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Spiritual Improvisations: Ramakrishna, Aurobindo, And The Freedom Of Tradition

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Chapter Summary

What if differences as well as similarities can be discerned in individuals and traditions at the deepest and most supervening reaches of attainment? This possibility posits a fallible and unfolding utopia in which heaven and earth would forever inform each other, and everyone could keep learning from everyone else. This chapter attempts to portray the countenance of that possibility. To achieve this, modes of apprehension, intuition, communion, ecstasy and heart-realization often said to be ultimate must be reconceived. The forty-six-year-old Sri Ramakrishna put his foot on the body of an eighteen year-old named Narendra. Narendra, soon to be renamed Swami Vivekananda, was certain this crazy man was about to make an embarrassing scene. The chapter then discusses Aurobindos challenge to the ultimacy of Enlightenment. Then it focuses on Bodhidharmas swindle. The real swindle was to lull posterity into believing that nirvana can readily salvage the inherent sweetness of samsara.

Keywords: Aurobindo; Bodhidharmas swindle; Enlightenment; Sri Ramakrishna

10.1163/ej.9789004183803.i-504.94
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