Vedanta For The West

Vedanta For The West

by Carl T. Jackson
     
 

The Ramakrishna movement was the very first and in many ways the most important Asian religious group to appear in America. Founded on the teachings of the nineteenth-century Bengali visionary Sri Ramakrishna, the movement was brought to the United States in 1893 by Swami Vivekananda, a disciple of Ramakrishna. Although its membership is small, the movement has

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Overview

The Ramakrishna movement was the very first and in many ways the most important Asian religious group to appear in America. Founded on the teachings of the nineteenth-century Bengali visionary Sri Ramakrishna, the movement was brought to the United States in 1893 by Swami Vivekananda, a disciple of Ramakrishna. Although its membership is small, the movement has exercised a significant influence in the last hundred years, promoting Hindu reform and revival in India and increasing public awareness of Hinduism through its Vedanta societies in the United States and Europe. An important history of the oldest form of Hinduism in America, this book sheds new light on the progress and adaptation of Eastern spirituality in the West. Carl T. Jackson begins his account with a brief examination of conditions in nineteenth-century India and the United States that explain the sudden appearance of the Ramakrishna movement in the West. He details the origins and teachings of the movement, Swami Vivekananda's seminal role as founder and organizer of Western "work", and the subsequent history of the American mission. Jackson also discusses the movement's American teachings and explains the attraction of Vedanta for Americans. Although conservative in its presentation of Hinduism, the Ramakrishna movement has freely embraced Western methods. As Jackson shows, it is the "middle way" in American Hinduism, taking a path between devotional forms such as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Hare Krishna) and meditation ones such as the Self-Realization Fellowship and Transcendental Meditation.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This important book fills a gap in our knowledge. Histories of Vedanta have appeared before, but they have been by devotees; Jackson's work demonstrates the objectivity and thoroughness of a trained historian. He begins with a brief history of the reform movements within Hinduism in the 1800s; explains how Vedanta, a religion related to Hinduism, came to the United States; and then reviews the lives of two primary figures in Vedanta--Ramakrishna and his follower Vivekennanda. Jackson then discusses the organization of the movement, presents the teachings, analyzes the movement since 1920, and muses on its future. An excellent bibliographic essay lists a host of important publications, while an appendix contains a list of Vedanta centers. Highly recommended.-- David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780253330987
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Publication date:
05/01/1994
Series:
Religion in North America Series
Pages:
204
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.79(d)

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