Poems of Swami Vivekananda
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Poems of Swami Vivekananda

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Item Code: NAY618
Author: Suparnananda
Publisher: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9789388542128
Pages: 326
Cover: PAPERBACK
Other Details: 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Weight 390 gm
About the Book
Although Swamiji's poems are written in simple language, be it Sanskrit, Bengali or English, in some cases it is not easy to comprehend their meaning. The reason may be that Swamiji penned them in a highly elevated state of mind. They echo the profound wisdom enshrined in the Upanishads, motivating even an ordinary man to strive for the highest goal of spiritual perfection. The poems are significant, moreover, on account of the light they shed on the emotional life of this great monk and his capacity for giving artistic expression to his emotions. Here is a compilation of Swamiji’s Poems followed by commentary in prose that was greeted with warm reception at the time of its first appearance in Bengali. The present volume is an English version of the earlier work.

Foreword
Swami Vivekananda's outpourings and expositions, whether in his talks or writings, are highly poetic. Not only in the melody, music and rhythm of words, but at the very core of each and every idea, his infectious passion and fervor bubble up, making every expression an immortal poem.

Although Swamiji's poems are written in simple Sanskrit, Bengali and English languages, in some cases it is not easy to comprehend their meanings correctly. The reason behind this may be that Swamiji penned those after being elevated to a very high state of mind. Swami Suparnanandaji painstakingly analysed the poems of Swamiji and wrote a book in Bengali (Swami Vivekanander Kavitasamagra) which was published in 2014. The book was well received. Since then Suparnanandaji was engaged in bringing out an English version of the book. I am glad to learn that he has now completed the translation work and the book titled Poems of Swami Vivekananda is ready for release.

Swami Vivekananda was an ardent admirer of poetry. He asserted, "[The ancient Indian philosophers] were of a poetic nature. They go crazy over poetry. ...In the old Upanishads we find sublime poetry; their authors were poets.

Introduction
Swami Vivekananda, the great seer, is not generally remembered for his poetry. His speeches, delivered within the country and abroad, his prose-writings and letters constitute what is commonly regarded as his 'works'. These are the recorded utterances of a sage, whose life was dedicated to the work of preaching the messages of his master, clothed in the Vedantic philosophy of universal brotherhood. There is in these speeches and writings little or no reference to his personal self, so complete was his conviction about his role as a mere instrument in the hands of Sri Ramakrishna. His mystical experiences of a spiritual life were so completely shaped by the divine will and so perfectly beyond common understanding that he was unlikely to have ever intended to share them with others. They were too far removed from the quotidian experience of average humanity to strike a familiar chord in the minds of his hearers. He, therefore, as a rule, kept all references to himself to the minimum, while waxing eloquent on the glories of his master and the greatness of the religion he belonged to.

His poems, in spite of their smallness in bulk, are significant precisely on account of the amount of light they shed on the rich inner life of this great monk and his capacity for giving artistic expression to his noble thoughts. They resonate with the sensibility of a mind deeply troubled by the sufferings of human-beings, caught up in the welter of error and misdeeds. They reveal the bed-rock of emotions on which was founded his philosophy of love and service.

Sublimity is the echo of a noble mind' wrote Longinus in his ancient treatise, On the Sublime. He differed from other early theorists of poetry in his emphasis on the innate quality of a poet as distinct from the inherent power of a verbal artefact. While the sublimity of Swamiji's poetry does emanate from his character, it owes almost little or nothing to the quality of his poetic craftsmanship. Unlike other poets, he makes little conscious effort to either please or impress his readers by his poetic skill, although it was not entirely beyond his powers, as he was content merely to record his emotions, thoughts and visions. His transcendental vision of the cosmic play of the forces of life and death is too far above and beyond human mind to be captured in words. His poetry, therefore, is in a class apart and makes greater demands on the reader's power of comprehension than most other poems of world literature. Even in poems written in a lighter vein one finds at work a mind attuned to noble thoughts. As a matter of fact, his poetry belongs with the soulful utterances of the rishis of ancient India, the poetic quality of which is beyond all doubt. The Upanishads apply the title of a poet to God and to the knower of Truth: Kobirmonishih Poribhuh Swayambhuh. Like the great seers who preceded him-Sankaracarya, Sri Chaitanya and Sri Ramakrishna-Swamiji was a poet in that exalted sense of the word. As he did not have time to hone his poetic skill, it may be said that poetry chose him as its medium to articulate supreme visions of human life and beyond and not vice versa.

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