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Dr. Jeffery D. Long - ‘The Mahābhārata and Bhagavadgītā in the Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna an

Dr. Long began his lecture with a brief introduction to Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. His introduction comprises of stories and influences that Bhagavadgītā had on the lives of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda and with these references Dr. Long explained what they have said about Bhagavadgītā and Mahābhārata.


Dr. Long then to further explain the Mahābhārata and Bhagavadgītā in the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda began first with Sri Ramakrishna. After giving a brief introduction to Sri Ramakrishna, (Birth, Death, Childhood, trance states, his paths of Sādhanās), Dr. Long also gave references to various visions Sri Ramakrishna had throughout his life. He then further explained how the theory of pluralism is key and core to the theories of Sri Ramakrishna. To explain the same notion of pluralism, Dr. Long presented some of excerpts from the writings of Sri Ramakrishna.


Dr. Long then talked about Vijñana Vedānta, a distinct form of Vedānta taught by Sri Ramakrishna. Here, Dr. Long explained briefly about the state beyond non-dual realisation. Dr. Long presented some of excerpts from the writings (Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna) to explain the same. Dr. Long then explained that the central message of gītā for Sri Ramakrishna was detachment and renunciation. He also presented some extracts where Sri Ramakrishna has talked about Bhagavadgītā and its teachings.


Moving on further, Dr. Long, began to talk about Swami Vivekananda. He gave a brief introduction to Swami Vivekananda (Birth, Death, Education, scepticism for religion, believes, his meet with Sri Ramakrishna). Dr. Long, then also mentioned some conversations between Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda and it is here he also talked about the establishment of Ramakrishna Mission in 1897, Swami Vivekananda’s famous travel to America and his speech at the world parliament of world religions in Chicago and Swami Vivekananda’s first established Vedānta society in New York.


Dr. Long further explained few more theories and concepts established by Swami Vivekananda such as self-abnegations, concept of four Yogas and so on. Dr. Long then mentions some of the excerpts from the speeches and writings of Swami Vivekananda which show cased the Mahābhārata and Bhagavadgītā in the teachings Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda’s discourse in his recorded works on gītā named as “Thoughts on Gītā” was also mentioned by Dr. Long. He also mentioned how Swami Vivekananda raised doubts about the historicity of the events of Mahābhārata and Bhagavadgītā ‘s authorship. After explaining briefly on the same Dr. Long concluded the lecture by mentioning some pointers on the learning that both Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda thought was provided by Mahābhārata and Bhagavadgītā.

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