What did J.D. Salinger, Leo Tolstoy, and Sarah Bernhardt have in common?

The surprising—and continuing—influence of Swami Vivekananda, the pied piper of the global yoga movement.

By the late 1960s, the most famous writer in America had become a recluse, having forsaken his dazzling career. Nevertheless, J.D. Salinger often came to Manhattan, staying at his parents’ sprawling apartment on Park Avenue and 91st Street. While he no longer visited with his editors at “The New Yorker,” he was keen to spend time with his spiritual teacher, Swami Nikhilananda, the founder of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, located, then as now, in a townhouse just three blocks away, at 17 East 94th Street.

Though the iconic author of “The …

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Peace on the rocks: The Swami Vivekananda Memorial

January 13, 2011

Against the backdrop of a tumultuous sea, the Vivekananda Memorial is an oasis of tranquility, says Ranjeni A Singh

The last few rocks of the Indian peninsula are special. It is where the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet and merge, as though proclaiming India’s unity in diversity. Sanctified by Goddess Parvati’s footprints, the rocks now also symbolise the spirit of Swami Vivekananda, who, against all odds, ventured to create awareness of Hindu philosophy and ancient Indian culture wherever he went.

My trip to the southernmost tip of India was an unscheduled one but it turned out to be truly enriching. I was on a bus, travelling from Nagarcoil to Thiruvananthapuram, … Read more »