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Western Women in the Footsteps of Swami Vivekananda

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Preface Saturday, the 1st of May 1897, was an important event in the religious history of India. For on that day, Swami Vivekananda started an organization which was to work as a lever to life humanity from its mundane existence to spiritual heights. To achieve this ideal, he gave to the workers the motto, for the liberation of the self, for the welfare of the world.' In doing so, he blended the secular with the spiritual. This was a departure from the traditional ideal of mona...

Preface

Saturday, the 1st of May 1897, was an important event in the religious history of India. For on that day, Swami Vivekananda started an organization which was to work as a lever to life humanity from its mundane existence to spiritual heights. To achieve this ideal, he gave to the workers the motto, for the liberation of the self, for the welfare of the world.' In doing so, he blended the secular with the spiritual. This was a departure from the traditional ideal of monasticism in India.

While naming this association 'The Ramakrishna Mission', he said to the monks and devotees present at a meeting that day, "This association will bear the name of him in whose name we have become sannyasis; him taking whom as your ideal you are leading the householder life in the field of activity – this Samsara (this world) -; him whose holy name, and the influence of whose unique life and teachings, have within twelve years of his demise spread in such an unthought-of way both in the East and the West. Let this Sangha (organization) therefore be named the Ramakrishna Mission. We are the servants of the Master. May you all help in this work."

In 1986, people in many countries of the world, and especially in India, remembered Swamiji with a deep sense of gratitude and admiration for founding the Ramakrishna Mission. Meeting were help and speakers paid homage to those who had worked for his mission and stood by him in all his trials and tribulations. Among them were women whose names and lives were not well-known to many. Paying tribute to them, Swamiji wrote to the Maharaja of Khetri in 1894:

Last year I came to this country in summer, a wandering preacher from a far distant country, without name, fame, wealth or learning to recommend me – friendless, helpless, almost in a state of destitution. American women befriended me, gave me shelter and food and treated me as their own son, their brother.

To remember the women of courage and vision who helped Swamiji in "consolidating his Empire on spiritual lines," Samvit, the semi-annual journal of the Sri Sarada Math, Dakshineswara, Calcutta, desired to publish articles on their lives. This series of accounts which appeared in the Samvit between September 1987 and September 1995 have now been reproduced in this book. The articles have been arranged in the chronological order in which these ladies first met Swamiji.

The book is entitled Western Women in the footsteps of Swami Vivekananda and is dedicated to Sister Gargi (Marie Louise Burke) of San Francisco. She has published an immense Six-volume work entitled Swami Vivekananda in the West, New Discoveries. We decided to dedicate this book to Sister Gargi as she has indeed, since1950, walked on the trail left by the footsteps of Swami Vivekananda. She has forged ahead these forty- five years to reveal an inspiring and magnificent image of Swami Vivekananda in the West. Her sincerity of purpose and perseverance, her humility and self-effacement are exemplary. Except for the lives of four or lives of four or five of the Western women depicted in this volume, almost all the writers of these articles culled their information from Sister Gargi's books, for which the Editor of Samvit had received her blanket permission.

The entire works of preparing the manuscript for the press and reading of proofs was done by Saroj Butani and Anita Manchanda in a spirit of dedication, for which we thank them. We also express our gratitude to all the writers of these articles.

 

Back of The Book

In 1986, people in many countries of the world, and especially in India, remembered Swamiji with a deep sense of gratitude and admiration for founding the Ramakrishna Mission were held and speakers paid homage to those who had worked for his mission and stood by him in all trials and tribulations. Among them were women whose names and lives were not well- known to many. Paying tribute to them Swamiji wrote to the Maharaja of Khetri in 1894:

 

Last year I came to this country in summer, a wandering preacher from a far distant country, without name, fame, wealth or learning to recommend me – friendless, helpless, almost in a state of destitution.

American women befriended me, gave me shelter and food and treated me as their own son, their own brother.

 

To remember the women of courage and vision who helped Swamiji in "consolidating his Empire on spiritual lines" Samvit, the semi-annual journal of the Sri Sarada Math, Dakshineswar, Calcutta, desired to publish articles on their lives. This series of accounts which appeared in the Samvit between September 1987 and September 1995 have now been reproduced in this book. The articles have been arranged in the chronological order in which these ladies first met Swamiji.

