Virajananda and Publication


Publication of Complete Works

Swami Swarupananda had initiated the monumental task of publishing the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. He had brought together a large amount of fine material, and the first volume, comprising Swamiji’s Chicago addresses, Raja Yoga, and other speeches, hew had almost ready for publication. Taking over this work, Virajananda applied himself zealously to the problem of procuring additional data for these volumes. The earlier issues of contemporary journals, which had originally printed Swamiji’s speeches, were first collected. Virajananda also wrote letters to American devotees and friends to obtain Swamiji’s lectures and writings. It was no easy job to gather these from various sources in diverse parts of India, America and England, but it is marvellous to think how, with the blessings of Swamiji, Virajananda was empowered to accomplish this gigantic undertaking wth such remarkable efficiency. Moreover, to assemble these materials, to edit them and present them in a book form also respresented an enormous effort. To complicate matters, Virajananda soon discovered that those who had taken notes on Swamiji’s classes and lectures had sometimes omitted vital portions, or in their attempt to fill in  missing sections, the consistency of Swamiji’s statement was often marred. Consequently, careful editing of Swamiji’s writings and speeches was necessary from beginning to end. Virajananda would sit down with this task immediately after his tea in the morning and in one unbroken stretch would continue to work till noon.  Then, in the afternoon, Mother  Sevier, who had decided not to leave India after all, and Virajananda would review together his morning’s production. Again, at night after his evening meal, Virajananda would arduously carry on these labours until eleven o’clock.

In preparing Swamiji’s works for publication, these two editors would sometimes differ. In editing,  Virajananda always endeavoured perfectly to maintain the idea behind Swamiji’s words, even though the language might in some places not be elegant. Observing this, Mother Sevier would become quite annoyed and emphatically exclaim, “To bring from Swamiji’s mouth such English, which people will criticize, is certainly  not proper.” At times the disagreement between them would almost turn into a quarrel- yet at the root of the matter was the deep love both held for Swamiji.

Swami Virajananda had special interest in gardening, and on several occasions he sent apples grown in the Ashrama orchard to be sold in the bazaar in Lohaghat. Once, while speaking to the monks of the Centre on  their ideals, Swami Vivekananda had emphasized: “You must be prepared to go into deep meditation now and the next moment you must be ready to go and cultivate the fields. You must be prepared to explain the difficult intricacies of the shastras now, and the next moment to go and sell the produce of the fields in the market.”

[From The Story of an Epoch]




Swami Virajananda (1873 – 1951) was the sixth president of the Ramakrishna Order. He was instrumental, with a few other monks and Mother Sevier, in the publication of the life and wor

Belur Math