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Books > Hindu > Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (The Sadhaka of Dakshineswar)
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Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (The Sadhaka of Dakshineswar)
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (The Sadhaka of Dakshineswar)
Description
About The Book

While Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has been the subject of innumerable volume devoted to his life and teachings over the past century and a half, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa: The Sadhaka of Dakshineswar illuminated this enigmatic religious figure and stands out amidst the multitude of voices that crowed his history. It traces the several contradictions of nineteenth-century Bengal that the man embodied: between his Vaishnav roots and Sakti worship; between bhakti and gyan; and between guru and sadhaka (spiritual practitioner).

Amiya P. Sen situates Sri Ramakrishna within the emerging social and cultural anxieties of the times as also the larger Hindu-Brahminical world that he was born into. This book also carries a brief but critical introduction to the moral and philosophical underpinnings of Ramakrishna’s vibrant theology that will be of interest to lay readers as well as those especially interested in the cultural and religious history of modern Bengal.

 

About The Author

Amiya P. Sen is currently with the Department of History and Culture, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He is the author of several books, including The Indispensable Vievekanada: An Anthology for Our Times and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay: An Interrectual Biography.

 

Preface

This is the third biography that I have attempted over the last ten years or so, and on each occasion I have set before myself two basic objectives. First, what I have attempted are brief and critical introductions to the life and work of chosen individuals. Second, in these biographies, I have tried to situate the individual contemporaneously as well as within certain continuities in cultural thought and practice. In the case of a religious figure like Sri Ramakrishna, the latter would be quite important. It might as well be added that in reconstructing the lives and times of the saint, I have largely relied on my professional training in history.

This book has grown out of my dissatisfaction broadly with two genres of biographical accounts available on Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Official biographies I found quite unexciting-partly on account of their hagiographical slant but also for their insipid prose and the lack of analytical rigour. At the other extreme are works by Narasingha P. Sil and Jeffrey J. Kripal-well-documented, readable and yet justly accused of sensationalism. Personally, I also find the latter works somewhat suspect methodologically. Perhaps a degree of scepticism is only natural in relation to psychoanalytic studies on Ramakrishna by scholars not trained in that discipline. My first impression on reading representative works associated with the two genres was that while one targeted only the faithful, the other was out to debunk both religious imagination and faith. These are extreme and untenable positions from which this work quite consciously tries to veer away.

Thanks to Penguin Books India, it has been possible to add to this short biography a companion volume that puts together selected preachings and parables of Sri Ramakrishna, taken from contemporary sources and suitably rendered into English. One would hope that having read this work, the reader will be sufficiently inspired to read the other.

A large part of the present volume was completed during my tenure as Tagore Professor at Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, in 2007-08, and I take this opportunity to thank all those colleagues and friends who showed an abiding interest in this work and extended every support. The responsibility for errors of fact or analysis rests entirely with me.

 

Contents

 

  Preface ix
ONE: Situating Sri Ramakrishna 1
TWO: The Early Life of Gadadhar 38
THREE: The 'Sting of Kali' 57
FOUR: The Bride Marked with a Straw 75
FIVE: Lessons in Religious Plurality 91
SIX: Gathering Devotees and Disciples 107
SEVEN: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna 128
EIGHT: The Last Years 151
  Appendix A: Chronology of Events 165
  Appendix B: List of Major Biographical Works on Ramakrishna Paramahamsa 169
  from 1876 to 1947  
  Bibliography 174

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (The Sadhaka of Dakshineswar)

Item Code:
NAG385
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2010
ISBN:
9780670082254
Language:
English
Size:
7.5 inch X 4.5 inch
Pages:
187
Other Details:
Weight of the book: 225 gms
Price:
$43.00   Shipping Free
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About The Book

While Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has been the subject of innumerable volume devoted to his life and teachings over the past century and a half, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa: The Sadhaka of Dakshineswar illuminated this enigmatic religious figure and stands out amidst the multitude of voices that crowed his history. It traces the several contradictions of nineteenth-century Bengal that the man embodied: between his Vaishnav roots and Sakti worship; between bhakti and gyan; and between guru and sadhaka (spiritual practitioner).

Amiya P. Sen situates Sri Ramakrishna within the emerging social and cultural anxieties of the times as also the larger Hindu-Brahminical world that he was born into. This book also carries a brief but critical introduction to the moral and philosophical underpinnings of Ramakrishna’s vibrant theology that will be of interest to lay readers as well as those especially interested in the cultural and religious history of modern Bengal.

 

About The Author

Amiya P. Sen is currently with the Department of History and Culture, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He is the author of several books, including The Indispensable Vievekanada: An Anthology for Our Times and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay: An Interrectual Biography.

 

Preface

This is the third biography that I have attempted over the last ten years or so, and on each occasion I have set before myself two basic objectives. First, what I have attempted are brief and critical introductions to the life and work of chosen individuals. Second, in these biographies, I have tried to situate the individual contemporaneously as well as within certain continuities in cultural thought and practice. In the case of a religious figure like Sri Ramakrishna, the latter would be quite important. It might as well be added that in reconstructing the lives and times of the saint, I have largely relied on my professional training in history.

This book has grown out of my dissatisfaction broadly with two genres of biographical accounts available on Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Official biographies I found quite unexciting-partly on account of their hagiographical slant but also for their insipid prose and the lack of analytical rigour. At the other extreme are works by Narasingha P. Sil and Jeffrey J. Kripal-well-documented, readable and yet justly accused of sensationalism. Personally, I also find the latter works somewhat suspect methodologically. Perhaps a degree of scepticism is only natural in relation to psychoanalytic studies on Ramakrishna by scholars not trained in that discipline. My first impression on reading representative works associated with the two genres was that while one targeted only the faithful, the other was out to debunk both religious imagination and faith. These are extreme and untenable positions from which this work quite consciously tries to veer away.

Thanks to Penguin Books India, it has been possible to add to this short biography a companion volume that puts together selected preachings and parables of Sri Ramakrishna, taken from contemporary sources and suitably rendered into English. One would hope that having read this work, the reader will be sufficiently inspired to read the other.

A large part of the present volume was completed during my tenure as Tagore Professor at Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, in 2007-08, and I take this opportunity to thank all those colleagues and friends who showed an abiding interest in this work and extended every support. The responsibility for errors of fact or analysis rests entirely with me.

 

Contents

 

  Preface ix
ONE: Situating Sri Ramakrishna 1
TWO: The Early Life of Gadadhar 38
THREE: The 'Sting of Kali' 57
FOUR: The Bride Marked with a Straw 75
FIVE: Lessons in Religious Plurality 91
SIX: Gathering Devotees and Disciples 107
SEVEN: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna 128
EIGHT: The Last Years 151
  Appendix A: Chronology of Events 165
  Appendix B: List of Major Biographical Works on Ramakrishna Paramahamsa 169
  from 1876 to 1947  
  Bibliography 174
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