Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda - Vol-9
THE RELIGIOUS LEGENDS OF INDIA*
(New Discoveries, Vol. 5, p. 269.)
[Los Angeles Times, January 17, 1900]
Clad in his maroon robe, Swami Vivekananda addressed a small audience composed mostly of women, at the Shakespeare Club this evening [January 16]. (Of which no verbatim transcript is available.) He gave an account of the religious legends of Brahmanism, which are embodied in the daily lives of the Hindus, of the origin of Shiva and his surrender to the pure spirit of his wife, today the mother of all India, whose worship is carried to such an extent that no female animal can be killed. Vivekananda quoted freely from the Sanskrit, translating as he went along. . . .
THE SCIENCE OF YOGA
(New Discoveries, Vol. 5, p. 276.)
[Los Angeles Herald, January 26, 1900]
Swami Vivekananda, the Oriental seer, lectured at the Shakespeare club this morning [Thursday, January 25] on "The Science of Yoga". (Of which no verbatim transcript is available.) He said that there is no difference in kind between anything in nature, but that all differences are of degree merely. The mind is the supreme power, the motor of the world.
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA AT THE LOS ANGELES HOME
(New Discoveries, Vol. 5, pp. 218-20.)
[Unity, February (?) 1900]
. . . . . .
. . . We had eight lectures at the Home by the Swami (This newspaper report is an overview of eight class lectures delivered at the Home of Truth in December 1899 and January 1900, of which there is only one verbatim transcript, "Hints on Practical Spirituality", published in Complete Works, II: 24-37.) and all were intensely interesting, though a few malcontents complained because he did not give some short cuts into the Kingdom [of Heaven] and show an easy way to the attainment of mental powers; instead he would say,
Go home and promise yourself that you will not worry for a whole month even though the maid breaks all your best china.
There is combined in the Swami Vivekananda the learning of a university president, the dignity of an archbishop, with the grace and winsomeness of a free natural child. Getting on the platform without a moment's preparation he would soon be in the midst of his subject, sometimes becoming almost tragic as his mind would wander from deep metaphysics to the prevailing condition in Christian countries today who go and seek to reform Filipinos with the swords in one hand and the Bible in the other, or in South Africa allow children of the same father to cut each other to pieces. To contrast this condition of things he described what took place during the last famine in India where men would die of starvation beside their cattle rather than stretch forth a hand to kill. (Will Unity readers remember the fifty million Hindoos who are starving today and send them a blessing?)
Instead of trying to give much of what we heard from the Swami direct, I will append a few of the sayings of his master, Ramakrishna, that will better indicate the nature of his teaching. His chief aim seems to be to encourage people in living simple, quiet wholesome lives - that the life shall be the religion, not something separate and apart.
To the true mother he gives the highest place, counting her as more to be esteemed than those who simply run around teaching. "Anyone can talk," he said,
but if I had to look after a baby, I could not endure existence for more than three days.
Frequently he would speak of the "mother" as we speak of the "father," and would say "the mother will take care of us," or "the mother will look after things."
We had a lecture on Christmas day from the Swami entitled, "Christ's Mission to the World," and a better one on this subject I never heard. No Christian minister could have presented Jesus as a character worthy (of) the greatest reverence more eloquently or more powerfully than did this learned Hindoo, who told us that in this country on account of his dark skin he has been refused admission to hotels, and even barbers have sometimes objected to shave him. Is it any wonder that our "heathen" brethren never fail to make mention of this fact that even "our" Master was an Oriental?
HINDOO MONK LECTURES
(New Discoveries, Vol. 5, pp. 315-16.)
[San Francisco Chronicle, February 24, 1900]
Swami Vivekananda's Topic Is "The Idea of Universal Religion"
At Golden Gate Hall last evening Swami Vivekananda, a Hindoo monk, entertained an audience for an hour and a half with his lecture on "The Idea of Universal Religion." (Of which no verbatim transcript is available.) . . .
