About the Book:
Unlike many of the books on Spiritualism, the present work has a special feature of its own. Its pages do not narrate the legends and tales of ghosts and other supernatural beings, as one in most cases finds in such books that claim to unveil the mystery of the world beyond the grave. The treatment of the subject is purely a scientific one, and it has taken a new departure from the prevailing methods and systems of presentation of this subject.
The present work is free from all prejudices and never subscribes to any of these blindly biased views. It has given an impartial or dispassionate view on spiritualism showing wisely and ably its merits and demerits, its bright and dark sides as well. All the problems of soul, pre-existence, immortality, reincarnation and eternality have been clearly solved by the Philosopher-Saint Swami Abhedananda in these lectures in a remarkably lucid and characteristic style of his own.
About the Author:
SWAMI ABHEDANANDA, an apostle of Sri Ramakrishna-Born October 2, 1866-Spent his early life among the brotherhood in Baranagar monastery near Calcutta in severe austerity-Travelled barefooted all over India from 1888-1895-Went to London at the call of Swami Vivekananda in 1896-Acquainted with many distinguished savants including Prof. Max Mueller and Prof. Deussen-Landed in New York and took charge of the Vedanta Society in 1897-Became acquainted with Prof. William James, Rev. R. H. Newton, Prof. Josiah Royce of Harvard, Prof. Hyslop of Columbia, Prof. Lanmann, Prof. G. H. Howison, Prof. Fay, Mr. Edison, the inventor, Dr. Elmer Gates, Ralph Waldo Trine, W. D. Howells, Prof. Herschel C. Parker, Dr. Logan, Rev. Bishop Potter, Prof. Shaler, Dr. Jaynes, the chairman of the Cambridge Philosophical Conference and the Professors of Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Barkeley and Clarke Universities-Travelled extensively all through the United States, Canada, Alaska and Mexico-Made frequent trips to Europe, delivering lectures in different parts of the Continent-Crossed the Atlantic seventeen times-Was appreciated very much for his profundity of scholarship, intellectual brilliance, oratorial talents, charming personality and nobility of character-Made a short visit to India in 1906-Returned to America-Came back to India finally in 1921-On his way home joined the Educational Conference, Honolulu-Visited Japan, China, the Philippines, Singapore, Kualalumpur and Rangoon-Started on a long tour and went as far as Tibet in 1922-Established centres at Calcutta and Darjeeling-Left his mortal frame on September 8,1939.
Back of Book:
The writings and speeches of Swami Abhedananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, were spread over a long period of spiritual ministration both in America and in India. His deep philosophical insight and unfathomed spirituality attracted the learned and the intelligentzia. All his writings and speeches are available in one set of eleven volumes entitled THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SWAMI ABHEDANANDA, the last volume being a Guide to the Complete Works, edited in full by the most renowned philosopher and writer Swami Prajnanananda, a direct disciple of Swami Abhedananda. We invite all lovers of philosophy, religion and culture to avail of the golden opportunity of collecting this set without delay.
Medium Octavo. Printed in good quality paper, clothbound and covered with coloured jackets
Unlike many of the books on spiritualism, the present work has a special feature and beauty of its own. Its pages do not narrate the chief legends and tales of the departed spirits and the wondering ghosts and also of the supernatural beings of the unknown etherial sphere, as one in most cases finds in such books that claim to unveil the mystery of the world beyond the grave. The treatment of the chapters of this book is purely a scientific and rational one, and it has taken a new and novel departure from the prevailing methods and systems of the presentation of this subject.
Swami Abhedananda delivered from time to time a number of lectures on spiritualism in response to the invitations from many institutions like the Free Religious Association of America, The Psychical Research Society of America and the President of the Psychical Research Society of America, the American Institute of Science, etc. The Swami was once the President of the Psychical Research Society of America. He was also well-acquainted with the leading scientists, spiritualists, mediums and spirit-communicators, during his long stay in America. He had many personal experiences about the departed spirits, seances, spirit-communications and other subjects on spiritualism; he believed that most of the spirits are earth-bound, as they are not free from desires and passions. Regarding the mediums, he has said that in most cases, the mediums are deprived of their mental and physical powers. Regarding the seances, the Swami is of opinion that though the departed spirits communicate with the seance-holders and with near and dear ones, and furnish information of their earthly and etherial worlds, yet, in most cases, it has been found that all the information and talks, received from them, are not genuine or correct. So the Swami says that everything of the spirits should be examined with logical and scientific mind.
