Átmano mokshártham jagad hitáya cha, 'For one's own salvation and for the welfare of the world'

Ashrama History

Some youths and devotees of Jalpaiguri , inspired by Swami Vivekanand's work and worship, service to mankind and self-realization, formed a ‘Patha-Chakra’ (Study-Circle) in a rented house  at Kadamtala of Jalpaiguri town in 1928  to discuss  the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.   This was the first initiation of some people of Jalpaiguri to establish an Ashrama wherein lonely Dhyana, Japa and Study Circle  on the lives of Holy Trio would be held. The matter had been later very much highlighted in the history of Jalpaiguri

( Jalpaigurir Itihas, page 329 written by Sri Umesh Sharma, a Historian. Later, in 1933, under the active initiative, leadership and guidance of Swami Vimalananda, a  disciple of Swami Abhedananda, the study-circle took form of an Ashrama at the present site in Ashrampara , earlier the name was Tambari on a  land measuring 6 Bigha 12 kathas  being gifted by Daga familily . Satyaprakash Roy (Nanibabu), Dr. Sachin Mukhopadhyay , Manindranath Roy, Rakhal Das Neogi, Hemanta Basu, Dr. Abanidhar Neogi, Dr. Dhirajmohan Sen, Satyendraprosad Roy, Birenrendra  Chandra Ghosh  were some notable youths. Sri Dulichand Maheshri and Ramananda Daga gifted many lands  in favour of the Ashrama ( From the writings of Sri Charu Chandra Sanyal, notable Doctor, Resercher and the receipient of Rabindra Puraskar in Jalpaiguri District Centenary Smarak Book , published in September, 1970)

Gradually, the local Ashrama took shape of a full fledged Ashrama with one temple  cum prayer hall, library, students' home, kitchen cum dining space and a thatched small cottage for the Secretary and cowshed  on the northern side of the pond in front of the Ashrama. 

Swami Vimalananda  was the founder Secretary of this centre. In 1941, this Ashrama got affiliation of  the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math  as a branch centre  and became one of the most important branch centers of North Bengal.  

Swami Vedhasananda became the Secretary after Swami Vimalananda who was a disciple of Swami Shivananda. He held the post of secretary up to first quarter of 1958. During his period, in 1954, the foundation of the main temple was laid by the then President, Swami Shankarananda. Swami Vedhasananda undertook the construction work, but could complete only the plinth portion of the -temple.

After affiliation of the local mission centre , the present dispensary building of Mission Road was constructed. The piece of land was allotted by the Government of West Bengal . The  first floor of the present dispensary building was constructed  with the financial help  of Sri Birendra Chandra Ghosh. He donated money in memory of his mother late Subhasini Ghosh. A maternity wing alongwith other works of dispensary was situated in that building.

Swami Vagalananda took charge of the centre in the second quarter of 1959. He, a disciple of Swami Shivananda, undertook  the construction work of the incomplete temple after assuming the charge  as the  third secretary . In May, 1961, the main temple was inaugurated  by Swami Yatishwarananda,  Vice-President  of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission.  From 1961 " Sharadiya Durga Puja"  was introduced in this Ashrama. Swami Gourishwarananda, a deciple of Holy Mother Sarada Devi, acted as Tantra Dharaka and Brahmachari Bimal was the first Pujari.  Swami Mitrananda took charge as the fourth Secretary  for a few months  in 1965. Later on, Swami Ijyananda, a deciple of Swami Vijnanananda took charge of this centre as the fifth Secretary  in mid 1965. During his period (1965-75) the biggest  Bangladesh  Relief Operation was conducted by the local Mission Centre. A relief camp of refugees from East Pakisthan  was run by this Ashrama for one year during 1971-72. The camp was situated  at earst-while  East Pakisthan Border, presently Bangladesh, in village Sakati, with a population of 38,000. During this period, the biggest  flood relief work due to devastated flood  of Jalpaiguri in  1968  was conducted by Belur Math alongwith the  Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Jalpaiguri. 

