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Publications of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission

The Ramakrishna Math and Mission now rank as one of the major publishers of books in India. Three of its most important publishing centres are:
Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata; Ramakrishna Math, Chennai and Udbodhan Office, Kolkata.
The annual turnover of books sold by Advaita Ashrama was around 19 million rupees in the year 2004-05. In 2005, it brought out 283 titles, most of them in English. In the same year, the Rama­krishna Math in Chennai brought out 292 titles in English, 333 titles in Tamil, and 196 titles in Telugu. Its annual turnover in 2004-05 was about 23 million rupees for all the books. Its Tamil journal Ramakrishna Vijayam has the largest circulation of all the journals of the Ramakrishna Mission, with 92,000 subs­cribers in 2005. The Udbodhan Office in Kolkata brought out 433 titles in 2005 and its annual turnover of books during 2004-05 was about 23.9 million rupees.
However, the status of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission as a major publisher should be judged not merely by the number of titles or the amount of money realized through the sale of books, but by the intellectual, moral, and spiritual quality of the books and the beneficial effect they produce on the minds of people. Through its books the Ramakrishna Movement disseminates some of the highest and noblest ideals and ideas to the modern world. ‘A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life’ — this famous statement of Milton is literally true of the books published by the Ramakrishna Movement. Since its books are published without any commercial motive, they are priced very low. In recent years books have become very expensive, beyond the reach of the common man. By keeping the price of books low, often by subsidizing them, the Ramakrishna Math and Mission make quality books available to people all over India.

Three Categories of Books

Three main categories of books are published by Ramakrishna Math and Mission.

1. Scriptures :  Most of the important scriptures of Hinduism such as the Upanishads, the Gita and Brahma-sutras, along with commentaries, and several Prakaran-granthas, Stotras, etc have been translated into English and several Indian languages.

2.Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Literature : Books on Sri Ramakrishna, books by and on Swami Vivekananda, books on the life and teachings of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi and on the lives and teachings of the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, form a class by themselves, and have been categorized as ‘Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature’.

3.Books on general topics : mostly pertaining to spiritual life, religion, philosophy, culture, value education, etc.

Publication Centres of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Literature 

 Special mention must be made of the following centres and the number of books they currently (2005) publish (more details are given in the table):

Ramakrishna Math, Chennai

(the largest publisher):

292 titles in English, 333 in Tamil,  and 17 in Sanskrit/English

Ramakrishna Math, Hyderabad 196 in Telugu,

Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati:

182 titles in English, 53 in Hindi, 46 in Sanskrit/English, and 2 in Ne­pali

Ramakrishna Math, Baghbazar, Kolkata:

416 titles in Bengali, 14 in English, and 3 in Hindi

Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata:

98 titles in English, 31 in Bengali, 1 in Oriya, and 2 in Hindi

Ramakrishna Math, Nagpur:

174 titles in Marathi, and 161 in Hindi

Ramakrishna Math, Thrissur (in 1999)=:

208 in Malayalam and 17 in English;

Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore:

265 titles in Kannada

Ramakrishna Math, Bull Temple Road, Bangalore:

23 in Kannada, 54 in English, and 5 in Sanskrit

Ramakrishna Ashrama, Rajkot:

161 in Gujarati, and 10 in English

Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Coimbatore:

2 in English and 19 in Tamil

 

Journals published by Ramakrishna Math and Mission

Swami Vivekananda was very much interested in starting journals to spread the ideas of Practical Vedanta and the message of Sri Ramakrishna. He inspired Alasinga Perumal of Chennai to start journals in English and encouraged his own brother-disciple Swami Trigunatitananda to start a journal in Bengali. Among the journals started during the lifetime of Swami Vivekananda were: Brahmavadin, Pacific Vedantin (from USA), and Prabuddha Bharata, all in English, and Udbodhan in Bengali. Some of these journals are still thriving after 100 years. The table gives the list of periodicals being published by the centres of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission along with other relevant details. Special mention must be made of the journals Prabuddha Bharata, Vedanta Kesari and Udbodhan. Prabuddha Bharata was started by Alasinga Perumal and Dr. Nanjunda Rao at the instance of Swami Vivekananda with B. Rajam Iyer as the editor. It was published from Chennai from July 1896 to June 1898. Then the journal had to be discontinued because of the untimely death of its editor. Later, with the help of Capt. Sevier, the journal was republished from Almora in August 1898 where it continued till March 1899 when the editorial office was shifted to the newly started Advaita Ashrama in Mayavati. Since April 1899 it has been published from Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati. It is the oldest journal in English of its kind being published in India. The Vedanta Kesari was started in 1914 and is being publi­shed by the Ramakrishna Math, Chennai. Udbodhan, a journal in Bengali, was started in 1899 by Swami Trigunatitananda, a brother monk of Swami Viveka­nanda. It is now in the 108th year of publication and is the oldest journal of its kind being published in Bengali without any break. At present (in October 2005) it has 67,500 subscribers.

Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Literature in Cyberspace

With the advent of modern computers and Internet, the world of literature has now been introduced to a new medium. Today digitization is a global phenomenon. In recent times many of the well-known publishing houses have digitized (or have started digitizing) their important publications. The publishing houses of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission have not lagged behind in this. To keep up with the needs of the changing times, the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature too started appearing in digitized form. It all began with Advaita Ashrama, Kolkata, which brought out their first CD, an e-book called Swami Vivekananda — Life, Works, and Research, in 2001. It contained the nine volumes of The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, the two volumes of Life of Swami Vivekananda, and the six volumes of Swami Vivekananda in the West — New Discoveries, a massive literary matter of approximately 10,000 pages. A better version of this e-book was released in 2003. In the same year it brought out another e-book called Vivekananda for Children. It comprises illuminating stories for children told by Swami Vivekananda. The stories are colourfully depicted to attract the young minds. The Ramakrishna Ashrama, Chennai (T. Nagar), brought out an e-book named An Integrated E-book on Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna and Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi in the year 2003, commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi. This CD contains the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (translated by Swami Nikhilananda), Sri Ramakrishna, the Great Master (translated by Swami Jagadananda), Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna (an exhaustive collection of Sri Ramakrishna’s sayings), Gospel of the Holy Mother (the English translation of the Bengali book Sri Sri Mayer Katha), Sri Sarada Devi the Holy Mother (by Swami Tapasyananda), and The Teachings of Holy Mother. In 2004 it released Shastrani, a CD containing the important Hindu scriptures. In the same year, Udbodhan Office, Kolkata, brought out a CD under the title Sri Ma Sarada Devi, the life of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi in Bengali by Swami Gambhirananda. In September 2005, it released the e-version of all the Udbodhan articles in 21 CDs. Advaita Ashrama too has taken up the task of digitizing its esteemed journal Prabuddha Bharata, which may take a few years before it sees the light of day.

                These are the major digitized works of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature now available to the computer users all over the world. In future we can expect to see even the other important works on Ramakrishna-Viveka­nanda ideology and Vedanta digitized. Also with the launching of websites by our centres all over the world, our literature is being made available to millions of computer users worldwide. With the entry into cyberspace, Rama­krishna-Vivekananda literature has been ushered into the most modern medium of information dissemination.


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