Monasticism: Ideal and Traditions

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Item Code: IDJ260
Publisher: Sri Ramakrishna Math
Language: English
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 8171203590
Pages: 311 (4 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 6.1" X 4.0"
Weight 160 gm
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Book Description


We have great pleasure in placing before our readers this symposium on a much misunderstood subject - monasticism. Even those who ought to know better fall into the error of considering Sannyasins as a breed apart, - dressing strangely, speaking strangely, behaving strangely and lacking sociability. How mistaken this idea is can be understood when we go through this volume where the growth of the concept of monasticism in different creeds and climes has been traced. We find here interesting analyses of the functioning of the monastic idea in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, in Medieval Europe and also among women in the East and West.

A monk is a soldier of God. Just as a soldier in the army must have special training and undergo reigorous discipline, the monastic also has to keep strenuous vows. But this does not segregate the monk from social usefulness. Swami Vivekananda has beautifully summed up the monk's purpose as Atmano mokshartham, jagat hitaya cha. The monk strives for his emancipation through service to humanity. Renunciation and service joyously go hand in hand.

The renunciation, however, need not be always external. The spirit of self-sacrifice for the welfare of others can be cultivated by any earnest individual even without donning the ochre robe, just as an individual can exhibit great courage though not in the uniform of a soldier.

This volume, therefore, assures us that in essence every one of us can be a Sannyasin helping ourselves and helping others to live for supreme values.

These articles were originally published in the 1990 Special Number of the Vedanta Kesari and are now presented in book form so that its message may reach a wider audience.

From the jacket

Monasticism is a subject of vital interest to every spiritual seeker. Monasticism as a way of life may be only for a few, but the spirit of monasticism must animate your soul of you have to make genuine progress in spiritual life. This handbook presents in clear terms the monastic ideal and provides a glimpse into several monastic traditions that have arisen from it.



Fire is the symbol of purity, austerity and spiritual illumination, leading to the Supreme Reality represented by the emerging Om.




Preface iii
Prologue: Sannyasa: Inner and Outer 1
Part One
Monastic Ideal

The Song of the Sannyasin
      -Swami Vivekananda
Yati-pancakam of Sri Sankaracarya 42
Sannyasa: Its Ideal and Practice
      -Swami Vivekananda
Evolution of Monastic Ideal in Hinduism
      -(A Compilation)
Part Two
Monastic Traditions
Jain Monasticism
     -Swami Brahmeshananda
Buddhist Monasticism
      -Stuart Elkman
Christian Monasticism
      -Fr. Gregory Elmer O.S.B.
Monastic Life in Medieval Europe
      -Swami Vidyatmananda
Monasticism with a New Face
     -Swami Lokeswarananda
Vedanta Convents in the West
     -Swami Swahananda
Monasticism for Indian Women
     -Pravrajika Atmaprana
Contributors 309

Sample Pages

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