In 1974 Swami Ijyananda shifted the entire charitable  dispensary  to the present premises from the main campus of the Ashrama  and the former dispensary building was converted into a library cum  free reading room , covering the surrounding open Verhandas( outer spaces).

Swami Riddhananda who is the disciple of Swami Virajananda took charge as the sixth Secretary from the middle of 1975.During  his period (1975-91), the old monks quarters on the left side of the temple was demolished and in that place, a new monks’ quarters with three rooms were constructed. Also, The temple Bhander, reading room attached to the Library Building, two rooms at the top of the Library Building with the financial assistance of the Government of West Bengal were constructed. A good number of relief activities were also conducted .

Swami Prabhakarananda, a disciple of Swami Yatishwarananda took charge as the seventh Secretary of this centre in May 1991. He stayed in the Ashrama till his leaving for Ramakrishnaloka i.e. up to April 1996. After assuming charge of this Ashrama, he wanted to give a new shape to this Ashrama and started the work in a planned way. Major repair and renovation work of the temple, dispensery building, library building were undertaken and construction work of a new students' home building, new kitchen cum dining hall, new Sadhu Niwas "Sarada Kutirs"- two sadhana kutirs-Adbhutananda and Turiyananda kutir, cowshed, agricultural shed etc. were started.  One pathological laboratory within the existing charitable dispensary was also opened. A long-awaited boundary wall was also constructed during this period.

Swami Lokanathananda assumed the charge of this Ashrama as the eighth secretary after the sudden demise of Swami Prabhakarananda in April 1996. During his period, the construction of boundary walls and agricultural shade were completed. A large scale relief works including flood relief works were undertaken in Jalpaiguri and in Coochbehar districts bordering Assam state.

Swami Gahanananda, Vice President of Ramakrishna Math and Mission, Belur Math, inaugurated the students' home and dining cum kitchen building in 1997. The buildings were constructed with the financial assistance of the Government of West Bengal, Jalpaiguri Zilla Parishad, Dooars Branch Indian Tea Association, Integrated Fire Protection Pvt. Ltd and other devotees and well-wishers.

Swami Akshyananda, a disciple of  Swami Vireshwaranandaji, took the charge of this centre as ninth Secretary in the year 2000. During his time,  construction to the new Library cum Reading Room  and Assembly Hall on the first floor of the Building , Office block cum Monks Quarters, Main Gate , Public Toilet (Sasti sadan)  and First Floor of Kitchen Block and Hostel buildings were completed. Matri Bhavan of Siliguri had been initiated for taking up during his period. He arranged for excavation of a new pond. Construction to the  Vivekananda Sabhagriha –a  Multipurpose  Hall and Vivekananda Smriti Bhavan  had been started. Construction of Concreat Road from main gate to the temple was constructed and also concrete chilchalling of guard walls of the  Pond were made  during his time. Part of Boundary Walls was constructed and shed of Goshala was made during this period. Maharaj arranged  for huge tree plantation  like Betel Nut (Supari), Coconut(Narkel) and  a garden  for Bay Leaves(Tejpata) in the compound.

 

Foundation of Charitable Dispensary,1937

In the year 1937, the dispensary building was inaugerated. It was constructed with the financial assistance of the Daga Family of Jalpaiguri Town. Dr. Sachindra Nath Mukherjee, a great social worker of Jalpaiguri was the first honorary doctor of this charitable  dispensary. After his death, it was known as Sachindra Charitable dispensary with the financial help of his family. Now it is known as Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama Charitable Dispensary.

In Ashrampara, Sachindra Charitable clinics or dispensary had been developed at the charity and generosity of Dr. Sachindranath Mukherjee in Ashrampara later it was transformed  as Ramakrishna Mission Charitable Dispensary. Renowned Tea Planter Sri Birendra Chandra Ghosh donated a large amount of money  in memory of his wife Smt. Suvasini Devi.

( Sri Umesh Sharma in Jalpaigurir Itihas, page 329).  

