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
     
 

In a book now marked by both critical acclaim and cross-cultural controversy, Jeffrey J. Kripal explores the life and teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a nineteenth-century Bengali saint who played a major role in the creation of modern Hinduism. Through extended textual and symbolic analyses of Ramakrishna's censored "secret talk," Kripal demonstrates that the… See more details below

Overview

In a book now marked by both critical acclaim and cross-cultural controversy, Jeffrey J. Kripal explores the life and teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a nineteenth-century Bengali saint who played a major role in the creation of modern Hinduism. Through extended textual and symbolic analyses of Ramakrishna's censored "secret talk," Kripal demonstrates that the saint's famous ecstatic and visionary experiences were driven by mystico-erotic energies that he neither fully accepted nor understood. The result is a striking new vision of Ramakrishna as a conflicted, homoerotic Tantric mystic that is as complex as it is clear and as sympathetic to the historical Ramakrishna as it is critical of his traditional portraits.

In a substantial new preface to this second edition, Kripal answers his critics, addresses the controversy the book has generated in India, and traces the genealogy of his work in the history of psychoanalytic discourse on mysticism, Hinduism, and Ramakrishna himself. Kali's Child has already proven to be provocative, groundbreaking, and immensely enjoyable.

"Only a few books make such a major contribution to their field that from the moment of publication things are never quite the same again. Kali's Child is such a book."--John Stratton Hawley, History of Religions

Winner of the American Academy of Religion's History of Religions Prize for the Best First Book of 1995

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226453767
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
01/28/1995
Edition description:
Older Edition
Pages:
386
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.89(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
A Note on Transliteration
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Approaching the Secret1
Defining the Study: Recovering the Text and Revealing the Secret1
The Mystical and the Erotic14
Ramakrishna's Tantric World24
The Study's Symbolic Structure: Kali's Child33
The Hindu Unconscious37
Ch. 1Kali's Sword: Anxious Desire and the First Vision47
Kali's Sword48
From the Village to the Temple, 1836-185653
A Textual Study of Ramakrishna's "Anxious Desire": Discerning a Vocabulary of Desire63
Ramakrishna's "Anxious Desire" in the Eyes of His Contemporaries77
"Her Sword as His Flute"83
Ch. 2Kali as Mother and Lover: Interpreting Ramakrishna's Tantric Practices85
Kali as Mother and Lover87
The Secret Years: Textual Considerations90
The Secret Years: The Practices according to the Puranas, 1856-1861101
The Secret Years: The Practices according to the Tantras, 1861-1865112
The Hero and the Child130
Cleaving the Bitch in Two142
Ch. 3Kali on Top of Siva: Tantra and Vedanta in Ramakrishna's Teachings and Mystical Experiences145
Why Is Kali on Top of Siva?147
The Secret Years: From the Practices according to the Vedas to the Jesus State, 1865-1868150
The Mansion of Fun and Its Tantric Form170
The Love-Body of the Goddess185
"Ramakrishna Paramahamsa"196
Ch. 4Kali's Feet: Ramakrishna's Descent into the Forms of Man199
Kali's Feet201
The Coming of the Disciples, 1868-1885204
The Change and the Secret of the Dislocated Hand219
Phallic Love and the Incarnation's Erotic Community230
Ramakrishna's Foot: The Sinful Touch of God238
Ramakrishna Viparitarata240
Ch. 5Kali's Tongue: Shame, Disgust, and Fear in a Tantric World243
Kali's Tongue246
The Last Days, 1885-1886: The Secret Revealed and Concealed252
Gauri's Question264
Lover-and-Gold277
The Secret Door287
"Bite Your Tongue!"304
Epilogue: The Fog of Bliss307
Conclusion: Analyzing the Secret309
Emerging from the Fog of Bliss: Defining the Secret310
Sexuality and Mysticism: Realizing the Erotic317
Appendix: Some Historical and Textual Aspects of Ramakrishna's Secret Talk329
Notes337
Works Cited363
Index371

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