Tracing religion from the commencement of history he spoke of the existence of creeds. Sects were known from the earliest time, he said. As time rolled on there began various contests for a supremacy between the various sects. History, he declared, was a mere repetition of slaughter under the guise of religion. Superstition, he thought, was fast becoming a thing of the past through the expansion of the minds of men. They had more liberality of thought now. They were deeper students of philosophy and through the principles of true philosophy only could religion in its deepest form be found. Until men could accord to others the right of free belief on all subjects, and be willing to believe truth under whatever form it might appear, no universal religion would be manifest to the world, he declared. It would never be promulgated by any society, but would grow instinctively as the intellect of man developed.
VEDANTISM, AND WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT IS NOT
(New Discoveries, Vol. 5, pp. 329-31.)
Lecture of Swami Vivekananda on the Religion of the Hindoos
[Oakland Tribune, February 26, 1900]
It is the Only Creed, He Says, that Can Be Taught Without Lies and Without Compromise
The claims of the Brahmin religion, or Vedantism, on the modern world were presented to-night at the Congress of Religions in the First Unitarian Church by Swami Vivekananda, (The lecture was entitled "The Claims of Vedanta on the Modern World", of which there is no verbatim transcript available. Cf. Complete Works, VIII: 231-34 for a somewhat different report, which does not include most of the Swami's direct quotes appearing in the Oakland Tribune.) a remarkably eloquent expounder of that faith. . . .
To his auditors to-night he explained Vedantism as the religion of the Vedas, or ancient Hindoo books, which, he asserted, is "the mother of religion."
"It may seem ridiculous how a book can be without beginning or end," he said,
but by the Vedas no books are meant. They signify the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times. The Hindoo believes he is a spirit. Him the sword cannot pierce, him the fire cannot burn, him the water cannot melt, him the air cannot dry. He believes every soul is a circle whose circumference is nowhere, but whose center is located in a body. Death means the change of this center from body to body. We are the children of God. Matter is our servant.
Vedantism is a sort of rebellion against the mockery of the past. Some men are so practical that if they know that by chopping off their heads they could get salvation, there are many who would do so. That is all outward; you must turn your eyes inward to learn what is in your soul. Soul is spirit omnipresent. Where does the soul go after death? Where could the earth fall to? Where can the soul go? Where is it not already? The great cornerstone of Vedantism is the recognition of Self. Man, have faith in yourself. The soul is the same in every one. It is all purity and perfection and the more pure and perfect we [you] are the more purity and perfection you will see.
A man or preaching jack who cries, "Oh Lord, I'm only a crawling worm!" should be still and crawl into his hole. His cries only add more misery to the world. I was amused to read in one of your papers, "How would Christ edit a paper!" How foolish. How would Christ cook a meal? Yet you are the advanced people of the West. If Christ came here, you would shut up shop and go into the street with him to help the poor and downtrodden. Vedantism is the only religion that can be taught without lies, without stretching the texts, without compromise.
(New Discoveries, Vol. 6, pp. 405-6.)
[The Alameda Encinal, April 5, 1900]
Hindu Philosopher Gives His Ideas
Last evening the Swami Vivekananda gave the first of a series of three public lectures at Tucker Hall on "The Development of Religious Ideas." (Of which no verbatim transcript is available.)
The speaker dwelt briefly on the similarity of ideas in the minds of orthodox Christians, Mohammedans and Hindus with regard to the origin of their religions. Each believed his particular prophet or teacher to have been inspired in some mysterious way by a God or Gods, who as it were, regulated or influenced the affairs of this world from a distance. The modern scientific mind, on the contrary, instead of seeking for outside or supernatural causes for phenomena endeavored to find cause in the thing or condition itself.
While at first glance this method of investigation might seem to take from religion some of its vital elements, yet in reality it resulted in man finding that the spiritual attributes of deity and the states of mind producing heaven and hell were all within himself, and although the result of this rational modern inquiry might appear to contradict much that had been handed down in the old religious writings such as Bible, Koran and Vedas, yet the contradiction was more apparent than real, for the prophets and teachers of old had true perceptions, but were mistaken only in attributing their experiences to outside agencies, instead of realizing them to be the development and expression of elements in their own souls before unknown and unrecognized.
