Vivekananda and the Clash of Thought

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Vivekananda and the Clash of Thought

This was just before he went to Greenacre in Eliot, Maine, to participate in a religious conference made up of all sorts of teachers, including one man who spoke under ‘spirit control’ and another who called himself a mental healer, and who Vivekananda referred to as a ‘metaphysico-chemico-physico-religiosio what not!’ (6.260). Sitting beneath tall old pine trees, with a small group of students around him, the swami was able for the first time to teach both the philosophy and the practice of Vedanta. And he loved it. Greenacre was a great turning point for Vivekananda. Never again would he engage in a long series of lectures, riding the rails from town to town, as he had been doing after the Parliament of Religions in September 1893. In January of 1895 he established a headquarters in New York City, where he could work with students, classroom style.

 

Throughout his time in the West, he threw out seeds of new ideas, knowing that at least some would take hold in the hearts of those who were listening, and thus into American soil. Though the ideas he threw out seemed radical at the time, frightening away many, still some did take hold. One year later, at Thousand Island Park in upstate New York, he worked with a number of his students with the intent of making some yogis who would spread the message of Vedanta. One day he explained to them his own method for doing this. He said:

Fire a mass of bird-shot; one at least will strike; give a man a whole museum of truths, he will at once take what is suited to him. Past lives have moulded our tendencies; give to the taught in accordance with his tendency. Intellectual, mystical, devotional, practical—make one the basis, but teach the others with it. Intellect must be balanced with love, the mystical nature with reason, while practice must form part of every method. Take everyone where he stands and push him forward (7.98)

‘A Voice without a Form’

Vivekananda loved to use the buckshot method. Josephine MacLeod once said: ‘[Swamiji] learned every day. He was different every day. Always fresh, throwing out new ideas.’ Some-times the swami would use a slightly different
technique: that of making statements or asking questions that seem to have been deliberately designed to inspire thought, discussion, and debate. And through it all, Vivekananda remained ‘a voice without a form’. In a letter written from the US to his brother disciples he said:
Through the Lord’s will, the desire for name and fame has not yet crept into my heart, and I dare say never will. I am an instrument, and He is the operator. Through this instrument He is rousing the religious instinct in thousands of hearts in this far-off country. Thousands of men and women here love and revere me. … ‘He makes the dumb eloquent and the lame cross mountains.’ I am amazed at His grace. Which-
ever town I visit, it is in an uproar. They have named me ‘the cyclonic Hindu’. Remember, it is His will—I am a voice without a form (6.283).
What does ‘a voice without a form’ mean? There is evidence that illustrates on a gross level that Ramakrishna was behind Vivekananda’s ideas. But I think it is easy to forget this. Vivekananda himself was such a genius in his own right, with a captivating personality and a blazing intellect. His nearly fl awless English impressed people, and he was also able to readily grasp the fi gurative American idiom—something that helped him in connecting with his audiences. Because he spoke their lingo, they felt he understood their hearts too.

 

Christine Greenstidel once reminisced about Vivekananda’s lecturing. She wrote: ‘When asked what preparation he made before speaking, he said none. But neither did he go unpre­pared. He told us that usually before a lecture he heard a voice saying it all. Th e next day he would repeat what he had heard. He did not say whose voice he heard. Whatever it was, it came as the expression of some great spiritual power, greater than his own normal power, released by the intensity of his concentration.’

 

Sometimes, according to Vivekananda himself, when he had stayed in hotels or boarding houses, a fellow lodger would ask him: ‘With whom, Swamiji, were you talking so loudly last night?’ Later on in India Swami Shivananda
once told some monks:
Swamiji started preaching the message of Vedanta in the West, and we received reports of his lectures here. At first we could hardly believe that these were lectures by Swamiji when we read them. He didn’t use the language or the ideas we were familiar with. Everything became changed. He had a new message and a new language. Before going to America, in his conversations here, he had a leaning towards the path of knowledge, and his language was quite philosophical and scholarly. But in the lectures he gave in the West his language was simple and direct and his ideas were full of life and love. Returning to India, he remarked: ‘Do you think I gave those lectures? It was the Master who spoke through me.’

