The Penguin Swami Vivekananda Reader is the first major independently edited selection of Vivekananda’s works. It includes speeches, essays, letters, poems, conversations and excerpts on subjects that have contemporary relevance: the condition of India, karma, spirituality, reincarnation, and the realization of the Absolute. Swami Vivekananda’s writings do not merely inspire, but propel action. With a detailed biography and a scholarly introduction, the Reader provides a rare insight into one of India’s greatest minds.
On 11 September 1893, Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) made his first public appearance on the world stage as a last-minute, uninvited participant at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. There he proclaimed his message of tolerance and universal acceptance in the ‘name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects’.
Speaking against sectarianism and bigotry, this young speaker in flaming robes sounded the death-knell of all fanaticism. In the last nine years of his brief life, Swami Vivekananda taught, lectured, wrote and travelled tirelessly. After his death, his message spread all over India and in many parts of the world through the various activities, efforts and services of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, the monastic order and service institution that he had founded in the name of his guru.