Meaning of Ramakrishna Movement’s Emblem

Question :

A question if you could please answer. Swamiji in this message (below) stresses on Karma Yoga. Also, at quite a few other places, he’s stressed upon Karma Yoga (e.g. lecture at Rameshwaram upon his return from States). While on the other hand, Sri Ramakrishna and many other saints have maintained that Bhakti is the way to Lord in Kaliyuga. Should we see Swamiji’s remarks in the light of contemporary situation and also kind of audience he was addressing and therefore the variance. kindly advise.


The sayings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda are complimentary to each other and are not contradictory.

Karma means action. Karma Yoga means actions done with an attitude of worship.

Bhakti means devotion. Bhankti Yoga means actions with a spirit of devotion.

Karma yoga without devotion cannot be a true karma yoga and Bhakti yoga without an element of actions cannot be a true bhakti.

Therefore, Swami Vivekananda designed the following emblem of Ramakrishna Order:


In this emblem, the wavy waters represent works, lotus represents bhakti, rising sun represents Jnana and the encircling serpent the Raja Yoga. When all the four yogas are balanced, the the aspirant gets the vision of truth, i.e. the swan.