Swami Vivekananda on Spiritual Conquest (Part 2)

[Editor’s Prelude] This is Part 2 of a two-part blog series on Swami Vivekananda’s ideas on spiritual conquest – from a talk titled The Work Before Us delivered at the Triplicane Literary Society, Madras. In the excerpts below, he elaborates on spiritual conquest – “conquest of the world by spiritual thought is the sending out of the life-giving principles, …

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Swami Vivekananda on Spiritual Conquest

[Editor’s Prelude] Was Swami Vivekananda the first ambassador of Hinduism to the West? The more one reads of his writings and lectures, one begin to realize that he was possibly Hinduism’s first (and most forceful) evangelist. I’ve used evangelist deliberately because it’s hardly used in the same sentence with Hinduism. In his talk at The …

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Understanding Rama’s Sita Conundrum – view from Swami Vivekananda

Most Hindus probably learned the numerous stories in Ramayana from Amar Chitra Katha comics. If you’ve been a reasonably voracious reader in your youth, you might have also read C. Rajagopalcharya’s version which gets into Ramayana in a fair bit of detail. Recently, the controversial lawyer Ram Jethmalani and Rajya Sabha MP (suspended) observed that …

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Backstory on John D. Rockefeller’s First Public Donation

My most inspired Kindle purchase in 2012 (for a ‘princely’ sum of $1.99) was The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Last night I learnt that John D. Rockefeller’s first meeting with Swami Vivekananda (as recorded in Madame Verdier’s journey in New Discoveries) served as a trigger to the former’s first ever donation for public good – wow! …

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Nehru’s pride, Indo-American relationship and the Indo-China war

Gurcharan Das, in his book India Unbound, makes a pithy statement. When individuals make blunders, it’s sad but when leaders make blunders, it’s a tragedy. He was referring to Indira Gandhi but the statement applies equally to her father too. Nehru’s socialist leanings are well-known. What’s less known is that he was more attached to …

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Saigon and its women

Saigon has a curious aspect. It is a rather shabby version of a French provincial city – say, Toulouse, as I remember it. Life proceeds normally and it has the most stylish women in all Asia. They are tall with long legs, high breasts and wear white silk pajamas and a white silk robe, split …

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Good Theft vs. Bad Theft

After a flurry of recent high profile plagiarism case studies, a single graphic puts some important things in perspective. If you thought this was interesting, then go read the review of the Austin Kleon book. Which could inevitably lead you to this Amazon.com product page.

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Prime Minister is like the great banyan tree…

No – not the current ‘great’ Dr. Manmohan Singh. In Ambassador’s Journal, John Kenneth Galbraith writes about many interesting things during his tenure as US Ambassador to India. The journal entry from Jul 1961 captures a slice of the Nehruvian Prime Ministership. July 26 – New Delhi …. Later in the day I saw M. J. Desai …

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Why Paul Krugman studied economics

Isaac Asimov and Hari Seldon fans – rejoice! Meet the most famous Asimov/Seldon fan – no less than Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman. And he’s no ordinary fan – he studied economics because it was the closest thing to psychohistory. If you are NOT an Asimov fan or, for some bizarre reason, you failed to read …

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Searching for Clara W. Huling – a digital archeology dig

When my second batch of friends arrived a few months ago, the most interesting book was The Complete Works of O. Henry. O Henry, which happens to be the pen name of William Sydney Porter was an American writer (from the late nineteenth century era) who mostly wrote short stories, stories known for their wit, wordplay, …

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