Were those who heard Vivekananda speaking from the platform able to detect that it was the Lord speaking through him? May Elizabeth Stevenson—Sister Avabamia or Avavamia—heard Vivekananda speak, possibly in San Francisco in 1900. She was later initiated by Swami Abhedananda and beginning in 1908 lectured on Vedanta and opened Vedanta study centres in Australia and New Zealand. She wrote of her own experience of hearing Vivekananda: ‘No matter how long he spoke, he was fresh aft er two hours of speaking as he was at the commencement of his lecture. To lose sight of the self and let God have the vocality at His merciful disposal is another secret which none knows but he who has the experience and has been taught by the Lord Himself. ’

 

The Voice behind the Voice Vivekananda

once explained to Priyanath Sinha:

Taking His name, if you set yourself to work, He will accomplish everything Himself through you. … That power may come to all. That power comes to him who observes unbroken Brahmacharya for a period of twelve years, with the sole object of realising God. I have practised that kind of Brahmacharya myself, and so a screen has been removed, as it were, from my brain. For that reason, I need not any more think over or prepare myself for any lectures on such a subtle subject as philosophy. Suppose I have to lecture tomorrow; all that I shall speak about will pass tonight before my eyes like so many pictures; and the next day I put into words during my lecture all those things that I saw.

Swami Chetanananda has pointed out something else that is vital to remember when we read Vivekananda’s words. He wrote:

In The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, the Master declared his identity: ‘The other day I saw Satchidananda come out of this sheath (his body). It said, “I incarnate Myself in every age”.’ On another occasion Sri Ramakrishna said to M, ‘If you ever see me instructing you, then know that it is Satchidananda Himself that does so.’ Sri Ramakrishna’s ego had died forever. It was God Himself who worked and spoke through him. Thus we come to this conclusion—that Vivekananda’s voice, Sri Ramakrishna’s voice, and the voice of Brahman are one and the same. As Brahman is eternal and immortal, so is the voice, the message, of a knower of Brahman.

In 1901 when Vivekananda was in Shillong and quite ill, he had a terrible attack of asthma and could not breathe. Pressing two pillows against his chest, he said: ‘What does it matter! I have given them enough for fifteen hundred years.’ In Swami Chetanananda’s interpretation of this incident, Vivekananda meant that his words, his message, would continue working in the minds of people for fifteen hundred years, after his form had disappeared. Before he passed away in 1902, Vivekananda made a similar prophetic remark: ‘The spiritual impact that has come here to Belur will last fifteen hundred years—and this will be a great university. Do not think I imagine it. I see it.’ The point I want to emphasize is that it is really Ramakrishna—his life, his experiences, his teachings—that has come to the West through Vivekananda and has taken roots that will deepen and spread in the coming decades. Vivekananda remarked that Ramakrishna was ‘a man whose whole life was a Parliament of Religions’, and the best commentary on the Upanishads. And Ramakrishna himself stated: ‘The spiritual experiences of this place (meaning himself ) have surpassed even the Vedas and Vedanta.’

And Vivekananda described that Vedanta and Ramakrishna taught this way:

All religions have for their object the teaching either of devotion, knowledge, or Yoga, in a concrete form. Now, the philosophy of Vedanta is the abstract science which embraces all these methods, and this it is that I teach, leaving each one to apply it to his own concrete form. I refer each individual to his own experiences, and where reference is made to books, the latter are procurable, and may be studied by each one for himself. Above all, I teach no authority proceeding from hidden beings speaking through visible agents, any more than I claim learning from hidden books or manuscripts. … Truth stands on its own authority, and truth can bear the light of day. …

 