 

Students Hostel construction in 1951
In 1951, new student’s hostel was founded  infront of the present temple.Swami Vedhashananda, a direct deciple of Swami Shivananda,was then then Secretary of Ashrama. 

Laying the Foundation Stone of New Temple, 1961

In 1953, Most Revered Swami Shankarananda, Seventh President stepped at the Ashrama  and laid the foundation stone of New Temple .

Construction of New Temple and its inauguration,1959

 In 1959, Swami Vagalananda, deciple of Swami Shivananda,  came in Jalpaiguri  as third Secretary  and during his period , new form of temple had been erected by dint of active participation of specialized Engineer Sri Gopen Sarkar of Martin Burn & Company duly assisted by  Sri Mani Sarkar and Amarbabu. Tea Planter Satyendra Prosad Roy, Sri Birendra Chandra Ghosh and Sri Khirod Chandra Sanyal , Income Tax Officer  and innumerable number of devotees of different parts of Jalpaiguri and North Bengal extended their support spontaneously.  Sri Sunil Kumar Ghosh made artistic depiction in front of Garbhagriha. Sri Mani Pal, renowned artist , Kolkata prepared the idol of Sri Ramakrishna  and  Revered Swami Shuklananda (Kalidas Maharaj) had arranged for taking the idol taken from Kolkata by Air.

( from the writings of Sri Nemai Ch Kundu)

Finally, on 28th April,1961, Friday, 15th Baishakh, 1368 ,  idol of Bhagawan Sri Ramakrishna was placed  at the saffron coloured lotus platform  in the newly constructed temple. A grand procession was made  on the previous day and the memory of this colourful  and decorated procession  by the people irrespective of cast, creed and position. A large number of monastic members  remained present during this programme. Revered Swami Yatishwaranandaji Maharaj came and after ritual performances, Maharaj consecrated the statue of Sri Sri Ramakrishna before all. Revered Swami Prameyananda Maharaj( Ramgopal Maharaj) also came during that time and remained present at the temple with Swami Yatishwaranandaji Maharaj . In the evening, Swami Yatishwaranandaji Maharaj, Swami Apurbanandaji Maharaj and Swami Niramayanandaji Maharaj made spiritual discourses in a grand gathering . The then President of the Managing Committee, Sri Satyendra Prosad Roy gave vote of thanks to the guests. At night , Kalipuja was held. Revered Swami Dhyanatmanandaji Maharaj was priest. On 29th April, in a spiritual discussion, Swami Dhyanatmanandaji Maharaj, Swami Apurbanandaji Maharaj and Swami  Mritynjayanandaji Maharaj  gave lectueres and Sri Subir Bandopadhyay of Bankura performed songs.

( from the writings of  Sri Tapan Ghosh).

In this year,1961, worship of Mother Durga was  held in Ashrama. Revered Vagalanandaji Maharaj was  Secretary of Ashrama. Sri Netai Paul, renowned Potter (Mritshilpi) of Jalpaiguri started making of Idol on the day of Janmashtami. Managing Committee Members , named Satyendra Prosad Roy, Manindra Nath Roy, Atul Roy, Biru Majumder, Maturam Sing, Birendra Chandra Ghosh and Manindra Mohan  Sarkar  came forward  before Maharaj .

( from the writings of Sri Deb Kumar Ghosh) 

Revered Swami Gourishwaranandaji Maharaj (Ramamay Maharaj) was Tantradharaka.

At that time, Maharaj was Secretary of Ramakrishna Misssion Ashrama, Lukhnow. Revered  Swami Nirbaiananda Maharaji was main priest.

( from the writings of Nemai Kundu)

 

Area of Ashrama expanded, 1966

 In 1966, Bangshidhar Daga of Daga family of Jalpaiguri town donated their entire ‘Bagan Bari’ to Ashrama Authority.  Presently, Total area of  land of this centre is about 14 Acres.

Here the short and valuable information of our centre,  collected  from different writings . It would be worthwhile to mention here that Jalpaiguri district witnessed a devastated flood on  5th October,1968  and huge information have been lost forever.