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Review

1

Swami Ranganathananda

in his Benediction

    I have gone through the book by Swami Jyotirmayananda: Vivekananda : His Gospel of Man-making, with a Garland of Tributes, and a Chronicle of His Life and Times, with Pictures. It is a unique book with rich reading material, which instructs and inspires the reader. It should find a place in all our libraries of educational institutions and all our public libraries as well.

2

Swami Tapasyananda

in his Foreword

    The popularization of the life and message of such a versatile personality as Swami Vivekananda is a necessity of our times. To fulfill this there are already in existence his Complete Works in eight volumes and several biographical writings on him by men of great eminence. In the midst of all this what special significance this compilation by Swami Jyotirmayananda has got – is a question that will come to the mind of a reader. It has got significance which none of the other existing works on the Swami serves. It can be called a comprehensive study of Swami Vivekananda. Not only does it give an account of his life and a selected body of his lectures; it gives a variety of essays and utterances by eminent thinkers, a collection of which one can get nowhere except in this book. Besides, it gives also a bird's eye view of the history of the times in which Swamiji appeared. Every great man is a product of his times, and is in turn a maker of the future. For a comprehensive study this historical background is a great advantage. These three features of Swami Jyotirmayananda's compilation make this book very valuable. It is hoped that the book will have a wide circulation among serious readers who love India and its culture.

3

Prof. K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar

in his Review

     The serious student of Vivekananda has a generous choice of reading ranging from the Complete Works in 8 volumes to the biographical, estimative and interpretative studies by Romain Rolland, Swami Nikhilananda, Sister Nivedita, Swami Avyaktananda, S. N. Dhar, Swami Tapasyananda, R. C. Majumdar and a host of others. Swami Jyotirmayananda’s present massive compilation, however, is homage with a difference. While in its weight and varied richness of content it is clearly ‘encyclopedic’ in scope, it nevertheless avoids uniform alphabetization and is actually a cross between a Vivekananda Handbook and a Chronicle of His Life and Times. The Editor’s admirable 17-page introduction sets the tone to the whole endeavor, and is followed by copious extracts judiciously chosen, captioned and arranged – some exhortative, others instructive – from Vivekananda’s speeches and writings that cumulatively set forth his ‘Gospel of Man-making’. This really means rousing the purblind human race to an awareness of its innate spiritual strength and essential divine nature. Human beings are by no means inheritors of any original ‘sin’, but truly ‘amrtasya putrah’, children of immortality. Such is Vedanta’s Magna Carta for humanity. The volume also includes a selection of 80 photographs projecting tapestry-like a visual review of the evolution of Naren into Vivekananda the Prophet of Prabuddha Bharata, of man’s awakening into his true self, and of the efflorescence of the Divine in everyday human life. The Gargantuan editorial work has doubtless been a labor of love and devotion, of total commitment too. This is a book for all libraries, personal and public alike.

4

Hinduism Today

Hawaii, U.S.A., Review

     This book is significant in that two objectives are beautifully achieved: Nearly 200 pages of tributes to Swami Vivekananda and a 300-page Chronicle of his Life and Times. Also included is a bouquet of sublime and soul-stirring thoughts of Swamiji, a significant selection from his highly inspiring speeches and writings. The tribute section is certainly most extensive to be found.... This book is a remarkable compilation of information.... Because of the Chronicle one can easily perceive the diverse energies at play in the rampant growth of the industrial revolution and modern science, and the social changes.... Perusing the Chronicle, one appreciates the importance of the editor's intent: "To provide a vista of the principal events in the life of Swami Vivekananda and aid the reader in understanding Swamiji's historic environs and the forces which were molding human consciousness during the period".

5

M.P.Pandit

Pondicherry, in his Review

     Swami Jyotirmayananda’s work on Swami Vivekananda is unique in many respects. Apart from the Swami’s writings and speeches relating to his favorite theme of Man-making, there are other interesting features viz. Essays and interpretations by competent persons on the approach of Vivekananda to Religion and Education, a whole section of tributes to this Lion of Vedanta by his contemporaries and later men from different walks of life; a Chronicle of events of importance in the world when he lived and events in his own life alongside; eighty pictures of Vivekananda at different stages in his career.

     There are several interesting anecdotes related by writers in course of their tributes. In the Chronicle flit Huxley, Darwin, Karl Marx, Edison, Wimbledon with dates and mention of their achievements. A fascinating work, complete with indices and bibliography.

5

M.V.Kamath

Mumbai, in his Review

     This is a unique book set in a unique format and withal, most relevant to our times. There are several excellent to good biographies of Swami Vivekananda. This book is not a biography in the accepted sense of the term. But it places Vivekananda in the context of his times as no other book has so far done. What is most fascinating about this book is the Chronicle of important events in the life and times of Swami Vivekananda, for it brings to the reader in vivid terms the atmosphere of the times in which Vivekananda lived. It tells us a great deal about the events that took place during forty years of the Swami’s life. It has been rightly said that the significance of a man’s life and activities is best understood in the context of the times in which he lived. Newspaper accounts make fascinating reading. And the compiler has provided us long quotes from a variety of sources, both Indian and Foreign. They paint between them such a vivid picture of Vivekananda that he comes through in all his vibrancy. There has never been a book like this before and it is unlikely that there will be another like this again. It brings us Vivekananda in all his magnificence and glory. It recreates for us another time and era. This is a book to be treasured for its own sake and for the sake of Vivekananda.
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