A commemorative postage stamp on the Birth Centenary of Swami Ranganathananda, 13th President of Ramakrishna Math and Mission :
Issued on Dec 15, 2008
Issued for : India Post is happy to issue commemorative postage stamp on Swami Ranganathanada Maharaj.
Stamp & FDC, Cancellation : Alka Sharma
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multi color
Denomination : 500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 0.4 Million
Printing Process : wet-offset
Printer : Security Printing Press, Hyderabad
Name : Swami Ranganathananda (Birth Name : Shankaran Kutty)
Born on Dec 15, 1908 at Thrissur, Kerala, India
Died on Apr 25, 2005 at Belur Math, near Kolkata, India
- Shankaran was born on 15 December 1908 in Trikkur, a small village near Trissur in Kerala. As a young boy he was always bubbling with energy. Even at a tender age his keen and perceptive mind reacted to the virus of untouchability, then ubiquitous in Malabar. He made it a point break caste distinctions. When he was about fourteen, Sri Ramakrishna entered his life through The Gospel of Swami Vivekananda, which he read subsequently, further revolutionized his mind and determined the future course of his life. The spiritual fire of his soaring young soul was stocked when he was initiated by his guru, Srimat Swami Shivanandaji Maharaj, popularly known as Mahapurush Maharaj a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna into spiritual life with mantra diksha in 1926. Mahapurushji was to confer the brahmacharya vows on Shankaran Kutty in 1929, naming him Yatichaitanya, and in 1933, invest him with the sublime sanyasa vows, following which he came to be known as Swami Ranganathananda.
- The first twelve years of Maharaj‘s monastic life, spent at the Mysore and Bangalore Ashramas, were days of hard work, study and meditation. He was involved in a host of Ashrama chores – from cooking and dishwashing to supervising the Ashrama hostel. Amidst the busy routine, he also found time to memorize the Gita and the Vivekachudamani.
- Swami Ranganathanandaji‘s phenomenal mental acumen and memory were a revelation to many – even scientists. His sharp intellect and tempered devotion set his apart from the ordinary. He avidly and intensely studied not only Indian scriptures and mythology, but also those of other religions. In his intellectual journey, he traversed through the minutiae of Eastern and Western philosophies, the various branches of science, history, sociology, psychology and economics – in fact there was no field of knowledge that he did not touch. His intellectual appetite was so great that even ordinary subjects received his attention, not to speak of scientific discoveries and social trends, with which he kept himself abreast till the very end. The development of his brain was complemented with his athleticism. He exercised regularly and was agile and vigorous. Even in his seventies, Maharaj could be seen playing volleyball, leaping and smashing the ball like a young man. His missionary activity reflected a wonderful blend of ancient wisdom and modern science.
- After Bangalore, Swami Ranganathanandaji was Secretary and Librarian at Ramakrishna Mission, Rangoon, Burma, from 1939 to 1942. When Rangoon had to be evacuated in the face of an impending Japanese invasion, he chose to return to India on foot along with thousands of other refugees, braving untold dangers but yet helping many on the way. During 1942-48 he headed the Mission’s Karanchi centre. He was head of the Ramakrishna Mission in New Delhi between 1949 and 1962. This period turned out to be the most fruitful in the centre’s history. During 1962-67 he was in Calcutta as Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture and Director of its School of Humanistic and Cultural Studies. Then, for twenty years from 1973 to 1993, Maharaj was President of Ramakrishna Math, Hyderabad, where he founded an ashrama on land provided by the Andhra Pradesh government. There he undertook various rural development programmes and stirred the people of that city with his brilliant and profound discourses on Vedanta.
- He served as a member of the Indian National Commission for cooperation with UNESCO during 1964-67. Between 1956 and 1972 he went on several world tours as an ambassador of religion and Indian culture, travelling to over fifty countries in North and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe, including the then Communist states of USSR, Poland and Czechoslovakia. From 1973 to 1986 Maharaj undertook annual tours to the US, Europe and Australia spreading the message of Vedanta and Ramakrishna–Vivekananda. Never confined within the limits of race, language or nation, his consciousness was always international and universal. He was proficient in several languages.
- Following the policy that Swami Vivekananda laid down for the Order, Swami Ranganathanandaji always remained a political. He worked for national integration at all levels, bringing politicians and administrators, industrialists and technocrats, educationists and students, scientists and professionals, doctors and lawyers, businessmen and workers, and even children to believe in their country, to stop exploitation of every kind, and to work for the amelioration of the poor and the downtrodden.
- Swami Ranganathanandaji was a constant traveller and an unrelenting karma yogi in appreciation of his noble contribution as an integrator of humanity, he was honoured in 1985 with the first Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration.
- Swami Ranganathanandaji was elected a trustee of the Ramakrishna Math and a member of the governing body of the Ramakrishna Mission in 1961. On 1 April 1989 he was elected a Vice President, and on 7 September 1998 he became President of the Order. From 1998 onwards he lived at Belur Math.
- All through his life, in addition to meeting his demanding schedule of travelling, lecturing, meeting people and attending to the details of administration, Maharaj found time to read and write extensively. He was a voracious reader and kept up the habit of serious study till the end of his life. All his talks and writings bear the stamp of deep thinking and scholarship. He was deeply involved with the welfare of the weaker sections of society and women, and actively helped in their uplift. He was also greatly concerned about the need for conscientious political leadership.
- A large number of Swami Ranganathanandaji‘s lectures have been published in book form, notable among which are : The Message of the Upanishads, Universal Message of the Bhagavad Gita (three volumes), The Central Theme of Srimad Bhagavatam, The Message of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Eternal Values for a Changing Society (four volumes), A Pilgrim Looks at the World (two volumes), Vedanta and the Future of Mankind, Social Responsibilities of Public Administrators, Enlightened Citizenship and Our Democracy and Spiritual Life of the Householder.
- Swami Ranganathanandaji passed away on 25th August 2005 at the age of Ninety six.
- Text : Based on material given by the proponent.