PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
The present volume is an improvement, quite a large improvement, upon The Parables of Sri Ramakrishna, which was first published in August, 1943. It will be noticed that the name of the book has been changed a little. This change has been necessitated because of the incorporation of new matter in the book. Now, apart from an exhaustive collection of the parables of the Master, we have here a bumper harvest of his tales as well.
The addition of the tales has been thought needful because the distinction between a talk and a parable – as they are understood from the standpoint of a profound spiritual preceptor and an eager aspirant – is often insignificant. With them a tale becomes a parable as easily as a tadpole a frog. Secondly, the element of didacticism which makes the primary difference between a tale and a parable is equally pronounced in both the tales and parables of the Master. Again though generally the tales of the Master are based on facts of his own or others’ experience in life, yet the strange eye with which they are seen and the mystic way they are narrated give them all a more or less parabolic stamp.
For the convenience of the readers, the tales and the parables have been brought under different groupings according to the spirit they strongly evince. But these groupings should not be taken as rigid and absolute, for like the facets of a gem, there are several aspects to a tale or parable of the Master.
To make the collection exhaustive we have freely used different books of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda literature of which The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna has supplied the main bulk. We have taken that version of a tale or a parable – for, several of them have more than one version (all of them authentic, being spoken by the Master in different contexts) – which is more pleasant and richer with story element.
We have also added in this edition an Introduction, which gives a short account of the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna.
We believe that this enlarged edition will be of greater use and benefit to all readers.