Edited by Swami Chetanananda, 328 pages, Paperback.
The river does not drink its own water, nor does the tree eat its own fruit. They live for others. Similarly, from time to time, great souls are born whose lives are lived for the good of others. They bring peace and happiness to mankind. Having themselves crossed the dreadful ocean of maya (relative existence), they help others to cross without any selfish motive. It does not matter when and where a great soul is born or how long he lives; his life and message are a source of inspiration to all people in all ages.
In the later part of the nineteenth century, Swami Vivekananda brought the eternal message of Vedanta to the Western world. His teacher, Sri Ramakrishna, had commissioned him to convey to mankind the sublime teachings of Vedanta—the oneness of Truth, the divinity of man, and the harmony of religions. But even from his early youth the Swami had had an intuitive knowledge of his destiny, and he later declared, like a prophet at the dawn of his mission, "I have a message to the West as Buddha had a message to the East."