The first edition of this book was published by Sri Ramarishna Math, Mylapore, Madras-600 004, in 1984. Since then, the copyright of the book has changed hands. It is now being published by Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati, as the earlier edition got exhausted in such a short time.
The Philosophical and Religious Lectures of Swami Vivekananda is the second volume in the Series entitled Studies in Swami Vivekananda. The success of the first volume, The Four Yogas of swami Vivekananda, which has run into a second edition within two years of its publication, emboldens us to bring out this second one in the series.
The method followed is the same as in the first- to make a précis of the lectures in about one third of the size of the originals, with appropriate paragraph headings that would serve as landmarks to guide the reader through the thought content of the lectures. While the lectures of the first volume expound four distinct themes in four Books, those dealt with here are individual lectures, each dealing with a definite theme. They have, however, got their unity in that they all seek to expound some aspect or other of Vedanta in its practical application to the conditions of modern life.
In the Indian tradition philosophy and religion have always gone hand in hand. Our philosophers never adopted the Western philosophical outlook of an intellectual aloofness that seeks to steer clear of religion. When philosophy accepts the furtherance of man’s spiritual life as its aim, it becomes the best ally or religion, exercising an ennobling and liberalising influence on it. Swami Vivekananda’s philosophical lectures provide the best example of philosophy put to such a use. They present the universal spiritual values and their rational justification without reference to any particular cult or creed. Though their background is Vedantic, they are so closely related to the fundamentals of spiritual life that the followers of any religion will find in them some aid both to deepen and to broaden their faith.
If this volume finds favour with readers of Swami Vivekananda literature, we propose to follow it up with a third one under the heading The Nationalistic and Religious Lectures of Swami Vivekananda. It will comprise summaries of that great series of talks called Colombo to Almora Lectures and of his writings on Patriotic and cultural themes.
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