This manuscript deals specifically with the contentious issue of sewa, organized service to humanity, which was Vivekananda's legacy to his followers. It is a distinctive contribution to the study of the Ramakrishna movement in its exclusive focus on the idea of service. It argues that theRamakrishna movement's commitment to sewa was shaped by a complex of varied influences. These included not only the impact of individuals such as Vivekananda and the interaction between Indian and western ideals, but also dramatic changes in the delivery of organized philanthropy. That took placeduring the nineteenth century in societies disrupted by industrialization and colonization. The study will trace the way in which social, economic, and political factors beyond its direct control have also conspired to make increasing demands upon the Ramakrishna Math and Mission as a provider of service. The debate surrounding he genesis and growth of the sadhana of service within theRamakrishna movement has been a fascinating one not least because of the various interests and starting points of those who have participated in it. The study is rooted in substantial direct encounters with the Ramakrishna Math and Mission's contemporary practice of the sadhana of service in bothIndia and Bangladesh. It includes material taken from interviews conducted with members of the movement, and is enriched by reference to literature produced by individual Math and Mission centers which is not very widely known.