Kalpa Tree Press
Contemporary Classics in Vedanta




Vedanta Online

This issue features "Universal Values for the World Conscience" by Shelley Brown

Vedanta Glossary
of Sanskrit and Bengali words, with guide to English pronunciation


  More Reviews of A HEART POURED OUT
  “This beautifully produced book is a labour of love. Sister Gargi, well known for her works on Swami Vivekananda, was initiated by and served Swami Ashokananda for the last years of his life. It tells the story of an extraordinary life of dedication—wholehearted and complete dedication to the mission started by Swami Vivekananda on behalf of Sri Ramakrishna.. . . In this short review it is impossible to do justice to a tome of over 400 pages. Sister Gargi’s style of writing is, as ever, clear, tempered, and elegant. So it is a highly readable and deeply inspiring book as well as a testament to a great soul and his life.”
  “There is never a lapse in the book’s ability to hold one’s attention. And just as those in the Swami’s circle of association were “stretched mentally, emotionally, and spiritually,” the reader feels similarly challenged. The author’s style and narrative talent, rendered more powerful by the depth of love for her teacher, affords the reader this opportunity. Be it from accounts of his laughter ringing down the hall; or by his impassioned words, which were nuggets of spiritual gold; by his quick wit; or by his personal spiritual experiences—the reader is “stretched” mentally, emotionally, and spiritually by this rich, multifaceted portrait.”
Sri Sarada Society Newsletter
  "Sister Gargi has given us an exhaustive yet engaging account of the life and work of Swami Ashokananda (1893—1969), a monk of the Ramakrishna Order who came from his native land of India to America and taught at the Vedanta Society of Northern California, one of the oldest and best-established institutions of the yoga tradition in the West.
Swami Ashokananda forbade the author, who was his devotee, from writing about him until her "other work" was finished; she went on to write the six-volume series Swami Vivekananda in the West: New Discoveries and other works before turning to this, the book she wanted to write in the first place, at age 90. This rare account is well worth the wait."
Yoga Journal
  "When Marie Louise Burke met Swami Ashokananda in 1948 she knew that she had found her Guru. She is the renowned author of the classic six-volume series on the world-famous Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna's foremost disciple. Now she has brought her talent for research and lively writing to her Guru's biography as well. As an insider she had first-hand experience of Swami Ashokananda, his teachings, his training of disciples, and the many amazing ups and downs of his pioneering efforts in bringing Vedanta to the West.
he story begins with the Swami's boyhood in India and his becoming a monk of the Ramakrishna Order. A disciple of Swami Vivekananda, he was blessed to serve several of Sri Ramakrishna's great disciples. Swami Ashokananda's life journey (1893—1969) was marked by brilliant scholarship, passion, courage and demonstration of the highest spiritual ideals. For the last four decades of his life he labored in the West as founder of the Vedanta movement in Northern California. Sister Gargi, now in her nineties, has inspired thousands with her writings; once again we owe her a debt of loving gratitude."
Light of Consciousness
  "This book just proves that you are never too old to accomplish your dreams. Written at 90 years of age, Sister Gargi paints a moving, soul-stirring biography of her mentor and spiritual teacher, Swami Ashokananda. . . . This engaging story tells the inside story of one disciple, Sister Gargi, and the relationship this extraordinary teacher had on herself and his students in their day-to-day spiritual training. This book allows us the opportunity to use the teachings of this spiritual teacher to strengthen our lives with purpose, courage and wisdom."
  "A longtime disciple of the swami, she tells the journey of a monk (1893—1969) of the Ramakrishna Order who developed the Vedanta movement in northern California. The spread of this Eastern religion in America can be traced in many ways to his dedication and commitment. For students of comparative religion, this will provide many insights."
  "Sister Gargi has written a remarkable book: on one level, an adoring apprecation of her beloved guru, and on another level, the story of a powerful and very human man who remained '. . . unsinkable to the very end' for the sake of his mission to the New World."
Vedanta Kesari
  "A most resplendent and awe-inspiring picture . . . a fervent tribute to her very beloved spiritual teacher."
  "Sister Gargi conveys Swami Ashokananda's spiritual fervor as she discusses how he presented Vedanta as a philosophy and religion of infinite hope with its powerful messages about universality, harmony, and infinite affirmation."
—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Health

"This is an engaging biography that takes the reader on a powerful journey into the story of Swami Ashokananda (1893-1969), a monk of the Ramakrishna Order who developed the Vedanta movement in Northern California. Gargi met him in 1948 and became his disciple and it is through her vivid insider's account that we learn about the relationship of this extraordinary teacher to his students in their day-to-day spiritual training."

