The math became the first building of the Ramakrishna Math : the monastery of the monastic order of Ramakrishna. What a strong spirit of detachment we had in those days! We had no thought even as to whether the world existed or not. Narendra collected and arranged most of the songs of this compilation, but could not finish the work of the book for unfavourable circumstances.

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Start your review of Raja-Yoga Write a review Shelves: religion-mysticism-theology , orientalism Clinging to books only degenerates the human mind. Swami Vivekananda was, among other things, one of the great grandfathers of hippiedom. I say this because he was a key figure in the introduction of Hinduism into the West.

Vivekananda arrived at an opportune moment. Nietzsche had just proclaimed the death of God, and the newly widowed people of the West were looking for something new. There was a lot of spiritual flirtation. Hypnotism was on the rise. Arthur Conan Doyle, when he wasnt busy Clinging to books only degenerates the human mind. Clearly, people were feeling a little aimless. It is worth noting that Freud was involved in hypnotism in his early days.

Freud, too, can claim to be a great grandfather of hippiedom, for helping to inaugurate the sexual revolution. His message fit the Zeitgeist well. He preached a universalist doctrine, proposing a religion compatible with many different creeds, not based on any faith but on direct experience. Such a religion, Vivekananda argued, required no faith since it had no dogmas, and was perfectly consistent with a rationalist worldview. It was an event in both the West and in his homeland.

It was a winning formula; and the perseverance of transcendental meditation and yoga in our culture is a testament to his lasting influence. It originated as a series of lectures; and it includes, as the final chapter, his translation of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The general idea is this. There is a higher, spiritual plane of reality which the trained yogi can access and experience.

This is done through several steps. The yogi must, first of all, lead a pure life; he must eat simple foods, keep his body clean, refrain from all forms of violence.

Then the yogi must learn to control his breathing, and this way to master his attention. Eventually, through intense concentration, the yogi can attain to a superconscious level. The benefits of attaining this level are sometimes pictured as psychological—tranquility, joy, and wisdom—and sometimes as magical. Vivekananda is open-minded about the possibilities of levitation, telepathy, and telling the future.

The spiritual plane is, after all, the more fundamental reality; and the yogi who can access it might be able to control the visible world in ways that break the normal laws. But as far as I know, Vivekananda himself never levitated. Although interesting from a historical perspective, I must say that I often found this book off-putting. Perhaps just to appeal to his audience, Vivekananda couched his explanation of Raja Yoga in the language of rationalism.

Not only was he a pioneer in bringing Hinduism to the West; he was also an early Indian nationalist. Nowadays his birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day in India. He must have been a very charismatic man to have accomplished so much before his untimely death at the age of thirty-nine.


Category:Bengali scanned books by Swami Vivekananda



Swami Vivekananda



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