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Morgan Library & Museum to Receive J D Salinger Letters

The Morgan Library & Museum to Receive J. D. Salinger Letters and Papers on April 12, 2013

A gift of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center to honor the 150th Birthday of Swami Vivekananda

J. D. Salinger was deeply influenced by Vedanta, the religious and philosophical teachings of India that Swami Vivekananda* brought to the West in 1893. To preserve the legacy of J. D. Salingerʼs association with the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center and the significance of Vedanta in his life, and to commemorate the 150th birthday of Swami Vivekananda, an event will take place at New York’s Morgan Library & Museum on Friday, April 12, 2013 at 7:30 PM. The Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York will present a gift to The Morgan of its important collection of more than twenty Salinger letters (and related papers) written by Salinger to Swami Nikhilananda, to his successor Swami Adiswarananda, and to the Center.

Salingerʼs discovery of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (published by the Center), proved to be a life-altering experience for him. He attempted to have his own publisher bring out an edition of what he regarded as “the greatest religious book of the century.” For nearly five decades, until his passing, Salinger had an enduring relationship with the Center and its founder, Swami Nikhilananda. He accepted the Swami as a spiritual teacher, attended services and classes at the Center, located at 17 East 94th Street in Manhattan, and also at the Vivekananda Cottage retreat in Thousand Island Park, New York.

The gift will be presented to The Morgan’s Director, William Griswold, by Swami Yuktatmananda, current Spiritual Leader of the Center. In making his presentation the Swami will quote from a Salinger letter dated January 18, 1972, addressed to his teacher Swami Nikhilananda, in which Salinger wrote: “I have forgotten many worthy and important things in my life, but I have never forgotten the way you used to read from, and interpret, the Upanishads, up at Thousand Island Park…..With great affection and respect, always, Sincerely, J. D. Salinger.”

The free public event will include a lecture by Kenneth Slawenski, author of J.D. Salinger: A Life, who will speak about this spiritual side of Salinger’s life (book signing will follow). To reserve a free ticket call the Morgan at 212.685.0008, ext. 560 or send request by e-mail to [email protected] .

* In 1893 Swami Vivekananda became India’s first spiritual and cultural ambassador to the West when he represented Hinduism at the first Parliament of the World’s Religions held in connection with the Chicago World’s Fair. The historic Parliament provided the platform for Swami Vivekananda to proclaim his message of the spiritual unity of humankind and harmony of religions. In 1976, on the occasion of the American Bicentennial, the Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery exhibition, Abroad in America, honored Swami Vivekananda as one of the visitors to the new nation from abroad who left an indelible mark on America.

Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York
17 East 94th Street, New York, NY 10128
Tel: (212) 534-9445
Fax: (212) 828-1618
Email: [email protected]