About The Book
Wandering mystic, eloquent
philosopher, India’s spiritual ambassador to the West and founder of the
Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Vivekananda awakened India’s masses to the country’s
spiritual richness while stressing the importance of scientific inquiry. These
aspects of the monk’s life have been well chronicled by Swamiji himself,
through his letters, speeches and writing; his two brothers, who between them
have written more than a hundred books; his co-disciples, disciples and others whose
lives were enriched by their interactions with him; and, more than a century
after his death, followers who had only red and heard of the magnetic
personality of this revered teacher.
Gleaned from all these sources,
through sustained and painstaking research, Sankar’s biography focuses on the
personal life if the saint: What was Swami Vivekananda like as a man? What role
did his mother play in his life, both before and after he renounced all family
ties? Could he reconcile the duties of a monk with the responsibility of an
eldest son? What prompted him to promoted Vedanta and biriyani in the West? Did
the long-drawn legal battles over family property affect his health and cut
short his life? Did his sister commit suicide? Why did his brother not write a
single letter home for six years while he was wandering around the world? What
was Swamiji’s favorite dish and what fruit did he like the least? What was his
height? Where did he have his second heart attack? How much did the Calcutta
doctor charge him at his chamber?
Sankar’s composite picture of
the monk as man has sold over one lakh copies in Bengali and this translation
brings the unfamiliar Vivekananda to a large readership.
I wish to offer my heartfelt
thanks to my respected headmaster, Sudhanshushekhar Bhattacharyya, who first
introduced me to the literature on Vivekananda when I was only eleven. His
advice was: Read the original and you will never lose your way.
I am also extremely fortunate
to have received great affection and encouragement from my friend and senior at
school, Prof. Shakari Prasad Basu. His monumental work, Vivekananda o Samakalin Bharatbarsha, took shape before my eyes
and has remained a perennial source of inspiration for me.
I began my own journey on Vivekananda
with a few articles in Bengali and soon realized that a lot needs to be
explored even a century after his demise. The response of readers to Achena Ajana Vivekananda has been
overwhelming and this has given me the courage to translate the book into
My grateful thanks goes to my
two friends at the Shri Chinmoy Centre, New York, for their assistance with the
English translation, and who feel ‘it is not necessary to put [their] names’.
A Monk and His Mother
Emperor, Monk and Cook in
The Monk Who Loved Tea
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