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TOWARDS THE GOAL History of the Vedanta Movement in Australia And The Vedanta Centre of Sydney

Mrs. Vandana Sarathy Dr. Rajeev Ramakrishna Sydney, NSW, Australia


Published by Chitkala Centre 12 A Fletcher Avenue Blackehurst, NSW 2221, Australia

All rights reserved First Edition: 2009

All the proceeds of this book go to the Vedanta Centre of Sydney

Printed in Australia

Price : AU $ 10.00


PREFACE The Vedanta Movement, initiated by Swami Vivekananda in the last decade of the nineteenth century, had inspired many countries in the world. The purpose of this book is to present as far as our knowledge goes, the developmental stages of the history of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Movement in Australia in general and the history of the Vedanta Centre of Sydney in particular, as Sydney is the nucleus of the Vedanta Movement in Australia. The importance of the history of the Vedanta Movement in Australia lies in the study of its growth, its ups and downs and the strife and struggles encountered by the pioneers in the early stages, especially in implanting the Hindu ideology in a foreign soil. Several decades later when human memory fades, this book may be of great value as a true history of how the movement started in this far away land. This may inspire and encourage others to carry on this ideal further. We have been with the Vedanta Movement in Australia for the last thirty- four years, since 1975. We are fortunate to have Dr. B. Ramakrishna and Mrs. Kanaka Ramakrishna as our parents, who are the initiated devotees of The Ramakrishna Order, and the founders of the Vedanta Centre of Sydney. They have been closely associated with the Ramakrishna Mission for more than sixty years. We are deeply indebted to them for their relentless work for many decades for the Vedanta Centre of Sydney. We thank them for prviding resource materials like written records, photographs and personal correspondence with the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Order. We would like to express our profound gratitude and thanks to Swami Smaranananda, the Vice-President, Ramakrishna


Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, Kolkata, for taking time in spite of his busy schedule of work, to read the manuscript and authenticate the contents of the book and write the Foreword and his blessings for the publication of this book. We would like to extend our special thanks and gratitude to Swami Damodarananda and Swami Sridharananda for their continued moral support and blessings. We are also thankful to Swami Atmeshananda and Swami Chandrashekharananda for their invaluable feed back and suggestions and for providing some rare photographs and also for their help in bringing out this book. It is twenty five years since the Vedanta Centre of Sydney was started. We are privileged to be involved with it since its start in 1984. As such, we have the first hand knowledge of all the events and persons involved with it. We have tried to present the history objectively. There could still be some persons or events we might have missed out for which we sincerely apologise. We offer our humble salutations to all those who have contributed in whatever manner or measure, towards the development of the Movement.

10 October 2009

Mrs.Vandana Sarathy Dr. Rajeev Ramakrishna


CONTENTS Subject Preface Foreword

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Page No. … i … iii

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…15 …19 …21 …23

Introduction: What is Vedanta? Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Sarada Devi. Swami Vivekananda.

1 3 6 9

Chapter I Origin of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission Ramakrishna Math … … … Ramakrishna Mission … … … Ramakrishna Order … … … Emblem of the Ramakrishna Mission … Chapter II Swami Vivekananda and the origin of the Vedanta Movement … The Vedanta Movement in Australia: Early Years. Mrs. E. Pickett … … … … Sister Avabhamia … … … … James Wales … … … …

…27 …28 …28 …29 …29

Chapter III The Vedanta Movement in Australia: Establishment …35


Subject Swami Ranganathananda … … Mrs. Vilma Spencer … … … Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of Perth … Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of NSW … Ramakrishna Sarada Vedanta Society of NSW Pravrajika Ajayaprana … … …

Page No. … 35 … 37 … 39 … 41 … 45 … 45

Chapter IV The Vedanta Movement in Australia: Growth Founding of the Vedanta Centre of Sydney Dr. B. Ramakrishna & Mrs. Kanaka Ramakrishna The visit of Swami Smaranananda …

… 49 … 51 … 51 … 61

Chapter V Affiliation of Vedanta Centre of Sydney. Swami Sridharananda … … Sub-centres … … …

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… 69 … 69 … 81

Chapter VI The present and the future

… 84

APPENDICES Swami Ranganathananda … … … Swami Damodarananda … … … Swami Sridharananda … … … Mrs. Vilma Spencer … … … Dr. B. Ramakrishna … … … Mrs. Kanaka Ramakrishna … … … Swamis who visited the Vedanta Centre of Sydney A few rare photo collection … … … References … … … …

… 91 … 95 … 99 …101 …103 …105 …109 …114 …116


Sri Ramakrishna. “Pray with a sincere and simple heart and your prayers will be heard.�


Sri Sarada Devi “The purpose of life is fulfilled only when one is able to give


joy to another.”

Swami Vivekananda “Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success and above all—love.”


INTRODUCTION


Towards the Goal