The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

July 4, 2013

July 4, 1902

We now call him Swami Vivekananda (January 12, 1863 to July 4, 1902). He was Ramakrishna's chief disciple and together they were responsible for publicizing Hinduism as one of the world's major religions. Prior to their outreach Hinduism has been considered something akin to animism --- scattered, muddled, and in need of western influence. A turning point in this cultural apprehension was Vivekananda's speech at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. at the Parliament of the World's Religions building. There he spoke to his "Brothers and sisters of America," and the event still reverberates in the history of religion. Vivekananda traveled a lot in the west and secured the appreciation of Hinduism as one of the world's deep spiritual wells. 

Here are the words of Vivekananda's teacher, Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna is talking to his disciples, recalling an event from his own life. His speech was written down by a disciple on December 16, 1883.

The Divine Mother revealed to me...that everything was full of consciousness...I saw everything inside ... [the temple] soaked as it were in Bliss...[Ramakrishna then did the  scandalous: he fed an offering left for a deity, to a cat] The manager of the temple garden wrote to Mathur Babu that I was feeding the cat with the offering intended for the Divine Mother...Mathur Babu wrote back, 'Let him do whatever he likes. You must not say anything to him."

Swami Vivekananda: The Living Vedanta (2006) is where we found this quote, a book by Chaturvedi Badrinath.

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