Vedanta literally means the end ('anta') of the Vedas, the oldest and the principal scripture of Hinduism, that contains eternal truths revealed to the ancient sages of India. It is a religious philosophy based on the Upanishads, the 'knowledge' portion of the Vedas, that teaches that man's real nature is divine, that the true object of human life is to unfold and manifest this divinity, and that truth is universal.
Vedanta is characterized by a belief in one God who has both 'transcendental' (un-manifested) and 'immanent' (manifested) aspects. God-vision can be obtained, or in other words, the divinity within us can be manifested, by controlling our nature, internal and external, and through paths (yoga) of knowledge (Jnana-yoga), selfless work (Karma-yoga), devotion (Bhakti-yoga), and psychic control and meditation (Raja-yoga).
Vedanta accepts all religions of the world as true and reveres their great prophets and teachers because it recognizes the same divine inspiration in all and believes that all faiths are but different paths leading to the same God.
Reference: Vrajaprana, Pravrajika. Vedanta - A Simple Introduction.
What is the Ramakrishna Order?
The Ramakrishna Order, named after Sri Ramakrishna, the Prophet of Modern India, consists of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission managed by the same monastic board members.
The Ramakrishna Math, brought into existence by Sri Ramakrishna in 1886 is a monastic order of monks. The Ramakrishna Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna's chief disciple in 1897, consists of both monastic and lay members.
The Ramakrishna Order is headquartered at Belur Math, near Kolkata, India and has some 180 Centres worldwide. The Order, under the twin ideals of 'Self-Realization and Service', is devoted to spiritual and philanthropic services such as, medical, educational, cultural and rural outreach.
Reference: Gambhirananda, Swami., History of Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission
There are many religious Orders around the world
with various characteristics. What are the
characteristics of your Order?
This Ramakrishna Order is founded by the wish and with the blessings of Sri Ramakrishna, the Godman of Modern India and his consort, Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, and is being sustained by them. It is also being nourished by the accumulated spiritual powers of all sixteen monastic disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, including Swami Vivekananda. That each of these disciples was a saint of the highest degree becomes evident from the study of their biographies, which are well documented.
The Ramakrishna Order emphasizes the realization of one's real 'Self', and selfless and worshipful service to humanity.
The order believes in and practice the 'harmony of religions' and celebrates the birthdays of some of the prophets of other religions. Not only it celebrates the birth anniversaries of Gautama Buddha
and Jesus Christ, but its studies their teachings as well.
The Order practices the synthesis of different spiritual paths with the goal of Self-realization; namely the paths of Knowledge (Jnana Yoga), Devotion (Bhakti Yoga), Self-less Service (KarmaYoga),
and Meditation and Mind Control (Raja Yoga).
Our Societies combine both reason and faith in their spiritual deliberations and practices.
The Order does not place much emphasis on ritualism, but focuses more on the deeper problems of life and living and their solutions.
The Order does not convert, but rather encourages others to adhere to their own traditional faiths and practice it devotedly while drawing inspiration freely from scriptures and prophets of other faiths. We welcome everyone, irrespective of one's faith.
The Order has published, in about twenty different languages of the world, a vast amount of literature covering different aspects of Indian scripture, spiritual life, meditation and cultural traditions of India.
The Order does extensive philanthropic work with a worshipful attitude, especially in India.
However, in other countries some of its centers have also launched philanthropic works in addition to their regular spiritual programmes.
The Order is managed along democratic lines.
The Order is also particular in maintaining transparency in all matters, especially financial.