The lecturer traced some of the common beliefs regarding location of heavens and hells, of various burial rites and customs, and he spoke of the impressions made on the primitive mind that resulted in a personification of the active natural forces in the phenomena with which we are surrounded. . . .
European Newspaper Reports
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA ON LOVE
(New Discoveries, Vol. 3, pp. 237-40.)
[Maidenhead Adviser, October 23, 1895]
On Thursday the Swami Vivekananda delivered a lecture at the Town Hall, Maidenhead, taking as his subject "The Eastern Doctrine of Love." Owing to other attractions in the town the attendance was not large. Many of the public also associated the lecturer with the Theosophical Society, with which, however, he has, we are informed, nothing whatever to do, nor with any other society, neither does he propose forming any society himself. He believes in expounding his views to whoever will listen to them and leaving those individuals to advocate them as a whole, or with whatever modifications they may deem fitting, or to reject them altogether, believing that out of the strife of all opinions truth at length prevails.
The chair was taken at 8 p.m. by Mr. E. Gardner, J.P., C.C., and he very briefly introduced the lecturer, who was clad in his native costume. The Swami then proceeded to express his view upon devotion to deity, or, as more commonly expressed in the East - love (Bhakti), to the following effect: - Religion may be divided into two forms, the first almost entirely superstitious and the second merely metaphysical, but if either of these is to have any force it must be accompanied by love. Work alone without this element did not satisfy. The land might be covered with hospitals, penetrated by good roads; there might be great social institutions well conducted, and good sanitation, but these were all external physical processes and by themselves brought man no nearer to Divinity. Both the realist and the idealist were necessary and complementary one of the other. The idealist brought the bold aspiration down to earth, the realist caused it to take form through work. Love cannot be defined in positive terms, only negatively. Its nature is of the form of renunciation. In its more general sense it might be divided threefold: (1) That love which is for one's own pleasure, irrespective of pleasure or pain to others - the purely selfish, the lowest. (2) That love which exchanges - "I will love you if you love me. We will make each other mutually happy" - the partially selfish, the middle path trodden by the great majority of mankind. (3) That love which gives all and asks for nothing, without premeditation and which never regrets, unconquerable by any evil thing done to him from whom it emanates. It is the highest, the divine. Only with this last kind are we concerned here. The first is the path of the sensualist and the animal, the second the path of struggling humanity on its way to better things, the third the real path of love, trodden by those who renounce the world and set out upon that road which leads to Eternal Peace. In that love there is no fear. Love kills fear. A lion might stand over a babe and threaten its life; the mother knows no fear, she does not fly, but she opposes. At that moment love destroys terror; at other times the same woman would run from a small dog. A fierce Mahomedan [sic] warrior went to a garden to pray. In the same garden a girl had appointed to meet her lover. The warrior lay prostrate on his face according to the prescribed form of his religion. At that moment the girl espied her lover, and with joy rushing to meet him, trod upon the prostrate form. He jumped up and laying hand upon his sword would have slain the girl. "How dare you?" cried he, "vile wench, disturb my worship, my devotion to God, with your base feet." "Worship! devotion!" cried the girl, "you do not know what they are. You had no devotion, lying there, no spirit of worship. If I, a timid girl, could so forget the presence of an object of dread like you, in my worship and devotion to my earthly lover as to tread upon you and not even know it, how much more should you, if your heart had been absorbed in love and devotion to God, have been ignorant that I touched you?" The warrior was humbled and appeased and went away. Our highest ideal of love is the image which we form for ourselves of deity. A barbarous people have a tyrannical and cruel god. A wise and noble people see God in ever and ever widening potencies. God is always God, but the views which men and nations may take of Him vary. No higher view is known than that of love. The man who bears in his heart an unrelaxing love to every creature, whether he recognise that that creature is a manifestation of God, in which he is actually present, or whether he look upon it merely as fashioned by Deity, that man is on the path to Deity, on the great path of devotion and renunciation. He cannot injure the creature of God, however repulsive to his narrower view of what should or should not be. He gives in love, not in pride; in loving Deity he loves its manifestations, works with them and abides by them.
