Founding of the Ramakrishna Math
After the death of Ramakrishna, many of his disciples returned home and were inclined towards a Grihastha (family-oriented) life. Such Grihastha disciples financially helped the monastic disciples led by Vivekananda to form fellowship at a derelict house at Baranagar on the river Ganges. The house became the first building of the Ramakrishna Math—the monastery of the first monastic order of Ramakrishna. The dilapidated house was chosen because of its low rent and proximity to the Cossipore burning-ghat where Ramakrishna was cremated. Narendra and other members of the Math spent their time in meditation, discussing the philosophies and teachings of spiritual teachers including Ramakrishna, Adi Shankara, Ramanuja, and Jesus Christ. Narendra later reminisced about the early days in the monastery:
“ We underwent a lot of religious practice at the Baranagar Math. We used to get up at 3:00 am and become absorbed in japa and meditation. What a strong spirit of detachment we had in those days! We had no thought even as to whether the world existed or not.”
In January 1887, Narendra and eight other disciples took formal monastic vows. Narendra took the name of Swami Bibidishananda. Later he was crowned with the name Vivekananda by Ajit Singh, the Maharaja of Khetri. In January 1899 the Baranagar Math was transferred to Belur in the Howrah district, now known as the Belur Math.