the sphere of human affairs and history, there have always been
a few individuals, scattered here and there throughout history,
that have a "mission" for humanity as a whole. One thinks
of Jesus Christ,
and in more recent times, Sri Ramakrishna
when considering such souls. There are others who come who have
a "mission" that often appears more regional in nature.
One thinks of St
Franscis of Assisi, Zoraster,
Chaitanya and others as souls of this kind. But they all have
one thing in common, they help to reconnect the human societies
of their day with higher conceptions of reality and better ways
to live in relationship to that reality.
unfolds, the great human trends we see are often connected with the
comings and goings of these giants of the past. In their wake come many
who also participate in the "mission" - men and women of noble
character take up the cause and continue the work set out by those who
have gone before them. This too is "mission".
Bhashyananda, his work here in America, his mission here, carries
us into the past, into the lives and times of Sri
Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda and Sannyasini
Gauri Ma. From the overall mission of human upliftment, the hallmark
of the appearance of such souls, there were also specific wishes
and conceptions, in regards to helping humanity that were envisioned.
Some of these were achieved and others not. It is here that we
see something of the greatness that works in the lives of saints
and sages. Whatever such souls desire to see achieved, it is said,
must happen sooner or later. As we shall see, Swami Bhashyananda
was involed in the fulfillment of a noble wish from the past -
a desire that needed fulfillment - an idea whose time had come
many years of training and experience in India, after sitting at the
feet of his own Guru, Swami Virajananda and others among the great holy
men of the Ramakrishna Mission in his day, Swami Bhashyananda was sent
to the United States. Soon after, he came to Chicago and there, over
the course of more than 30 years, started the life work that was his
had been close to 80 years since the great Indian holy man, Sri Ramakrishna
had left the world. Sri Ramakrishna's partner in the great spiritual
ministry that had begun, Sri Sarada Devi, had left in 1920. Swami Vivekananda
had left in 1902 and Sannyasini Gauri Ma, the first monastic disciple
of Sri Ramakrishna and founder of the Sri Sri Saradeshwari Ashram (Calcutta),
a womens monsatic order, had passed on in 1938.
the spiritual force of Sri Ramakrishna and his intimate associates was
having an effect on the world. Whenever such great souls come, they
have an effect that carries on long after they leave us. Their teachings
and methods roll down through the years and help humanity to grow and
develop, often in new ways.
had become transformed through the influence of this spiritual wave
and lofty teachings with practical applications we're spreading beyond
India's borders into the world at large. In America, starting with some
of the monastic disciples of Sri Ramakrishna and continueing with others
who came after them, new and inspiring spiritual ideas were percolating
into the American west.
1965, the year Swami Bhashyananda came to assume leadership of the Vedanta
Society of Chicago, the teachings and inspiration of Sri Ramakrishna,
Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda had been active and alive in American
culture. Centers in California and New York had become large and well
established, under the capable guidance and efforts of several generations
of swamis from the Ramakrishna Mission.
was now time for Chicago, in the heart of the Midwest, to become active
in the overall "plan", the overall mission. The spiritual
wave that began with Sri Ramakrishna would now become more active in
Chicago and Ganges