I propound a philosophy which can serve as a basis to every possible religious system in the world, and my attitude towards all of them is one of extreme sympathy—my teaching is antagonistic to none. I direct my attention to the individual, to make him strong, to teach him that he himself is divine, and I call upon men to make themselves conscious of this divinity within. Th at is really the ideal—conscious or unconscious—of every religion.
And that is the Vedanta—universal, non-sectarian, and full of freedom—that Vivekananda taught, and to which we are the joyful heirs! Marie Louise Burke wrote about this new kind of Vedanta:

Never before Swamiji’s time had the term [Vedanta] been given such universal significance as he gave it. Never before had it been broadened into a philosophy and religion which included every faith of the world and every noble effort of man—reconciling spirituality and material advancement, faith and reason, science and mysticism, work and contemplation, service to man and absorption in God. Never before had it been conceived as the one universal religion, by accepting the principles of which the follower of any or no creed could continue along his own path and at the same time be able to identify himself with every other creed and aspect of religion.

That is the genius of Ramakrishna; that is the genius of Vivekananda! When he was in Madras in 1897, Vivekananda boldly proclaimed that the three schools of Vedanta—dualism, qualified non-dualism, and non-dualism—were not contradictory but complementary. Aft erwards, he was asked why no one else had ever taught this before. He replied: ‘Because I was born for this, and it was left for me to do! ’

 

In the early 1900s, when Sri Aurobindo was imprisoned in Alipore jail, he had an experience of hearing Vivekananda speak to him for three weeks. Later Aurobindo wrote:
The voice spoke only on a special and limited but very important fi eld of spiritual experience and it ceased as soon as it had finished saying all that it had to say on that subject. … It was the spirit of Vivekananda which first gave me a clue in the direction of the supermind. This clue led me to see how Truth-Consciousness works in everything. … Vivekananda came and gave me the knowledge of the intuitive mentality. I had not the least idea about it at that time. He too did not have it when he was in the body. He gave me detailed knowledge illustrating each point. The contact lasted about three weeks and then he withdrew.
On 11 April 1906 the foresighted Sister Nivedita wrote to her friend Josephine MacLeod about the future of Vivekananda’s message:

I can see that the era of the world workers is quickly passing away, but I do think we ought to have a nucleus in Europe, before the movement of Ramakrishna settles down to the silent thought germination which must come. … You see, when we who understood Swamiji, and remember Him are dead, there will come a long period of obscurity and silence, for the work that He did. It will seem to be forgotten, until, suddenly, in 150 or 200 years, it will be found to have transformed the West.

And Vivekananda himself wrote from America to Swami Ramakrishnananda in 1894 pointing out some of the conditions that must exist in a strong religious order:

There are eyes that can see at a distance of four-teen thousand miles. It is quite true. Keep quiet now, everything will see the light in time, as far as He wills it. Not one word of His proves untrue. My brother, do men grieve over the fight of cats and dogs? So the jealousy, envy, and elbowing of common men should make no impression on your mind. For the last six months I have been saying the curtain is going up, the sun is rising. Yes, the curtain is lifting, by degrees, slow but sure; you will come to know it in time. He knows. One cannot speak out one’s mind. These are things not for writing. … Never let go your hold of the rudder, grasp it firm. We are steering all right, no mistaking that, but landing on the other shore is only a question of time. Th at’s all. Can a leader be made, my brother? A leader is born. And it is a very difficult task to take on the role of a leader. One must be dasasya dasah — a servant of servants, and must accommodate a thousand minds. Th ere must not be a shade of jealousy or selfishness, then you are a leader. First, by birth, and secondly, unselfish—that’s a leader. Everything is going all right, everything will come round. He casts the net all right, and winds it up likewise. … Ours is but to follow; love is the best instrument. Love conquers in the long run. It won’t do to become impatient—wait, wait—patience is bound to give success.

