Talks with Swami Vivekananda

Talks with Swami Vivekananda

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Item Code: IDK806
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 8175051531
Pages: 518
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 6.3

Great persons are usually known to us through their lectures, writings or public activities. But it is always a rare privilege to come into intimate contact with them and study their lives and thoughts at close quarters. This is all the more true of spiritual geniuses. Those who have attained to a great spiritual height live in a different plane, as it were, from that of ours, and in spite of their endeavour to do good to the world and their great sympathy for the suffering humanity, none except those who have been directly touched by them succeed in taking full advantage of their lives and teachings. Spiritual giants are worshipped from a distance but the influence of their examples enters into the lives of only a fortunate few. All are not destined to have direct contact with spiritual personalities, hence the next best thing for ordinary people is to know their teachings, in which is hidden the inspiration of their lives. It is therefore that the teachings or recorded sayings of saints are so much in demand. A few sayings of Christ found in the Bible and a few words of Buddha that have been left to the world as a great legacy are giving spiritual sustenance to millions of people for thousands of years. It is but natural.

The meteoric success of Swami Vivekananda as a religious teacher in two hemispheres dazzles us. We are struck with awe and reverence when we read his writings or go through his recorded speeches. We feel he is talking to us from a dizzy height. We are bewildered by the thought of the gulf between his greatness and our smallness. But when one would come into direct touch with him, one would feel that the distance had vanished, and find in Swami Vivekananda a close friend or an intimate relation, eager to do the highest good for all. It is only when such relationship is established that you can know the real man. The disciples who recorded their conversations with Swami Vivekananda in the following pages, had the privilege not only of finding the Swami as a Guru, but of being very free with him. So we find, they were discussing all kinds of subjects with him. And as Swami Vivekananda while giving out his views was not trammeled by formality as is the case when one stands on a public platform, his world has found here have got special value. Here Swami Vivekananda gives directions about spiritual practice and meditation, talks of high philosophy, and in the next breath discusses the problems of national regeneration, social reform, educational ideals, and what not. Now and then we find how the large heart of that great giant bled for the sufferings of the poor and the needy. People in almost all walks of life will find guidance from these conversations.

The conversations took place in Bengali and were originally published in the Udbodhan – a Bengali monthly of the Ramakrishna Order. They were translated, at places abridged, and incorporated in The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. We bring them out in a handy book from, hoping they will be of immense help to a larger circle of the reading public. May our hope be justified.


