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David Haberman[Readers] with a tolerance for scandal will be rewarded with a disturbingly delightful celebration of a complex mystic and his particular brand of religion.
— Journal of Asian Studies
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.
Posted August 8, 2013
The trouble with Kripal is that he does NOT understand Bengali and sees sex in everything. I am a bengali and have read the original kathamrita from where kripal supposedly sources most of his material. His translations of commonly used bengali words are horribly wrong. His conclusions are not what bothered me so much, what bothered me was that he has used serious mistranslations and non-bengali westerners have not been able to understand that and treats his sources as authentic. This is grossly inaccurate result. Furthermore, he claims that he has discovered secret writings. How can a hugely popular and widely read bengali book be secret at all? The fact that Kripal understands nothing of bengali culture is another hindrance. He keeps assuming things and drawing his own interpretations, yet claims that this is a serious scholarly book. Before promoting this book, the concerned editors, foreword writer, review writers acclaiming this book should bother to find out if the sources mentioned as references actually say what kripal claims they say. Considering his fake and shoddy scholarship, he should not have got a doctoral degree for his thesis on this work. I am a doctoral student in Physics and if use such dubious interpretations in my work, my guide will see to it that i never graduate! All in all, a trashy sensationalist book NOT based on factual evidence.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 11, 2002
Posted January 28, 2001
In many ancient cultures the homosexuals of the tribe were the spiritual leaders. In my opinion this makes Ramakrishna more holy than ever and raises his status beyond the mundane. I always felt homosexuals had more of a capacity for the spiritual anyway, and Jesus may well have been a homosexual, he probably was. Too think there's something wrong with being homosexual is just ignorance. Also in these cases that energy is transmuted anyway.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 28, 2000
The title of my review says it all. I am feel bad that I wasted my time to read this book. For the scholars on Sri Ramakrishna, this book should be listed as one that should not be read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 10, 2000
Promoting deconstruction of any saint is well within the right of an author in the name of freedom. I am not sure if it is deconstruction or religious pre-occupation? Disappointed to see the poor choice by Britannica in promoting a controversial book as the primary source with no mention or link to much known, well acclaimed book,' Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna'. I did not expect EB to be so unscholarly. Deconstructionism is the way of the day but the readers should also have a chance to know what is being deconstructed. Britannica has failed to provide that!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 25, 2000
The author's imagination and wishful thinking permeate this book. His claims that Ramakrishna was homosexual are totally unfounded. This book was the author's thesis and was an attempt to gratify his thesis adviser, Wendy Donniger, whose jaundiced eye sees sex in every area of religion. It's like writing a book about the homosexuality of Jesus Christ, deducing this from the relationships that Jesus had with his Disciples...travelling together, sleeping together, and Jesus' incessant talk of love. There is no evidence, not even implied, for this premise. Ramakrishna is highly revered in India and by many of his Western followers. He was a teacher of the highest truths. The trend towards deeming notable people homosexual, e.g., Emily Dickinson, Jack Kerouac, Michelangelo, etc., is prevalent and popular today. But this is carrying it a bit too far. The BEST authority on Ramakrishna is, 'The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna', written by 'M', who recorded his every word and deed over a period of many years. In the interest of TRUTH/INTEGRITY I suggest this book be labeled for what it is...TRASH!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.