Stirring up Minds

We alluded to the fact that Vivekananda would say things that seem to have been designed to stimulate thought, discussion, and debate. For example: When I read The Gospel of Sri Rama­krishna, it always gives me a little jolt when I come to the 11 March 1885 entry and read a question that Narendra—the future Vivekananda—asks. Ramakrishna has just stated:

Shankara’s Non-dualistic explanation of Vedanta is true, and so is the Qualified Non-dualistic interpretation of Ramanuja.
Narendra: ‘What is Qualified Non-dualism?’
Master: ‘It is the theory of Ramanuja. According to this theory, Brahman, or the Absolute, is qualified by the universe and its living beings. These three—Brahman, the world, and living beings—together constitute One. Take the instance of the bel-fruit. … At first it appears that the real thing in the fruit is the flesh, and not its seeds or shell. Then by reasoning you find that the shell, seeds, and flesh all belong to the fruit; the shell and seeds belong to the same thing that the flesh belongs to. Likewise, in spiritual discrimination one must first reason, following the method of ‘Not this, not this’: God is not the universe; God is not the living beings; Brahman alone is real and all else is unreal. Then one realizes, as with the bel-fruit, that the Reality from which we derive the notion of Brahman is the very Reality that evolves the idea of living beings and the universe. The Nitya and the Lila are the two aspects of one and the same Reality; therefore, according to Ramanuja, Brahman is qualified by the universe and the living beings.’

I said that this question of Narendra gives me a jolt. Why? Because it is 11 March 1885, and in less than eighteen months this young man will be the leader of a band of monastic brothers. Already he often leads the others in vigorous discussions on various spiritual topics involving philosophical ideas. The Master even sets up some of these verbal duals, and usually Narendra tears the other Vedanta. person’s arguments to shreds. His question shocks

because Narendra has always been a genius in all his studies, and was a student of Scottish Church College where he studied under top professors. There he would have had the opportunity to study under Archibald Edward Gough, whose most important work was The Philosophy of the Upanishads and Ancient Indian Metaphysics, and who also translated Review of Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy, by Madhva. 21 This would mean that Narendra would have known about the three schools of Vedanta: dualism, qualified non-dualism, and non-dualism.

 

So why did he ask that question? Perhaps there are some reasons. Since there were a number of Ramakrishna’s disciples present during this exchange, perhaps Narendra wanted everyone present to hear Ramakrishna’s explanation so that in the future they would all be on the same page. It was also important that they have Ramakrishna’s interpretation as a background in the face of possible future opposition to his teachings. Narendra would also have known that the Master’s interpretation of qualified non-dualism would have been superior to that of anyone else’s and that he would explain it in clear, simple, memorable language. Maybe he simply wanted to deepen his own understanding of this important school of For as long as he lived, Narendra’s nature was that of a student, always ready to learn new things and gain new perspectives.

 

Another possibility is that Narendra simply wanted to stir up the thinking of the other devotees present. Opening up people’s minds was really, one could say, his life’s work, and this would be one of his methods of teaching. He would stir up the minds of others just to make them question and debate and dig for themselves. If anyone present felt that he understood this concept, Narendra’s simply asking the question should have made him listen carefully to be sure. There is another example of what I consider his effort to stir up the minds of others: M recorded the following conversation that took place at Baranagore Math, on 17 February 1887:

Narendra and the other monastic brothers areliving at the monastery. Haramohan and Mhave arrived. Shashi is busy with the Master’s worship service. Narendra is about to go to the Ganges for his bath.