The lecture was impressively delivered, and at the close a vote of thanks was accorded the Chairman (on the proposition of Mr. E. T. Sturdy, of Caversham).
The proceedings occupied only a little over half an hour.
AN INDIAN ASCETIC
(New Discoveries, Vol. 3, pp. 246-47.)
[Standard, October 23, 1895]
Since the days of Ramahoun [Ram Mohan] Roy, says the Standard, with the single exception of Keshub Chunder [Keshab Chandra] Sen, there has not appeared on an English platform a more interesting Indian figure than the Brahman who lectured in Princes' [Prince's] Hall last night. . . .
The lecture was a most fearless and eloquent exposition of the pantheistic philosophy of the Vedanta school, and the Swami seems to have incorporated into his system a good deal also of the moral element of the Yoga school, as the closing passage of his lecture presented in a modified form not the advocacy of mortification, which is the leading feature of the latter school, but the renunciation of all so-called material comforts and blessings, as the only means of entering into perfect union with the supreme and absolute Self. The opening passages of the lecture were a review of the rise of the grosser form of Materialism in the beginning of the present century, and the later development of the various forms of metaphysical thought, which for a time swept materialism away. From this he passed on to discuss the origin and nature of knowledge. In some respects his views on this point were almost a statement of pure Fichteism, but they were expressed in language, and they embodied illustrations, and made admissions which no German transcendentalist would have used. He admitted there was a gross material world outside, but he confessed he did not know what matter was. He asserted that mind was a finer matter, and that behind was the soul of man, which was immovable, fixed, before which outward objects passed, as it were, in a procession, which was without beginning or end - in other words, which was eternal, and finally which was God. He worked out this pantheistic conception of the personal identity of man and God with great comprehensiveness and an ample wealth of illustration, and in passage after passage of great beauty, solemnity, and earnestness. "There is only one Soul in the Universe", he said:
There is no "you" or "me"; all variety is merged into the absolute unity, the one infinite existence - God.
From this, of course, followed the immortality of the soul, and something like the transmigration of souls towards higher manifestations of perfection. As already stated, his peroration of twenty minutes was a statement of the doctrine of renunciation. In the course of it he made some remorselessly disparaging criticism on the work that factories, engines and other inventions, and books were doing for man, compared with half a dozen words spoken by Buddha or Jesus. The lecture was evidently quite extemporaneous, and was delivered in a pleasing voice, free from any kind of hesitation.
NATIVE INDIAN LECTURER AT PRINCES' HALL
(New Discoveries, Vol. 3, p. 248.)
[London Morning Post, October 23, 1895]
- Last night at Princes' [Prince's] Hall, Piccadilly, Swami Vivekananda, an Indian Yogi, who is at present on a visit to this country, delivered what was described as an "oration" on the subject of "Self Knowledge." (Of which no verbatim transcript is available. Cf. the preceding newspaper report 'An Indian Ascetic', pp 515-16, for another report of the same lecture, delivered October 22, 1895.) A Yogi, it was explained, is one who formally renounces the world and gives himself up to study and devotion. Swami Vivekananda originally left his native land for the purpose of giving his interpretation of the Vedanta philosophy at the Parliament of Religions which was held two years ago at Chicago, and since that time he has been engaged in delivering lectures on the same subject in America. In the course of his address last night he declared that there were indications in these closing days of the 19th century that the pendulum of scientific thought was swinging back, for men all over the world were rummaging in the pages of ancient records, and ancient religious forms were again coming to the fore. To many this seemed to be a case of degeneration, while others regarded it as one of those outbursts of superstition which periodically visited society, but to the scientific student there was in the present state of things a prognostication of grand future benefit. The lecturer then proceeded at considerable length to describe the peculiar system of philosophy which he teaches, and traced the three different stages of the religion which has grown out of it. He spoke with a good deal of fluency, and his remarks were listened to with attention by the somewhat small audience.
THE CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH
(New Discoveries, Vol. 3, pp. 267-69.)
