Swami Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission on May 1, 1897. Monks and lay people involved in the Mission were assigned to jointly undertake propagation of Practical Vedanta, and social service. The activities included running hospitals, schools, colleges, hostels, rural development centres and so on, and conducting relief and rehabilitation work for victims of earthquakes, cyclones and other calamities, in India and other countries.

In early 1898, Swami Vivekananda acquired an extent of land on the banks of the Ganga at Belur, to establish a home for his monastery and monastic order originally started at Baranagar. He had it registered as the Ramakrishna Math eventually. Here he envisaged a universal pattern of monastic life which adapts ancient monastic ideals to the conditions of modern life, which gives equal importance to personal illumination and social service, and which is open to all men without any distinction of religion, race or caste.

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