Harper Collins Publishers Inc
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Swami Vivekananda is an admired figure in Indian history. He is credited with having taken India's religious and cultural message across to the West. Being the most prominent of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's disciples, he is perceived as having spread his Guru's message to the world. Cosmic Love And Human Apathy: Swami Vivekananda's Restatement Of Religion presents a different view. The book asserts that Vivekananda had a deeper motive, to remodel Hinduism in order to make Indian society more assertive. To do this, the author says that he deviated from his spiritual master's path. Swami Vivekananda had a vision for Hinduism, to make it a vibrant movement that would sweep over the nation. For this, the book says, he gave a different spin to the religion. He tried to make it a masculine aggressive institution.
Sri Ramakrishna's Hinduism was gentle, filled with pure devotion and complex emotions. He worshipped Kali and wanted to spread the message of Bhakti or devotion. Swami Vivekananda differed in this. This book says that after the death of Sri Ramakrishna, Vivekananda began to evolve a new form of Hinduism, and defined that as the basis for the Ramakrishna Mission. He moved away from Kali to Shiva, which the author says was a move towards making the religion more masculine.
The author says that Vivekananda began to drop the emotion and devotion based ideals of Sri Ramakrishna and decided to evolve the religion as an enterprising and rational movement. Vivekananda viewed the ancient Greek culture as the model to mould his new ideals on.
For this, he wanted to sideline the gentler sides of the faith, like bhakti and other attributes, and make it more vital and dynamic. He wanted to use the faith as the basis to create a more assertive and enterprising India.
Cosmic Love And Human Apathy: Swami Vivekananda's Restatement Of Religion presents a different perspective on the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. It says the ascetic wanted to use Hinduism to create a more Rajas-based or materialistic society, rejecting the ancient Sattva or spiritual ideals which formed the base of his Guru's teachings.
About Jyotirmaya Sharma
Jyotirmaya Sharma is a professor and a writer. He is also the author of Hindutva: Exploring the Idea of Hindu Nationalism, and Grounding Morality: Freedom, Knowledge and the Plurality of Cultures. Jyotirmaya Sharma is a Fellow of the Lichtenberg-Kolleg in Germany. He was also a Fellow of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study. Sharma is also Professor of Political Science at the University of Hyderabad.