Viveka Smaraka (ವಿವೇಕ ಸ್ಮಾರಕ)

Swami Vivekananda Memorial Cultural Youth Centre – Viveka Smaraka

A brief History of establishing the  Swami Vivekananda memorial cultural youth Centre, Mysore

Viveka Smaraka

Swami Vivekananda visited Mysore city in November 1892 as part of his parivrajaka wanderings through the length and breadth of India. Though at that time he was an unknown monk and his stay at Mysore was relatively short, he by virtue of his extraordinary personality, erudition and spiritual magnetism, attracted the attention of a large number of citizen that included most distinguished and notable men of Mysore like the Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar , the then Dewan of Mysore State Sir Sheshadri Iyer. Swami Vivekananda in the initial days of his stay resided in the Niranjana Matha, on the Narayama Sastri Road that was centred around an ancient Shiva temple and located adjacent to the Dewans house, called popularly the Seshadri Bhavan . He was later invited to stay for sometime with the maharaja himself at the palace and the two became very intimate. The maharaja receiving a lot of benefit from the Swami in spiritual terms. The Maharaja of Mysore. Chamaraja Wodeyar was instrumental in several ways for Swami Vivekananda proceeding to Chicago for participating in the World Religious Conference in 1893. The deep personal friendship between Swami Vivekananda, the Maharaja and Dewan Seshadri Iyer continued even after Swami Vivekananda left for Chicago. Swamiji continued to write to both these personalities even from America It is significant to mention that some of these letters are deeply insightful and prophetic about India and its condition particularly about Sociological and economic factors and Swami Vivekananda foresees that Mysore will be in time one of the great centres of importance. . In a letter written to the Maharaja from Chicago, Swamiji writes, “…..…The one thing that is at the root of all evils in India is the condition of the poor. The poor in the West are devils; compared to them ours are angels, and it is therefore so much the easier to raise our poor. The only service to be done for our lower classes is to give them education, to develop their lost individuality. Give them ideas – that is the only help they require, and then the rest must follow as the effect. Ours is to put the chemicals together, the crystallization comes in the law of nature. My noble Prince, this life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.” The Maharaja and the Dewan regarded Swamiji as ‘the man born for the redemption of India’ and as one in who was incarnate, the nation’s spirit. In his letter from USA to Alasinga Perumal on 31st August 1894, Swamiji predicts that “……..Mysore will be in time a great stronghold.”
The 150th Birth anniversary of swami Vivekananda fell on 12th January 2013. In anticipation and preparation of this great event preparations and planning was done on a National scale. A Press note was issued by Revered General secretary of Ramakrishna Math and Mission Belur math gives a synoptic idea of the proposals at the National scale. A National committee was set up for this purpose, presided by Hon Prime Minister of India The First meeting of this National Committee was held on 20th May 2010 in New Delhi, presided over by the Prime Minister. The Committee appointed an Implementation Committee under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Finance Minister Sri Pranab Mukherjee.The first meeting of the Implementation Committee was held in New Delhi on 3rd September 2010. The Committee approved a sum of Rs.100 Crore for Ramakrishna Mission from 2010 to 2014. One of the important recommendations of the National committee was to enjoin on all State governments to formulate their own plans to celebrate the 150th Birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda appropriately and the plans prepared by the National committee would serve as a general Guide line. Another important recommendation was to construct memorials at significant places visited by Swamiji all over India. In accordance with the General guide lines issued by Ramakrishna Math and Mission head quarters Belur math and keeping in view of the objectives laid down by the National committee chaired by Prime Minister of India and the National implementation committee under Union Finance minister, the Sri Ramakrishna ashrama, Mysore , in consultation with and on behalf of all the centres of Ramakrishna Math and Mission in Karnataka submitted a formal proposal outlining various programs in Karnataka during the 150th Birth anniversary celebrations. The Government of Karnataka in consideration of all the deliberations , discussions and key recommendations of different ministerial meetings with Ramakrishna ashrama, Mysore and Trustees of Swami Vivekananda memorial Cultural youth centre Mysore appointed a High Level committee chaired By Sri Suresh Kumar Minister for Law, Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs, Govt of Karnataka to consider the 12 proposals. The High Level Committee met on 2/1/2012 at Bangalore and approved in principle all the said proposals. Consequently the Govt of Karnataka also appointed Project wise detailed implementation committees to take up and supervision and implementation of all the 12 projects . All the 12 implementation committees