Narendra: ‘Krishna mainly discussed japa andausterity in the Gita.’
M: ‘How is that? Then why did he give so much advice to Arjuna?’
Narendra: ‘Krishna did not ask Arjuna to perform family duties.’
M: ‘When Krishna asked Arjuna to fight, Arjuna was a householder. He, therefore, was advising Arjuna to perform his family duties in a detached way.’
A little later:
Baburam: ‘I don’t understand the Gita and other scriptures. The Master said the right thing, “Renounce, renounce”.’
Shashi: ‘Do you know what the real import of the word “renounce” is? It means to remain in the world as an instrument in the hands of God’ .(212)
I believe that Vivekananda expressed this point of view about the focus of the Gita being japa and austerity because he knew that it would not be the accepted view of his brother disciples and others present. This may have been a deliberate attempt to simply stir up the minds of others who were present and inspire some original thought. Just see how animated the sattvic Mahendranath Gupta (M) becomes in this brief exchange, and how it stirs up more rebuttal and discussion in Baburam and Shashi.

 

Over the next several years Vivekananda was to make different statements about the central message of the Bhagavadgita. For example, in a conversation with Sharatchandra Chakravarty in 1897 he revelled in the fact that Sri Krishna was unattached to action, adding : ‘As if He was the embodiment of knowledge, work, devotion, power of concentration, and everything.’ And in a class he gave at Alambazar Math in 1897, he stated: ‘The reconciliation of the different paths of Dharma, and work without desire and attachment—these are the two special characteristics of the Gita’ (4.107).

 

Vivekananda always stressed strength, fearlessness, and stupendous willpower. In his talks on the Gita at the Alambazar Math, he also declared: ‘If one reads this one Shloka … one gets all the merits of reading the entire Gita; for in this one Shloka lies imbedded the whole Message of the Gita’ (4.110): ‘Yield not to unmanliness, O son of Pritha! Ill doth it become thee. Cast off this mean faint-heartedness and arise, O scorcher of thine enemies’ (4.108). And in May 1900 in San Francisco, he told his students: ‘You may be the greatest philosopher but as long as you have the idea that you are the body, you are no better than the little worm crawling under your foot!’ This was Vivekananda, the world teacher. As he grew in spiritual power, so his penchant for mind-bending declarations grew in intensity. His closing message to those Gita students was: ‘“Be brave! Be strong! Be fearless! Once you have taken up the spiritual life, fi ght as long as there is any life in you. … Don’t die with fright, Die fighting. Don’t go down till you are knocked down.” Then with his right arm extended, he thundered, “Die game! Die game! Die Game!”’ (6.218).

 

Later that same day, 17 February 1887, at Baranagore, the swami made another provocative remark that brought immediate sharp reactions from Rakhal and Mani. In this exchange perhaps the swami was trying to gauge the spiritual progress of other devotees. It also resulted in a reminder of Ramakrishna’s own words on a crucial point in spiritual discipline:

Narendra: ‘The vision of God is a kind of false perception.’

Rakhal: ‘What do you mean? You have experienced it.’
Narendra ( with a smile): ‘One gets such a vision because of a derangement of the brain, like a hallucination.’
Mani: ‘Brother, whatever you may say, the Master had visions of divine forms; so how can you say that it is a derangement of the brain? Do you remember when Shivanath remarked that the Master’s samadhi was a kind of nervous disorder or mental illness, and the Master replied, “Does anyone become unconscious thinking of Consciousness? ” ’
Vivekananda is often accused of making contradictory statements. It seems possible that in at least some cases the swami made a provocative statement in a deliberate effort to stir up thinking and arouse debate and discussion, which would hopefully inspire others to do further research and reflection. Those statements make us think, trying to figure out what Vivekananda really meant and where he really stood. Once he said: ‘It is the clash of thought, the diff erentiation of thought, that awakes thought. Now, if we all thought alike, we would be like Egyptian mummies in a museum looking vacantly at one another’s faces—no more than that! ’

 

Vivekananda once declared: ‘Rare are those who bring to the world new ideas on any subject.’ Vivekananda wanted his brother monks and devotees to develop original ideas, not just accept what the ancient sages and later interpreters had thought. Shortly before his maha­ samadhi, he told his disciple Shuddhananda: ‘You, my disciples, should try to discover the true import of these [Vedic] mantras and make original reflections and commentaries on the scriptures.’

