Pravrajika Vivekaprana, is a senior sannyasini of the Sri Sarada Math and the Ramakrishna Sara Mission Order. She is presently head of the Retreat Centre of the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission at Pangot, district Nainital.
Since the age of 19, Pravrajika Vivekaprana has been following closely in the footsteps of Swami Vivekananda, and over the past decades she has done an in-depth study of Hindu Philosophy in the context of human psychology. Her ability to reach out to her audiences always leaves a lasting impression.
From 1989 she started her lectures abroad and over the years visited Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany’ Holland, the United States of America, and Uruguay. She has shared her thoughts and understanding with a very wide range of listeners, both in terms of age and culture. In 1993, Pravrajika Vivekaprana was invited to speak at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, exactly 100 years after Swami Vivekananda spoke at the same forum in 1893, and made his first electrifying impact on the West.
This is the fourth book in the Understanding Vedanta Lecture Series. In these articles Pravrajika Vivekaprana shares her in-depth understanding of the underlying psychology of Sri Shankaracharya’s Vivekachudamani.
In January 2007, we had the good fortune of studying Sri Shankarcharya’s treatise, Vivekachudamani, with Pravrajika Vivekaprana.
The present-day readers Lend to get intimidated and thus evade reading these original books, the scriptures that give us Vedanta Philosophy arid wherein lies the wealth of knowledge as discovered in ancient India. Studying these books with Pravrajika Vivekaprana therefore is a great inspiration for those who are interested in serious study and are keen to understand the Vedanta Philosophy.
Pravrajika Vivekaprana does not cover the entire original text. She introduces the concepts, and also gives explanations on various aspects thereby encouraging self-study. In the course of the eight days that we studied Vivekachudamani Pravrajika Vivekaprana urged us to read the original text on our own, ask specific questions and seek clarifications, as she explained and discussed with us various aspects of the philosophy. She gave the historical background and shared her own thoughts and views on the concepts of Vedanta in the context of Vivekachudamani, trying to lay the groundwork for in-depth understanding (given as articles in Part I). In Part II are some specific shlokas from the original text and her commentary on them. As the participants read through the text, they asked for explanation for these particular verses, and thus they were discussed. This text is then rounded off with Questions and Answers.
The purpose of the Understanding Vedanta Lecture Series is that readers should get a kind of basic grounding and understanding and feel encouraged to read the original scriptures.
Our grateful thanks to Swami Bodhasarananda, President, Advaita Ashrama, for permission to reproduce select shlokas from Vivekachudamani as translated by Swami Madhavananda and published by Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata. This book was used as the text for the lecture series.
Pravrajika Vivekaprana makes no claims to scholarship. Her thoughts and her analyses are entirely her own, based on years of personal study. We are grateful to her for permission to share these thoughts with the readers.
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