UNITED STATES, July 6, 2024 (India Currents, by Partha Sircar): Some time ago I browsed through a thousand-page tome, The Story of Ramakrishna Mission. What struck me was that three chapters were devoted to the Vedanta movement in America. My initial reaction was that it overstated the influence of America on the Vedanta movement (perhaps another example of our penchant for the importance of the Western world!). But on further reflection, I’ve realized that America and Americans had a significant impact on the Ramakrishna Vedanta movement. In many ways, Swami Vivekananda’s historic appearance at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in September 1893 sowed the seeds for the Ramakrishna Vedanta Movement. Until then, Vivekananda had not yet begun the voluminous writings and lectures that would form the bedrock of the movement. Almost all of it came after the Chicago lectures.

Before he died at the relatively young age of 39 in 1902, Vivekananda spent four to five years of his remaining nine years on two trips to America (1893-1896 and 1899-1900). He traveled widely across the country giving discourses at a prolific rate and engaging in illuminating exchanges with illustrious writers and thinkers. Those lectures – at New York, Harvard University, Thousand Island Park, and the Ridgely Manor form part of a treasured legacy that Vivekananda left his followers. It appears that the genesis for his publications on the four Yogas and his ideas for forming an organization was rooted in those discussions. The establishment of the Vedanta Society of New York in 1894 predates the establishment of the Ramakrishna Mission which was founded in 1897. Swami Vivekananda spent about four months in the San Francisco Bay Area on his second trip and established the Vedanta Society there in 1900, a story recorded in a wonderful book by Swami Ashokananda.

Much more at source.