By Jyotirmaya Sharma

In this 3rd installment of his complete background of “India’s faith” and reappraisal of Hindu id, Professor Jyotirmaya Sharma deals an enticing portrait of Swami Vivekananda and his courting together with his guru, the mythical Ramakrishna. Sharma’s paintings makes a speciality of Vivekananda’s reinterpretation and formula of numerous Indian religious and mystical traditions and practices as “Hinduism” and the way it served to create, distort, and justify a countrywide self-image. the writer examines questions of caste and the primacy of the West in Vivekananda’s imaginative and prescient, in addition to the systematic marginalization of exchange religions and heterodox ideals. In doing so, Professor Sharma presents readers with an incisive entryway into nineteenth- and twentieth-century Indian heritage and the increase of Hindutva, the Hindu nationalist movement.
 

Sharma’s illuminating narrative is a superb reexamination of 1 of India’s so much debatable non secular figures and a desirable examine of the symbiosis of Indian background, faith, politics, and nationwide identity. It is an important tale for somebody attracted to the evolution of 1 of the world’s nice religions and its function in shaping modern India.

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Words and phrases such as ‘works’ and ‘world’s good’, crucially embedded in the story, also seek to establish the credibility of the future ‘improvisation’ of the Master’s faith that Vivekananda would eventually undertake. For the devout and the faithful, this account stands beyond doubt and reproach. Swami Nikhilananda follows this path of devotion and fidelity to a fault. In the introduction to the English translation of Mahendranath Gupta’s Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathāmrita,6 he reproduces Vivekananda’s version of the story verbatim.

Ramakrishna does not entirely agree. For a man who has the knowledge of Brahman, he says, the world may be a play of vidya, but for those who follow the path of divine love both vidyamaya and 37. , p. 116. 38. , pp. 101-2. 39 When Mahendranath Gupta tells him that the body alone was the cause of all mischief, Ramakrishna has this to say: ‘Why should you say such a thing? This world may be a “framework of illusion”, but it is also said that it is a “mansion of mirth”. Let the body remain. ’40 The phrases ‘framework of illusion’ and ‘mansion of mirth’ are from Ramprasad,41 and Ramakrishna would refer to these frequently, as we will see subsequently.

P. 206. 1 A Restatement of Religion that a few days before Ramakrishna’s death, ‘She whom he [Ramakrishna] used to call “Kali” [the Goddess Kali] entered this [Vivekananda’s] body,’3 and it was She who made him work relentlessly. Was this metaphorical, asks the disciple. No, replies Vivekananda and begins to tell the story of Ramakrishna and himself a few days before Ramakrishna left his body. Ramakrishna summoned Vivekananda and looked at him ‘steadfastly’, and, then, fell into a samadhi or trance.

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A Restatement of Religion: Swami Vivekananda and the Making by Jyotirmaya Sharma
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