Kalpa Tree Press
Contemporary Classics in Vedanta


The Story of Swami Nitya-swarup-ananda

by Shelley Brown, M.D.

Cloth, 1,128 pages
2-Volume Set
131 Illustrations
Bibliography, Index
LCCN 00-193244
ISBN 0-9706368-0-6
Kalpa Tree Press


CENTRED IN TRUTH is the first major work about Swami Nitya-swarup-ananda (1899-1992), the visionary monk of the Ramakrishna Order who created the UNESCO-acclaimed Institute of Culture in Calcutta and who spent a lifetime striving to bring the universal ideals of Vedanta into the sphere of global thought and endeavor. His brilliant scheme to promote world civilization through cultural education engaged the support and admiration of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and other leading figures in his worldwide circle of friends.
     Centred in Truth invites the reader to join this charmed circle. Its two volumes bring the Swami's life and work into focus from many points of view—through biography and memoir, conversations and writings, reminiscences and memorial tributes. What comes to life in this manifold portrait is the purity of his personality (with its irrepressibly witty side) and the power of his ideals. Beautifully written and profusely illustrated, these volumes will appeal to the eyes as well as to the mind and the heart. Readers will discover how a spiritual force at work for the common good can enrich and inspire their own lives.
     Centred in Truth has been deemed a modern classic in the Vedanta literature-—an indispensable resource for everyone interested in the Ramakrishna Movement, the Ramakrishna Order, and Vedanta philosophy. It received critical acclaim in the United States and in India, and was nominated for the 2003 Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

DR. SHELLEY BROWN was a leading hematologist in New York City before she retired to research and write this book. A Vedantist since 1953, she became engaged in a spiritual dialogue with Swami Nitya-swarup-ananda in 1987 that went on unabated until the day he died. Dr. Brown is now a writer, editor, and publisher of books on Vedanta.


(from the Prologue)

Most who met Swami Nitya-swarup-ananda were struck by the sensitive human qualities and engaging personality of this man of God. Highly cultivated, genial, and astute, he was an instant communicator. His visitors felt well received "one-on-one," without subterfuge or condescension, yet with incomprehensible depth. Over the years, he touched the lives of innumerable people in a wide variety of positions and circumstances in different parts of the world, always with the same power of understanding and loving discernment.

(from Reminiscences—Swami Abjajananda)

Swami Nitya-swarup-ananda was an intensely humane person, a powerful individuality, a forceful personality. He was not easy of access. There was a clear line of demarcation that set him apart from the rest. Yet, as the more familiar "Chintaharan Maharaj," he had a different aspect—very simple, unassuming, lively, full of humour; one who could empathize with young and old with equal ease, and a dear friend to all. This aspect was no less unique and extraordinary, for he was everyone's well-wisher, close friend, and confidant. He was a brilliant conversationalist who was quick to appreciate the fine qualities of others. Yet, as a critic, he could be outspoken and forthright, which sometimes made him unpopular with those on the receiving end. Strangely, as frightened as people were of his lashing criticism, he never failed to attract the deepest reverence and affection of all those who came in touch with him.

(from Reminiscences—Dr. Triguna Sen)

What I am today is because of Swami Nitya-swarup-ananda—his teachings, his guidance, and above all his love. . . It is the bond of such love that dissolves all differences between soul and soul, man and man.
     . . . I was suddenly summoned to Delhi and sworn in as Education Minister to the government of India. Dr. Radhakrishnan, the President, told me that he truly expected something worthwhile to happen in the field of education, an educational policy that would rank among the best in the world. I worked hard, but disillusionment came soon and I realized that everything was so enmeshed in politics that it was not possible to do anything worthwhile in real terms. I gave up my ministership and started staying in an ashrama in Dehradun.
     . . . When he heard of my resignation he immediately came down to Dehradun. The ashrama where I was staying and the Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama were housed in adjacent buildings. He called me up, "Triguna Babu, I have come here for you. Why have you wrapped yourself up in a bundle of emotions and sentiments? Come out with me. Let us both work together once again. There is so much work to be done."

(from Reminiscences—Cleo Anderson)

He scolded, criticized, exhorted, pushed, demanded, and all the while he loved us and praised us. He wanted us to live Vedanta. He would tell us, "Do something!" And we will and even now are doing. He wanted us to express ourselves Vedantically as Americans. He told us, "Don't say 'Pranam, Maharaj,' say 'Hi, Swami,'" and he would raise his hand and wiggle his fingers.

Copyright© 2001-2005 Shelley Brown, M.D.



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