ADVAITA ASHRAMA at Mayavati, Himalayas


Swamiji had always been attracted by the Himalayas, the land of tyaga (renunciation) and yoga, the domain of Lord Shiva. During his tour of the Swiss Alps the idea to found an ashrama in similar conditions in India took shape. When Swamiji returned from the West in 1897 and roused India by his tremendous personality and message, comatose religion too was rejuvenated. In Almora, he inspired Captain Sevier and Mrs. Sevier along with Swami Swarupananda, his disciple, to commence looking for a place to house an ashrama ‘dedicated to advaita’.

They found it in Mayavati, 6,400 ft. above sea level, surrounded by mountains on three sides, one side opening to a breathtaking view of the snow-capped Himalayan range. The Advaita Ashrama was inaugurated in March 1899. Belur Math, established earlier, approved of its objects and principles and recognized Advaita Ashrama as its branch. Swamiji paid the Ashrama a visit in January 1901 and stayed for a fortnight.

There have been hardships but when one has a great ideal to live by, hardships become insignificant. Advaita Ashrama had a press of its own and the first editions of Swami Vivekananda’s works, his life, etc. were published from Mayavati, besides Prabuddha Bharata, the monthly journal. Following the laws of inevitability, a good library stocked with excellent books naturally grew.


The object of the Ashrama was to study, practise and preach the Advaita philosophy free from ritualistic settings, and also to train others in spreading it. The Ashrama in a short time became a melting pot, as it were, of the best minds of the east and the west. It helped spread the core Advaita doctrine, that of the Atman beyond body and mind, which it clothed in novel ways to suit different disciplines and temperaments. The other focus was a creation of a huge body of Vedantic, Ramakrishna-Holy Mother-Vivekananda literature in Sanskrit-English, English and Hindi. This is acting as a launching pad for the spiritual, philosophical, psychological and cultural awakening all over the world.







To keep Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati, in its pristine and quiet condition, and yet meet the growing worldwide demand for its publications and journal Prabuddha Bharata, it was decided to shift the printing and despatch work to Kolkata. This would also ensure better quality of books and a much wider reach. A branch centre was, therefore, started on 1 May 1920, in a rented shop at 28 College Street in central Kolkata. Later, this was shifted to a larger place in the same area. 1925 saw the dedicated souls who were the inmates of the Ashrama at 180B Muktaram Babu street in north Kolkata. As this place also became small for their lion hearts they shifted in 1931 to a building at 4 Wellington Lane.

The euphoria of pre-independence struggle was making constant demands for Ramakrishna-Vivekananda and Vedanta literature and the monks bravely met it. As the number of monastics grew along with the work, inversely did the Ashrama seem to shrink. But with minds fixed on the great mission of spreading the leaven of Advaita, all troubles were borne with equanimity. With meager funds scraped over the years they could finally think of having a spacious Ashrama building. Providentially Sri U. N. Deb, a former classmate of Swamiji, donated land to Belur Math and Advaita Ashrama erected a building at 5 Dehi Entally Road. This was in 1960.

The feeling of finally having a spacious Ashrama lasted only a couple of years. The warehouse soon began bursting with bound and unbound books, paper, materials, etc. The despatch section began working overtime to clear orders from India and aborad. The Ashrama resorted to the latest technology to speed up work. Today, humming computers tackle the large volume of orders gushing in. But this electronic hum is not the only sound heard in the Ashrama. It also resounds with Vedic chanting. In addition to being busy with diligent research, proof-reading, composing, etc., the monastics also engage themselves in meditation and study of scriptures. Charitable activities, religious discourses for devotees and a spacious library complete the picture.

Following the Advaita Ashrama principles, no ritualistic worship is performed, individually or collectively. In every activity the monastic tries to make practical the philosophy of Advaita. The monks in the Ashrama can feel its growth and are also aware of its great potential. A piece of land, contiguous to the Ashrama was purchased in April 2000.

At present, preparations are going on for the construction of a new building for the Publication Department in order to meed the increasing publication demands. The estimated cost is around US $1,000,000.


17 thoughts on “History of Advaita Ashrama

  1. Janak Patel says:

    I need to purchase a book ” Effective Life Management” . Where can I get it? I have checked it on your website but couldn’t find it.

  2. Sujit Sen says:

    How could we know about Sunday lecture program at Advaita Ashram Kolkata, which was previously available in the website.

    • Advaita Ashrama says:

      Namaste. Thank you for the feedback. Sunday Lecture details for the month have been added on the main page. – Advaita Ashrama

  3. Sucharita mandal says:

    Respected Swamiji
    I want to know the accommodation procedures of the ashram for stay .What are the rules pertaining to it?
    It would be helpful for me as I want to visit the ashram and stay.

    Thanking you

    • Advaita Ashrama says:

      Please send an email to Mayavati Guest House email as described in bottom footer of this website. You will receive a detailed reply with guidelines.
      With best wishes
      Advaita Ashrama

  4. Atrayee Roy says:

    Can I get a notification of any new book that is published over a year? My pronam to all the Swamis and Brahmacharis at all the ashrama branches.

  5. Yogit maru says:

    Dear Advait ashram,
    Greetings from Chittorgarh, the land of devotion, courage and sacrifice.
    I bought Swami Vivekananda’s complete works from Amazon a few days ago. At the back cover of the books, i came across your name. A little curious, a visited this website to get in contact with you. I’ve got a few doubts which you might solve.
    1. I’ve completed Volume 1 of Complete works. There are so many things in the book that are too complicated to grasp. Is there any way i might be able to understand the written works via videos or lectures?
    If not, how many times do i have to read a volume to grasp the real matter?

    2. Do you guys teach the Swamiji way of life? Like he instructed the yoga sutras in Volume 1 but breathing exercises must always be performed under the supervision of an expert. Where can i find one? Not just the breathing exercises expert but a true teacher.

    3. Does this mayavati centre you mentioned at the end of the page teaches the Swamiji’s way?
    Kindly reply.
    Thanks again.

  6. Vinay says:

    Same doubt which yogit maru has.
    Do you teach the Swamiji way of life? Like he instructed the yoga sutras in Volume 1 but breathing exercises must always be performed under the supervision of an expert. Where can i find one? Not just the breathing exercises expert but a true teacher.

    Does this mayavati centre you mentioned at the end of the page teaches the Swamiji’s way?
    Kindly reply.

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