Ramakrishna Mission Singapore

Singapore Infopedia

by Nor-Afidah Abd Rahman


Ramakrishna Mission Singapore, located off Bartley Road, is a branch of the Ramakrishna Order of India, a worldwide spiritual and welfare organisation.1 Known for its services to the needy and poor, the mission strives to spiritually elevate people and the uplift the underprivileged.2

The Ramakrishna Mission in India was established in 1897 by the main disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, Narendranath (b. 1863–d. 1902), who was also known as Swami Vivekananda.3 The mission drew its inspiration from the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna (b. 1836–d. 1886),who taught about the path towards enlightenment and self-realisation.After Sri Ramakrishna’s death in 1886, his disciples came under the leadership of Narendranath. They took vows of celibacy and service to mankind, and started a monastic order known as Ramakrishna Math.6

The Singapore branch of the Ramakrishna Mission was established in 1928, headed by Swami Adyananda.7


Ramakrishna Mission Singapore is located on Bartley Road. It hosts a range of community services such as counselling, running a kindergarten and boys’ home, organising spiritual and cultural activities, yoga classes as well as homeopathy.8


1893: Swami Vivekananda visits Singapore on the way to Chicago for the Parliament of Religions.9
7 Aug 1928: Ramakrishna Mission Singapore is set up, with Swami Adyananda as its head.10
1930: The Mission occupies its first premises at 9 Norris Road.11
1932: The Tamil school for boys and girls opens at the Mission.12
1941: Land at Bartley Road is bought to accommodate the growing number of poor and orphaned boys.13
1942: The Mission provides shelter for World War II victims and opens an orphanage, which later becomes the Ramakrishna Mission Boys’ Home.14
1942–1945: A temporary hospital with 80 beds as well as dispensaries opens at the Mission to help the sick and wounded during the Japanese Occupation (1942–45).15
End 1945:
 Temporary dormitories for boys are set up.16

1949: Ramakrishna School, a kindergarten for boys below seven years old, opens.17
18 Jun 1950: Jawaharlal Nehru, then prime minister of India, opens the new dormitory at Ramakrishna Mission orphanage.18
31 Oct 1952: The temple of Sri Ramakrishna, sponsored by local philanthropist P. Govindasamy Pillai, is completed.19
17 Jan 1963: The Vivekananda centenary celebrations are inaugurated by Yang di-Pertuan Negara Yusof Ishak at the Victoria Theatre.20
1964: The foundation of the Swami Vivekananda Centenary Memorial Building is laid.21
20 Apr 1965: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew gives an address at the birthday celebrations of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.22
1969: S. Rajaratnam, then minister for foreign affairs, opens Swami Vivekananda Centenary Memorial Building.23
1997: A new kindergarten opens, replacing the existing one.24
19 Oct 2002: The Mission’s new S$1.8-million building opens.25

Nor-Afidah Abd Rahman

1. “Ramakrishna Mission Singapore,” Ramaskrishna Mission Singapore, accessed 30 August 2016.
2. S. V. Krishnan, “One Man’s Lifelong Service to Mankind,” Straits Times, 3 February 1989, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
3. Krishnan, “One Man’s Lifelong Service to Mankind”; “From Wartime Help to Homes for Orphans and Boys,” Straits Times, 5 July 1997, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
4. “From Wartime Help to Homes for Orphans and Boys.”
5. Ramakrishna Mission Singapore, “Ramakrishna Mission Singapore.”
6. Krishnan, “One Man’s Lifelong Service to Mankind.”
7. Krishnan, “One Man’s Lifelong Service to Mankind.”
8. Ramakrishna Mission Singapore, “Ramakrishna Mission Singapore.”
9. “From Wartime Help to Homes for Orphans and Boys.”
10. Ramakrishna Mission Singapore, “Ramakrishna Mission Singapore.”
11. Krishnan, “One Man’s Lifelong Service to Mankind.”
12. Krishnan, “One Man’s Lifelong Service to Mankind.”
13. “History,” Ramakrishna Mission Singapore, accessed 30 August 2016
14. Ramakrishna Mission Singapore, “History”; “From Wartime Help to Homes for Orphans and Boys”; Roy Ferroa, “Caring for Orphans in Singapore,” Singapore Free Press, 20 July 1948, 2. (From NewspaperSG)
15. Ramakrishna Mission Singapore, “Ramakrishna Mission Singapore.”
16. Krishnan, “One Man’s Lifelong Service to Mankind.”
17. “From Wartime Help to Homes for Orphans and Boys.”
18. “Orphans Await the Pandit,” Singapore Free Press, 17 June 1950, 5; “Nehru Lays Foundation Stones, Visits Orphans,” Straits Times, 19 June 1950, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
19. “Free Cakes for Temple Children,” Straits Times, 1 November 1952, 3. (From  NewspaperSG)
20. “Centenary of Great Indian Reformer,” Straits Times, 18 January 1963, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
21. Krishnan, “One Man’s Lifelong Service to Mankind.”
22. “What 10 Years of Public Life Has Taught Me: By Kuan Yew,” Straits Times, 21 April 1965, 7. (From NewspaperSG)
23. Krishnan, “One Man’s Lifelong Service to Mankind.”
24. From Wartime Help to Homes for Orphans and Boys.”
25. “Room for 500 Kids with New Building Extension,” Straits Times, 21 October 2002, 9. (From NewspaperSG)

Further resources
Preservation of Monuments Board, Singapore, Report (Singapore: Preservation of Monuments Board, 1972–1973), 12. (Call no. RCLOS 722.4095957 PMBSR)

Wan Meng Hao and Jacqueline Lau, Heritage Places of Singapore (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2009), 223–25. (Call no. RSING 959.57 WAN-[HIS])

The information in this article is valid as at 2018 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


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