On arriving at Colombo, Sri Lanka on 15th January 1897, Vivekanand received very enthusiastic welcome, where he gave his first public lecture in the East, 'India, the Holy Land'. From there on, his journey to Calcutta was a triumphant march. He kept on delivering lectures throughout his journey from Colombo to Pamban, Rameshwaram, Ramnad, Madurai, Kumbakonam and Madras. He got overwhelming reception from the people and the Kings. The Raja of Ramnad himself drew Swamiji's carriage in the procession at Pamban. On way to Madras, at several places where the train would not stop, the people blocked the railway tracks and allowed the train to pass only after hearing Swamiji. He continued his journey and speeches from Madras to Calcutta and then up to Almora in North India. While in the West, his lectures were about India's great spiritual heritage and on return to India, the content of his 'Lectures from Colombo to Almora' was changed accordingly to uplift of the masses, abolition of the casteism, promotion of the study of science, industrialization of the country, removal of poverty, the end of the colonial rule, and so on. These lectures have been published as 'Lectures from Colombo to Almora'. These lectures are considered to be of nationalistic fervor and spiritual ideology. His speeches influenced the Indian leaders tremendously, including Mahatma Gandhi, Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
A branch of the 'Ramakrishna Math' was founded as 'Advaita Ashram' at Mayavati in the Himalayas on 19th March, 1899. The Ashram published many of Swami Vivekanand's work and now publishes 'Prabuddha Bharata' monthly journal.
The 'Ramakrishna Mission' was founded on 1st May, 1897 at Calcutta by Swami Vivekanand himself to serve the society. The ideals of the Ramakrishna Mission are based on Karma Yoga. Its governing body consists of the trustees of the Ramakrishna Math, the organ to carry out religious works. Due to the close association between the two, both have their headquarters at Belur, near Calcutta. This was the beginning of an organized social and religious movement to help the masses through educational, cultural, medical and relief work. Two other monasteries were founded by him, one at Mayavati, near Almora in the Himalayas, known as the 'Advaita Ashram' and another at Madras. Two journals were also started, 'Prabuddha Bharata' in English and 'Udbhodan' in Bengali. The same year, Swami Akhandananda started the famine relief work at Murshidabad district.
Sir Jamshedji Tata was motivated by Vivekanand to set up a research and educational institution during their journey together from Yokohama to Chicago in 1893, which was Vivekanandji's first visit to the West. This was when Swamiji received a letter from Tata, requesting him to head the Research Institute of Science set up by Tata. But as Vivekanand believed that it conflicted with his spiritual pursuits, he declined the offer.
Later on Swami Vivekanand visited western Punjab with an object to establish harmony between the 'Arya Samaj' which stood for reinterpreted Hinduism and the Sanatanists (believers of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal law of religion) who stood for orthodox Hinduism. At Rawalpindi, he suggested ways for removing differences between Arya Samajists and Muslims. His Lahore visit is memorable for his famous speeches and his inspiring association with Tirtha Ram Goswami, then a brilliant professor of Mathematics, who later embraced monasticism as Swami Rama Tirtha and preached Vedanta in India and America. He also visited many other places, including Delhi and Khetri before returning to Calcutta in January 1896. His next few months were spent in consolidating the work of the Mathematics and training the disciples. During this period, he composed the well-known Arati song, 'Khandana Bhava Bandhana' during the event of consecration of Ramakrishna's temple at a devotees' house.
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