Swami Bhashyananda

His Mission...Part 1- Introduction

In 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, Buddha, Muhammad 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, Sri 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.

As history 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".

For Swami 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 around again.

After 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 to accomplish.

It 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.

Slowly, 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.

India 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.

By 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.

It 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

Part 2 - A Center Grows Swami Bhashyananda Index