REMEMBRANCE OF SISTER GARGI
Marie Louise Burke (Sister Gargi), a leading
literary figure in the Vedanta movement and a respected
monastic of the Ramakrishna Order, died peacefully
after a protracted illness on Tuesday, January 20,
in her apartment in the convent building of the Vedanta
Society of Northern California.
Marie Louise Burke, she gained recognition as the
distinguished author of the six-volume classic Swami
Vivekananda in the West: New Discoveries. The
New Discoveries books have become indispensable
sourcebooks in India and in Vedanta circles worldwide,
and the knowledge they have given of Swami Vivekananda’s
personality has engaged many lives in his teachings.
Her books have been widely acclaimed by writers, such
as J.D. Salinger, and eminent scholars, such as Huston
Smith and Gerald James Larson.
young author met Swami Ashokananda in 1948 when he
was in charge of the Vedanta Society of Northern California
in San Francisco, and soon became his disciple. He
encouraged her to write about Swami Vivekananda and
gave her permission to write about Swami Ashokananda
himself when all her other work was done. Sister Gargi’s
recent books include Swami Trigunatita: His Life
and Work (1997), A Heart Poured Out: A Story
of Swami Ashokananda (2003), and A Disciple’s
Journal: In the Company of Swami Ashokananda
Louise Burke became Sister Gargi in 1974 when she
took her first vows in India from the Ramakrishna
Order. She was given the monastic name of Gargi, after
the renowned Vedic scholar. In 1983, in recognition
of her brilliant work as a researcher and a writer,
she received the prestigious Vivekananda Award from
the Ramakrishna Mission in Kolkata.
respected for her scholarly accomplishments and lifelong
devotion to the ideals of Vedanta, Sister Gargi has
left a rich legacy for the Ramakrishna Order and for
those interested in the authentic practice of Eastern
religion. A memorial service was held in the Old Temple
at the Vedanta Society of Northern California on February
1, 2004 at 1:00 p.m.