Bibliography of Ramakrishna

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Ramakrishna (1836–1886) is a famous mystic of nineteenth-century India. Ramakrishna never wrote down the details of his own life. Sources for his life and teachings come from the writings of his disciples and live witnesses. Ramakrishna's recorded sayings mainly come from the last four years of his life.[1]

Keshabchandra Sen's Paramahamsa Deber Ukti (1878) is the earliest known work on Ramakrishna.[2] Keshab also publicized Ramakrishna's teachings in the journals of his religious movement New Dispensation over a period of several years,[3] which was instrumental in bringing Ramakrishna to the attention of a wider audience, especially the Bhadralok (English-educated classes of Bengal) and the Europeans residing in India.[4][5] This was followed by Sureshchandra Dutta's Pramahamsa Ramakrishna Deber Ukti (1884)[2]

Sri Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsadever Jivan-vrittanta (1880) by Ram Chandra Dutta,[6][not in citation given] is one of the earliest published biography of Ramakrishna. Religious scholar, Narasingha Sil[7] and Jeffery Kripal[8] argue that Datta's Jivanvrttanta is the most scandalous biography of Ramakrishna, "containing the lurid details of his sadhana as well as his quite suggestive encounters with his patron Mathur." They cite a letter written by Swami Vivekananda in 1884 asking to "Avoid all irregular indecent expressions about sex etc...because other nations think it the height of indecency to mention such things, and his life in English is going to be read by the whole world"[9] and calling Ramchandra Dutta's translation a "bosh and rot".[9] They also argue that Ramchandra Dutta faced a possible lawsuit from Swami Vivekananda. However, Swami Atmajnanananda and Pravrajika Vrajaprana argue that as of 1995, this book has been published in nine Bengali editions.[10][11] Kripal later withdrew his claim that the Ramakrishna Mission has consciously concealed information.[12]

In 1887, Akshay Kumar Sen wrote Ramakrishna's life in verse — Sri Sri Ramakrishna Punthi in Bengali. Akshay Kumar Sen later wrote Padye Sri Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Dever Upadesh and Sri Sri Ramakrishna Mahima.

Sri Sri Ramakrishna Lilaprasanga by Swami Saradananda. The book was begun in 1909 and left partially incomplete at the author's death in 1927.[13] Scholars Romain Rolland, Isherwood considered Swami Saradananda an authority both as a philosopher and as an historian on Ramakrishna.[14][15]

My Master, speeches by Swami Vivekananda in 1896.[16] Religious Scholar Sil argues that Ramakrishna is a product of Vivekananda's "Mythmaking and Propaganda",[17] Scholars Max Müller, Walter G. Neevel, Christopher Isherwood have expressed the opinion that Vivekananda has presented an accurate picture of Ramakrishna.[18][19][20] Scholar Amiya P. Sen argues that Sil's thesis, "naively overlooks" several factors.[21]

Other biographic works include Mahendranath Dutta's Sri Ramakrishner Anudhyan, ("Sacred Memories of Sri Ramakrishna"),[6] Satyacharan Mitra's 1897 Sri Sri Ramakrsna Paramahamsadeber Jiboni o Upadesh ("The Life and Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa"),[6] and Sureshchandra Datta's 1886 Sriramakrsnadeber Upades ("Teachings of SriRamakrishna").

Max Müller's book Râmakrishna: His Life and Sayings (1898) is one of the earliest works by a Western scholar on the life of Ramakrishna and, according Walter Neevel, a relatively independent source of biography.[22] Romain Rolland, writing in 1929, said that this work is based on first-hand evidence, analysed in "broad and clear critical spirit".[14] Max Müller said that he based his book on the testimonies of Swami Vivekananda and several independent witnesses, both favorable and unfavorable to Ramakrishna.[23] Max Müller regarded Ramakrishna as The Real Mahatman.[24]

