Ramakrishna Math, Thrissur
Ramakrishna Math, Thrissur
(A Branch Centre of Ramakrishna Math, Belur Math)
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Brief History of Sri Ramakrishna Math, Puranattukara, Thrissur

It is no small fortune to be the instrument in spreading the message of an Avatara, an Incarnation of God. This uncommon prospect is as enlightening to the transmitter as to the recipient because grace of God prompts both. Swami Vivekananda once wrote from America to a brother-disciple : “Whoever, at this great spiritual juncture, will stand up with a courageous heart and go on spreading from door to door, from village to village, his (Sri Ramakrishna’s) message, is alone my brother, and a son of his.” It was that rare privilege of disseminating the message in Kerala’s cultural capital that fell to the lot of Krishna Menon who later became Swami Tyagisananda.

 

In 1915, Sri Appan Thampuran, a senior member of the Royal Family of Kochi, led an enthusiastic group of people in forming Vivekodayam Samajam, a small social outfit centered at Thrissur to revive the Hindu society. In its inaugural year, the Samajam celebrated the 80th birthday of Sri Ramakrishna and its commemorating the subsequent birthday anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna was grander with public feeding and colourful procession in Thrissur town. The celebration was marked by the royal participation of Ramavarma Thampuran, the 9th prince of Kochi.


The Samajam soon found an able helping hand in Sri Krishna Menon, one of its member and a lawyer by profession, and entrusted him with the responsibility of managing its Vivekodayam High School as its headmaster. Krishna Menon was glad to take up the new assignment, leaving the legal occupation which clashed with his standard of Truth acquired partly by his acquaintance with Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature. In 1924, an unprecedented flood wrecked havoc in Thrissur. The headquarters of Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission at Belur launched relief operations at the affected areas and Krishna Menon took part in the welfare service wholeheartedly. Krishna Menon was inspired by the ‘man-making’ and wholesome teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda and the Ramakrishna Movement’s dictum of ‘Sivajnane Jeevaseva’ (Serving Man as God). As he was motivated by a senior swami of the Ramakrishna Order to alleviate sufferings among the impoverished Harijans in Thrissur region, Krishna Menon ventured into the field of uplifting the poor and downtrodden. To start his welfare activity, he chose Puranattukara, a place inhabited mostly by Harijans.

Beginning of Sri Ramakrishna Math at Thrissur

In 1927, Krishna Menon founded the Sri Ramakrishna Gurukulam at Puranattukara with two little girls belonged to the Vettuva community among the Harijans. Harijan boys followed suit and in course of time boys from other communities including Naboodiri also joined the Gurukulam. Thus a Gurukula Vidyamandiram for boys and Matru Mandiram for girls were formally inaugurated on 1st June, 1927 at Puranattukara. The plot where the Gurukulam situated was duly purchased in 1930.

 

It was then in 1929 that the Ramakrishna Order took over these welfare activities along with the land. The new branch was addressed as Sri Ramakrishna Math, Puranattukara, Vilangan, Thrissur. Soon after,Krishna Menon was initiated into the vows of Brahmacharya and named Brahmachari Akhandachaitanya. Later in 1932, he was initiated into Sannyasa and named Tyagisananda. Apparently we had reached a great height in the atmosphere, for the sky was a dead black, and the stars had ceased to twinkle. By the same illusion which lifts the horizon of the sea to the level of the spectator on a hillside, the sable cloud beneath was dished out, and the car seemed to float in the middle of an immense dark sphere, whose upper half was strewn with silver.

Important Activities of the Math

Training in Sanskrit and Weaving, Stone Quarry Society, Honey-Making Unit etc. were the subsidiary activities of the new Math. In addition to these, the Math began spiritual classes (Antaryogam) for aspirants and Srimad Swami Ranganathananda became instrumental in advancing similar activities at the Math.

 

The Gurukula Vidya Mandiram which started with first and second classes has now become a higher secondary school with more than 2000 students. An alumni association which has been active in the 86-year-old school has recently been revivified and given fresh impetus. Gurukulam hostel has now about 40 inmates belonging to classes from 5 to 10. The Math has built houses for hundreds of poor families at different times and still continues to contribute to underprivileged sections of society and destitute. Agriculture was another key area of activity which supplied with necessary farm products for the inmates.

Temple

All activities of the Math have been conducted as an offering to Sri Ramakrishna and it was in 1966 that a magnificent temple of Sri Ramakrishna was constructed at the Math. Built during the 100th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda, the temple with a cement statue of Sri Ramakrishna was inaugurated by Srimad Swami Vireswaranandaji Maharaj, the then President of Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission. The cement statue was later replaced by a marble one contributed by Srimad Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj, the then President of Ramakrishna Order. The marble statue was consecrated by Srimad Swami Gahananandaji Maharaj, the then Vice-President.


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