“Swami Vivekananda and Christian Science”
Peidle, Joseph. “Swami Vivekananda and Christian Science.” Global Vedanta 25, no. 2 (2020): 5-8.
Peidle provides a vignette of Swami Vivekananda’s relationship with Christian Science. Vivekananda was a Hindu monk, philosopher, and chief disciple of the Hindu mystic Sri Ramakrishna. Vivekananda was a sensation at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions where he introduced Hinduism and Yoga to the West. This Parliament was also where he learned about Christian Science, as documented by Robert Peel in his biography of Mary Baker Eddy, Years of Authority (51). For the Parliament, Eddy had prepared a speech which her student Judge Hanna delivered. Peidle quotes from that speech, Eddy’s writings and Vivekananda’s correspondence to illustrate the resonance between Vedanta and Christian Science. Vivekananda saw spiritual healing as possible but did not encourage its practice in his students. But while suffering from ill health, he would observe: “I got one great benefit out of it [suffering] inasmuch as I came to know I have really no disease except worry and fear” (7). Later he would counsel: “Instead of materializing the spirit, that is, dragging the spiritual to the material plane, … convert the matter into spirit, catch a glimpse at least, every day, of that world of infinite beauty and peace and purity—the spiritual” (8).
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