The book Sri Sri Rāmakrishna Kathāmrita by Mahendranath Gupta under the pseudonym M., was published in five volumes in 1902, 1905, 1908, 1910 and 1932. Mahendranath Gupta recorded his daily interactions with Ramakrishna in his diary which were subsequently published as Sri-Sri-Ramakrishna-Kathamrta in 5 Volumes in Bengali. According to Romain Rolland, the information in these volumes is available with "stenographic precision".[14]

Romain Rolland's book Life of Ramakrishna (1929) is another biographic work which is based on direct disciples of whom Romain Rolland writes —"I have received glowing testimony at their hands. I have talked with some among them, who were the companions of this mystic being - of the Man-Gods- and I can vouch for their loyalty. Moreover, these eye-witnesses are not the simple fishermen of the Gospel story; some are great thinkers, learned in European thought and disciplined in its strict school.",[25] and independent eye-witnesses of Ramakrishna who were alive at his time. He had consulted the Christian missionaries who had interviewed Ramakrishna.[26]

The English translations of Kathamrita were published by Swami Nikhilananda in his book The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. According to scholars Neevel, Lex Hixon the book provides authentic information[27] about Ramakrishna. The book was voted as one of the "100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century" by the American scholars convened by Philip Zaleski and HarperCollins publishers,[28][29] However, scholars argue that the book has been bowdlerized.[30] Kripal argues that although Nikhilananda calls it a literal translation, he "substantially altered Gupta's text, combining the five parallel narratives", "as well as deleting some passages which he claimed were "of no particular interest to English-speaking readers.".[31] However other scholars Sil, Swami Tyagananda,[32] Somnath Bhattacharrya,[33] Swami Atmajnananda[34] argue that Kripal's observations are incorrect. They also argue that Nikhilananda's translations were faithful and took into consideration the western decorum.[34][35] Peter Heehs argues,[36] that the translation in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna turns Ramakrishna's vigorous and occasionally coarse Bengali into English of near-Victorian propriety and do not convey as much as the Bengali originals, however, Heehs writes that the works on M and Saradananda remain documents of considerable value, which have allowed Ramakrishna to speak to a worldwide audience.[36] Lex Hixon writes that the Gospel is "spiritually authentic" and "powerful rendering of the Kathamrita into dignified English."[37]

A recent translation, by Dharm Pal Gupta, is subtitled "word to word translation of the original Bengali edition" (see "other books" below).

Other books[edit]

