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

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 16, 1995 - Religion - 386 pages
3 Reviews
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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Review: Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna

User Review  - Melissa Rudd - Goodreads

Well-written and fascinating book. Carries out some convincing analysis, but some arguments are too speculative and reductively Freudian for my taste. I enjoyed the book, and am also curious to read some of the critiques it prompted. Read full review

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

User Review  - Scott - Goodreads

The real tragedy behind the drama surrounding Jeffrey Kripal is that the British Christian missionaries were ultimately successful. The Victorianism imposed on the subcontinent has perhaps permanently ... Read full review

Contents

CHAPTER
47
CHAPTER
85
CHAPTER THREE
145
CHAPTER FOUR
199
CHAPTER FIVE
243
The Fog of Bliss
307
Some Historical and Textual Aspects of Ramakrishnas
329
Works Cited
363
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About the author (1995)

Jeffrey J. Kripal is the J. Newton Rayzor Professor in and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. He is the author of "Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna" and "Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of Mysticism," both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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