Swami Brahmananda (1863-1922)was a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna who regarded him as his spiritual son. Also known as Raja maharaja or simply maharaj Swami Brahmananda was the first President of the Ramakrishna Order. A Man of deep meditative temperament and down to earth wisdom and hamour, Maharaja quietly carried the mantle of guiding the fledling ramakrishan order in its first 21 year as also provided spiritual guidance to numerous spiritual aspirats monastic and lay, who came in touch with him. This book is a compilation of their reminiscences and personal accounts culled form various sources.
Swami Brahmananda As we Saw Him is yet another addition to the rich reminiscences literature published by the Ramakrishna Order. Like the other books of the same genre, we are sure this book too will be received with enthusiasm and fervour. Reminiscences, on account of their sheer ‘real-life connectivity’, are an easy method to abstruse principle or concept of spirituality. They are, hence, widely welcomed by spiritual seeks everywhere.
As noted the Publisher’s Note, this book may be considered as a companion volume to The Eternal Companion, the book containing Swami Brahmananda’s short life and teachings. Though some of the reminiscences were included in the earlier edition of Eternal Companion, this volume contains many more additional reminiscences. These reminiscences have been culled from diverse sources, a complete list of which is provided at the end of the book. Many of these reminiscences are appearing in his from for the first time (for instance the one by Swami Ashokananda). A good number of reminiscences included were originally written or recorded in Bengali but their English translation have appeared in various journals of the Ramakrishna Order over the last several decades. This book is only a compilation over the last several decades. This book is only a compilation and rearrangement of the existing material. There are repetitions of certain incidents but we have retained them for the sake of completeness of narratives.
Some of the reminiscences were published in the same or different journal with minor difference in details. While selecting them for publication, we were left with no choice but to combine both the versions, keeping the great details or a better presentation in view. Wherever such sewing together of two versions has been done, we have mentioned the sources, and one of the versions has been enclosed in square [brackets].
As these reminiscences were written and translated at different times, there were many variations in spelling or proper nouns. While editing, we have tried to follow a uniform spelling pattern.
A Glossary of Sanskrit and Bengali words, whish frequently appear in the book, has added. Hence words such as Prasad, pranam, arati, tulsi, japa and so on have not been italicized.
In order to make the book more pictorial (in going with current trends), we have added a number of individual or group Photographs of Swami Brahmananda. Photographs of some of the centers of the Ramakrishna Order which he inaugurated or was closely associated have also been added, This, we believe, makes the book more ‘saw’ oriented.
With the passage of tie, not many readers have had the occasion to known about or see the pictures of see the pictures of disciples of Swami Brahmananda many of whom were pioneers of Ramakrishna Movement in India and abroad. In order to meet this need, brief notes and pictures have added. We have, although, tried to provide introductory notes about contributors (‘reminiscer’s), not much could be gathered about some of them. Similarly, we have not been able to obtain the photographs of some of the contributors.
We must be thankful to all monastic and lay disciples of Swami Brahmananda who wrote down these reminiscences for the immense service they done to the posterity. We are also grateful to the concerned people in different journals and books who, at different ties, decided to publish them and thus preserved them for spiritual seekers.
It took more than three years to prepare this book for publication but it has been a blessed opportunity to contemplate on the certain the readers too will derive a similar benefit from reading this volume.
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