From the Jacket:
Swami Virajananda was one of those first four who were initiated into sannyasa by Swami Vivekananda just on his return to India in 1897. Thousands of men and women have been spiritually awakened through the influences of his life and ministrations. Under his very able leadership the work of the Ramakrishna Mission attainted great expansion and celebrity.
The present book is a compilation of some of his important lectures and writings which were originally published in different journals specially Prabuddha Bharata.
To realise God one musts devote oneself to the task heart and soul - a hundred percent. Not even less by a millionth part of one percent, or the minutest fraction thereof, will do. What almost all of us seek is to realise Him easily, without much toil and trouble, and without sacrificing anything. We want to compromise between God and the World....Alas, how can this be? "The Lord must have His entire due, settled and squared to the last farthing." -Swami Virajananda
The present book 'Strive to Attain God' is a compilation of some of the important writings and lectures of Swami Virajananda (1873-1951), the Sixth President of Ramkrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. These were originally published in different journals, specially in Prabuddha Bharata. These thought-provoking writings display the author's deep reflection on the Ramakrishna Movement, its great founders, some of its pioneers and its guiding principles. Many of them also throw light on some aspects of the glorious spiritual heritage of India. We sincerely hope and believe that the book will help the readers understand the message of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda and the spiritual heritage of India in correct perspective.
That Swami Virajananda was an able exponent of these subjects will be clear to anybody who is acquainted with his saintly life and the works that he wrote or edited and published in the areas of Ramkrishna-Vivekananda and Vedanta literature. Shri Kali Krishna Basu (premonastic name of Swami Virajananda) was a direct disciple of Holy Mother, Sri Sarada Devi. He was later initiated into Sannyasa by Swami Vivekananda in 1897. Embracing the monastic life in his teens, he built up his life through devoted service, meditation and scriptural studies living in the holy company of the direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. He served the Ramakrishna Order in various capacities for about sixty years with great zeal, uncommon efficiency and deep devotion. In his life one notices a harmonious blending of worshipful service to humanity and spiritual practices in the form or prayer, austerities, and meditation. He was the editor of Prabuddha Bharata and the President of Advaita Ashrama from 1906 to 1913. His thought-provoking articles shed a refreshing light on the message and mission of Ramkrishna-Vivekananda and also on many aspects of Indian spiritual culture. The compilation, editing, and publication of The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda and the publication of The Life of Swami Vivekananda, complete in four volumes, authored by the Eastern and Western Disciples of Swamiji are acknowledged to be Swami Virajananda's monumental services to mankind. He successively filled in the post of the General Secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramkrishna Mission from 1934 to 1938, that of the Vice-President in 1938. Finally he became the President in 1938 which post he adorned till his last. As President he gave talks, lectures and spiritual instructions which were highly illuminating. His book Towards the Goal Supreme is studied and treasured like a religious classic by spiritual seekers all over the world. Originally written in Bengali, the book has been translated into many languages such as English, Hindi and Gujarati.
According to Sri Ramakrishna God-realization is the goal of human life. Swami Vivekananda has also placed the same ideal in a different language saying that each soul is potentially divine and the goal of human life and society is to manifest this inner divinity. Indian culture through all its components -its art, literature, social customs and mythologies, etc. - speaks of the same highest ideal. It emphasizes that our strivings for wealth (Artha) and enjoyment (Kama) are not to be followed as independent, self-sufficient goals. On the other hand they have to be conjoined to and regulated by the moral principles of religion (Dharma) with a view to, and as a preparation for, attaining the highest, the liberation (Moksha) described variously as God-realization, self-realization, knowledge of the Infinite, or Manifestation of the Divinity already in man, etc. In justification of the title of the book we would point out that ideas centering this greatest aim of human life run through all its chapters implicitly or explicitly. The title is adapted from the caption of one of its articles.
We are grateful to those who have helped in various ways to bring out the present book - particularly to Swami Tathagatananda, Head of Vedanta Society, New York, Dr. Satchidananda Dhar, Calcutta and Smt. Abhaya Das Gupta, Librarian Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Calcutta.
5 October 1994
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