I found a used copy of Lex Hixon’s Great Swan–Meetings with Ramakrishna, last week that I am reading with delight. Lex Hixon has rendered the teachings from the seminal and extraordinary voice of Ramakrishna very accessible. It also provides in a light-handed and intelligent way, an excellent perspective on the history and dance of the mingling of East and West. Ramakrishna, as Swami Vivekenanda‘s guru, is an incredibly important part of the path of yoga to the West.
As an American drawn to the teachings of yoga, I feel it important for me to know the context of how these teachings reached me, and how they interconnect with the embodiment of religious and social practice in both the society whence they came and the cultures they have reached and shifted. Those who have imbibed the teachings with pure bhakti (devotion) might think it is not necessary to study so much. For me, whose nature and practice includes skepticism and questioning, the more perspective I gain by thinking, exploring, and studying, the more I am able to open in different ways.