Shri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Rajkot

Publication : History

Swamiji's Complete Works In Gujarati

The most significant contribution to Gujarati literature, however, was the publication of Vivekananda Vicharmala (The Complete Works of Swamiji in Gujarati) in six volumes by Iccharam Suryaram Desai's Gujarati Printing Press, Bombay, during 1911-1916. A great scholar and translator of religious classics, Iccharam Desai (1853-1912) wrote or translated more that 40 books during his lifetime. He also founded the weekly journal Gujarati for propagating Gujarati literature.

The translation of Vivekananda Vicharmala was done by Narayan Vissanji Thakkur (1880-1938). He was popularly known as the 'Sir Walter Scott' of Gujarati literature. A famous novelist and a poet, Narayan V. Thakkur wrote his first Gujarati novel in 1911 when he was just twenty-six. He knew English, Sanskrit, Bengali, Persian, Urdu, and Marathi. During his lifetime he wrote or translated more than a hundred books, the most famous among them being, Hindu Gaurav Granthamala, Bharatni Lokkatha (10 volumes) and the monumental work Vivekananda Vicharmala. The translation of Swamiji's works evidently deeply influenced him. He developed a spirit of vairagya, as a result of which, in later life, he embraced Sannyasa and lived in Puri.

He emphatically adds in his introduction to the second volume of Vivekananda Vicharmala that this Gujarati translation is the first serious attempt in any vernacular to publish The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. It also interesting to note that Gujarati Printing Press conceived of this project before the first Mayavati Memorial Edition (1907) of The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (in four volumes with Sister Nivedita's foreword) came to their notice. Narayan Thakkur painstakingly collected materials from the various books, journals and pamphlets which were available at that time, translated them into excellent Gujarati prose and published the first volume, when the first Mayavati Memorial Edition in English came to his hands. He made use of them to publish the subsequent volumes.

Another important milestone in the history of influence of Ramakrishna-Vivekananda on Gujarati literature was the publication of the first subsidized edition of the Complete Works in thirteen volumes from 1914 onwards by Sastu Sahitya Vardhak Karyalaya, Ahmedabad. Being a commercial publication house, the books published by Gujarati Printing Press were out of reach of the common man. Bhikshu Akhandananda founded the Sastu Sahitya Vardhak Karyalaya in 1907 to publish books of great utility at a very nominal price. They launched a scheme to provide books on an annual subscription basis under the name of Vividh Granthamala and thereby sold more than 5000 sets of books even before they were actually published. It was under this scheme that Swamiji's Complete Works, including his exhaustive biography, was first published in 13 volumes from 1914 to 1930.

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.- Swami Vivekananda

A few heart-whole, sincere, and energetic men and women can do more in a year than a mob in a century.- Swami Vivekananda

Arise ! Awake ! And Stop Not Till the Goal is Reached.- Swami Vivekananda

All power is within you, you can do anything & everything !- Swami Vivekananda

To be good & to do good, that is the whole of religion.- Swami Vivekananda

Purity, Patience & Perseverance are the three essentials to success, and above all Love !- Swami Vivekananda

Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny !- Swami Vivekananda

We are what our thoughts have made us, so take care about what you think.- Swami Vivekananda