‘I found that I had begun to take a great liking for the man . . . Oddly, this did not grow out of any feeling of veneration . . . for that would have implied my being overawed and somewhat fearful in the presence of someone vastly superior. Rather, my feelings grew spontaneously and from the very depths of my heart. I simply revelled in the man’s company.’—Mahendra Nath Dutta (Swami Vivekananda’s brother) on Ramakrishna Press reports in the 1870s Calcutta marvelled at the way ‘highly educated’, ‘civilized’ and ‘reasoning’ men, like Mahendra Nath Dutta, were drawn to the ‘ill clad’, ‘illiterate’, ‘friendless’ and ‘unpolished’ Ramakrishna. The progressive press, which had first brought Ramakrishna to public attention, scoffed at his use of ‘vulgar’ speech, while acknowledging its effectiveness in religious communication. Despite these critiques, Ramakrishna came to occupy an important place in the cultural life of late-nineteenth-century Bengal. Amiya P. Sen’s lucid introductions and fluent translations of the interactions between Ramakrishna and his followers in His Words make for an engaging and illuminating account of Ramakrishna’s teachings. Compiled from a variety of contemporary and near-contemporary sources, this book brings out the dramatic simplicity of Ramakrishna’s incisive commentaries on profound religious ideas. See also by Amiya Sen Ramakrishna Paramahamsa: The Sadhaka of Dakshineswar
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