The Sermon on the Mount by Swami Prabhavananda"This book is a jewel to be treasured by all who have a heart after God, and/or all who love the message of Jesus the Christ. The Swami wrote this book with such passion, love, sincerity, and honor for Jesus' life and message. This man of the yoga traditions of Hindu understood Jesus more than the vast majority of people who profess that very name. I do not typically use such blanket statements, but I feel confident to do so in this case."
Paperback: 127 pages
Publisher: Vedanta Pr (March 1991)
The Sermon on the Mount represents the essence of both Christ's teachings and the teachings of Vedanta. Christ said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." "The kingdom of God is within." "Be ye perfect...." Theologians are apt to explain away these teachings, but we believe Christ meant what he said. Read in this book how Vedanta goes to the heart of Christ's teachings.
From the Publisher
A book on the Sermon on the Mount should be no novelty in a Christian community. But when that book is written by a Hindu swami, a follower of Vedanta and The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, that certainly is unusual. More so since the swami extols the Sermon as though it were a scripture of his own.
Beautiful as the this interpretation is in itself, it is presented by Swami Prabhavananda not as a far-off, scarcely attainable ideal, which is the way most Occidentals read the Sermon, but as a practical program of daily living and conduct. So clear is the Swami's reading of this great scripture, that many a Christian by means of it will discover a simpler approach to the teachings of his Master, more direct than any he had found heretofore.
A PRICELESS JEWEL OF A BOOK..., August 26, 2001
By Larry L. Looney (Austin, Texas USA)
Over the course of my life, I have been presented on various occasions with texts described as being 'comparative' of different religions—usually one religion being stood up against Christianity, the author being a Christian, in an attempt to debunk the teachings of non-Christian faiths. I saw those books as little more than thinly-veiled attempts at propaganda, attempts to spread the Christian message (as the authors saw it) to the 'unsaved, misled masses'.
This book, which I originally stumbled across quite by accident, couldn't be further in theme and temperament from that lot—this is aboslutely the gentlest, most respectful, most loving book that I could imagine on the subject. It makes no attempts at conversion, but in a very scholarly—yet very readable—way, takes Christ's Sermon on the Mount (paying special attention to the Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer) and makes line-by-line comparisons to the ancient teachings of Hinduism.
Prabhavananda was a monk of the Ramakrishna Order—and one of Sri Ramakrishna's most fundamental teachings was the 'oneness of all religions', that, when sincerely believed and practiced, 'all paths lead to the same goal'. This incredible, tender book shows how deeply true his teachings were. Ramakrishna—a Hindu saint of the 19th century who worshiped God in the form of the Divine Mother, and who experienced ecstatic visions of Christ, Mohammed and Buddha as well—was one of the most unique, unpretentious, all-encompassing figures in any religion. He embraced them all. Would that we had, in this 'modern, civilized era', when people are still killing each other over the way they each worship God, a teacher so unifying, so true of heart, that could shine the light of wisdom on our folly.
Prabhavananda's book brings Ramakrishna's unifying word to modern readers in a wonderful way. I was touched to the core of my soul by this book—I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who honestly, in their heart, practices ANY faith. It was written to unify, not to divide—it could be treasured for that alone.
For anyone interested in further readings on Sri Ramakrishna, I can recommend THE GOSPEL OF SRI RAMAKRISHNA, or (if this 1000+ page volume is too 'heavy' for you) Lex Hixon's stunning book GREAT SWAN—MEETINGS WITH RAMAKRISHNA.
A Jewel of a Book, June 8, 2008
By Traveling Man (Spring, TX, USA)
This book is a jewel to be treasured by all who have a heart after God, and/or all who love the message of Jesus the Christ. The Swami wrote this book with such passion, love, sincerity, and honor for Jesus' life and message. This man of the yoga traditions of Hindu understood Jesus more than the vast majority of people who profess that very name. I do not typically use such blanket statements, but I feel confident to do so in this case.
In this little treasure of a book, Christ's message is brought to light in a way that will melt your heart, and alight a love for Christ within you, or will rekindle that fire if it was there and had been lost. This work also offers a beautiful introduction into the teachings of the Hindu faith, albeit an elementary introduction.
To help you appreciate this review, I will tell you somewhat of my background. I was brought up in an non-denominational pentecostal movement. Never once in my many years of hearing numerous preachers did I hear Christ taught so lovingly and peacefully. This book resonated with me much more than anything else I had ever heard of the Christ before.
I strongly recommend you add this little book to your library. You will want to read it time and again.
