The emblem of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission, was designed by Swami Vivekananda. The wavy waters, the blossomed lotus, and the rising sun symbolize respectively, Karma (work), Bhakti (devotion), and Jnana (knowledge); the encircling serpent represents Yoga (the path of meditation) and the awakening of the Kundalini (the spiritual power latent in every individual); the swan represents the Paramatman (Supreme Self). The emblem thus signifies that there are various paths to the realization of God, and spiritual seekers may follow any one or more of these paths according to their temperament and inclination for their spiritual realization.
In 1897, Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and Mission and framed its rules and regulations. He delineated the aims and ideals of the Ramakrishna Order, which are purely spiritual and humanitarian in nature. Property was purchased at Belur, across the river from Calcutta, which became the headquarters of the Order. There Vivekananda installed the relics of Sri Ramakrishna. 'The Master once told me,' said Vivekananda, ' "I will go and live wherever you take me, carrying me on your shoulder, be it under a tree or in the humblest cottage."' Two days before his passing away Vivekananda made this prophetic statement: 'The spiritual impact that has come here to Belur will last fifteen hundred years - and this will be a great university. Do not think I imagine it - I see it.'