will be overseen by an Executive committee Chaired by Additional Chief Secretary, Govt of Karnataka.. Project no 12 of these approved proposals related to establishment of the Swami Vivekananda memorial culture youth Centre, Mysore. In the meanwhile, local citizen of Mysore led by a distinguished and respected Corporator of Mysore city Corporation moved a resolution in the Mysore City Corporation for taking up the renovation of the old and dilapidated Niranjana Matha structure and Shiva temple adjoining it as a part of the MCC projects for which funds would be provided by the MCC from its budget and Executed by the MCC engineering wing. The MCC approved the resolution and work was taken up by them sometime in 2010-11 and completed in February- March 2012. As a part of the various National programs to observe the 150th Birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, it was envisaged by the RK Math and Mision H/Q that some selected centres of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission will hold regional Bharatiya Adhyatmika Sammilanas with various spiritual and religious Bharatiya organizations in the region belonging to different denominations participating. The Sammilanas were aimed to discuss primarily Religious harmony and to discuss shared spiritual ideas. The Mysore centre was also one of these denoted by the H/Q. to organize and hold such a Sammilana in 2012. On the concluding day of the Sammilana , namely April 22, 2012 , the then Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri Sadananda Gowda formally inaugurated the renovated, heritage building “ Niranajana Math” whose renovation was by then completed by Mysore City Municipal corporation. The Chief Minister also, as a part of the said inauguration, opened a Photo Museum displayed inside the renovated Niranajana Matha building that depicted many historic events related to the contemporary period when Swami Vivekananda visited Mysore and these reflected mainly his deep links with the then Mysore Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar , Dewan Seshadri Iyer and most importantly exhibits of facsimiles of the Prophetic statements Swami Vivekananda made regarding the future of Mysore.
The heritage building namely the old Niranjana math and its environs acquired sanctity by virtue of the visit of great Swami’s visit and his stay. This small but sanctified premises represented deep significance for modern youth. Many leading local citizen including the area municipal corporators, administrators and several enlightened Parliamentarians and other legislators hailing from Mysore were concerned at the deteriorating state of this holy place. They mobilized public opinion drawing attention to the urgent need of rehabilitation and renovation of this building and thereafter work out a plan for establishing a suitable memorial at this place in memory of Swami Vivekananda. Accordingly a Proposal for Setting up “Swami Vivekananda memorial Cultural youth Centre”, at this place was broadly conceived and this plan included renovation of Niranajana Ashrama complex, It was necessary to approach the Government at this stage since this land and property belonged to the Government and in use by one of the Brach offices of the department of education, Govt of Karnataka, though the heritage Niranajan math and Shiva temple were retained in a dilapidated condition. A group of some leading citizen of Mysore from various walks of life joined together and formed a group for the basic aim of putting up “Swami Vivekananda memorial Cultural youth Centre”. This was registered as a trust in 2008, and the trust would look up to Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama Mysore for spiritual and related guidance. It was a part of their resolution that that this centre will be constructed and managed by the trust until Ramakrishna Math and Mission Head quarters gave its approval for taking over the centre as a part of the RK Math and Mission. A overall concept was worked out with concrete proposals and sent by the Trust to the Karnataka state government for consideration. The idea was to convert this place into a “Swami Vivekananda Youth cultural centre” which is imbedded in the spirit and teachings of swami Vivekananda for National regeneration. In essence, the center would reflect the vision of Swami Vivekananda for whom regeneration could come only with, Training sincere workers, Deluging the land with Spiritual ideas and ideals, Social reform, imparting true .Education as the panacea of all social evils., Uplift of the masses. Going deeply into Caste problem and its solution and very importantly Uplift of women. The Chief Minster of Karnataka, Sri B S Yedyurappa visited Ramakrishna Vidyashala Mysore in 2008. , the members of the newly formed trust submitted a memorandum on the above lines. After considering the said memorandum and after discussions, the Chief Minister was gracious to approve in principle the prayer made by the trustees and spontaneously announced an immediate grant of Rs 5 crores to the said project and said in regard to other matters the Government would suitably consider the matter soon. The said grant was also included in the relevant State Budget of the Government, but due to procedural reasons the transfer of Land and related permission in the Name of the Trust could not materialize.
