Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramkrishna Mission, in the neighbouring Howrah district on Saturday during his two-day visit to the city. According to official sources, Modi is scheduled to visit the mission headquarters late in the evening after attending two other programmes here.
Modi, who will be in Kolkata on Saturday and Sunday, is scheduled to attend 150th anniversary function of Kolkata Port Trust (KOPT) on January 12, among other listed events. The camaraderie and mutual respect between the Prime Minister and the Ramkrishna Mission order, founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1897, goes back to mid sixties when a teenager Modi inspired by the teachings of Vivekananda had arrived at the Mission Ashram, Rajkot branch in Gujarat and expressed desire to join the order.
Swami Atmasthananda, who later went on to become fifteenth president of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission, then heading the Rajkot branch in 1966, had advised him that sanyas was not for him and he should work among people and not in seclusion.
During those days, Modi used to regularly meet Athmasthanandaji Maharaj and sought his spiritual guidance. Although Modi after spending some time there went back, but the relationship with Swami Atmasthananda and the Ramkrishna Mission remained intact. Whenever Modi used to visit Kolkata, even during his days as Gujarat chief minister, he would travel to the Ramkrishna Mission.
In 2013, during his tour to Belur Math, he went to Ramkrishna Mission and had sought blessings from Athmasthananda. In 2015, during his trip to the city as Prime Minister, Modi had called on ailing Swami Atmasthananda at Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan, a hospital run by the Mission in south Kolkata and enquired about his health. After Atmasthananda’s death in 2017, Prime Minister Modi had termed it as a “personal loss”.