The Dawn of the Sri Sarada Devi Ashram

Early beginnings 
Sri Swami Nischalanandaji (1925 - 1965)

We offer our salutations to Sri Swami Nischalanandaji Maharaj, the founder and first President of the Ramakrishna Centre of S.A. and to Sri Swami Shivapadanandaji Maharaj, the second President of the Centre. Sri Swami Nischalanandaji who was inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s message of ‘renunciation and service’ founded the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa in 1942 in Durban. Sri Swami Nischalanandaji pioneered the course of Vedanta in Southern Africa. Through prayer services, lectures, retreats and seminars, this illustrious son of South Africa spread the message of Hinduism to different parts of the country. Through his foresight, Sri Swami Nischalanandaji purchased a property to build an Ashrama in Asherville.


A monastic centre for Women 
Sri Swami Shivapadanandaji (1938 - 1994)

Sri Swami Shivapadanandaji, the only sannyasin disciple of Sri Swami Nischalanandaji, was the President of the Centre from 1965 to 1994. During this period Sri Swami Shivapadanandaji intensified and expanded the work of the Centre. The Sri Sarada Devi Ashram was officially opened in 1984 as the Asherville Branch of the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa. In keeping with the vision and ethos of Swami Vivekananda's wish to have a separate and independent monastic order for women, the monks of the Ramakrishna Order established the Sri Sarada Math in Kolkata, India. For the benefit and inspiration of south African women, Sri Swami Shivapadanandaji establishished the Sri Sarada Ashram as a convent in 1985.