Sri Ramakrishna Vidyashala was founded in 1953 by Srimat Swami Shambhavananda Maharaj. Swamiji was an educational pioneer in southern Karnataka who sought to offer younger students a "man-making education", which Swami Vivekananda had described as a "total development of man which includes the physical, mental and spiritual."

Vidyashala began as a small hostel for students of various age groups called Ramakrishna Students Home. The students home was built in 1932; some of its residents, such as the critically acclaimed writers K.V. Puttappa, Javare Gowda and S.M. Krishna,the former Minister of External Affairs, went on to become prominent members of society. When Swami Shambhavananda felt a need to expand the students home, he procured a redesign from Sri B.B. Mhatre, the renowned architect of Bombay. Swami Shambhavananda faced the daunting challenge of collecting funds to build the new hostel. In search of funding, he toured various parts of Karnataka but he also went to Bombay, where he met with several prospective contributors. Help also came from the Union government and the governments of Coorg and Mysore. After gathering the funds and then acquiring land from the Maharaja of Mysore, Swami Shambhavananda physically led the building construction even in an advanced age. The new hostel was inaugurated October 2, 1950 by Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari, the first and only Indian Governor-general of India. His highness Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, the then Maharaja of Mysore, presided over the inaugural function.

After the new hostel was inaugurated, Swami Shambhavananda, in order to address the students, who had to travel to other schools for their education, conceived a plan to convert the hostel into a residential school. After making some modifications to the building, the new school was inaugurated in 1953. In 1957, the 33.3-meter open-air swimming pool, one of the earliest modern swimming pools in Mysore, was inaugurated by India's first Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.