Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre of New Zealand, a charitable organisation, is hosting an evening of traditional Indian music and bhajan called ‘Bhajan Sandhya’ on Saturday, February 10 at Dorothy Winstone Centre in Auckland.

The programme is organised by renowned classical musician and singer in Auckland Amit Sengupta, and an array of Auckland singers will perform on different bhajans and old Indian songs. There will be a total of 27 songs sung in solo and duet by 13 singers.

Some of the bhajans to be played at the event will be Ramakrishna Smaranam, Om Jai Jagdish, Ishwar Allah Tero Naam, Charan Kamal Bando Hari Rai, More Shyam and Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan etc.

History of Ram Krishna Movement in New Zealand:

With the arrival of migrants from Fiji and India in the mid-1980s, the devotees of Ramakrishna Mission settled in New Zealand started meeting informally for Satsangs from time to time. These were initially held at the homes of devotees and later in hired community halls.

Swami Damodrananda from the Fiji Centre regularly visited NZ to meet with these devotees and inspire them to study the teachings of Vedanta and the lives and messages of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda.

However, with the retirement of Swami Damodrananda, and the arrival of Swami Shridharananda as head of the Sydney Centre in 2000, the Vedanta movement in NZ gathered momentum. After putting the Sydney Centre on a firm footing, Swami Shridharananda turned his attention to NZ. He visited NZ up to four times a year and encouraged devotees here to organise themselves into a formal group.

With Swamiji Damodarnanda’s encouragement, guidance and advice, a constitution was drawn up, and the Ramakrishna Vedanta Centres of NZ Inc. was registered as an incorporated body in 2004. Swamiji Damodarnanda is the President and Trustee of the organisation.

The Auckland centre has consistently worked toward its target of a full affiliation to the Ramakrishna Mission headquarters in Belurmath in West Bengal, India, and the appointment of a resident Swami Damodarnanda in New Zealand.

The centre has adopted a set of regular activities which includes daily evening Vesper (Aarti) service at 7 p.m., and Satsangs every second and last Sundays at 11.00 a.m. These Satsangs are attended by more than 50 devotees of all ages.