Sri Ramakrishna Sharadashrama, in Kodagu District of Karnataka, set amidst nature’s lap, in the lush, green and serene surroundings of Ponnampet, has been a source of spiritual succour and social reform, ever since its inception in the year 1927. The Ashram, which has been sanctified by the presence of one of India’s greatest souls, Mahatma Gandhiji, in the year 1934, and Acharya Vinobha Bhave in the year 1957, amongst a host of other luminaries down the years, is a perfect example of social upliftment being achieved with spiritual, moral and ethical virtues at its core, as envisioned by Swami Vivekananda, the torch bearer of Sri Ramakrishna’s spiritual renaissance movement.
The Ashram, with its rich history behind it, saw another milestone being reached when the Universal Temple was consecrated in the year 2009. The Universal Temple is dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, the revered God realized saint of modern day India. Sri Sharada Devi, who was the Spiritual consort of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, who was the chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna too are worshipped in the Universal Temple. The venerable and revered Holy Trio’s spirits reverberate in the Ashram atmosphere, savouring the divine prayers and soulful music, emanating from renditions of monks and devotees alike. Blessed indeed are the souls who drown in the outpouring of divine grace in the Universal Temple.The beautiful Universal Temple, set amidst the serene and peaceful environs of the Ashram is a sight to behold. The beautifully maintained garden in front of the Universal Temple, with its ever blooming flowers and vividly of colors, showcasing nature’s benign salutations to the Holy Trio, is a sight to behold for the connoisseur’s eye. The tall, majestic trees that line both sides of the pathway leading to the temple, is nature’s own way of celebrating the Holy Trio’s ever relevant, ever shining and ever green message of peace and love to humanity. The picturesque surroundings, crowned by coffee plantations on the outskirts of the Ashram, serve as the perfect backdrop to the magnificence of the Ashram.This architectural marvel was a dream come true for resident monks of the ashram. They, along with ever helpful volunteers toiled day and night to make this magnificent spectacle to materialize. Senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, Swami Jagadatmananda, and Swami Bodhaswarupananda amongst other monks in the ashram were the chief visionaries of this modern day marvel.The celebrations to consecrate the Universal Temple, spanning 3 days, starting from the 27th of October 2009, was attended by over 3000 devotees including many from overseas. Over 180 monks from the Ramakrishna order, graced the occasion. The Sarvadhyaksha of the Ramakrishna Order, Paramapoojya Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj and the Vice President of the Ramakrishna Order, Paramapoojya Swami Smarananandaji Maharaj were among the blessed souls to grace the occasion.Apart from catering to the multitudes of people seeking divine grace, many facilities and activities have been in place to serve society.Various religious and social service activities, dot the Ashram’s itinerary throughout the year. The Ashram’s resident monks and selfless volunteers, make it a point to uphold the Ashram’s primary motto of service in action.Sri Ramakrishna’s ideals are being religiously practiced in the Ashram, with unending regularity and sincerity. Sri Sharada Devi’s message of love, renunciation and purity, which have a profound relevance in this age, is being set into motion by the activities of the Ashram. The Ashram continues to be a shining beacon, carrying forward the message of Swami Vivekananda, who formulated the motto of the Ramakrishna Math – Atmano mokshartham jagat hitaya cha – ‘For one’s own salvation and for the welfare of the world’.