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Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna 1st Edition

48 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226453774
ISBN-10: 0226453774
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226453774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226453774
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Allan Carpenter on January 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
While I am a Ramakrishna admirer, I admit I was intrigued by the book at first. Expecting long-supressed secrets about RK, what I got was a very few obscure statements and stories turned into an elaborate Freudian analysis of Tantra. This, along with a meandering hypothesis about what was in RK's subconscious. It's just too shaky, and Kripal is too eager to sniff out a conspiracy. For example, in the book's second edition, Kripal admits that Ram Chandra Datta's book--which he claimed was supressed by the RK establishment--was, to his surprise, published by the Ramakrishna Mission the same summer as the first edition of "Kali's Child"! In the end, Kripal does not convince, and RK remains a mystery.
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67 of 81 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Jeffrey Kripal, starts with the intention of showing Ramakrsihna to be a homsexual. Several of his arguments are flawed because of his lacking of Bengali and because of his over eagerness to bring down the spirituality of Ramakrishna to suppressed sexuality.
1. The supposed difference between Tantra and Vedanta is fictitious and exists only in the western author's minds and not in practicing Hinduism. Millions of South Indian followers of the Vedantic Shankara use Tantric pujas and practice Sri Vidya Upasana a Tantric ritual. In the monasteries associated with the Advaiatic Sankara Tantric pujas are very common. The author should investigate the Smarta sect of Brahmins to discover this. They have often been clubbed with Saivas but this is not true.
2. The strong association between Tantra and sexuality is false. Western authors have a prurient interest in degrading indigenous religious practices to sexual orgies. Yes, Sex is seen as one of the ways to seek divine bliss, but only in one of the tantric sects the left hand path. Tantra in South India and Kashmir is Kaula and part of the righ hand path. Not that there is anything wrong with Sex but Tantra does not necessarily involve sexual connotations.
3. It is a tradition in Hinduism and some other mystical religions for the spiritual seeker whether male or female to approach God as the only maleand himself as female. Several saints including Maniccka Vachagar, Ramalinga Adigal, Arunagirinathar have sung hymns in Nayaki Bhava where they implore the lord to marry them. This does not mean all of these men are homo sexuals. The reason they use this Bhava is the medeival and (biological reality) , female as the receptive and relatively passive element in the Universe. The devotee remains passive and receptive to god.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A on January 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am a Bengali myself. I found that the author has intentionally used very obscure translations of the original Bengali words , and have used those to suit his perverse agenda to degrade one of the greatest spiritual genius of India.
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63 of 78 people found the following review helpful By CourageToQuestion on September 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
The author uses (misuses) freudian psychoanalysis, which reduces all emotions to sexuality, to formulate his opinions. This is highly reductionist (to say the least). The other problem is that a superficial look at something as complex as culture can yield absurd conclusions. For example, using (misusing) freudian principles, one can say the following thing about chistianity.
Jesus was a filthy, unclean man dressed in rags. He learned some magic tricks from the visiting Persian merchants. The Romans often invited him to perform at their parties, and in exchange, they offered him wine. So he routinely got drunk, tried to be "a notorious womanizer," and was a hobo all his life. Since Jesus' mother was a prostitute, fearing social retribution, she did not want to announce the true identity of his father, and had to make up a fantastic story for the illiterate nomads. Therefore, Mary claimed that Jesus was born without physical intercourse. So all his life, Jesus guarded the myth of his mother's virginity and hid the immoral activities of his father and other customers who visited his mother for sex. When Jesus become politically strong, the Roman commanders got rid of him and played a joke upon Jesus by crucifying him using the cross, symbolizing that the cross was the phallus and dildo which his mother must have used for her sexual gratification when customers weren't available. Thus, his followers today carry a cross as the phallic symbol of his immaculate conception. Jesus was a hopeless drunkard, to escape public scorn for his vice, he started a bizzare and revolting cannibalistic ritual of symbolically sharing wine and said that it was his blood. This revolting ritual is followed even today by mindless christians.
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36 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
One need not waste his time collecting junks. May read something useful...Should one dare to translate a foreign-language book when he can't speak/write/understand a paragraph without the help of a dictionary? It seems, that's not a problem for Mr. Kripal at all! Without knowing Bengali, the author tries to prepare his "thesis" with the help of several books written in Bengali. Outcome is: massive intentional and stupid mis-translations leading to a utterly crazy (NOT scholarly) hypothesis.
My comment:
If Mr. Kripal's translation from his references are correct, then the other frightening possibility is (I happened to carefully read those original Bengali books.):
I must have absolutely forgotten my mother tongue (Bengali), which I hoped to use until I die!
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Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna
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