[Christian Commonwealth, November 14, 1895]
South Place Chapel Lecture
"The Swami Vivekananda" enlightened the congregation at South-place Chapel last Sunday morning on "The Basis of Vedanta Morality." (A lecture delivered in London, England, on November 10, 1895, of which there is no verbatim transcript available.) . . .
The Swami explained that in the system of morality which he was expounding actions were not inspired by any hope of reward, here or hereafter, nor by any fear of punishment in this world or in the beyond: "We must work simply from the impetus within, work for work's sake, duty for duty's sake." This idea of morality is claimed to be superior to the religion of Jesus, and so has beguiled some so-called Christians into Buddhism or other Eastern philosophies. But the essence of true Christianity is that, if your actions are inspired by the heavenly kingdom within you, Paradise will be the result, whereas, if you act in harmony with the devil's kingdom without you will land in Perdition. The genuine Christian does not, as the Swami seemed to suggest, act for the purpose of evading punishments, but at the same time he sees the ultimate consequences of all actions. . . .
AN UNIVERSAL RELIGION
(New Discoveries, Vol. 3, pp. 276-77.)
[The Queen, The Lady's Newspaper, November 23, 1895]
Mrs. Haweis's first autumn At home took place last Saturday at Queen's House, when the Indian Yogi, or ascetic, Swami Vive Kananda (Buddhist [sic] delegate at the Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893) discussed in a liberal spirit, and not without humour, the chances and the charms of an universal religion. He showed that the underlying principles of all the great religions of the world resembled one another, and amongst the great prophets he placed the Christian Redeemer very high, implying, however, that His teaching was little borne out sometimes by His professed followers. There was no radical impossibility of reconciliation between sects, now biting and devouring each other from the best motives, if charity and sympathy were carried into the kiosque, the temple, and the church. Canon Basil Wilberforce and the Rev. H. R. Haweis both made interesting speeches in reply to the Swami. . . . The guests numbered 150.
(New Discoveries, Vol. 4, p. 157.)
[Daily Chronicle, May 14, 1896]
The Sesame Club. - At a meeting of the Sesame Club on Tuesday night [May 12], the chairman, Mr. Ashton Jonson, said he regretted to announce that Mrs. Norman was too unwell to be present to open, as announced, a debate on "Should we return to the land." An address was accordingly given by Swami Vivekananda on the subject of education, (There is no verbatim transcript available. Cf. the Indian newspaper report "On Education", p. 535.) in which he urged that no one could obtain intellectual greatness until he was physically pure. Morality gave strength; the immoral were always weak, and could never raise themselves intellectually, much less spiritually. Directly [as] immorality began to enter the national life its foundations commenced to rot. As the life blood of every nation was to be found in the schools, where boys and girls were receiving their education, it was absolutely essential that the young students should be pure, and this purity must be taught them.
SPIRITUALISM AND THE VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY
(New Discoveries, Vol. 4, pp. 229-30.)
[Light, July 4, 1896]
When first we heard that the Swami Vivekananda was coming to London to expound the Vedanta Philosophy, we were hopeful that his teaching would not only confirm the faith of Spiritualists, but might also add to their number. We hoped this, because the very essence of the Hindu Philosophy is that man is a spirit, and has a body, and not that man is a body, and may have a spirit also; which is as far as many a Western mind can reach. . . .
t has been the glorious privilege of our modern Spiritualism to prove by actual demonstration the existence of spirit apart from flesh, and it would, therefore, seem reasonable to look for co-operation on the part of the exponents of the Vedanta Philosophy and the supporters of Spiritualism. We are not quite certain, however, that this desirable consummation can be attained, for observations made very recently by the Swami are calculated only to divide the two sects. The Vedanta Philosophy sets before the student an ideal aim! Nothing less, in fact, than the unfolding of the God within him, and nothing could well be more impressive and inspiring than the presentation of this idea by a speaker of the force and eloquence of the Swami. We could only respect and admire, until modern Spiritualism was alluded to, and that in a manner which left upon us the impression that the Swami condemned without reservation all sitting for phenomena. He admitted having sat for observation with professional mediums, and held that one and all had practised fraud. "Spirit voices," according to the Swami, are never heard to clash! As the "sepulchral dies away the small child's voice rises up," intimating thus that ventriloquism was invariably responsible for the sounds. "Spirit messages," he remarked, were quite worthless, for they never rose above the level of "I am well and happy," or "Give John a piece of cake."
