Vedanta Movement in America
The history of the Vedanta movement in America goes back to the time of the Chicago World’s Parliament of Religions, held in conjunction with the Columbian Exposition of 1893. At that time Swami Vivekananda, foremost disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, was invited as the Hindu delegate. America’s response to his heroic Chicago Addresses at the 1893 Parliament of Religions is legendary. From that time onward, Swami Vivekananda lectured throughout the country and founded two Vedanta Societies — one in New York and another in San Francisco – and laid the groundwork for more American Vedanta centers to follow.
Vedanta Movement in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area
The Vedanta movement in the Dallas-Fort Worth area began in the 1960s, when monks of the Ramakrishna Order first visited the area. Many of these swamis came from Vedanta Societies in America, but others came from abroad – India, Africa, and Europe to name a few places. The initial audiences in Dallas were a mix – local residents and a few immigrants or students from India. Meetings were usually held in churches or universities, and the guest swamis lectured on Vedanta’s relevance as a rational, practical philosophy for conducting one’s spiritual and day-to-day life. Some of the early swamis were Swami Ranganathananda, former President of the Ramakrishna Order from India, Swami Bhashyananda, Minister of the Chicago Vedanta Society, and Swami Nihshreyasananda from Rhodesia.
Swami Swahananda, Minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern California, began visiting the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the mid-1980s. As the number of devotees increased in the Metroplex due to the influx of Indian immigrants, the visits of various swamis became more frequent. From the 1990s onward, Swami Swahananda, along with other guest swamis – Swamis Shridharananda, Chidananda, Prabuddhananda, Dayatmananda, and Sarvadevananda — were invited by the Dallas-Fort Worth devotees to conduct two- or three-day retreats in their homes.
Swami Swahananda challenged the Dallas devotees to organize, expand, and establish a center, conveniently located for the greater number of devotees in North Texas. In 2006 the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas was registered, and the Internal Revenue Service granted the Society non-profit status. In October 2006, with Swami Swahananda’s guidance, substantial financial assistance, and blessings, the Society purchased a house in Irving, Texas. A small tool shed in the backyard was converted into a beautiful chapel.
Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas
The Irving location is convenient for the Dallas-Fort Worth-area devotees and is also near the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. So on March 3, 2007 – in the presence of over a hundred devotees – Swami Swahananda inaugurated the monastery and chapel of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas, at 119 W. Scotland Drive, in Irving, Texas. Swami Sarvadevananda performed the consecration ceremony.
And so, the history of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas remains a work in progress and a work towards progress, both individual and collective, in spiritual and social advancement.
Mission of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society
The primary aim of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society is personal development of the individual through spiritual practices as taught by Sri Ramakrishna and propagated by Swami Vivekananda and Sri Sarada Devi. Its mission is dedicated to a spirit of tolerance, love, service, and harmony among people.
The Society teaches sincere seekers how to progress in the ancient Vedanta tradition of India through four age-old paths, or yogas – selfless service (karma yoga), rationality (jnana yoga), devotion (bhakti yoga), and indomitable will (raja yoga). Activities of the Society are open to all individuals irrespective of sex, race, religion, or national origin and are conducted in English.
The monastery has a resident minister, and throughout the year guest monastics conduct retreats. Public meetings have been held in other locations such as the Crow Collection of Asian Art and the Hindu Temple.
We encourage people interested in learning more about the philosophy and practice of Vedanta to attend some of the Society’s events. Those who would like to become regular attendees are welcome to do so and participate in the Center’s activities. There is no formal membership or membership dues; however we encourage attendees to contribute to the activities of the Society since they are supported by voluntary contributions only. These contributions are tax deductible under Section 501 (c) (3) of the IRS code.
Please contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions, suggestions or comments.
All contributions are tax deductible.