Vedanta Societies, first and most influential Hindu organization in the West, founded by Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902), a disciple of Indian mystic Ramakrishna (1836–86). Vivekananda attended an international religious conference in Chicago (1893), and later established the Vedanta Society of New York (1894), an organization devoted to service and mysticism. Vivekananda returned to India and founded the Ramakrishna Order (1897) to administer the network of Vedanta societies and humanitarian and religious activities. There are 20 centers in the United States.
See J. Damrell, Seeking Spiritual Meaning (1977); C. Isherwood, My Guru and His Disciple (1988); C. T. Jackson, The Ramakrishna Movement in the United States (1994).