David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) is one of the few Westerners recognized in India as a Vedacharya or teacher of the ancient Vedic wisdom. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Vedic topics including Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology, Vedanta, Hinduism, Yoga and Tantra, as well as translations and interpretations from the Vedas.
Dr. Frawley as been given many awards for his work in India including the Veda Vyasa award by the International Institute of Indian Studies. He is a Jyotish Kovid through the Indian Council Astrological Sciences, and is also the President of the American Council of Vedic Astrology, the American offshoot of the Indian Council. He has a Doctor’s degree in Chinese Medicine and has also been certified as an expert through the University of Poona for his knowledge of Yoga and Ayurveda. He is presently director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies.
Since its publication in the U.S.A., Seeing God Everywhere: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Living, which contains some of the most illuminating essays and writings by Swami Shraddhananda, has earned warm appreciation from spiritual seekers and reputed scholars alike.
The Swami (1907-1996) joined the Ramakrishna Order of monks in 1930. He had the rare privilege of living and learning under the loving care of some of the direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, each of whom was a towering spiritual personality. This, combined with his own study of Vedanta, eastern and western philosophy, religion, science, education, culture, etc., made him a deep thinker and a prolific writer. His loving and spiritual personality endeared him to all who came in touch with him.
He served Udbodhan, the Bengali monthly journal of the Ramakrishna Order, as its editor from 1952 to 1956. After that he was sent to the U.S.A. for preaching Vedanta - a work, which he did magnificently, first as an assistant minister of the Vedanta Society of Northern California (1957-1970), and then as the minister-in-charge of the Vedanta Society of Sacramento from 1970, till his last breadth. He authored many books in Bengali, of which Atiter Smriti (Swami Virajananda and Contemporary Memoirs) is his magnum opus. Later, based on this work he wrote in English, The Story of an Epoch, which is also very popular with the readers. The uniqueness of his essays on philosophy and spirituality lies in the fact that they appeal to the rational and philosophical minds besides invigorating and nourishing the spiritual seekers.
Revered Swami Virajananda, former President of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission had put down in writing, especially for the guidance of his numerous disciples, his thoughts and experiences on the subject of spiritual practice and discipline, as and when they arose in his mind. In order that they be of great help to all seekers of Truth, whatever denomination they may belong to, the Swami, at the request of many devotees brought them out in book-form in the original Bengali. It was highly appreciated by the general public and the first edition was sold out in a few months necessitating a reprint. Pressed by his non-Bengali disciples, he consented to translate it himself into English so that it may reach a wider public in India and abroad, and the present work is the result of his labours.
The Swami joined the Math (Monastery) then located at Baranagore, in the year 1892, after renouncing the world at the early age of seventeen. The long years of his life, were spent in intimate association and service of Swami Vivekananda and the other direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, and in scriptural studies and spiritual practices and austerities, and also in activities of various kinds while holding highly responsible positions in the Order. To him the world owes, not a little, for the compilation, editing and publication of the first five volumes of The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda and the first edition of the four volumes of The Life of Swami Vivekananda by His Eastern and Western Disciples. A glimpse of the profound and varied experiences gained through the years of strenuous spiritual endeavour and whole soul devotion to the service of humanity comes to light in the present work.
Swami Ranganathananda, present President of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission was born in the village of Trikkur, Kerala State, on December 15, 1908. Swami Ranganathananda joined the Ramakrishna Order, the international spiritual and cultural movement founded by Swami Vivekananda, at its branch in Mysore in 1926. He was formally initiated into Sanyasa in 1933 by Swami Shivananda, one of the eminent disciples of Sri Ramakrishna and the second President of the Order. After spending the first twelve years in the Order’s branches in Mysore and Bangalore, the first six years of which as cook, dishwasher and house-keeper and later as warden of students’ hostel, he worked as Secretary and librarian at the Ramakrishna Mission branch at Rangoon, from 1939 to 1942, and thereafter as President of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, Karachi, from 1942 to 1948.
From 1949 to 1962, he worked as the Secretary of the New Delhi branch of the Mission, and from 1962 to 1967, he was the Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Calcutta, Director of its School of Humanistic and Cultural Studies, and Editor of its monthly journal.
He has undertaken extensive lecture tours from 1946 to 1972 covering 50 countries, including 5 communist ones, and has been visiting annually Australia, U.S.A., Holland, West Germany, Berlin -- East and West -- during the last several years.
He has a versatile and facile pen, and has to his credit a number of publications, chief amongst which are: The Message of Upanishads: A Pilgrim Looks at the World, Vols. I and II; Four Volumes of Eternal Values for a Changing Society -- Vol.1: Philosophy and Spirituality, Vol.2: Great Spiritual Teachers, Vol.3: Education for Human Excellence and Vol.4: Democracy for Total Human Fulfillment; and Science and Spirituality (Bhavan’s Publications); Our Cultural Heritage and Its Modern Orientation, Sardar Patel Memorial Lecture: 1986; Women in the Modern Age; Social Responsibilities of Public Administrators; The Science of Human Energy Resources; Science and Religion; Vedanta and the Future of Mankind; Divine Grace; His Acceptance Speech when he was awarded the first Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration on 31st October 1986; seven L.P. Records expounding, verse by verse, the second and third chapters of the Gita; six pre-recorded cassettes expounding the greatest book on Bhakti, the Srimad Bhagavatam; and 12 pre-recorded cassettes expounding the Vedanta treatise: Vivekacudamani, by Sankaracharya.
Swami Prabhavananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna’s direct disciple Swami Brahmananda, preached the spiritual message of India in the U.S.A. for more than half a century. Among the many valuable books he has left us, The Essence of Hinduism has the uniqueness of giving in a nut shell the development of the whole of India’s spiritual philosophy from the Vedic times to Sri Ramakrishna in a way that will be found useful both by spiritual aspirants and academic students of Indian philosophy. An important feature of the book is that the message of all the great teachers of Vedanta like Gaudapada, Sankara, Bhaskara, Yamuna, Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Madhva, Vallabha, Chaitanya, and Ramakrishna finds a place in it, separate sections being devoted to each of them. A general student of Indian Culture, especially of its spiritual and philosophical implication, can find no better book for this purpose.