 

Swamiji’s Impact on the US

It is important to remember that Vivekananda was a great conciliator too. In a letter to Alasinga Perumal in 1894 he said: ‘Be always ready to concede to the opinions of your brethren, and try always to conciliate.’ Another incident shows how he himself did this. One day there was a discussion at Belur Math on the idea of inauspicious stars—like magha and ashlesha—and times of the week, like the late hours of Thursday. Swami Shuddhananda said:

Shashi Maharaj implicitly believed and followed those ideas. But some of us did not care for them, considering them to be mere superstition. As a result, two groups formed in the monastery. Th ose who believed in inauspicious stars and times said: ‘People who do not believe these things do not believe in Sri Ramakrishna, because the Master followed these customs.’ Soon the issue of both parties reached Swamiji.Then he said: ‘Yes, there is an effect of those customs, but the power of the Atman is infinite. The Atman’s power can overcome those evil effects. Increase the power of the Atman, then none of those things will affect you.’

So here we are over a century later, honouring the Sesquicentenary of Vivekananda’s birth, and our minds are still stirred up by his genius and power. Th rough the joyful feeling of his presence, he is still stirring our minds, giving us mental nudges to think for ourselves.

 

In conclusion, Philip Goldberg’s Ameri­can Veda, subtitled ‘How Indian Spirituality Changed the West’, was published in 2010. How wonderful it is that it has come out during the near-conjunction of the 175th anniversary of Ramakrishna’s birth and the 150th birth anniversary of Vivekananda. Th rough extensive research the author has concluded that two aspects of Hinduism have taken a fi rm hold in American society: Vedanta and yoga. Referring to the statement in the Rig Veda ‘Truth is one, sages call it by various names’, Goldberg writes: ‘Vedanta has so seeped into the collective awareness that the spirit of this premise, if not the literal phrase, is now widely accepted in the United States’.(12)

 

American Veda includes a long chapter on Vivekananda, and the author frequently there- after refers to how Vivekananda’s teachings are being realized today. He also delineates the many fields of life where we can see Vedanta and yoga impacting thought and action: religion, education, science, medicine, psychology, the arts, film, business, academia, and so many others. At the end of the chapter ‘The Soul of Science, the Science of Soul’ he writes: ‘Mircea Eliade famously said that one side effect of science and technolog y was to “desacralize” the world. In recent decades, however, science has been resacralizing itself, with considerable help from the Vedic legacy. Vivekananda would no doubt be pleased by these developments. Over a century ago, he told a European audience, “In the light of Vedanta you will understand that all sciences are but manifestations of religion, and so is every-
thing that exists in this world ” ’.(308)

 

Twenty years ago I remember hearing a medical doctor laugh when a patient told him she practised yoga exercises. ‘Yoga?’ he asked, ‘that’s a waste of time.’ And today many hospital systems in the United States off er yoga classes as therapy for general physical and mental fi tness, and many health insurers cover hatha yoga as therapy. Goldberg points out that many who begin with the exercises of hatha yoga develop a desire to go deeper. Then they come to the philosophy of Vedanta, and this leads them to the spiritual yogas: karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga, and jnana yoga.

 

As a result, I see Ramakrishna–Vivekananda Vedanta everywhere. Even though few people I meet have heard the word Vedanta, the ideas are there. At meetings of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, I see it expressed when someone shares their faith. My daughter recently completed her Master’s in Individual and Family Therapy at Northwestern University. When she entered the programme, she called me all excitedto say, ‘Mom! The precepts we’re learning are all Vedanta—though they don’t call it that!’

