The Ramakrishna Mission Boys Home

An enjoyable concert of Sanjay Subrahmanyan was drawing to a close at the vast Swami Vivekananda Centenary Hall of the Ramakrishna Students Home in Mylapore. It was part of the Navaratri series. In attendance was a large audience, which included students of the Home, several monks of the Ramakrishna Order and the musicloving public. It struck me that what I was witnessing was part of a great Mylapore tradition, for the Navaratri series at the Ramakrishna Mission goes back to 1921. The portrait of C. Ramanujachariar, the man who initiated it, hangs by the side of the stage, facing the audience. He would have been delighted with the series, for he loved music and theatre.

The Home moved into its present premises in 1921 (see box titled A brief history) and ever since then, it became customary to host concerts during Navaratri. Ramakrishna was greatly moved by music and would frequently go into samadhi while it was being performed. Swami Vivekananda was a good singer himself. Music is a part of the worship at the headquarters in Belur Math and the evening arati in particular is musically most moving (see Sruti 311).