This assertion could, of course, only be made in ignorance of the contents of "Spirit Teachings," a book which, we think, can well stand comparison even with the exalted teaching of the Swami Vivekananda. The process of making up sham materialisations and working the figure on the end of a wire was also described in detail.
We were present again the following evening, when a paper of questions bearing upon the adverse criticism of the Swami was read out to the meeting. Some thirty minutes were then passed in qualifying and explaining his remarks of the night before, and, to our deep satisfaction, the Swami not only confessed his belief in the possibility of spirits communicating with mortals, but even expressed his conviction that at times spirits of a high grade visited earth in order to assist mankind. It is, however, we conceive, no part of the Vedanta Philosophy to recommend the seeking of such intercourse, on account of its possible "dangers." It is commonly held that the undeveloped spirit can most easily communicate with man, consequently the Swami uttered his word of warning and withheld any word of encouragement. . . .
AN OCTOBER CLASS REVIEW
(New Discoveries, Vol. 4, pp. 370-71.)
[Light, October 28, 1896]
On the sixth floor of one of the dismal but convenient Victoria-street houses, we lately listened to a discourse by Swami Vivekananda - one of a long series on the Hindoo Religion and Philosophy . . . . For an hour and a half he spoke, without a note. It is true that the discourse was rather a flow of remarks than a connected study, but it was all keenly interesting.
The subject, in the main, was the Vedas, but we got excursions upon Evolution, Modern Science, Idealism and Realism, the Supremacy of Spirit, &c. On the whole, we gathered that the speaker was a preacher of the universal religion of spiritual ascendency and spiritual harmony. Certain passages from the Vedas - beautifully translated and read, by the way - were charming in their bearing upon the humanness and sharp reality of a life beyond the veil. One longed for more of this.
We were much impressed with the admission that in the Vedas there were many contradictions, and that devout Hindoos never thought of denying them nor reconciling them. Everyone was free to take what he liked. At different stages and on different planes, all were true. Hence the Hindoos never excommunicated and never persecuted. The contradictions in the Vedas are like the contradictions in life - they are very real, but they are all true. This seems impossible, but there is sound sense in it. At all events, as regards excommunication and persecution, we only wish the Christians could make the Hindoo's claim.
Indian Newspaper Reports
A BENGALI SADHU
[Madura Mail, January 28, 1893]
A BENGALI SADHU ON HINDU RELIGION AND SOCIOLOGY
A young Bengalee Sanyashi [Sannyâsin] of about thirty-two years of age, and a Master of Arts of the Calcutta University was last week interviewed at the Triplicane Literary Society by about a hundred educated Indians among whom was Dewan Bahadur Raghunatha Rao. A summary of what was stated by the Sadhu is published by the Indian Social Reformer, from which we make the following extracts:
The Vedic Religion
The perfect religion is the Vedic religion. The Vedas have two parts, mandatory and optional. The mandatory injunctions are eternally binding on us. They constitute the Hindu religion. The optional ones are not so. These have been changing and been changed by the Rishis to suit the times. The Brahmins at one time ate beef and married Sudras. [A] calf was killed to please a guest. Sudras cooked for Brahmins. The food cooked by a male Brahmin was regarded as polluted food. But we have changed our habits to suit the present yug[a]. Although our caste rules have so far changed from the time of Manu, still if he should come to us now, he would still call us Hindus. Caste is a social organization and not a religious one. It was the outcome of the natural evolution of our society. It was found necessary and convenient at one time. It has served its purpose. But for it, we would long ago have become Mahomedans [sic]. It is useless now. It may be dispensed with. Hindu religion no longer requires the prop of the caste system. A Brahmin may interdine with anybody, even a Pariah. He won't thereby lose his spirituality. A degree of spirituality that is destroyed by the touch of a Pariah, is a very poor quantity. It is almost at the zero point. Spirituality of a Brahmin must overflow, blaze and burn [so] as to warm into spiritual life not one Pariah but thousands of Pariahs who may touch him. The old Rishis observed no distinctions or restrictions as regards food. A man who feels that his own spirituality is so flimsy that the sight of a low caste man annihilates it need not approach a Pariah and must keep his precious little to himself.
