A Yankee and the Swamis
This book is written by John Yale who had joined the Vedanta Society of California in Holywood. He was trained by Swami Prabhavananda and later assumed the monastic name Swami Vidyatmananda. As a brahmacharin he visited India. This book is a travelogue of Yale’s Indian trip. The book was first serialised in the magazine of the Ramakrishna Order in Holywood and later brought out as a book published from London.
The book comprises significant, precise and frank impressions of Yale’s travels to places associated with the life of Sri Ramakrishna and the first apostles of the Order and other holy places in India spread over 5000 miles including the Order’s 38 centres. His interactions with the monks of the Ramakrishna Order is a highlight of the book. It is a memento of the spiritual power he felt in a world far removed from his own. The narration, with literary flashes, flows smooth.
It is always refreshing and educative for a well-established institution to be reviewed by a well-informed critic who is sympathetic to its aspirations and yet frank. All readers, especially Western, will find this book unique and stimulating. It is an evergreen book.