A look back at Prabuddha Bharata
Kolkata: Few people know that famous Psychologist Carl Jung's thesis on yoga and meditation was serialised and first published in Prabuddha Bharata, the official English organ of Ramakrishna Math and Mission.
The magazine, with its headquarters at Mayavati in Uttarakhand, came out in 1896 at the behest of Swami Vivekananda, who named the magazine Prabuddha Bharata or Awakened India. For the past 122 years, the magazine has a history of uninterrupted publication and is the oldest English magazine in India.
The long list of contributors include Rabindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru, Balgangadhar Tilak, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Ramesh Chandra Mazumdar and Jadunath Sarkar, among others. Swami Vivekananda and Sister Nivedita had also contributed for the magazine. Modern thinkers like Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Galwin Beckerlege are regular contributors. It is a custom among the philosophers throughout the globe to get their research work published in the magazine, which maintains a very high standard.
The Advaita Ashrama authorities have decided to launch a special subscription drive to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the magazine a few years hence. There will be seminars and workshops in nine metros on the philosophy of Sri Ramakrishna, Ma Sarada and Swami Vivekananda.
It may be mentioned that the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) will organise a three-day seminar at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on February 19 to 21 on the gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. This is the first time such a venture has been undertaken.
Prabuddha Bharata has brought out a special issue, containing 332 pages on the gospel of Sri Ramakrishna and his universal message. Swami Narasimhananda, editor of Prabuddha Bharata, said that there has been a hankering to know the philosophy of Sri Ramakrishna and Swamiji these days.
"Three thousand sets of Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda have been sold in one year, while there has been an order to print 3 lakh copies of Swami Vivekananda's Call to the Nation." Prabuddha Bharata will bring out more special issues in future, as part of its 125th anniversary celebration.
The first editor of the magazine was BR Rajaram Iyer and it was headquartered in Chennai. He was the only non-monastic editor, but died prematurely. When Swamiji was in the West, the first edition of the magazine had come out and Swamiji was very critical about the cover. He wrote a long letter, pointing out the mistakes, which still remains a guideline to the designers of magazines.
He was succeeded by Swami Swarupananda, Swamiji's disciple and an exceptionally talented person. Ajayhari Bandyopadhyay, in his pre-monastic days, had brought out Dawn magazine, along with Satish Chandra Mukhopadhyay.
The present editorial board of the magazine has decided to publish a column on the past editors. Great monks like Swami Asokananda, Swami Madhavananda, Swami Vireshwarananda and Swami Gambhirananda had served as previous editors. Steps have been taken to publish articles to clear misconception about the terms like "Dharma", "Religion" etc.