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About Swami Chetanananda
Swami Chetanananda is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order of India, an author, and a spiritual teacher with students all over the world. He is the minister-in-charge of the Vedanta Society of St. Louis. He has written and translated more than two dozen books about the spiritual life, and he has collaborated in his writing with Huston Smith and Christopher Isherwood. Swami Chetanananda has been teaching and writing about Vedanta in the United States for more than three of his four-plus decades as a monk. He came to the United States from Ramakrishna Order monasteries of the Himalayas and Calcutta. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
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Books By Swami Chetanananda
In this volume we find reverent, lovely recollections from those who knew Sarada Devi intimately as her companions and disciples. We experience the panorama of a human life, a woman’s life, fully lived a century and more ago,and also the story of a spiritual journey and realization that can edify readers even today. Sarada Devi’s life can be taken to demonstrate practical Vedanta: how to balance contemplative and active life, the ideals of monastics and householders.
- Francis X. Clooney, SJ Parkman Professor of Divinity, Harvard University
This is an account of one of the most extraordinary spiritual lives of modern India. Swami Chetanananda has gathered materials from a wide range of sources and woven them together in a compelling, highly readable biography of Sri Sarada Devi. This book combines authentic scholarship with deep spiritual understanding of the events. Readers from the East and the West will be gripped and transformed by the narrative.
-Lance E. Nelson, University of San Diego
Sri Sarada Devi and Her Divine Play is a massive undertaking of nearly five years of careful research, based on many past biographies in English and Bengali, eyewitness accounts, and reminiscences. Swami Chetanananda has not simply written a biography of Sarada Devi. This book is also a hagiography that devotees of the Ramakrishna movement will treasure for many years to come, and rightly so.
-Gerald James Larson, Rabindranath Tagore Professor Emeritus, Indiana University, Bloomington
Sarada Devi was one of India’s most unlikely saints, an unassuming Bengali village girl who blossomed into an epitome of spirit. This is the remarkable story of Sarada’s transformation and her extraordinary contributions. Superb!
-Linda Johnsen, author, Daughters of the Goddess: The Women Saints of India
God Lived With Them is a masterful blend of scholarship and devotion. What ’s more, it has a subtle transformative power that lifted me to a state of exquisite joy. And why not? I had been in the company of sixteen spiritual giants who charge the pages from beginning to end with the divine fervor that Ramakrishna awakened in them. Don’t miss this wonderful book.
Irene Petryszak, Yoga International
Told in a lively, fresh manner, these are intimate accounts of courageous lives dedicated to selfless service and attainment of the highest Goal – Liberation. No spiritual library will be complete without this fascinating account of modern Vedic mysticism.
Light of Consciousness
Congratulations on this very fine volume…To know more about Sri Ramakrishna and to see the impact of his life and message on his early disciples is a great resource for all of us who care about the spiritual life.
Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Theology Department, Boston College
Swami Chetanananda’s new book offers revealing sketches of sixteen of Ramakrishna’s monastic disciples that testify to their Master’s great powers as a religious teacher.
Carl T. Jackson, author of The Oriental Religions and American Thought
Many delightful and, to this reviewer, new stories and quotations await the reader of this book. Some are moving and deeply profound. Others give a human, often amusing dimension which rounds out these full-bodied portraits. In a short time one feels touched by the particular personality of each disciple, and often when death comes, a painful loss, as of an old friend, is felt.
‘Enlightening Stories’ is a collection of 74 stories culled from the Indian and other religious traditions. Geographically, they range from the jungles of India to the deserts of the Middle East and the hills of Italy; historically, from the Vedic period to the 20th century; culturally, from the Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, and Christian traditions. Wide-ranging and eclectic, they reflect our rich heritage and illustrate the universality of spiritual truth.
Compiled by Swami Vimohananda from Bengali title ‘Galpa Malika’ by Swami Chetanananda and other sources and published by Advaita Ashrama, a publication house of Ramakrishna Math, Belur Math.
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Published by Advaita Ashrama, a publication house of Ramakrishna Math, Belur Math, India.
“Ramakrishna As We Saw Him is a rich addition to the literature available on Sri Ramakrishna. These extensive, detailed and interesting reminiscences of those who knew him document an important moment in India’s modern spiritual history. They provide the modern reader with a vivid sense of how Sri Ramakrishna lived daily the spiritual message he taught, and how he excelled in opening a path for God into the human heart. Readers of every culture and religion will profit from reflection on these accounts and the spiritual and human truths they communicate.”
Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Parkman Professor of Divinity, Harvard University
“The true measure of a collection of reminiscences is the manner in which the subject of reminiscence emerges. In this regard, the present collection is a masterful achievement....”
Gerald James Larson, Religious Studies, U.C., Santa Barbara
“The picture that emerges from these various testimonies is of a saint perpetually in samadhi, one who drew others mystically into God, who astonished officials and students alike with his profundities.”
The Book Reader
“This remarkable work covers forty-five personal accounts of relatives, 14 monastic disciples (including Vivekananda), householder disciples and admirers who knew Ramakrishna well. Many of these sources have been translated into English for the first time, thus adding to the almost video-real picture of 19th century Ramakrishna.”
In an age so secular that many talk of God’s death, it is important to have these detailed accounts of individuals who not only experienced God as alive, but who came to new life through that experience.
Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions
What would it be like to live with one of the greatest saints of all time? Would you be completely transformed? Or would you fight it tooth and nail? This incredibly fascinating and important book reveals how ordinary men and women, people like you and me, responded to the challenge posed by a holy man who transparently embodied pure spirit.
Linda Johnsen, author of Daughters of the Goddess:The Women Saints of India
. . . never before has the immensely vivid background to Ramakrishna’s life been so apparent as in this beautiful book, which describes in rich detail for the first time, the stories of his lay devotees.
. . . It is salutary to discover how thoroughly the lives of ordinary Indian people were – and to a considerable extent still are – permeated by the profound spirituality of Hinduism, which gave their existence dignity and a sense of real meaning. One can clearly see from the courageous examples set by these householder disciples of Sri Ramakrishna that it is essential for us to continue to live in the world as they did – but with a fresh spirit of dedication to God.
Science of Thought Review