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The Monk as Man: The Unknown Life of Swami Vivekananda
Author: Sankar

Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780143101192
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Summary Of The Book

The Monk As Man: The Unknown Life was published in the year 2011, and this biography of Swami Vivekananda is written by the renowned Bengali author Sankar. It is an English translation of the same book in Bengali.

Founder of the renowned Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Vivekananda reconciled religion with scientific enquiry. He emphasised on inculcating, within one’s self, an unwavering faith and an insatiable thirst for knowledge. He never propagated blind belief and was a successful ambassador of India’s spiritual side to the west.

Swami Vivekananda was also a mystic who traveled extensively, and on these journeys, which were no less than epiphanies to him, he came face to face with the stark poverty of India, which affected him deeply and defined him as a man. It turned him into a champion of the cause of the poor and made him a role model philanthropist.

We are all aware of these aspects of the Swami’s life. Numerous books have been written about him by his brothers, disciples, and students, and by those who simply knew him and benefited by interacting with him. Swami himself wrote various letters and gave speeches, which also serve as a peek in to his life and endeavours.

Keeping all these aspects into account and indulging further into his history, Sankar has attempted to chronicle the lesser talked aspect of his life - Swami Vivekananda as a human being - in his book The Monk As Man: The Unknown Life.

Journeying through the pages of these books, readers will be confronted with the tumultuous family ties of his life and his relationship with his mother will be brought to light. After Swami Vivekananda cut all family ties and set out on his mission, his brothers never as much as bothered to enquire after him. Why so? Also, as the rumours go, did Swami’s sister really kill herself? Did the tedious disputes over matters of family property affect Swami’s health and psychology to the point of taking a toll on his life?

All these questions that had never been associated with Swami Vivekanada and deliberated here.

His affinity to the Vedanta and how he got there, the sight of his second heart attack, his likes and dislikes of various fruits, and his comments on tea and even his physical appearance are also discussed. As readers take in all this information, and more, Swami Vivekananada emerges, for the first time, not as a venerated saint, but as an old friend. He comes alive through this brilliant narration, and the readers are filled with warmth and humbled at being acquainted with the more human side of the great man.

It has met with astounding reviews, with its different approach to the great saint’s life.