Regarding this present work, it can be said that it is absolutely free from prejudices and blindly biased views. It is a critical study of the science and practice of spiritualism with impartial or dispassionate views. It has shown wisely and ably the merits and the demerits and also the bright and dark sides of the fact and science of spiritualism. At the same time the learned Swami clearly solved all the controversial points and problems of the theory of birth and rebirth of the souls, existence and preexistence of the souls, and immortality and eternality of the souls. In short, all the knotty problems of spiritualism or spiritism have been clearly explained and solved by this philosopher-saint in the chapters of this book with remarkable characteristics of his own.
It can be said that Swami Abhedananda has neither blindly upheld, nor has totally deny or rejected the facts of the aspects of spiritualism. As for example, the Swami has said: “Although, many of the professional mediums have been pitifully exposed as frauds, still there are genuine mediums and authentic manifestations which cannot be explained by telepathy or any other theory than that of the communications of the discarnate spirits. In many cases the audience is deceived by the earth-bound spirits. The manifestations on the material plane, such as the table turning, the ropping knocks of the spirits, are ordinarily understood by spiritualism, but all such phenomena belong to the lower class of spiritualism or spiritism, as it is called by many. Spiritism can only satisfy our curiosity and does not explain any of our vital questions. But true spiritualism should be distinguished from that phase which is called spiritism. Higher spiritism, therefore, is the name for that which starting from the belief in a life after death, reveals the nature of the soul and its relation to God”.
Further the Swami has said: “Within the last fifty years modern spiritualism has given wonderful demonstrations regarding the existence of the disembodied spirits who continue to live even after the dissolution of their gross material forms. It has brought comfort and consolation to the hearts of many people, who were suffering from the the evil effects of scepticism and unbelief, concerning the future life, caused by the dry theories of the atheistic, agnostic, and materialistic thinkers of the last century”. But it is true, the Swami says that though the disembodied spirits satisfy some of the curiosities of the questioning people, yet they cannot do any real good or they cannot help in any way in the path of spiritual progress. As for example, the Swami said: “The genuine phenomena of spiritism may do some good in the way of satisfying the curiosity of certain people or of bringing the assurance that there is a life after death. They may foretell some petty, trivial events in connection with our business or daily life, but they cannot bring to us the highest wisdom and happiness which come to the soul through Divine communion. These spirits are not angels, as the spiritualism may encourage the hope of meeting the departed spirits of our friends and relatives, and may bring consolation in the mind of those that doubt their existence, but it cannot give us the realization of the absolute Truth, or the attainment of God-consciousness”.
Swami Abhedananda, being a true philosopher and a man of realization, surveyed everything of spiritualism or spiritism from the viewpoint of logic, reasoning, and science. He says that death is inevitable for all the living beings, and they are involved in the cycle of birth and death, until they realize their immortal soul or Atman. Spiritualism is only an open passage for receiving the informations of the existence and pre-existence of the soul and also of their eternality and immortality, but it cannot assure anyone the blessings of knowledge of the absolute Brahman.
The Swami says that when a man passes from the material plane, he lives in the mental plane, and does everything through his mind with the impressions (samskaras) of the works he performed in the material plane and also with the countless impressions that are hoarded in the subconscious lair of the mind. The departed soul sleeps there as it were in the spirit or mind world, and, regarding this sleep after death, Swami Abhedananda says: “The sleep after death is like the sleep before the birth. Then they (departed souls) have a second sleep before they come to this plane (material plane), they go into the sleep, and gravitate towards proper environment. If I have a strong desire to be the best artist, and if I do not succeed or pass away before I fulfil my desire, that desire will remain in me even in that soul-slumber. It will sprout again”. Now, from this it is evident that the departed souls gravitate again and again in this world of desire and fulfilment, because their souls exist and the souls take births until and unless they reach the absolute Truth by cutting asunder the knots of desires and passions. The law of karma is predominant in the lives of all living creatures. They do works in this world of duties and reap their results. Swami Abhedananda says: “So this law of cause and sequence which is called the law of karma, does not wait for widow’s tears, or orphan’s cries. What we have sown, we must reap either on this plane, or in some other realm. So after death we may enjoy the pleasures of our thoughts and deeds in the heavenly regions”.
From the law of karma it is also proved that our soul is immortal and will not be extinguished after death. But it should be remembered, the Swami says, that the life after death, or the life in this material world, is liable to change and also subject to the law of cause and sequence. So we shall have to transcend the realm of cause and effect, which is dominated by time and space, the ingredients of nescience or maya. And this transcendance is possible only by the realization of our true existence which is the immortal Atman.
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