  • The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. By Mahendranath Gupta, Translated by Swami Nikhilananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.
  • Sri Ramakrishna, the Great Master by Swami Saradananda, Translated by Swami Jagadananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.
  • Life of Sri Ramakrishna, compiled from various authentic sources (1925) by Swami Madhavananda is also one of the primary sources of Ramakrishna's biography and contains first hand accounts of his disciples, live witnesses.[14]
  • Life of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Nikhilananda, Foreword by Mahatma Gandhi, Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata.
  • Ramakrishna, His Life and Sayings, by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. ISBN 978-1-60506-646-2
  • A Short Life of Sri Ramakrishna, by Swami Tejasananda.
  • Words of the Master: Selected Precepts of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Brahmananda
  • The Life of Sri Ramakrishna by Romain Rolland, Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Neevel, Walter G; Bardwell L. Smith (1976). "The Transformation of Ramakrishna". Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions. Brill Archive. p. 61. ISBN 90-04-04495-7. 
  2. ^ a b Sen, Amiya P. (2003). "Anatomy of a Text". Three essays on Sri Ramakrishna and his times. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. pp. 30–32. 
  3. ^ Mukherjee, Dr. Jayasree (May 2004). "Sri Ramakrishna’s Impact on Contemporary Indian Society". Prabuddha Bharatha. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  4. ^ Müller, Max (1898). "Râmakrishna's Life". Râmakrishna his Life and Sayings. pp. 56–57. 
  5. ^ Debarry, William Theodore; Ainslie Thomas Embree (1988). Sources of Indian Tradition: From the Beginning to 1800. Stephen N. Hay. Columbia University Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-231-06415-6. 
  6. ^ a b c Sen, Amiya P. (June 2006). "Sri Ramakrishna, the Kathamrita and the Calcutta middle classes: an old problematic revisited". Postcolonial Studies 9 (2): p.165–177. doi:10.1080/13688790600657835. 
  7. ^ Sil, Narasingha P (May 28, 1998). Ramakrishna Revisited. America: University Press of America. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-7618-1052-0. 
  8. ^ Kripal, Jeffery (October 1, 1998). Kali's Child. University Of Chicago Press. p. 420. ISBN 978-0-226-45377-4. 
  9. ^ a b The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda ~ Volume 5 ~ Epistle XXIII
  10. ^ Atmajnanananda, Swami (August 1997). "Scandals, cover-ups, and other imagined occurrences in the life of Ramakrishnaa: An examination of Jeffrey Kripal's Kali's child". International Journal of Hindu Studies (Netherlands: Springer) 1 (2): pp.401–420. doi:10.1007/s11407-997-0007-8. 
  11. ^ Vrajaprana, Pravrajika (1997). "Review of Kali's child, by Jeffrey Kripal". Hindu-Christian studies bulletin 10: 59–60. 
  12. ^ Jeffrey Kripal,. "Pale Plausibilities: A Preface for the Second Edition". ""I have also, I believe, overplayed the degree to which the tradition has suppressed Datta's Jivanavrttanta. Indeed, to my wonder (and embarrassment), the Ramakrishna Order reprinted Datta's text the very same summer Kali's Child appeared, rendering my original claims of a conscious concealment untenable with respect to the present" 
  13. ^ Neevel, Walter G; Bardwell L. Smith (1976). "The Transformation of Ramakrishna". Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions. Brill Archive. p. 62. 
  14. ^ a b c d Rolland, Romain (1929). "Bibliography". The Life of Ramakrishna. pp. 232–237. 
  15. ^ Isherwood, Christopher (1965). "The Birth of Ramakrishna". Ramakrishna and his Disciples. p. 2. "Although Saradananda did not begin his work until more than twenty years after Ramakrishna's death, there is no doubt of its authenticity. Many of those who had known Ramakrishna were then still alive, and Saradananda carefully compared his memories with theirs." 
  16. ^ Vivekananda, Swami (1896). "My Master". Complete Works. pp. 154–188. 
  17. ^ Sil, Narasingha P. "Vivekānanda's Rāmakṛṣṇa: An Untold Story of Mythmaking and Propaganda". Ramakrishna Revisited. JSTOR 3270397. 
  18. ^ Müller, Max (1898). "The Dialogic Process". Râmakrishna his Life and Sayings. pp. 30–31. "I had made it as clear as possible to Vivekânanda that the accounts hitherto published of his Master, however edifying they might be to his followers, would sound perfectly absurd to European students, ... that descriptions of miracles performed by the Saint, however well authenticated, would produce the very opposite effect of what they were intended for. Vivekânanda himself is a man who knows England and America well, and perfectly understood what I meant." 
  19. ^ Neevel, Walter G; Bardwell L. Smith (1976). "The Transformation of Ramakrishna". Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions. Brill Archive. pp. 53–97. "…Although Müller claims still to see "the irrepressible miraculising tendencies of devoted disciples", we can assume that Vivekananda, under the admonitions from the leading Indologist of the day, made every effort to make his account as factual and accurate as possible." 
