SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S LEGACY OF SERVICE
A STUDY OF THE RAMAKRISHNA MATH AND MISSION
Was the concept of 'social service' rooted in Hindu traditions or did it originate from India's encounter with the West? Did the Ramakrishna Math and Mission's commitment to seva, later known as sadhana of service, owe more to Vivekananda than to Ramakrishna himself? This book offers a distinctive analysis of the Ramakrishna movement's legacy of service by focusing on the continuities and discontinuities in the movement.
It argues that the movement's commitment to seva was shaped by complex and varied influences. The author examines the impact of individuals such as Vivekananda and other followers of Ramakrishna, and the interaction between Indian and western ideals. He also investigates the dramatic changes taking place in the delivery of organized philanthropy in societies disrupted by industrialization and colonization during the nineteenth century.
Gwilym Beckerlegge emphasizes the ways in which social, economic, and political factors beyond the movement's direct control, conspired to make ever-increasing demands on the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. For the kind of issues it raises, this book will be important for students and scholars of modern Indian history, sociology, philosophy, and religion, particularly Hinduism.
People interested in the growth of voluntary organizations and emergence of modern social service will also find this work useful.
About the Author:
Gwilym Beckerlegge is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies, Department of Religious Studies, The open University, United Kingdom.
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