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The Monk and A Merchant (A Story of Transcending Friendship)

The Monk and A Merchant (A Story of Transcending Friendship)
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Item Code: NAN931
Author: Somenath Mukherjee
Publisher: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
Language: English
Edition: 2016
ISBN: 9789381325735
Pages: 164 (11 Color Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 7.0 inch x 4.5 inch
weight of the book: 130 gms
About the Book

While unceasingly delivering the highest spiritual message wherever he went, Swami Vivekananda did frequently come down to the mundane social strata, which made him endearing to people in their everyday life. This way he drew many towards him and changed them with the touch of his godly nature before going back again to his own orbit. Within the covers of this book we find the Swami indulging himself in a strange friendship with an American businessman, which finally endured time, space and generations. Here the renunciant monk comes down to the commonplace life of an American family to love and be loved, and thereby lift those worldly folks to experience the fleeting touch of divine bliss and confer immortality upon them.


1893 to 1902, it adds up to no more than a decade. Yet, this was the exact period when Swami Vivekananda did everything for which posterity has raised him to immortality. During this time many people around the globe came in close contact with him. His magnetic personality, brilliant teachings and, above all, inestimable spirituality brought great changes in many of them. Francis Howard Leggett was one among those blessed souls. But he had his exclusivity elsewhere - the Swami took him as his friend and at times dearly addressed him as 'Frankincense'. And Francis Leggett, also known as Frank Leggett, worshipped this friendship in his own inimitable quiet ways, which, he knew it or not, would eventually earn him immortality.

But despite such an extraordinary role, we hardly have sufficient information as to who this Frank Leggett really was; and, more so, exactly what he did to Vivekananda through an obviously strange friendship between a monk and a merchant. Yes, it was exactly so - Frank had been an extremely successful and wealthy American businessman whose achievements endured time. But he had his other inclinations as well. His remaining an almost recluse in Vivekananda's history has in background, to a great extent, the towering presence of Josephine Macleod, the younger sister of his wife, Betty Leggett. Those who know the ever attentive concern of Josephine Macleod to every need of Vivekananda and, afterwards, when the latter was no more, her untiring mission for propagating his life and message to every possible corner of this world for more than forty years - would easily understand the cause of Frank's remaining in eclipse.

However, our interest took us to Frank Leggett and inspired to find out his role in the life of the Swami. But amazingly when we began our quest, and the life of Frank Leggett gradually began to unfurl before our eyes, we became literally fascinated by its dramatic elements equalling, almost, the Shakespearean tragedies. And as we went on with our pursuit, we became awestruck by a relationship that withstood centuries and generations to reach a point of culmination hardly apparent when it all began on an evening in New York during the last decade of the nineteenth century.


Publisher's Note v
Author's Note vii
Prologue 1
Francis Howard Leggett 3
End of a Beginning 10
The Macleods 15
Grief Drew Them Together 25
The Monk in New York 32
The Fleeting Moments 38
England Revisited 66
Again in the West 76
Unforgettable Ridgely: Once More 79
The Twilight 88
Life Drifted Them Apart 107
An Irresistible Legacy: A Never Ending Saga 121
Epilogue 132
References and Notes 138


Sample Pages

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