On how Swami Vivekananda left indelible mark of his association on some Western personalities of timeless excellence.

  • About

    The book is about fourteen notable Westerners, who at different times came close to Swami Vivekananda and left imprints of their indelible memories of that association. Here we have three phases of the Swami’s life in the West. First, before he appeared at the religious congress; second, while leaving his enduring mark at the Chicago Parliament of Religions in 1893 and then moving around places in the US, and a little later in Europe, with his abiding spirituality and brilliance; and lastly, when he began to fulfil his role as the first exponent of Vedanta in the West.


    Author Speaks

    Way back when I first began to read Mrs Burke’s Swami Vivekananda in the West: New Discoveries, it had been the fortnight before the Chicago religious congress in 1893 which captivated my whole attention: it epitomizes Swamiji’s prophetic disposition—no country in this world or its people were unfamiliar to him, he never hesitated to love people or speak his mind wherever he went. Even when he was no more than a fortnight in America, he had no difficulty in getting attention of the people, or in endearing himself to them who came a little closer. Each story in this book is testimony to what Romain Rolland felt long back: ‘It was impossible to imagine him in the second place. Wherever he went he was the first. … Everybody recognized in him at sight the leader, the anointed of God, the man marked with the stamp of the power to command.’

  • We may start with three unique representatives of the late nineteenth century America, whom the Swami met about a fortnight before the religious parliament began in Chicago. These associations allowed him to experience the very basics which were then shaping America.

    Mary Tappan Wright

    Mary Tappan Wright

    An erudite woman with close links with some leading American higher education institutions through both her pre-and-post-married life. Besides, she had been a notable writer of her time and her books still sell today. It was this great lady who first initiated the chronicle of the Swami when he was not even a month in America.

    Kate Tannatt Woods

    Kate Tannatt Woods

    Even when living, this lady was selected for a publication dealing with the American Women of the Century. A popular writer of her time, who is still remembered for her books and her leading role in the American Women Club Movement which is still considered as a great contributor in making America the way we see her today.

    Franklin Sanborn

    Franklin Benjamin Sanborn

    He was close to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and many more who are recognized today for bringing in the American renaissance. He lived with many of the legends in Concord, a place in Massachusetts, which is today widely celebrated in American culture as the pastoral ground of the American renaissance.

  • Here we have two persons who saw the Swami at the Chicago Parliament of Religions and were impressed in their own ways.

    One was a youth with some distress of his own. What he suddenly read in a book by Herbert Spencer devastated his perspectives and world view, which all had in the background his Methodist upbringing. To have answers to his mental turmoil he entered the Art Palace on the inaugural day of the religious parliament and saw the Swami making his first appearance―what he experienced on that day began to reshape his entire life.


    The other man was already a distinguished personality of his time. But his task drew him to the religious parliament in Chicago―it was to salvage the troubled Christianity from the onslaught of Higher Criticism. He searched for newer interpretations from Buddhism and therefore patronized the visiting Buddhist representatives at the Parliament. Nonetheless, he hardly could remain immune to the catholicity of Swami Vivekananda’s message.

  • William Ernest Hocking

    William Ernest Hocking

    He was one of the last true giants of American philosophy. At Harvard Hocking Studied under the great William James, George Santayana, Josiah Royce, and George Herbert Palmer. Later, he held the most prestigious chair at Harvard University for the first three decades of the twentieth century.

    Paul Carus​

    Paul Carus​

    After his PhD. in philosophy and classical philology from Tübingen University, Paul Carus migrated first to England and then to the United States. In 1887 he began editing The Open Court, a monthly journal devoted to comparative religion. The Monist, a quarterly of the philosophy of science, came out in 1888 with Carus as its editor.

  • Before ending his first visit to America the Swami met three persons in New York.

    A latter-day world-renowned sculptor, who as a nine-year-old girl once had for a fleeting instance met the Swami.

    The impression remained alive till she relived that through her art after a long time.


    One of the all-time greats of World Theatre, the Diva of Western Stage in late nineteenth century, once came to meet Swami Vivekananda.


    A scientist, a genius without whom the wheels of progress in the twentieth century would have been hampered, once felt an urge to meet Vivekananda.

