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Ramakrishna Seminary

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Ramakrishna Seminary
RKS Logo.png
Ramakrishna Seminary, Applied Theological Studies at Kali Mandir
California 501 (c)(3) Religious Nonprofit
IndustryTheological School
Founded 📆2018 (Akshaya Tritiya)
Founder 👔Swami Bhajanananda Saraswati
Area served 🗺️
OwnersKali Mandir
MembersNo membership
Number of employees
All volunteer staff
🌐 Website
📇 AddressRamakrishna Seminary at Kali Mandir, P.O. Box 4700, Laguna Beach, CA 92652
📞 telephone+1 (949) 715-671
👍 Facebook
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Ramakrishna Seminary at Kali Mandir is an educational institution dedicated to the training of serious spiritual aspirants in the broad and deep teachings of Sanatana Dharma in the light of the universal teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-1886), the great world-teacher and incarnation of divinity who taught the transcendent unity of religion, the motherhood of God, and the mystical path of love and devotion.


Recognizing the need for educating and training the next generation of scholars, theologians, teachers, priest, and practitioners in the broad and deep teachings of Sanatana Dharma as exemplified by Sri Ramakrishna and his disciples, Ramakrishna Seminary was started as an educational ministry of Kali Mandir on holy Akshaya Tritiya day in 2018. Although operating informally since 1993 in the training of the priests, monks and devotees of Kali Mandir, in 2019 Ramakrishna Seminary began offering formal classes and courses to the greater spiritual community online under the direction of Swami Bhajanananda Saraswati. The seminary is run primarily by ordained priests and monastics as a service to the Divine Mother and Her devotees. It combines Eastern and Western, practical and academic, ancient and modern, traditional and progressive methods and approaches to religious education. We are presently serving approximately 50 registered students.

Courses of Study[edit]

Ramakrishna Seminary offers a broad curriculum of classes and courses that can be taken as single-themed open courses or as part of larger certificate or diploma programs. Local students may attend classes on site in the atmosphere of a traditional Hindu ashram and gurukulam. Distance learners may study from anywhere in the world and participate in weekly live webinars for group discussions with the instructors, with access to video recordings of all classes and lectures, and opportunities to communicate with instructors, fellow students and staff. A private school website will be available for downloading supplemental material.[1]

Seminary students gathered for class at the ashram dhuni. 2019
Certificate in Hindu Studies[edit]

The first year of our core curriculum consisting of a wide range of introductory courses covering: the Ramakrishna Seminary's spiritual tradition; the lives and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and his disciples; Hindu thought and practice; the Hindu Goddess traditions; important concepts and aspects of Hindu spirituality; sacred music; and the subtle energetic principles of yogic practice. The Certificate Program consists of course, classes, lectures, discussions, readings, written assignments, and intensive retreats. Courses consist of recorded video lectures and weekly interactive webinars. Upon successful completion of the program, students receive a Certificate in Hindu Studies.

Diploma in Applied Hindu Theology[edit]

The second year of our core curriculum consisting of a wide range of continuing courses focusing on: the nature of Hindu theology; textual hermeneutics; religious pluralism; philosophy of religion; religion and ethics; mysticism; mythology; and the philosophical and religious implications of Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual realizations and teachings. The Diploma  program consists of course, classes, lectures, discussions, readings, written assignments, and intensive retreats. Courses consist of recorded video lectures and weekly interactive webinars. Upon successful completion of the program, students receive a Diploma in Applied Hindu Theology.

Open Courses[edit]

Most of the core courses offered by Ramakrishna Seminary can also be taken independently of our Certificate or Diploma programs.

Religious Degrees (Under Development)[edit]

As the seminary develops they plan to offer programs leading to religious degrees such as a Master of Theology (MTh), Master of Divinity (MDiv), Doctor of Theology (ThD), and Doctor of Ministry (DMin) for students who have previously earned a Bachelor or Master degree in a related or supportive subject.[2]

Dean of Seminary (Pradhanācharya)[edit]

Rev. Dr. Swami Bhajanananda Saraswati, Dean and senior instructor, Ramakrishna Seminary

Swami Bhajanananda Saraswati is a Hindu ascetic, priest, educator, and spiritual preceptor. He has more than twenty-six years of experience in presenting the teachings and practices of Sanatana Dharma, Indian philosophy and the Hindu devotional schools. He and the faculty and staff are passionately dedicated to developing Ramakrishna Seminary as an institution that strives to approach these practices, systems and customs respectful of traditional understandings while being informed by contemporary scholarship.[3]


Ramakrishna Seminary is located on the holy grounds of Kali Mandir Ramakrishna Ashram in Laguna Beach, California. The ashram is in the sacred Laguna Canyon, two miles from the Pacific Ocean, on the bank of Laguna Creek, and surrounded by the natural and protected beauty of the Laguna Cove Wilderness Park. The spiritual heart of the ashram is the temple of the Divine Mother Sri Ma Dakshineswari Kali. The ashram also includes shrines to other forms of divinity, meditation gardens and a small residential monastery.

Onsite classes are given to a small group of students, outside, at the ashram's dhuni (sacred fire altar).

Accreditation [edit]

According to United States law, religious education is exempt from regulation by the Department of Education and its regional accrediting bodies. Religious schools run by non-profit religious corporations such as Kali Mandir are not required to be accredited by those institutions (see Exemption 94874 of the Education Code of State Board of Education.)  This allows Ramakrishna Seminary to maintain its spiritual independence and to freely pursue their unique programs and ciriculae with integrity, while keeping tuition costs low.

All courses, certificates, diplomas and degrees offered by Ramakrishna Seminary are religious in nature and meant for the personal, professional, and spiritual enrichment of mature spiritual seekers and practitioners and are not designed to meet any particular local, state or national licensing or credentialing laws, or to meet any requirements established by any private independent associations. Prior to enrollment, students should not assume that credits will be accepted by other seminaries, educational institutions, secular and other private schools, colleges, universities, businesses or governmental agencies. If seeking a degree for licensing purposes, Ramakrishna Seminary advises students to inquire with said associations, state, or specific school districts to determine acceptability.[4]

Non-Discrimination Statement[edit]

Applications are carefully considered by the faculty of Ramakrishna Seminary and acceptance into the program is based on the  applicant’s character, maturity and aligned educational goals and spiritual orientation. Ramakrishna Seminary does not deny admission to qualified students because of age, race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, sampradaya (spiritual lineage), varna (class/caste), or ashram (stage of life).[5]

External links[edit]