History

Swamis Siddheswaranda and Ritajananda
Swamis Siddheswaranda and Ritajananda

In 1936 the Musée Guimet (with Professor Masson-Oursel, holder of the chair of Indian Philosophy) celebrated the hundredth birthday of Ramakrishna. In the same year, the Université de la Sorbonne (with Professor Fouché, Member of the Institute) paid homage to Swami Vivekananda, the disciple of Ramakrishna and founder of the Ramakrishna Mission.

The names Ramakrishna and Vivekananda had been known in France since Romain Rolland (winner of the 1915 Nobel prize for literature) had published biographies of each in 1929 and 1930, respectively.

Following these events, the “Friends of Indian Thought” petitioned the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission in Kolkata to send a member of the Order to reside in France, in order to teach the philosophy of the Vedanta.

Swami Siddheswarananda arrived in Paris the following year and began teaching immediately. His many lectures, both at the home of his hosts (Mr. And Mrs. Sayton), as well as at the Sorbonne and the universities of Toulouse and Montpellier, expanded the Centre’s connections, making it both necessary and possible to acquire after World War II (in 1948) a property to create an ashram.

Swamis Ritajananda  and Veetamohananda
Swamis Ritajananda and Veetamohananda

In 1961 Swami Ritajananda succeeded Swami Siddheswarananda (who passed away in 1957).

Since the passing of Swami Ritajananda (in 1994), Swami Veetamohananda has been the monk responsible for the Vedanta Centre. Swami Veetamohananda participates in this capacity in the Monastic Inter-religious Dialogue.

As a representative of Hinduism in France, Swami Veetamohananda is often invited to deliver talks across mainland and overseas France (e.g. Antilles, La Réunion) as well as further abroad. He regularly visits Spain, Italy, Germany and England, as well as Belgium, Holland, Bulgaria, Guatemala, Brazil and the United States of America.