The Life of Vivekananda and the Universal Gospel is a biography of Swami Vivekananda written by the French Nobel Laureate Monsieur Romain Rolland. The book was written in the 1920s. The author was assisted, through correspondence, by Swami Ashokananda, who was at that time the editor of the English journal Prabuddha Bharata.
However, in the life of Swami Vivekananda written by M. Rolland, it is evident that the author does not believe that India has had any role in shaping global thought and culture, and nor does he believe that the philosophy of the Upanishads has influenced Western thought in any way.
As a rebuttal to M. Rolland’s views on the subject, Swami Ashokananda wrote an article, “The Influence of Indian Thought on the Thought of the West”, which was published serially in 1931 in the April, May, and June issues of Prabuddha Bharata. This article was later brought out in book form by Advaita Ashrama, but has been out of print for a long time. Since the article is of great relevance even today, it is being reprinted under the same title.
In one of his lectures delivered in India, Swami Vivekananda says: “The debt which the world owes to our motherland is immense… Like the gentle dew that falls unseen and unheard, and yet brings into blossom the fairest of roses, has been the contribution of India to the thought of the world. Silent, unperceived, yet omnipotent in its effect, it has revolutionized the thought of the world, yet nobody knows when it did so.” By a perusal of this booklet, we believe readers of today will be convinced of the undeniable Influence of Indian Thought on the Thought of the West.