"As the different streams, having their sources in different places, all mingle their water in the sea, so O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee."
The late Swami Vidyatmananda completed the writing of this book in January 1993 (just before the death of Swami Ritajananda, who was the head of the ashrama and whom he appreciated so much). He himself passed away on March 22, 2000 at the age of 86.
Besides entrusting the manuscript to someone at the Ramakrishna Order, the Swami sent a copy (in the form of a set of diskettes) to his friend Arlen Wolpert. As the manuscript remained unpublished Wolpert finally made the original text available on the website http://theworld.com/~elayj in 2003. The present text is taken from that website. I inserted photos, added italics where appropriate, and redesigned the presentation and html-coding. In a few instances I added missing dates where the manuscript has only "??", or, when the date couldn't be found, I deleted these question marks. Asterisks (in "A Talk") with no follow-up were also deleted. I corrected a considerable amount of typing errors — some may have escaped my notice — and changed the spelling to American usage.
Picture credits: Ch.6: drawing by Sw. Tadatmananda; Ch.7: the swami kept this naïve painting by an unknown devotee in his room; Ch.9: probably photographed by the swami himself; Ch.12: photographed by Barbara Seiller; Epilogue: Saas Fee advertisement 1925; the other pictures are by unknown devotees.
F.Z., Sept. 2008