The Vedanta Society of Northern California was founded in 1900 by Swami Vivekananda. It is a nonprofit corporation, spiritually affiliated with the Ramakrishna Order, which today is considered to be one of the foremost important religious institutions in India. The Society, one of a number of such Vedanta centers in the United States, is guided by swamis (monks) of the Order, who serve as its ministers.
The New Temple, located at the corner of Fillmore and Vallejo Streets in San Francisco, is the Society's headquarters. Dedicated in 1959, the New Temple houses a variety of activities. Interviews are granted by Swami Prabuddhananda, who is in charge of the Society, to those who wish to know more about Vedanta. To those who sincerely wish to undertake spiritual practice the swami gives specific instructions and guidance.