During various deliberations, discussions and presentations before the Governmnet related to setting up Swami Vivekananda Cultural; memorial Youth centre, Mysore, namely Project no 12 approved by the State level committee in January 2012, the government examined the proposal of entrusting to the Trust formed for this purpose as mentioned earlier, the responsibility of constructing and maintaining the Memorial cultural youth centre. This responsibility sought for had included taking over from the government land for construction of the memorial, receipt of funds under a specific Memorandum of Understanding that included devolution and dispersal of funds, auditing and supervision and conducting various programs in accordance with its aims and objectives by taking appropriate advice and guidance from Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore and also other NGOs who were dedicated to the Life and messages of Swami Vivekananda. However it emerged that Government rules and provisions were not in favour of handing over the land to a Private Trust. However by the latter half of 2012 it emerged that it would be more appropriate for the Government to hand over all these responsibilities directly to Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math with a power of attorney to Sri Ramakrishna ashrama for Day to day management . After careful consideration and consultation, the Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama Mysore formulated and sent a suitable proposal to the Government of Karnataka outlining the principles, aims and objectives after seeking and obtaining the approval of Head quarters for submitting such a proposal to the Government. The proposal was considered by the Government and with consultation with and approval of the Cabinet communicated its approval through a Governmnet Order ( G.O) Government Order no. ED/771/LIB2012/ Bangalore dated 09.01.2013 pertaining to transfer, free of cost, the NTM school building and land, situated next to Viveka Smaraka, Naryansastry Road, Mysore and the adjacent BRC building with its vacant site, to Ramakrishna Math & Mission for the purpose of developing a Vivekananda Cultural Youth Centre – Viveka Smaraka. The property was formally transferred on 15-03-13 to the Sri Ramakrishna ashrama Mysore by Dept of Education through the DDPI Mysore in accordance with the Govt Order . The Government in accordance with the GO issued an order shifting the NTMS school and merging it with the nearby Devaraja School. However there have been some unexpected hindrances and the Government and Ramakrishna Ashtram are in the process of resolving the problem. The detailed project proposals and Estimates were finalized and duly scrutinized by the Karnataka Govt who forwarded the same to to Ministry of Culture Govt of India who have granted Rs 5 crores for this project. Grants from Karnatak Govt , have been approved in principle and are expected to be transferred to Ramakrishna Mission appropriately. However there was some rethinking about the shift and merger of the of the NTM school with the Devaraja school. Some individuals sought a reconsideration of that part of the GO dated 9th January 2013. This led to a delay in fully implementing the said GO and a there was an inevitable need for some judicial intervention which confirmed the Governmnts decision in January 2013 and the principled stand taken by Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, . Finally after a careful evaluation and with a very statesman like executive intervention by the Chief Minster Sri S R Bommai, the Chief Minister of Karnataka , the matter was finally resolved in January 2022 and , the government decided to implement the GO ED 771 LIB 2012 dtd 9.1.2013 with a slight modification by issuing a govt order G O No ED 277 LIB 2014 (part), Bangalore date 7.1.2022 through which the NTM school was ordered to be shifted and located in the vacant premises of the Maharani college located on the opposite side of the Road , namely Narayana Sastri Road instead of its merger with the Devaraja School.
The commissioner, Department of Public Instruction, Bangalore was ordered to handover the NTM school building and adjoining campus and BRC building and adjoining campus, adjoining Vivekasmaraka, comprising of an area of 36,591.66 sq.ft to Ramakrishna Math and Mission free of charge for the construction of Swami Vivekananda memorial Youth Cultural Centre . The President, Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Yadavagiri, Mysore was notified to take over the said property as per due process of law. Though the original order, dated 9th January 2013 specified a total area of about 43500 sft , it was expected that the remaining area would also be duly handed to the Ramakrishna Mission, however the area transferred in the first phase facilitated immediate commencement of construction as per sanctioned and approved plans. On 5th February 2022, the Deputy Commissioner Mysore District, Sri Bagadi Gautham I A S , Sri Ramachandra Raje Urs , DDPI ( Admin ) Mysore and their staff formally brought the process of vacating the NTM school from its present location to conclusion and handed over the keys to the premises to Adhyaksha Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama to facilitate the ashrama taking over physical occupation of the building as per due process . The formalities on paper regarding the transfer of an area of 36, 591.66 sft duly signed jointly by the D.C, DDPI and the Ashrama representatives were concluded. The area in occupation by Ashrama included NTM school and its contiguous land and property, BRC building, Shiva temple and its contiguous land and property. Giving due effect to the order, NTM school was shifted and relocated by the District authorities.