Arizona Networking News
     "A Heart Poured Out is the first-time telling of the life of Swami Ashokananda as a brilliant pioneer of Vedanta in the West. The teachings of Swami Ashokananda are a welcome addition to the literature of the Vedanta movement, and further illuminate the history of the spread of Vedanta in the West".
Common Ground
  "Sister Gargi's new book is a soul-stirring account of Swami Ashokananda, a brilliant and accomplished spiritual teacher in the West. Written in impeccable prose, A Heart Poured Out reveals the Swami's extraordinary spiritual stature with candor, integrity, and wit. This powerful new biography will inspire general readers while informing students of religious studies."
—Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions and Why Religion Matters
  "Sister Gargi has written a remarkable book: on one level, an adoring appreciation of her beloved guru; on another level, the story of a powerful and very human man who remained '…unsinkable to the very end' for the sake of his mission to the New World."
—Gerald James Larson, author of India's Agony over Religion, and Rabindranath Tagore Professor of Indian Culture and Religion, University of Indiana
  "A Heart Poured Out succeeds in achieving two separate but closely related objectives. First, it provides a vivid portrait of a Hindu monk who was one of the most powerful and successful pioneers in the Vedanta movement in America. Hagiography is always a problematical genre because readers who never knew the saintly individuals who are its subjects can never fully appreciate the personal impact that such figures had on those who knew them. Still, Sister Gargi succeeds to a remarkable degree in making palpable the combination of spiritual insight, intellect, energy, austerity, generosity, and humor that were all facets of Swami Ashokananda's character. Second, the book offers an illuminating insider's view of the history of one of the major centers of the Vedanta movement during a critical period of its growth from the 1930s to the 1960s. The lively picture that it draws not only of the sacrifice and hard work required to build up such an organization, but also of the hard realities that often stand in the way of doing so, will be of interest even to readers who have no connection with the Vedanta Society of Northern California."
—Jerome J. Pollitt, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology and History of Art, Yale University, and author of Art and Experience in Classical Greece and President of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, New York
  "I have gone through the whole book with great interest and enjoyment. . . . I was naturally very eager to know more about Swami Ashokanandaji and [Sister Gargi's] book gave me an interesting feast of information about the Swami. . . . My hearty congratulations."
—Swami Gautamananda, Head of Ramakrishna Math, Madras, India
  "[Sister Gargi's] language, style, and exhaustive treatment of Revered Swami Ashokananda's saintly life and thought have a special attraction and appeal . . . of great help in understanding Ramakrishna-Vivekananda-Vedanta ideology."
—Swami Mumukshananda, Head of Advaita Ashrama, India
  ". . . a masterly tribute by Sister Gargi to her guru."
—Swami Yuktatmananda, Editor, Prabuddha Bharata
  "I cannot express how happy I am to receive A Heart Poured Out. Of the Swamis in the West, the talks and Writings of Swami Ashokanandaji are dearest to me; so clear, rational and inspiring. The pleasure of reading his biography written so lovingly and beautifully by Gargi is indescribable."
—Swami Dayatmananda, Head of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre, U.K.
  "What we have here is the "downstairs" Swami, a priceless gift of humor and humanness. . . . Completing the reading, I wondered what book I could pick up next-for after this one, all seemed dull and flat."
—Swami Yogeshananda, author of Six Lighted Windows
  "A Heart Poured Out is a triumph, a blessing, a work of art, and . . . a pure joy to read."
—Pravrajika Vrajaprana, author of Vedanta: A Simple Introduction
  ". . . so true and so vividly presented that it is almost like something experienced just yesterday!"
—Pravrajika Nirbhayaprana, San Francisco
  "I was bowled over by this biography of a man of God who walked among us for a time. If you have never met a living saint, you have no idea how such a one combines power and love and humor in such a way as to make you KNOW your own divinity. Swami Ashokananda was such a man of GOD, and if you read A Heart Poured Out you cannot fail to be blessed by his uncommon presence and enlightened by his remarkable teachings. Sister Gargi's book is a masterpiece of spiritual literature."
—"A reader from San Francisco (Marjorie Kewley)," Amazon.com
  "Gargi's book is a great, absorbing delight!"
—Linda Prugh, author of Josephine MacLeod and Swami Vivekananda's Mission

"A Heart Poured Out is a winner!-I couldn't put it down."


—William Page, Hong Kong





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