Swami Vivekananda, in the words of Oden, has become the tide of opinion. It seems almost impossible to grasp the true depth of his work. He has been penalized by crude political appropriation by the right and mindless debate by the left.But a more politically detached reading Vivekananda marred by breathtaking superficiality.
His construction as a sort of “world guru,” the title of Ruth Harris’ charmingly written account of the phenomenon, detracts from any serious engagement with him. This is partly because modern scholars do not possess the five attributes of Vivekananda that are necessary to properly understand him. Such scholars must, first of all, take seriously and understand the claim that extrasensory experience is the source of true knowledge, and that this knowledge is based on experience.
any writing on Vivekanandaor, more generally, any Hinduism that does not understand this claim is not worthy of the treatise in which it is written. You should be deeply familiar with it. As Swami Medananda argues in his glowing book, Swami Vivekananda’s Vedantic CosmopolitanismVivekananda is also a serious text reader.
All sorts of superficial claims about the continuity and discontinuity of Advaita and its relation to other streams of thought are often simply the result of a colossal ignorance of tradition. Third, such a scholar would have to be a gifted philosopher and would adopt the following hermeneutic assumptions: Vivekananda Also a seriously cautious philosopher. Fourth, such scholars also need to tap into religious idioms and practices that have a sense of, for example, Sactism or Vaishnavism.
Finally, as an added gift, they may be well versed in Western philosophies that could do the job of translation. But he is probably the only two who meet all five criteria. The first is Arindam Chakrabarti. The second is Swami Medananda (formerly known as Ayon Maharaj, author of Infinite Paths to Infinite Reality). He also belongs to Ramakrishna in his mission and can think from within the tradition as well. It is no coincidence that Swami His Medananda created, nor is it simply the best book on Vivekananda. It is also the best book on contemporary Hindu thought and religious thought in general.
Swami Vivekananda Vedantic cosmopolitanism This book is a marvel of philosophical brilliance and erudition. This book is a discussion of Vivekananda’s ontology (the sense of oneness in Advaita Vedanta and the ethics of love that flows from it), the claim of harmony among all religions), the empirical basis of religion, and the relationship between faith and reason. is carefully reconstructed. , and most ambitious is the nature of consciousness itself.
After a strong opening chapter depicting Vivekananda’s own evolution and relationship with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Medhananda carefully describes Vivekananda’s reconstruction of Advaita. Almost all modern Indian thought is in some way a rebellion against Samkara. Vivekananda reconstructs the sankara to claim that both the Brahman and the personal Shakti are equally real, and that Maya is the manifestation of God and not just a veil.
He argues that each of the four yogas, bhakti, karma, jnana and raja, is an equally valid and independent path to salvation. Vivekananda has always asserted that Advaita is superior to all other religions, and his doctrine of harmony has been accused of hiding hierarchy. Swami Medananda claims that Vivekananda’s view on this has evolved, and his final position is the advocacy of religious pluralism based on authentic salvation validity. The nature of sages, the issue of evil, and the nature of religious experience from which Vivekananda derives more from Sankara.
It’s hard to convey the depth of this book in such a short review. may serve as one book that is both the most authoritative account of Vivekananda and a discussion of Hinduism.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in Vivekananda’s Western disciples and his transformation into a New Age guru, Ruth Harris’ beautifully written book Guru to the World: The Life and Legacy of Vivekananda It’s a book to read. Wide-ranging about his reception in both America and England, he is very insightful about the social milieu in which Vivekananda was received, especially the intense mix of anti-colonial sentiments and spiritual anxieties that drive his disciples. there is. It addresses the very interesting question of why so many of his disciples in the West were women, but it doesn’t delve into it. The book’s thin treatment of ideas makes up for it with moving and skillful portraits of figures like Sarah Farmer and Margaret Noble, but if you want to encounter the sea that is Vivekananda , both in depth and in all its ripples, Swami He spend a few days with Medananda.
The writer is a contributing editor for The Indian Express