Supplemental Material for Christians, January 15, 2005
By Frank DeFelice (San Jose, CA)
It's hard for me to believe Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount as presented in Matthew. However, Swami Prabhavananda attempts to reach Christians in writing this book. Essentially he confirms Jesus was a God realized human being. Jesus spoke about the kingdom of heaven, which is within us. If we allow our Real self to emerge, and be led by it, we too can achieve Self realization. The Sermon on the Mount is beyond the grasp of most Christians, as is most of what Jesus tried to convey. This book is worth reading.
A Profound and Inspiring Commentary, January 6, 2005
By Oli (United Kingdom)
I found this book in a chapel library, and it had a note inside which read "in the belief that a little 'heresy' never did anyone too much harm, and with love and peace." If this book is heretical, it is because Swami Prabhavananda believes in the Sermon on the Mount far more deeply than most of the Christian world has ever done.
He takes each section of the Sermon to represent the particular aspects of the spiritual life and expounds them in an insightful and reverent way. He sometimes quotes from Christian authors like a Kempis and Boehme, but most often from Ramakrishna and his disciples.
This book should be considered a Christian classic. None has ever made Christ's immortal discourse easier to understand and live by.
What did Jesus preach?, September 22, 2004
By Butch (From the American Heartland.)
What did Jesus preach? It depended on his audience!
Jesus taught the masses according to their capacity. He spoke to them indirectly about spiritual truths through means of parable and metaphor. He was not an elitist. He was a realist. Even the Universe itself is but a parable God is telling us. I digress.
Jesus taught those closest to him through both indirect and direct means. "When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables..." Mark 4:10-11. NIV.
There is the exoteric "outside" type of Christianity of the masses and then there is the esoteric "inside" type of Christianity of the few. This is a tendency of all organized religions. But this is a book about the Sermon on the Mount. One type of Christianity is of the letter of the law, of doctrine, an indirect religion. The other a Christianity of the spirit of the law, of direct experience, a gnostic faith. Knowing through personal experience rather than believing through indoctrination. Believers are religious, knowers are spiritual. Jesus was an irreligious man. He was in direct communication with God and so was excommunicated and sentenced to death by the religious believers of his time. Jesus was a revolutionary, a freedom fighter that gave his life for his cause. The cause of spiritual freedom. The truth shall make you free.
Fundamentalist Christianity is doctrinal religion. Tribal religion. As I alluded to above every esoteric spiritual tradition has a fundamentalist crowd of outsiders claiming to be insiders. They know doctrine, but they do not know God. "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thy eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness..." Matthew 6:22-23. KJV
The single eye is the third eye of spiritual intuition that sees the unity of reality. That sees that God is both immanent and transcendent. The evil eye is the eye of duality that separates man from God. Eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is seeing only with our physical eyes. Seeing only appearances, duality. Eating from the Tree of Life is seeing with all of our eyes, physical and spiritual. Seeing that the Kingdom of God is within the holy of holies, the heart within oneself as well as within others. The breath takes one through the gateless gate, the barrier without form, to the garden that leads to the great beyond. Sit quietly and follow your breath. They have eyes but they cannot see for they fail to see that it is not the eyes that see essence. We are awareness.
Read "The Sermon on the Mount according to Vedanta." It may just open your eyes to a whole new level of understanding. Remember, it does not matter what we believe if we do not have love in our hearts.
"The Love-Religion has no code or doctrine. Only God". Rumi
Timeless sublime truth, January 16, 2002
By Orva Schrock "email@example.com" (goshen, in United States)
i first read this book some 20 yrs ago and found it easy to understand and a clever uniting of vedantic teachings and the core teachings of christianity. over the years i've read it again several times. its simplicity is deceptive. the author is/was obviously a spiritual genius and modern saint. to pack so much universal truth into such a small book is, well, a miracle. if you are a sincere seeker of God, you will love this book. as you begin to live this book, its truths will reveal themselves fresh and new and undeniably true within you. i've read hundreds of "spiritual" books in my life and i would rate this one in the top ten without hesitation. don't miss this divine message; it speaks to the heart and soul in a truly wondrous way!
Answers all the "Why"s faced by a Christian, November 30, 1998
By Gokulmuthu Narayanaswamy "gomu" (India)
Many Christians feel that Christianity is very instructive, but stops there. It tells you what to do and what not to do, but does not give satisfactory answers to "Why"s. Here is a book which explains every word of the "Sermon on the Mount" from basic principles of human existence and purpose. There is a strong fabric of logic based on common undeniable facts of life. Anyone who denounces Christianity as dogmatic should read this book. He is sure to change his views. This book also provides lot of hints on religious life, which can be followed by aspirants of all religions. This is the best commentary on the words of Christ which I have come across.
A book which must be read by anyone who wants to understand and follow the way of Christ.
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