Swami Vivekananda was the first religious leader of India to spread Vedanta philosophy and spirituality in the West in an organized way. The seeds of thought that he sowed in the closing years of nineteenth century later sprouted and developed into what is known as ‘Vedanta Movement’ in the West. The first centre of Vedanta Society was started by Swamiji himself in New York in 1894. Now there are 13 such Vedanta Societies in the US. Outside the US also centres of Ramakrishna Math (and, in a few cases, centres of Ramakrishna Mission) have come into existence, invariably at the initiative of local devotees, in many of the cities in the West and in the East.
In most of the centres outside India, except Bangladesh, Fiji, South Africa and Sri Lanka, the main type of service conducted is spiritual. The Swamis in charge of these centres give discourses, classes and lectures on Vedanta scriptures and the message of Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother and Swami Vivekananda. Individual spiritual guidance is given to sincere seekers. The aim of this kind of service is to enable people to find ultimate fulfilment and meaning in life within their own socio-cultural and religious milieu. Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission do not conduct any kind of proselytizing activity.