Towards the outskirts of the beautiful garden city of Mysore, there The Mysore
Ashrama was running, since 1932, a small hostel for the students of various
age groups. It was located in a small house in VV Mohalla, just behind the
Ashrama. Meant for this purpose, the house was a gift of the eminent lawyer
and philanthropist of those days, Sri Rangachar. Though it had just half a
dozen students to begin with, its number went up to 25. The time for expansion
had come. Swami Shambhavanandaji who was the Founder President of the Ponnampet
centre of the Ramakrishna Mission Centre, in the Coorg district of Karnataka,
was appointed the President of the Mysore Ashrama. A dynamic personality,
Swami Shambhavanandaji was a man of indomitable will and innovative thinking.
Focusing on the existing hostel, he felt the need to improve and expand. He
decided to shift the hostel to a more commodious setting. Slowly the seed
of a mighty future was being sown. Sri Ramakrishna Vidyashala had been
The search for a suitable spot began. Shambhavanandaji wanted it somewhere
near the Ashrama itself. A sprawling area behind the railway colony in Yadavgiri
just across the road, seemed very suitable. But acquiring it, especially when
the funds were a scarce, was not an easy task. Shambhavanandaji was a man
of strong resolves and enduring perseverance. His intense faith in Sri Ramakrishna
ever fuelled his enthusiasm. With his unstinted efforts, he convinced the
authorities of the Mysore Municipality and the other private owners who owned
it to part with it and obtained the acquisition of the land proposed for the
The design for the new hostel was drawn by Sri B B Mathre, a renowned architect
of Bombay. Then came the problem of collecting funds. An enormous task indeed!
Swami Shambhavanandaji, a tremendous store-house of energy and courage, took
it upon himself to go for collecting funds. It was a rich experience, flavoured
by a mixed response. He toured various parts of Karnataka and later went to
Bombay too, appealing for funds. And the funds came. The city of Bombay was
a major contributor. Help also came from the Central Government as well as
the Governments of Coorg and Mysore.
At last, 1950 saw the completion of the hostel building. At a ceremonial
function held on the second of October in the same year, Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari,
former Governor General of India, inaugurated the building. His highness Jayachamarajendra
Wadeyar Bahadur, the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore, presided over the function.
The function was attended, among the others, by senior monks of the Ramakrishna
Order, like Revered Swamis Madhavanandaji, Yatishwaranandaji, Vireshwaranandaji,
Abhayanandaji and many others.
But soon Shambhavanandaji discoveres the need for a little modification and
addition. The new building was meant to be a Boys' Hostel. But seeing the
boys travel long distances to attend various schools and colleges for studies,
he thought of a different plan. He conceived the plan of a residential school
itself. He envisioned an integrated approach to the process of education to
be imparted in the new school. He wanted boys to evolve into all rounders,
an idea so dear to Swami Vivekananda. He wanted the intellect to be nourished
in the lap of a healthy body to blossom forth the hidden divinity in man.
Vidyashala in its present form took birth then.
After a few modifications, the new school was inaugurated in 1953. It was
a middle school cum high school then. The whole land surrounding Vidyashala
building had to be given a new shape. The uneven, stony and irregular land
was given a new shape by the bull dozers lent by Field Marshall K M Cariappa,
the then Chief of the Indian Army and an old friend of Swami Shambhavanandaji.
Slowly emerged the new land scape dotted with roads, gardens and some twenty
play grounds. The present shape of the garden was however, given by Swami
Sureshanandaji, the Correspondent of Vidyashala for more than 25 years. Swami
Vedanandaji who was the first Warden in the old hostel, was the first warden
in Vidyashala too, till 1956. Most of the routine and discipline that are
still followed in the Vidyashala owe their origin to him. He was earlier at
the Mission's school at Deogarh and had much knowledge and experience in understanding
and solving the needs of this age-group of students. Sri S M Utappa was the
first Head Master.
In 1957 a swimming pool, which is still a luxury for any school, was added
to the existing facilities meant for the students. Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru
was the dignitary who inaugurated it.
In 1963, the PUC section (it was a one year course then) was added. It was
discontinued after nine years but again restarted in 1979 and has been a great
success ever since. The middle school classes were gradually dropped after
starting of the PUC. The year 1963 marked world wide celebrations of the birth
centenary of Swami Vivekananda. A new dormitory was added (aptly christened
the Centenary Block) to commemorate this occasion. It was inaugurated by
Sri B D Jatti, the then finance minister of Karnataka. Sri Morarji Desai the
Union Finance Minister was the chief guest. In 1975 a spacious auditorium
was also added. 1983 saw the coming up of a new gymnasium which was inaugurated
in the presence of the President of Ramakrishna Order Srimat Swami Vireshwaranandaji
Maharaj. A new dormitory (E Block) was added in 1987.
The Vidyashala has come a long way from a tiny hostel in 1932 to its present
sprawling precincts. A Saga of dedication and sacrifice the story of Sri Ramakrishna
Vidyashala is a shining example of what hard work and sincerity can do. The
subtle is always more powerful than the gross. The cause is always mightier
than the effect. The effect grows out of the cause, and astonishes everyone
of the dormant possibilities that remain hidden in the cause. This is how
the institutions of lasting value and dedicated service originate like the
mighty river which rises up in a tiny rivulet. The beginnings of such institutions
are generally humble but nurtured by dedication, faith and unmistakable foresight
they blossom forth into perennial sources of inspiration, marvel and goodness.