More philosophy in the Sunday paper:
When the Hindu sage Vivekananda made his way to America over a century ago,
The Harvard philosopher and psychologist William James was fascinated by the 31-year-old Indian and quoted at length from Vivekananda’s writings in his seminal work, “The Varieties of Religious Experience.”“A very nice man! A very nice man!” Vivekananda reported after his first meeting with James, who called his new friend “an honor to humanity.”The novelist Gertrude Stein, then a student of James’s at Radcliffe, reportedly attended Vivekananda’s 1896 talk at Harvard — which so wowed the college’s graybeards that they offered him the chairmanship of Eastern philosophy. He declined, noting his vows as a monk.
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