  • Malvina Hoffman

    Malvina Hoffman

    She was a devoted student of none else than Auguste Rodin. Malvina imbibed the teaching of the Master who found a protege to share his lifetime of experience. In Malvina Rodin found someone who understood how his creative mind flowed and saw her intensity as a reflection of his.

    Sarah Bernhardt

    Sarah Bernhardt

    The most famous actress of the late nineteenth century. ...She went on to become the most popular actress of her generation in Europe, North America, and Australia. When she lived, people said that only two things are there in Paris to seethe Eiffel Tower, and Sarah Bernhardt.

    Nikola Tesla

    Nikola Tesla

    A Serbian immigrant who came to the US with almost nothing beyond his extraordinary genius, and finally rose to become one of the 100 most famous people of the last 1000 years. He was one of the Great Scientists who coursed the stream of human progress.

  • Here we have two individuals the Swami closely interacted with during his famous lecture at the Harvard University in March 1896.


    An undisputed giant in American Philosophy. His words that '...the Swami is an honor to humanity...' has in the background what he saw in Vivekananda.


    One Harvard Graduate of 1894, who closely saw the Swami when he last was at Harvard.

  • William James

    William James

    An original thinker in and between the disciplines of physiology, psychology, and philosophy. With seeds of pragmatism and phenomenology, James's work influenced generations of thinkers in Europe and America, including Edmund Husserl, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. His writings were from the outset as much philosophical as scientific. He made some of his most important philosophical contributions in the last decade of his life. In philosophy, his positive work is still prophetic.

    John P. Fox

    John P. Fox

    He signed the letter on behalf of the Harvard Philosophical Club inviting Vivekananda for a lecture. The decision to invite the Swami was taken by the luminaries of the club, who were the cream of Harvard University during those days, Fox merely issued it on behalf of the Philosophical Club, But this had allowed him to become very close to the Swami and have a ringside view of his soaring spirituality and brilliance both in the US and England a little before he ended his first visit to the West.

  • Two Great German Scholars were eager to meet Swami Vivekananda

    And this Book has what followed

  • Paul. Deussen

    Paul J. Deussen

    A German philosopher and Sanskrit scholar. After remaining at the Berlin University as an Extraordinary Professor for ten years, Deussen finally moved to the University of Kiel in 1889 and became a full professor of philosophy. Here he remained till his last. He was a friend of Friedrich Nietzsche and a lifelong admirer of Arthur Schopenhauer. His love and interest in Vedantic literature once brought him to India. Deussen's numerous publications include The Philosophy of the Upanisads (1899; English trans. 1906), extensive translations into German of the Upanishads, parts of the Mahabharata, and the Brahmasutrabhshya of Acharya Shankara.

    Max Müller​

    F. Max Müller​

    An all-time world-renowned Sanskrit scholar and philologist. He was a pioneer in the fields of Vedic studies, comparative philosophy, comparative mythology, and comparative religion. Müller travelled to Berlin in 1844 to study with Friedrich Schelling, whose lectures eventually inspired his intellectual development. He translated some of the most important passages of the Upanishads, which he considered the greatest outcome of Vedic literature. Before finally coming to Oxford, he had studied with the famous Sanskrit scholar Eugene Burnouff in Paris. Max Müller’s a great many scholarly works were later published as an 18-volume Collected Works.

  • The Talented Two.

    One from the World of Art, the Other from the Stage.

    Without their chronicles the world would have missed much of the Swami's later life

  • Maud Stumm

    Maud Stumm

    Known as a painter of the portrait, figure, and still-life. During the early 1890's, her watercolors were shown at the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Boston Art Club. Later, after her study in Paris with Oliver Merson (circa 1894-1895), Maud returned to New York, where she found much success. Her various creations frequently come up today for auctions and are in demand too.


    Emma Calvé​

    Emma Calvé​

    For her exceptional voice and personality, she still is remembered in the world of performing arts. Her profound talents in acting as well as singing were so uniquely matched that the roles she played on stage have become enduring legends of a sort. ‘“Hear Calvé in ‘Carmen’—and die”, is the motto which heralded this singer’s first visit to America’, wrote a contemporary artiste and reviewer a few years after she saw Emma Calvé as Carmen during her US tour.

  • Publisher of the book:

    Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, Kolkata

    For Author's other books and websites,

    please click on the link below

    The Monk And A Merchant