Chapter I (1 - 409)
Sec. I.The first meeting with Swami Vivekananda – Mr. Narendranath Sen, Editor of the Mirror – Comparison between the English and the American – The future result of preaching religion in foreign countries – The relative value of cow-protection – Man is to be saved first1
Sec. II.Rebellion against nature, the sign of consciousness – The same is true of nations – The cause of India's degradation – Need for self-confidence – Men or money? – The way to Self-realization – The Krishna of Kurukshetra – Need for the development of Rajas 13
Sec. III.Talking with some Pandits in Sanskrit – What is civilization – Characteristics of Indian civilization – Samadhi – Who is the real teacher – Hereditary Gurus – Sri Ramakrishna25
Sec. IV.The Birthday anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar – Need of religious festivals – Swami Vivekananda did not preach sectarianism33
Sec. V.Initiating the disciple – Origin of the sacred thread – The problem of virtue and vice – When is the Self realized41
Sec. VI.Starting the Ramakrishna Mission – Did Swami Vivekananda differ from Sri Ramakrishna – Swami Vivekananda's attitude towards Sri Ramakrishna – The Law of grace – Girish Chandra Ghosh49
Sec. VII.Solar Eclipse – Nature of meditation – Practical hints on meditation – Need for renunciation62
Sec. VIII.Female education – Mahakali Pathashala – Women in India and the West – Early marriage – Tight type of female education – Spread of education68
Sec. IX.Rig-Veda – Max Muller – The theory of creation – Swami Vivekananda's great heart – Need for the study for scriptures – Service of living beings78
Sec. X.The ideal of Sannyasa – Buddha and the institution of Sannyasa – Meeting the criticism against Sannyasa – Who is a real Sannyasin91
Sec. XI.Consecration of the temple of Sri Ramakrishna105
Sec. XII.Guru Govind Singh – Psychic powers108
Sec. XIII.Tithipuja of Sri Ramakrishna – Investing some non-Brahmin devotees with holy thread – Girish Chandra Ghosh – Karma-Yoga or unselfish work – its aim and utility117
Sec. XIV.Installation of Sri Ramakrishna – at Belur Math – Shankaracharya – Buddha – Cause of the downfall of Buddhism – Influence of pilgrimage – Different methods of worship127
Sec. XV.In a reminiscent mood – His psychic powers – American men and women – Opposition from the bigoted Christians – Self-surrender and inertia – Nag Mahashaya140
Sec. XVI.Swami Vivekananda's experiences at Amarnath and Kshir Bhavani – Hearing a divine voice – Existence of Ghosts and spirits of a disembodied spirit150
Sec. XVII.Composing a Sanskrit hymn – About Bengali language and style – "Be fearless" – Need for the study of scriptures – Results of Self-realization156
Sec. XVIII.Swami Vivekananda's experience of Nirvikalpa Samadhi – Extraordinary power of Avataras166
Sec. XIX.Need for faith in oneself – Service and business – So-called educated people – Masses – Their future174
Sec. XX.At the Zoological Garden at Alipur – Darwin, Theory of Education and Patanjali – Need for physical strength185
Sec. XXI.Swami Vivekananda's future plan about belur Math – Work and meditation – Nescience – Brahman and the world of matter195
Sec. XXII.The Bengali monthly 'Udbodhan' – Its future policy210
Sec. XXIIIIndia wants not lecturing but work – The crying problem in India is poverty – Young Sannyasins to be trained both as secular and spiritual teachers and workers for the masses – Exhortations to young men to work for others217
Sec. XXIV.Reconciliation of Jnana and Bhakti – Sat-Chit-Ananda – How sectarianism originates – Bring in Shraddha and the worship of Shakti and Avataras – The ideal of the hero we want now, not the Madhura-bhava – Sri Ramakrishna - Avataras225
Sec. XXV.Brahman and differentiation – Personal realization of oneness – Supreme Bliss is the goal of all – Think always, I am Brahman – Discrimination and renunciation are the means – Be fearless235
Sec. XXVI.Renunciation of Kamakanchana – God's mercy falls on those who struggle for realization – Unconditional mercy and Brahman are one244
Sec. XXVII.The doctrine of Ahimsa and meat-eating – The Sattva, Rajas and Tamas in man – Discrimination of food and spirituality – 'Ahara' – The three defects in food – Don't-touchism and caste-prejudices – Plan of restoring and old Chaturvarna and the laws of the Rishis 250
Sec. XXVIII.Cause of India's degradation – Ancient Vedic customs must be remodeled according to the need of the society and the times – New Smriti to be complied259
Sec. XXIX.Auspiciousness of time and place – Work and Self-realization – Karma-yoga – India wants manifestation of Rajas – Bright future for the country267
Sec. XXX.Laws of Brahmacharya – New Order of Sannyasins – Wanted Karma-yoga as taught in the Gita277
Sec. XXXI.Meeting with Nag Mahashaya280
