When some like minded friends got together in New Delhi in 1960 to recapitulate and share the experiences of their association with Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi at Sri Ramanasramam in Tiruvannamalai, little did one foresee that this meeting would gather momentum and grow into a dynamic centre for sadhana, study and service dedicated to Maharshi’s philosophy. Thanks to the initiative of these ardent devotees, Ramana Kendra, Delhi came into being and was registered as a Society under Societies Registration Act (21 of 1860) on March 28, 1963.
The first to come up were the main shrine with supporting service rooms at the rear, housing publications, an office, and a kitchen for preparing prasadam along with guest and staff accommodation. This small complex was inaugurated by Shri B.D. Jatti, the then Vice President of India on 1st September, 1974, the very day that young Ramana reached Arunachala in the year 1896. By May 1977, a library cum lecture hall was built on the first floor of the complex supporting the shrine which was inaugurated by His Holiness Sri Sankaracharya of Sringeri on 3rd May 1977. The funds for both phases of this construction were raised through benefit performances given by eminent cultural artists, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Yamini Krishnamurti and Lata Mangeshkar, both in Delhi and Mumbai, thanks to the stupendous efforts put in by a team of committed devotees led by the late Prof. K. Swaminathan.
The credit for changing the allotment of the land for the Kendra from a noisy part of Delhi to the central but quiet temple environ of the Lodi Road Institutional Area, goes to these devotees and to Shri Jhabwala, a lawyer- cum-architect whose mother was a great devotee of Bhagavan’s. He took complete responsibility for the construction and himself designed the shrine-building in the shape of the Arunachala hill. Situated centrally at No.8, Institutional Area, the junction of Maharshi Ramana Marg and Lodi Road 0n a quarter acre of land, the Kendra provides an ideal atmosphere for spiritual study and sadhana. The Ramana shrine in the Kendra is a replica of the shape of the Arunchala hill at Tiruvannamalai, which according to the puranas, is the very form of Lord Shiva. Located inside the shrine is a look-alike construction of the Virupaksha cave on Arunachala hill where Maharshi spent seventeen of his early in silence. A large portrait of Bhagavan adorns this replicated cave. Throughout the day, people from all walks of life, visit this shrine for prayer and meditation.
Behind this shrine, is a modest two storeyed building housing the office, library, reading room and book stall. A spacious auditorium on the first floor offers an excellent place for study classes and discourses. To optimize the utilisation of its space, Ramana Kendra carried out some modifications in the existing administrative building. This resulted in a new library hall which became functional from 1st March 2008 and a renovated auditorium, both being inaugurated on 14th September, 2008.
The Kendra has been lucky to have at its helm Presidents who have achieved great renown in the public domain viz.,
|1966 – 1968||Shri C.R. Pattabiraman|
|1969 – 1971||Shri Morarji Desai|
|1972 – 1978||Shri C. Subramaniam|
|1979 – 1980||Shri Morarji Desai|
|1981 - 1986||Shri R. Venkataraman|
|1987 - 1988||Shri D. Nagendra Singh|
|1989 - 2006||Shri T.N. Chaturvedi|
|2007 - Till date||Shri Justice K. Ramamoorthy (Rtd.)|
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