The Hindu Ideal of Life
The Hindu Ideal of life is "Nivarti" [Nivritti]. (Nivritti and Parvritti are key concepts in Hindu philosophy, and Swami Vivekananda has frequently interpreted and elaborated on them (e.g., see Karma-Yoga, Ch. VI) in their traditional connotations. But the interpretation of the terms here ascribed to him by the Indian Social Reformer's reporter is not in accord with what the Swami has said elsewhere.) Nivarti means subjugation and conquest of evil passions, of Tamasa nature of lust, revenge and avarice. It does not mean conquest of all desire. It means only the annihilation of gross desires. Every man is bound to love and sympathize with his fellow-creatures. [A] Sanyasi is one who has vanquished all his selfish passions and vowed to devote his life for the good of others. He loves all. "Pravirti" [Pravritti] means love of God and all his creatures. Sanyasis ought to be fed. They are not like the Christian bishops and Archbishops who must be paid to do their work with thousands of pounds per annum; all whose earnings are spent upon their own luxury - their wife and children. [The] Sanyasi wants only a morsel of food, and then he places all his knowledge and services at the disposal of the public. He is a wandering missionary. Individuals and society have to work themselves up from "brute through man, into divine". Even the lowest of the Hindus, the Pariah, has less of the brute in him than a Briton in a similar social status. This is the result of an old and excellent religious civilization. This evolution to a higher spiritual state is possible only through discipline and education.
The Shradh [Shrâddha] Ceremony
Every institution, caste, early marriage etc., that stands in the way of education, ought at once to be knocked on the head. Even "Shradh" may be given up, if the performance of it involves waste of time which might be better used for self-education. But "Shradh" should not be given up. The meaning of the Mantras is very edifying. The Mantras depict the suffering and care undergone by our parents on our behalf. The performance of it is an honour paid to the memory of the sum total of the spirit of our forefathers, whose virtues we inherit. Shradh has nothing to do with one's salvation. Yet no Hindu who loves his religion, his country and his past great men should give up Shradh. The outward formalities and the feeding of the Brahmins are not essential. We have no Brahmins in these days worthy of being fed on Shradh days. The Brahmins fed ought not to be professional eaters, but Brahmins who feed disciples gratis, and teach them true Vedic doctrines. In these days, Shradh may be performed mentally.
Education of Women
The jealous guardianship of our women shows that we Hindus have declined in our national virtues, that we reverted to the "brutal state". Every man must so discipline his mind as to bring himself to regard all women as his sisters or mothers. Women must have freedom to read, to receive as good an education as men. Individual development is impossible with ignorance and slavery.
Emancipation of the Hindus
Through the slavery of a thousand years, Hindus have at present degenerated. They have forgotten their own self-respect. Every English boy is taught to feel his importance, he thinks that he is a member of a great race, the conquerors of the Earth. The Hindu feels from his boyhood just the reverse that he is born to slave. We can't become a great nation unless we love our religion and try to respect ourselves, and respect our country men and society. The Hindus of modern times are generally hypocrites. They must rise, and combine the faith in the true Vedic religion, with a knowledge of the political and scientific truths of the Europeans. The evils of caste seem to be more prevalent in the South than in Bengal. In Bengal a Brahmin uses the water touched by the Sudras, but here the Sudra is kept at a great distance by the Brahmin. There are no Brahmins in [the] Kali Yug[a]. The Pariahs, our fellow beings, ought to be educated by the higher castes, must [ . . . ] truths of Hindu religion and be [ . . . ] Brahmins. The first duty of a Brahmin is to love all. There must first be an amalgamation of the Brahmins, then of all the Dwijas, and then of the Dwijas and Sudras.
THE PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, p. 4.)