Sec. XXXII.Brahman, Ishvara, Jiva and Avidya – Renunciation and Self-realization – How to control the mind – Atman as the object of meditation – Jnana, Bhakti, Karma and Yoga – The doctrine of incarnation of God – Exhortation for Self-realization – work of a Jnani287
Sec. XXXIII.On art – Difference between Indian and Western arts – Seal of the Ramakrishna Mission, its significance – Plan of the Ramakrishna temple303
Sec. XXXIV.A power working through Swami Vivekananda – Reminiscence of East Bengal and the visit to Nag Mahashaya's house – Renunciation and not the observance of external forms is the test of spiritual progress – Firm determination needed to realize the Self 312
Sec. XXXV.Plan of the future Math for women – Soul has no sex – Women have equal opportunity for realizing the Brahman – Religion to be the centre of female education – Definition of good work – Work and knowledge323
Sec. XXXVI.Swami Vivekananda's wonderful memory – His opinion about Bharatchandra and Michael Madhusudan Dutt, two Bengali poets337
Sec. XXXVII.Why atman is not perceived though so very near – On Self-realization all questionings cases – Mother Kali343
Sec. XXXVIII.Wanted a sturdy band of young men ready to sacrifice all for others – Manliness should be the ideal – Remedy against low spirits and weakness of mind – work for others – No individual liberation before the salvation of all – Influence pf thoughts349
Sec. XXXIX.Swami Vivekananda's plan to celebrate Durga Puja at Belur Math – His visit to the temple at kalighat360
Sec. XL.The last birthday anniversary of Sri Ramakrishna that Swami Vivekananda saw – Swami Vivekananda's idea as to how the celebration should take place – How far a Guru can help – What is meant by grace – Swami Vivekananda's vision of Sri Ramakrishna363
Sec. XLI.Swami Vivekananda's love and sympathy for the poor – "Don't touchism" – Who serves Jiva serves God indeed 371
Sec. XLII.Life at the Belur Math in early days - Swami Vivekananda's reminiscence of Baranagore Math – Rigours of monastic vow376
Sec. XLIII.On meditation – How to awaken the Kundalini – How to have concentration – Directions about spiritual practice384
Sec. XLIV.About disciples of Sri Ramakrishna390
Sec. XLV.Different grades of devotees of Sri Ramakrishna – Different interpretation of the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna – Future of the message of Sri Ramakrishna395
Sec. XLVI.Denationalisation and national degradation – Directions about spiritual practice403
Chapter II (410-469)
Sec. I.Educative value of royal Durbars – Freedom and discipline – Swami Vivekananda's catholicity – Test of civilization410
Sec. II.The picture of Sri Krishna, the preacher of the Gita – Egoism and self-surrender – Problem of evil – The value of sincerity – Origin of image worship – Tantrikism – Harmony of Yogas – Reverence for women414
Sec. III.Reminiscence – The problem of famines in India, and self-sacrificing workers – East and West – Is it Sattva or Tamas – A nation of mendicants – The "gice and take" policy – Tell a man his defects directly but praise his virtues before others – Vivekananda everyone may become – Unbroken Brahmacharya is the secret of power – Samadhi and work
Sec. IV.Reminiscences – Pranayama – Thought-reading – Knowledge of previous births 440
Sec. V.The art and science of music, Eastern and Western443
Sec. VI.The old institution of living with the Guru – The present University system – Lack of Shraddha – We have a national history – Western science coupled with Vedanta – The so-called higher education – The need of technical education on national lines – The story of Satyakama – Mere book-learning and education under Tyagis – Sri Ramakrishna and the Pandits – establishment of Maths with Sadhus in charge of colleges – Text-books for boys to be complied – Stop early marriage – Plan of sending unmarried graduates to Japan – The secret of Japan's greatness – Art, Asiatic and European – Art and utility – Styles of dress – The food question and poverty447
Sec. VII.The discrimination of the four castes according to Jati and Guna – Brahmanas and kshatriyas in the West – The Kula-Guru system in Bengal465
Chapter III (407-495)
Sec. I.The loss of Shraddha in India and need of its revival – Men we want – Real social reform470
Sec. II.Reconciliation of Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga – God in good and in evil too – Use makes a thing good or evil – Karma –Creation – God – Maya 474
Sec. III.Intermarriage among subdivisions of a Varna – Against early marriage – The education that India needs - Brahmacharya481
Sec. IV.Madhura-bhava – Prema – Namakirtana – Its danger – Bhadti tempered with Jnana – A curious dream488
Chapter IV (496-500)
Think of death always and new life will come within – Works for others – God, the last refuge496
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