Arguably the greatest achievement of Swami Vivekananda one of the most celebrated icons of modern India was the reconstruction of Hinduism. This he accomplished by reforming the religion in India and changing its image in the West. Indeed the Hinduism that Vivekananda expounded at the Parliament of World's Religions in Chicago was a new progressive version of an ancient tradition devoid of the superstitions and distortions with which it had come to be associated. He revolutionized Hindu faith traditions by turning them into a repository of rational universal philosophy. This book tries to get to the heart of Swami Vivekananda's legacy and his relevance in the contemporary world. It examines hitherto lesser-known aspects of Swamiji's life and work including his contributions to practical Vedanta universal religion science-spirituality and inter-religious dialogue dharmic secularism educational philosophy poetry and above all to the problem of Indian modernity.
Despite the abundance of literature available on him Swami Vivekananda is still not understood adequately remaining somewhat of an enigma. A fresh reading of the life and times of the Swami by someone who has studied him closely Makarand R. Paranjape's detailed thought-provoking account shows that in Vivekananda's visionary thoughts lay the seeds of the creation of a modern India. This book reclaims Swami Vivekananda's stature as a pioneer of contemporary Hindu thought and nationalism.