 

And constantly we remind ourselves that what is really being talked about here are the ideas of Ramakrishna—the experiences of Ramakrishna—through the voice of Vivekananda. He thrilled his audiences with the divine, eternal message of the Great Master. How did that happen? And why do we thrill to his words today? Vivekananda gives us the clarion call and our hearts resonate. On 28 January 1900, in Pasadena, California, Vivekananda spoke on ‘The Way to the Realisation of a Universal Religion’. In that talk he explained about the receiving of spiritual ideas: ‘Not only must you have spiritual ideas, but they must come to you according to your own method. They must speak your own language, the language of your soul, and then alone they will satisfy you.’32 Josephine MacLeod was present at that lecture. She had first heard him speak five years earlier, on 29 January 1895, in New York, when he was first starting his classroom talks. In her reminiscences of that first day she recalled: ‘He said something, the particular words of which I do not remember, but instantly to me that was truth, and the second sentence he spoke was truth, and the third sentence was truth. And I listened to him for seven years and whatever he uttered was to me truth. From that moment life had a different import. It was as if he made you realize that you were in eternity. It never altered.’

 

Truth never becomes old. It remains fresh forever. Vivekananda’s words resonate because those truths he spoke are already within us!

 

(Source: Prabuddha Bharatha January 2013)

 

References


 1. The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vols (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, I-8, 1989; 9, 1997), 8.317.
2. Linda Prugh,  Josephine MacLeod and Vivekananda’s Mission (Chennai: Ramakrishna Math,1999), 452.
3. His Eastern and Western Admirers, Reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda (Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama, 2004), 218–19
4. Complete Works, 7.124.
5. Swami Chetanananda, ‘I Am a Voice …’, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Youth Convention, 1985 (Howrah: Belur Math, 1985), 149-50.
6. Gopal Stavig, Western Admirers of Ramakrishna and His Disciples (Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama 2010), 398.
7. Complete Works, 5. 358.
8. ‘I Am a Voice …’, 150.
9. His Eastern and Western Disciples, The Life of Swami Vivekananda, 2 vols (Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama, 2008), 2. 590.
10. See ‘I am a Voice …’, 149.
11. Reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda, 243.
12. Complete Works, 3.315.
13. Swami Saradananda, Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, trans. Swami Chetanananda (St Louis: Vedanta Society of St Louis, 2003), 380.
14. Complete Works, 5.186-8.
15. Marie Louise Burke, Swami Vivekananda in the West: New Discoveries, 6 vols (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1994), 2.384.
16. Sister Nivedita, ‘The Master as I Saw Him’, The Complete Works of Sister Nivedita, 5 vols (Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama, 2006), I. 164.
17. Western Admirers of Ramakrishna and His Disciples, 561.
18. Sankari Prasad Basu, Letters of Sister Nivedita, 2 vols (Calcutta: Nababharat Publishers, 1982), 2.800.
19. Complete Works, 6.284.
 20. M, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, trans. Swami Nikhilananda (Chennai: Ramakrishna Math, 2002), 733–4.
21. See Western Admirers of Ramakrishna and His
Disciples, 412.
22. Swami Chetanananda, Mahendra Nath Gupta
(M.) (St Louis: Vedanta Society of St Louis, 2011), 210.
23. Complete Works, 6.458.
24. New Discoveries, 6.212–3.
25. Mahendra Nath Gupta (M.), 213.
26. Complete Works, 2. 363.
27. Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, 762.
28. Swami Chetanananda, God Lived with Them  (St Louis: Vedanta Society of St Louis, ), 70–I.
29. Complete Works, 5.37.
30. Swami Shuddhananda, ‘Swamijir Prasanga’, Ud-bodhan, 54/12 (Magh 1358–Paush  1359 BE), 649.
31. Philip Goldberg, American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West (New York: Harmony Books, 2010).
32. Complete Works, 2.368.
33. Reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda, 228.
By |2018-06-11T20:11:50+00:00May 28th, 2018|Prabuddha Bharata, Public Articles|0 Comments

About the Author:

Linda Prugh is a long-time member and present secretary of Vedanta Society of Kansas City, Missouri.