Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna

Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna

by Jeffrey J. Kripal
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226453758

ISBN-13: 9780226453750

Pub. Date: 10/28/1995

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


The nineteenth-century Bengali mystic Ramakrishna played a major role in the development of Hinduism and is regarded as a modern saint. Yet he remains an enigma to followers unable to reconcile his saintly status with his eroticized language and actions.

In this work, Jeffrey J. Kripal attempts to untangle the paradox. He demonstrates that Ramakrishna's famous

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Overview


The nineteenth-century Bengali mystic Ramakrishna played a major role in the development of Hinduism and is regarded as a modern saint. Yet he remains an enigma to followers unable to reconcile his saintly status with his eroticized language and actions.

In this work, Jeffrey J. Kripal attempts to untangle the paradox. He demonstrates that Ramakrishna's famous mystical experiences were driven by erotic energies that he neither fully accepted nor understood; the key to understanding this extraordinary figure, Kripal argues, lies in Tantra and its ritual, symbolic, and doctrinal equation of the mystical and the erotic.

Moving through Ramakrishna's world both chronologically and conceptually, Kali's Child employs two complementary interpretive strategies, a nuanced phenomenological reinterpretation of original Bengali texts and a nonreductive psychoanalytic reading of Ramakrishna's mystical eroticism. Kripal shows how the heterosexual structure of Tantric symbolism, the abusive way its rituals were often forced upon the saint, and Ramakrishna's own homosexual desires all came together to produce in him profound feelings of shame, disgust, and fear. Kripal establishes that the homosexuality of this great, if unwilling, Tantric mystic is linked inextricably to virtually every aspect of his life and teachings.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226453750
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
10/28/1995
Pages:
408
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.38(h) x 1.09(d)

Table of Contents


Foreword
Preface
A Note on Transliteration
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Approaching the Secret
Defining the Study: Recovering the Text and Revealing the Secret
The Mystical and the Erotic
Ramakrishna's Tantric World
The Study's Symbolic Structure: Kali's Child
The Hindu Unconscious
Ch. 1: Kali's Sword: Anxious Desire and the First Vision
Kali's Sword
From the Village to the Temple, 1836-1856
A Textual Study of Ramakrishna's "Anxious Desire": Discerning a Vocabulary of Desire
Ramakrishna's "Anxious Desire" in the Eyes of His Contemporaries
"Her Sword as His Flute"
Ch. 2: Kali as Mother and Lover: Interpreting Ramakrishna's Tantric Practices
Kali as Mother and Lover
The Secret Years: Textual Considerations
The Secret Years: The Practices according to the Puranas, 1856-1861
The Secret Years: The Practices according to the Tantras, 1861-1865
The Hero and the Child
Cleaving the Bitch in Two
Ch. 3: Kali on Top of Siva: Tantra and Vedanta in Ramakrishna's Teachings and Mystical Experiences
Why Is Kali on Top of Siva?
The Secret Years: From the Practices according to the Vedas to the Jesus State, 1865-1868
The Mansion of Fun and Its Tantric Form
The Love-Body of the Goddess
"Ramakrishna Paramahamsa"
Ch. 4: Kali's Feet: Ramakrishna's Descent into the Forms of Man
Kali's Feet
The Coming of the Disciples, 1868-1885
The Change and the Secret of the Dislocated Hand
Phallic Love and the Incarnation's Erotic Community
Ramakrishna's Foot: The Sinful Touch of God
Ramakrishna Viparitarata
Ch. 5: Kali's Tongue: Shame, Disgust, and Fear in a Tantric World
Kali's Tongue
The Last Days, 1885-1886: The Secret Revealed and Concealed
Gauri's Question
Lover-and-Gold
The Secret Door
"Bite Your Tongue!"
Epilogue: The Fog of Bliss
Conclusion: Analyzing the Secret
Emerging from the Fog of Bliss: Defining the Secret
Sexuality and Mysticism: Realizing the Erotic
Appendix: Some Historical and Textual Aspects of Ramakrishna's Secret Talk
Notes
Works Cited
Index

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