 

Contents

 

  Preface iii
  The Illustrations xiv
1. Kate Sanborn and Her Reminiscences 1
  Pravrajika Prabudhhaprana (of the Sri Sarada Math, Dakshineswar, Calcutta)  
  Author of: Tantine, the Life of Josephine MacLeod, Friend of Swami Vivekananda (First edition 1990, second edition 1994); Contributor of articles to Samvit and Nibodhata; Guest speaker at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in September 1993 and at some centres of the Vedanta Societies throughout the United States.  
2. Ellen Hale and Her Family  
  Nancy Auer Falk  
  Professor of Religion, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan; Co-edited textbook Unspoken Words: Women's Religious Lives; Senior Fellow of the American Institute of Indian Studies, 1992; Author of: Women and Religion in India, an Annotated Bibliography of Sources in English 1975-92 (1994); Contributor of an article to Samvit.  
3. Mrs. John J. Bagley, a Champion of Swamiji 28
  D.K. Chakravorty  
  Former Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General of India; Contributor of articles to Samvit.  
4. Sister Christine 36
  Dr. Boshi Sen  
  Botanist of renown, student of illustrious scientist, Dr. J.C. Bose; founder Vivekananda Laboratory in Almora, U.P., India.  
5. Sarah Ellen Waldo – the Servant of the Lord 47
  Manimala Das  
  Translator of children's book from English to Bengali, for the Children's Book Trust and the National Book Trust in Indian; devoted to teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.  
6. Sara Bull, the Steady Mother 60
  Pravrajika Prabuddhaprana  
  (As at 1)  
7. Sarah Farmer's Inspired Life Pravrajika Prabuddhaprana 81
  (As at 1)  
8. Josephine MacLeod's Mission 99
  Pravrajika Prabuddhaprana  
  (As at 1)  
9. Betty Leggett – Swamiji's Caring 111
  Pravrajika Amalaprana (of the Sri Sarada Math)  
  Assistant Secretary of Sri Sarada Math and the Ramakrishna Sarada Mission; Secretary and principle, Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Vivekananda Vidyabhavan College for Women, Calcutta; Guest speaker at World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in September 1993; Guest speaker at Vivekananda Centenary celebrations in Hyderabad; Visited Singapore, Sydney, Newcastle, Adelaide and other cities in Australia and important cities in India for lectures and discourses; Contributor of articles to Samvit and Nibodhata.  
10. Sister Nivedita's Discipleship 123
  Pravrajika Atmaprana (of the Sri Sarada Math)  
  Secretary, Ramakrishna Sarada Mission, New Delhi (April 1970 onwards); Author of: Sister Nivedita of Ramakrishna – Vivekananda (1961); Sri Ramakrishna's Dekshineswar (1986), and other books; Editor of The complete Words of Sister Nivedita in four volumes (1967-68), and Sister Nivedita's Lectures and Writings (1975); Editor of Samvit, a semi-annual journal of Sri Sarada Math; Contributor of articles to Prabuddha Bharata. Vedanta Kesari, Vedanta for the West, Nibodhata, and others. Undertook lecture tours throughout Indian during Swami Vivekananda's birth centenary celebrations (1963-1964); Lecture tours in India and Cevlon during Sister Nivedita's birth centenary (1967-1968); Guest speaker at centenary celebration's in 1993 at Calcutta, of Swami Vivekananda's Chicago Address.  
11. Charlotte Sevier's Dedication 136
  S.N. Bhattacharya  
  Former official in the Ministry of Community Development, Government of India; Author of Village on the March (1959), Community Development in Developing Countries (1972),Gandhi – The Journalist (1965), and other books; Free-lance journalist and contributor of articles to Samvit.  
12. Roxie Blodgett, A Motherly Hostess 149
  D.K. Chakravorty  
  (As at 3)  
13. Alice Mead Hansborough: An Appreciation 157
  Sourish Bhattacharya  
  Assistant Editor Indian Express; Mastery's Degree in Journalism, Ohio University, U.S.A.; Member of U.S. National Journalism Honors Society  
14. Memories of Idea Ansell - Ujjvala 170
  Swami Vivekananda  
  Senior monk of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre, Gretz, France, Author of: What Religion is, in the Words of Swami Vivekananda; published a series of articles in Prabuddha Bharata documenting Swami Vivekananda's visits to Europe and the Near East, Which are an important contribution to Ramakrishna quarterly journal Vedanta and the West; Contributor of article to Samvit.  
15. Sarah Fox 183
  Dorothy Madison  
  Devotee and student of Swami Vivekananda's life and teachings; Teacher for many years in American schools; associates since long with American Vedanta Societies of the Ramakrishna Order; Co-editor: Living at the Source: The Yoga Teachings of Vivekananda (1993) published by Shambala.  
  References 206

 

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Item Code: IDK832 Author: Pravra jika Atmaprana(ed.) Cover: Paperback Edition: 2003 Publisher: Ramakrishna Sarada Mission ISBN: 8186617140 Size: 8.4" X 5.4" Pages: 224 (13 B/W Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 340 gms
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