Though it is true that Swami Vivekananda started the Ramakrishna Mission on 1 May 1897, the origin of the Mission can be traced back to long before that - in the Dakshineswar days of Sri Ramakrishna's life. When Sri Ramakrishna had completed his spiritual practices in the various paths of Hinduism as well as in other religions, he had several realizations about himself and his future mission, one of which was this: '... as an instrument in the hands of the Mother of the universe, he would have to found a new Communion especially fitted for the liberal faith revealed in his life.'
The Divine Mother also showed him that many devotees would come to him for spirituality.
Since then we have seen Sri Ramakrishna eagerly waiting for these devotees. His longing for them was no less intense than the longing for the Mother that we had seen in him earlier. Sri Ramakrishna himself said: 'A mother never longed for her child so intensely, nor a friend for his companion, nor a lover for his sweet- heart, as I did for them. Going to the roof of the building he would cry: 'Where are you, my dear ones! Come! I can't live without seeing you! ' Just as he had wept for the Divine Mother, he would weep for his devotees also all day long, and when it was dark, he would lament, 'Yet another day has passed, but nobody came.' After this, the young disciples who later constituted the Mission as monks or as householders, gradually started coming. Sri Ramakrishna himself said that the Mother had sent them in response to his call. So the Ramakrishna Mission was not man-made. It came into being as part of a Divine plan. It was a revelation.
Among all the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, Narendranath was the foremost, and his dearest, too. From the very first day, Sri Ramakrishna knew that he would be the carrier of his message. Sri Ramakrishna knew Narendra better than Narendra knew himself. A few days after Narendra's first visit to Dakshineswar, Sri Ramakrishna sent him into Samadhi by a mere touch, and as Sri Ramakrishna said later, while Narendra was in that state, by asking him questions, Sri Ramakrishna came to know everything about him who Narendra actually was and what his mission on earth would be. So we can well assume that at that time, he also came to know that Narendra was the future leader of the organization he had in vision. Because of this, he always treated and taught Narendra in a special way. That is why when Narendra expressed his desire to remain absorbed in Samadhi forever, he was met with a rebuff. A visibly displeased Sri Ramakrishna said to Narendra that he did not expect such 'narrow-mindedness' from Narendra, that he wanted to see Narendra grow up like a large banyan tree to provide shelter and solace to afflicted humanity. We do not come across any other instance when Sri Ramakrishna gave similar instruction to other disciples. This instruction was particularly reserved for the future leader of 'his' Sangha which was to teach mankind to look upon man as the living God, and service to him as worship. Indeed, for the leader of such a Sangha, even the bliss of Samadhi should be considered a lesser goal!