.3 m). The wide parikrama path / prakara on all sides of the garbhamandira (sanctum sanctorum) is modeled after Buddhist chaityas and Christian Churches.

Swami Vivekananda Temple is built  on the spot where  his  mortal remains were cremated in 1902 as per Hindu rites and the temple was consecrated on 28 January 1924.

The Ramakrishna mission is engaged in numerous social activities in many places,  including rural India such as medical  treatment for the poor, educational institutions, etc. According to the the mission the Belur Math is, " a symphony in architecture'' - symbolic of secularism
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Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belur_Math

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