It is paradoxical but true that with all my long association with the work of the Swamis of the Ramakrishna Order, with the institutions run by them and with the works of Swami Vivekananda himself, it never occurred to me that one could work on the Swami’s contribution to Indian English Literature, much less produce a doctoral dissertation on the subject. It was Dr. K. S. Ramamurti, who first suggested the idea to me when I sought his guidance in choosing a subject for my study. It was most gratifying and reassuring when scholars of the stature of Dr. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar and Dr. D. V. K. Raghavacharyulu encouraged the idea of
working on a doctoral dissertation on Vivekananda’s contribution to Indian Literature in English.
The greatest reassurance and moral support to my work however, came from Srimath Swami Chidbhavanandaji, who was only exceedingly happy to know that a serious attempt was being made by me to identify Vivekananda, the man of letters. A spiritual luminary steeped in Sri Ramakrishna -Vivekananda lore, he was quick to see the value of such a work and he not only blessed my efforts, but remained throughout the chief source of inspiration and guidance. I offer this dissertation as a token of my grateful panamas to His Holiness Swami Chidbhavanandaji Maharaj.
While Swami Chidbhavanandaji remained my principal source of inspiration, it was Dr.K.S.Ramamurti, who with his loving and wholehearted involvement in the work, led me to a successful completion of the work. He helped me not only in organizing and giving a shape and form to all my ideas, but also in making it a critical study worthy of academic attention by bringing to bear on my work his own wide scholarship and critical acumen. But for him, it would not have been possible for the book to be what it is now. I am grateful beyond all expression to my affectionate guide Dr. K. S. Ramamurti.
More than anything else, I feel immensely grateful to the Almighty for having blessed me with an opportunity to work on a project which will not only be my humble tribute to a great master, Swami Vivekananda - providentially during his 150th birth anniversary, but also a work which brings together values at once secular and spiritual.
I thank the Madurai Kamaraj University for permitting to publish this book which is based on my doctoral thesis. My thanks are due to Dr. H.R. Nagendra, Vice Chancellor for bringing out the book as S-VYASA Publication.
The book is published with the title, ‘Swami Vivekananda, the Man of Letters’. It has Eight
Swami Vivekananda’s Place in English
Swami Vivekananda, the Poet.
Swami Vivekananda’s Sociological Outpourings
Swami Vivekananda’s Religion & Philosophy
Swami Vivekananda’s Letters & Pen Pictures
Swami Vivekananda’s Narrative Art
Swami Vivekananda’s Rhetoric & Style
Swami Vivekananda’s Literary Profile
All these chapters are also published separately as small booklets.
This chapter relates to the Swami’s contribution to the narrative literature in English. The Swami was an adept in the art of illustrating his ideas and points of view with the aptest anecdotes from life as well as with stories drawn from the fables, parables, legends, and puranas. In this, the Swami was very much in the Indian Lipanyasika tradition where the very soul of a religious discourse lay in the stories and anecdotes. The art of narrating or relating stories made, of course, new demands on the Swami’s resourcefulness in the handling of the English language. The Swami lived up to it with ease and when read in print, all these stories and exercises in the narrative art strike us as a rich contribution to Indian story-telling in English.
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