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Swami Ashesananda (English)
Sri Ramakrishna ki moolbhoot shiksha
Ma Sarada: Jeevan aur Sandesh
Swami Nikhilatmananda (Hindi)
Sri Sri Mayer Jivancharya O Vyavaharik Vedanta
Swami Jyotirupananda (Bengali)
Kathamriter Aloke Bhagavad Gita-1
Swami Atmolokananda (Bengali)
Devotional SongsAsim Dutta
The Advaita Ashram has its origins in 1896, when Swami Vivekananda was travelling through the Alps recuperating, and expressed the desire to have a similar place in India for retreat and study of Vedas.
A view of Mayavati Ashrama
Earlier, in 1895, Captain James Henry Sevier, who had served the British Indian Army for five years, and his wife Charlotte Elizabeth Sevier, met Swami Vivekananda in England. Later in 1896, for nearly nine months, they travelled with him through Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. It was at the Alps that Swami Vivekananda, while travelling with the couple, expressed his desire to have a similar retreat for the monks in the Himalayas. So, in December 1896 the couple moved to India, with Swami Vivekananda on board a steamer from Naples, Italy, with an aim to find a place near Almora and set up an Ashram , and arriving at Chennai in February 1887 . Soon, just as Swami Vivekananda left for Kolkata, the couple left for Almora, where they rented a bungalow which became the residence of Swami Vivekananda and the Seviers for the next two years.
Later, when Swami Vivekananda left for Kashmir, the Sevier couple along with Swami Swarupananda, a monastic disciple of Vivekananda, started travelling to the interior area looking for a suitable place, which was eventually found in July 1898. Set amidst dense deodar, pine and oak forests; the land which was till then a tea estate was promptly purchased, and decided upon for the new ashrama. Finally, with the help of Swami Swarupananda, the ashrama was set up, along with a small dwelling for the monks, ashramites and the couple themselves, around the same time as the Belur Math was being established near Kolkata. Swami Swarupananda and the Seviers moved in on 19 March 1899, which happened to be the birth anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna (Hindu calendar) that year.
After the sudden death of its first editor, 24-year old B. R. Rajam Iyer at Chennai, the publication of the English journal Prabuddha Bharata was halted for a few months in May 1898. Meanwhile, in Almora, Swami Vivekananda asked Mr. Sevier and his wife to revive the magazine, and the editorship was given to Swami Swarupananda, who not only became the first head of the ashrama upon its opening on 19 March 1899 , but also remained the editor of Prabuddha Bharata at its new base hence forth; and he held the position until his death in 1906.
Snow-decked Ashrama Building
Upon its foundation, Swami Vivekananda sent the following letter, in March 1899, entailing the prospectus of the Advaita Ashrama: "...To give this ONE TRUTH a freer and fuller scope in elevating the lives of individuals and leavening the mass of mankind, we start this Advaita Ashrama on the Himalayan heights, the land of its first expiration.
Here it is hoped to keep Advaita free from all superstitions and weakening contaminations. Here will be taught and practised nothing but the Doctrine of Unity, pure and simple; and though in entire sympathy with all other systems, this Ashrama is dedicated to Advaita and Advaita alone."
Captain Sevier died on 28 October 1900, and was cremated in the near by river Sarada, according to Hindu traditions as he had wished. Swami Vivekananda visited the ashrama from 3–18 January 1901, primarily to console Mrs. Sevier, and his place of residence has now been turned into a library. Mrs. Sevier continued to stay at the Ashram for several years.