Leon Landsberg’s photo (left) is the first known to be published in connection with the life of Swami Vivekananda.
It appeared in 1920, eighteen years after the death of Swami Vivekananda.
Landsberg was the second of the two American Swamis initiated at Thousand Island Park in the summer of 1895 by Swami Vivekananda. Landsberg, also known as Swami Kripananda, was an art critic for a leading newspaper in Brooklyn
Landsberg's services to the Swami were significant. However his mercurial nature prompted him to disturb himself and others and ultimately he betrayed Vivekananda.
It was Landsberg who lived with the Swami in New York in his rooms in 1895 and again in 1896.
Although well educated, he had little diplomatic skill.
Landsberg is frequently mentioned in histories of the Swami as having deliberately betrayed the Swami. Much of the evidence derives from a rather unfortunate newspaper story that appears to ridicule Landsberg as much as the Swami. The gravamen seems to be that Landsberg's byline is on a portion of the article that is particularly insulting- but there is some doubt that the editor of the newspaper took some liberties with Landsberg and inserted some of the more invidious prose.
Overall Landsberg handled the press as poorly as he handled people in general.
- www.vivekananda.net edited by Frank Parlato Jr.