The serene beauty of HazaribagHimanshu MaharajOne of the direct sannyasi disciples of Holy Mother Sarada Devi, Himanshu Maharaj came to Hazaribagh in 1944 at the behest of his disciple and devotee Surama Devi who was then staying at Hazaribagh, recovering from illness.
He stayed for an year at Hazaribagh, in the houses of devotees Sri Satish Mukhopadhyay and thereafter, Sri Pankaj Kumar Mallick, an eminent lawyer of the town. On hearing of the stay of a direct disciple of the Holy Mother in Hazaribagh, people and eminent citizens of the town flocked to attend the religious discourses and bhajans. Thus began spreading the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda ideology at Hazaribagh and growing of a community of devotees. Himanshu Maharaj left Hazaribagh in the following year for Mymensing, from where he went to Varanasi.
Narasimha Sthan at HazaribagHe returned to Hazaribagh sometime around April-May in 1947. The community of devotees which had developed wanted to ensure that Maharaj made Hazaribagh his centre. Maharaj was also deeply moved by the sanctity and serene atmosphere of the religious places around - temples of 'Chinnamasta' (a form of Goddess Kali) at Rajarappa, Narasimha at Narasimha Sthan and Kalyaneshwari at Maithon.
The first Ashram was begun at a spot near the Kalibari in Hazaribagh. In December 1950, the plot where the present Ashram stands was purchased for an amount of Rs.3000/- on Barkagaon Road (now renamed Vivekananda Path). Himanshu Maharaj began staying from the day of Vijaya Dashami in 1955.
In November, 1963, a four-day Convention was held commemorating the Centenary of Swami Vivekananda. The main atrraction was an all-India Childrens' Meet with sports, skits, essay competitions and exhibitions for children. Sri Humayun Kabir, an honourable minister in the Union Cabinet attended with the Governor and Chief Minister of Bihar. Eminent authors participated. The Ashram and its activities shot into prominence after the successful holding of this Convention.
The temple of Shree RamakrishnaThe temple of Shree Ramakrishna was begun in 1962. Shortly afterwards, want of funds forced the construction work to remain pending for quite sometime. Work once again started in full swing in 1967. Devotees stood by the Ashram and with their support, the temple was opened in April 1968 with the statues of Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda installed. A grand ceremony was held to commemorate the occasion. Since then the stream of devotees have been on the increase.
The present Ashram at HazaribagHimanshu Maharaj along with his sannyasi and brahmachari disciples spread the Ashram's welfare activities. A charitable dispensary was set up long with a guesthouse and a library for the Ashram's inmates. In 1969, began publication of the first quarterly journal of the Ashram - Uttishthata Jagrata - under the able editorship of Swami Nityananda. The first issue of the present journal - Egiye Chalo - came out on 23rd July, 1975.
Temples - Devi Bhavani & Himanshu MaharajHimanshu Maharaj passed away in 1971 while in Samastipur (Bihar). His task of serving God in man continued at the Shanti Ashram under the able stewartship of his eminent disciple Swami Muktananda and thereafter, presently, under Pravrajika Muktiprana Mataji.
A temple was dedicated to the memory of Himanshu Maharaj on the occasion of Sri Ramakrishna's birth anniversary in March, 1978. A religious festival was held on the ocassion. On the ocassion of the Ashram's Golden Jubilee, a statue of Himanshu Maharaj was installed in the temple.
In the campus, stands the temple of Goddess Bhavani. Built in 1980, it houses a beautiful statuette of the Goddess and has a meditation room in the basement. The Shiva temple came up a couple of years later.