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Ramakrishna-Vedanta in Southern California:
From Swami Vivekananda to the Present

Written by Gopal Stavig*


This book is dedicated to Swami Prabhavananda who guided by the spiritual power and inspiration of Swami Brahmananda became the founder and developer of the Vedanta Society of Southern California.

*Project Director, Joanne Euler of the Vedanta Archives until 2008


I. The Early Years (1899-1927)
       1. Swami Sachchidananda II (1904-1913), Baba Bharati (1905-1913), and
Swami Bodhananda (1912, 1925-1927)

II. Swami Paramananda and Swami Prabhavananda (1893-1929)
       1. Swami Paramananda (1902-1929)
       2. Swami Prabhavananda and the Disciples of Sri Ramakrishna (1893-1923)
       3. Swami Prabhavananda in the U.S. (1923-1929)

III. The Swami Prabhavananda Era: The Formative Years (1930-1949)
       1. Vedanta Society Activities in the 1930’s
       2. Vedanta Society Activities in the 1940s
       3. Santa Barbara Convent
       4. Trabuco College and Monastery
       5. Swami Paramananda After 1930

IV. Literary Figures and Actors (1930-1949)
       1. Percy Houston and V. Subrahmanya Iyer
       2. Frederick Manchester
       3. Gerald Heard
       4. Aldous Huxley
       5. Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood
       6. Other Authors
       7. Somerset Maugham and The Razor’s Edge
       8. Other Film Personalities  

V. The Swami Prabhavananda Era: the Period of Fruition (1950-1976)
       1. Vedanta Society Activities in the 1950s
       2. Vedanta Society Activities in the 1960s
       3. Vedanta Society Activities 1970-1976
       4. Santa Barbara Convent
       5. Trabuco Monastery

VI. Literary Works (1950-1976)                                                                                    
1. Swami Prabhavananda
       2. Ida Ansell (Ujjvala)
       3. Gerald Heard
       4. Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts and D. T. Suzuki
       5. Christopher Isherwood
       6. Swami Vidyatmananda (John Yale, Prema Chaitanya)
       7. Public Speakers and Film Personalities

VII. The Swami Swahananda and Swami Sarvadevananda Era (1976-2018)
       1. Swami Swahananda’s Background
       2. Swami Swahananda’s Major Objectives
       3. Swami Swahananda at the Vedanta Society of Southern California
       4. The Assistant Swamis
       5. Swami Sarvadevananda at the Vedanta Society
       6. Functional Departments of the Vedanta Society
       7. Charitable Organizations
       8. Santa Barbara Temple and Convent
       9. Ramakrishna Monastery, Trabuco Canyon
       10. Vivekananda House, South Pasadena (1955-2018)

VIII. Expansion of the Vedanta Society of Southern California (1976-2018)
       1. Affiliated Centers San Diego, Washington D.C., Ridgely Retreat, and Houston
       2. Private Centers – Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Raleigh,               and Tucson 
       3. Websites for Centers Not Affiliated with the Vedanta Society of Southern California

IX. Literary and Dramatic Productions (1976-2018)
       1. The Years After Swami Prabhavananda’s Passing (1976-1984)
       2. A Changing Profile in Literary, Creative, and Other Activities (1985-1989)
       3. New Developments in the Vedanta Movement in the West (1990-1999)
       4. The New Millennium (2000-2018)

Appendix I

Ramakrishna-Vedanta Swamis in Southern California and Affiliated Centers (1899-2017)
Appendix II
Ramakrishna-Vedanta Swamis (1893-2017)
Appendix III
Presently Existing Ramakrishna-Vedanta Centers in North America (2017)
Appendix IV
Ramakrishna-Vedanta Swamis from India in North America (1893-2017)
Bibliography Alphabetized by Abbreviation  



     We are grateful and indebted to the many people who selflessly devoted their valuable time to making this Book possible.     
      Joanne Euler, the original Project Director who undertook the managerial aspects of the project, and was very helpful in providing me with pertinent historical material and in making contact with monastics, devotees, and chapter editors to write about their activities in the VSSC. In addition, she kept me well informed on the activities related to the development of the manuscript.
     Pravrajika Vrajaprana and Edith Dickinson Tipple for taking on the difficult and time-consuming task of meticulously editing the copious amount of material gathered for this history and helping to put it in publishable shape. Their efforts have made the book easier to read.
     Swami Sarvadevananda for his proficiency in bringing all of the participants together to get this project underway and Jon Monday (Dharmadas) for his generosity and their decision to place this Book on the Internet for the benefit of the general public.
     Swami Mahayogananda who formatted the systematic Word layout for the eBook before it was uploaded.
     Anna Monday (Urvasi) and Jon Monday (Dharmadas) of mondayMEDIA for their technical skills in preparing the text for publishing online and hosting the website

     Sister Gayatriprana co-author of Chapter IX. Literary and Dramatic Productions (1976-2016), which she creatively reworked.
     Chapter editors, Linda Prugh of Chapter I, The Early Years (1899-1921) and the early years in Washington, DC (1893-1917) and Ridgely (1893-1909) in Chapter VIII; Cliff Johnson for Chapter II, Swami Paramananda and Swami Prabhavananda (1893-1929); and Swami Yogeshananda for Chapter III, The Prabhavananda Era: The Formative Years (1929-1949) for their re-writing assistance.
     Amrita Salm sub-chapter editor of the first two sections of Chapter VII, The Swami Swahananda and Swami Sarvadevananda Era (1976-2016).
     In addition, helpful suggestions were provided by Swami Chetanananda (Vedanta Society of St. Louis) on Chapter V. The Swami Prabhavananda Era: the Period of Fruition (1950-1976), and editorial comments were given by Hal French (University of South Carolina Department of Religious Studies) for Chapter VI, Literary Works (1950-1976).
     Brahmachari Jnana Chaitanya is to be commended for supplying me with copies of old editions of the Prabuddha Bharata, Vedanta Kesari, newsletters to the members, and other valuable historical material cited as belonging to the Vedanta Archives.
     Finally, I wish to thank Swami Bodhasarananda, the President of Advaita Ashrama, for allowing me to use material drawn from the book Western Admirers of Ramakrishna and His Disciples.
(See also Google Books to read selections from the book.)

 © 2018 Gopal Stavig
Photographs provided courtesy of the Ramakrishna Order of India, Advaita Ashrama, the Vedanta Society of Southern California, the Vedanta Society of Northern California, the Vedanta Society of St. Louis, the Vedanta Society of Portland, and others. All other rights remain the property of the owners.

Contact:    7/15/2018
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