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

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 1, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 386 pages
8 Reviews
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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Review: Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna

User Review  - Rajendra G - Goodreads

I am copying some contents from http://creative.sulekha.com/risa-lila... How to Fabricate a Best-Seller: This section summarizes some of the errors in Kali's Child. The reader gets a good idea of the ... Read full review

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

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Contents

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Page xvi - Eros" of the philosopher Plato coincides exactly with the love-force, the libido of psycho-analysis...
Page xv - But we do not separate from this - what in any case has a share in the name "love" - on the one hand, self-love, and on the other, love for parents and children, friendship and love for humanity in general, and also devotion to concrete objects and to abstract ideas.
Page xvi - ... religious energy which is seized upon by the various Churches and religious systems, directed by them into particular channels, and doubtless also exhausted by them. One may, he thinks, rightly call oneself religious on the ground Of this oceanic feeling alone, even if one rejects every belief and every illusion.
Page xvi - Plato coincides exactly with the love-force, the libido of psychoanalysis" (Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, in The Standard Edition, 18:91). A very similar line appeared one year earlier, in his 1920 preface to the fourth edition of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (The Standard Edition, 7:134).

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About the author (1998)

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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