  20. ^ Isherwood, Christopher (1965). "The Birth of Ramakrishna". Ramakrishna and his Disciples. p. 23. "When we meet Vivekananda in the latter part of this story, we shall find him a highly skeptical young man with a western-agnostic education in Calcutta, who refused utterly to believe in the supernormal until he had, so to speak, banged his head against it. And even when Vivekananda's disbelief had been modified by personal experience, even when he had become one of Ramakrishna's most passionate devotees, he still discouraged blind faith in others, still urged everyone to find out the truth for himself. And, over and over again, he asserted that it really did not matter whether you believed that Ramakrishna was a divine incarnation or not. Can we accuse such men of lying?" 
  21. ^ Sen, Amiya P. (June 2006). "Sri Ramakrishna, the Kathamrita and the Calcutta middle classes: an old problematic revisited". Postcolonial Studies 9 (2): p.165–177. doi:10.1080/13688790600657835. "More recently, a critic has argued that Vivekananda's missionary career was really chosen by default as the life of a householder or a normal secular profession eluded him.11 There are several factors that such formulations naively overlook. First, there is the vibrant religious quest created in modern Bengal primarily by the Brahmo Samaj, but also by less known bodies. Second, there are the older and continuous male-brahmanical concerns that evidently Ramakrishna and his upper-caste devotees share. Third, a religious quest does not always follow from a sense of depravity, and material success is not in every case a measure of human happiness or well-being." 
  22. ^ Neevel, Walter G; Bardwell L. Smith (1976). "The Transformation of Ramakrishna". Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions. Brill Archive. p. 63. ISBN 90-04-04495-7. 
  23. ^ Müller, Max (1898). "Mozoomdar's Judgement". Râmakrishna his Life and Sayings. p. 61. 
  24. ^ Max Müller (1896). "A Real Mahatman". The Nineteenth Century. 
  25. ^ Rolland, Romain (1929). "Prelude". The Life of Ramakrishna. pp. xxiii. 
  26. ^ Rolland, Romain (1929). "The River Re-Enters the Sea". The Life of Ramakrishna. p. 205. 
  27. ^ Neevel, Walter G; Bardwell L. Smith (1976). "The Transformation of Ramakrishna". Hinduism: New Essays in the History of Religions. Brill Archive. pp. 61–62. 
  28. ^ "100 Best Spiritual Books of the Century". Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  29. ^ Zaleski, Philip (2000). The Best Spiritual Writing 2000. San Francisco: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-251670-1. 
  30. ^ Sil, 1993; Hatcher, 1999; Radice, 1995; Kripal 1998
  31. ^ Kali's Child (1995), p.329-336
  32. ^ Swami Tyagananda (2000). Kali's Child Revisited. "What is most important to note is that Nikhilananda was honest when he said that he omitted "only a few pages of no particular interest to the English speaking readers" (Gospel, vii). He did not deny the omissions and it seems to me unfair to question his integrity-as Kripal does-simply because Kripal finds something of "particular interest" which Nikhilananda didn't." 
  33. ^ Somnath Bhattacharrya (2002). Kali's Child: Psychological And Hermeneutical Problems. "Anybody with an elementary knowledge of Bengali may check for himself that Kripal's charge about Nikhilananda having "ingeniously mistranslated (or omitted) almost every single secret "(KC 333) is simply untrue. As a matter of fact if one cross checks the list of these passages marked guhya-katha, one finds that in an overwhelming majority of instances Nikhilananda's translations are faithful to the letter as well as spirit of the original." 
  34. ^ a b Atmajnanananda, Swami (August 1997). "Scandals, cover-ups, and other imagined occurrences in the life of Ramakrishna: An examination of Jeffrey Kripal's Kali's child". International Journal of Hindu Studies (Netherlands: Springer) 1 (2): pp.401–420. doi:10.1007/s11407-997-0007-8. "In each case, however, it is Nikhillnanda's sensitivity to Western decorum that seems to have dictated his translation decisions, not fear of revealing hidden secrets. Had this been the case, he certainly would have eliminated far more of Ramakrishna's remarks than he did. In each case also, we find Kripal's translation of the missing portion more misleading than Nikhilananda's omissions." 
  35. ^ Swami Tyagananda (2000). Kali's Child Revisited. "Translating texts across cultural boundaries is not easy: if you translate the "word," you risk being misunderstood; if you translate the "idea," you are charged-as Kripal does-with "bowdlerizing" the text. His allegation that Nikhilananda omitted portions containing "some of the most revealing and significant passages of the entire text" (KC 4) is not only textually unjustified but completely untrue." 
  36. ^ a b Heehs, Peter (2002). Indian Religions: A Historical Reader of Spiritual Experience and Expression. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. 
  37. ^ Hixon, Lex (1997). "Introduction". Great Swan. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. xiv. ISBN 978-0-943914-80-0.