BY H. R. HAWEIS
[The Indian Mirror (from The Daily Chronicle), November 28, 1893]
. . . Vivekananda, the popular Hindu monk, whose physiognomy bore the most striking resemblance to the classic face of the Buddha, denounced our commercial prosperity, our bloody wars, and our religious intolerance, declaring that at such a price the "mild Hindu" would have none of our vaunted civilisation. . . . "You come," he cried,
with the Bible in one hand and the conqueror's sword in the other - you, with your religion of yesterday, to us, who were taught thousands of years ago by our Rishis precepts as noble and lives as holy as your Christ's. You trample on us and treat us like the dust beneath your feet. You destroy precious life in animals. You are carnivores. You degrade our people with drink. You insult our women. You scorn our religion - in many points like yours, only better, because more humane. And then you wonder why Christianity makes such slow progress in India. I tell you it is because you are not like your Christ, whom we could honour and reverence. Do you think, if you came to our doors like him, meek and lowly, with a message of love, living and working and suffering for others, as he did, we should turn a deaf ear? Oh no! We should receive him and listen to him, and as we have done our own inspired Rishis (teachers). . . .
PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS IN CHICAGO
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, pp. 5-6.)
[The Indian Mirror, December 7, 1893]
HINDU CRITICISES CHRISTIANITY
MR.VIVEKANUNDA SAYS RELIGION OF THE VEDAS IS RELIGION OF LOVE
VIVEKANUNDA SAYS CHRISTIANITY IS INTOLERANT
Dr. Noble presided at the afternoon session. The Hall of Colombus [Columbus] was badly crowded. . . . Dr. Noble then presented Swami Vivekananda, the Hindu monk, who was applauded loudly as he stepped forward to the centre of the platform. He wore an orange robe, bound with a scarlet sash, and a pale yellow turban. The customary smile was on his handsome face and his eyes shown with animation. Said he:
We who come from the East have sat here on the platform day after day, and have been told in a patronizing way that we ought to accept Christianity because Christian nations are the most prosperous. We look about us, and we see England, the most prosperous Christian nation in the world, with her foot on the neck of 250,000,000 of Asiatics. We look back into history, and see that the prosperity of Christian Europe began with Spain. Spain's prosperity began with the invasion of Mexico. Christianity wins its prosperity by cutting the throats of its fellowmen. At such a price the Hindu will not have prosperity. (Vide "Cantakerous Remarks", Complete Works, III: 474.)
I have sat here to-day, and I have heard the height of intolerance. I have heard the creed of the Moslem applauded, when to-day the Moslem sword is carrying destruction into India. Blood and the sword are not for the Hindu, whose religion is based on the law of love. (This last paragraph is a heretofore unpublished extract.)
When the applause had ceased, Mr. Vivekananda went [on] to read his paper, a summary of which follows: [Vide "Paper on Hinduism", Complete Works, I: 6-20]. . . .
ON CHRISTIAN CONVERSION
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, p. 25.)
[The Indian Mirror, June 14, 1894]
There has been some lively correspondence between Swami Vivekanand and a retired Christian Missionary on the work and prospects of Christianity in India. Among other things, the Swami is reported to have said that "the way of converting is absolutely absurd";
Missionary doctors do no good, because they are not in touch with the people. . . . They accomplish nothing in the way of converting, although they may have nice sociable times among themselves, &c.
The reverend gentleman took exception to the words, maintaining that speaking the vernaculars well, nobody of foreigners understands, and sympathises with Indians better than Missionaries. The Missionaries are undoubtedly good and well-meaning people; but we think, the statement of the Swami that they are seldom in touch with the people, is not without foundation. With the revival of Hinduism, manifested in every part of the country, it is doubtful whether Christianity will have any sway over the Hindus. The present is a critical time for Christian Missions in India. The Swami thanked the Missionary for calling him his fellow-countryman. "This is the first time," he wrote,
any European foreigner, born in India though he be, has dared to call a detested Native by that name - Missionary or no Missionary. Would you dare call me the same in India?
. . . . .
THE CENTRAL IDEA OF THE VEDAS
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, p. 30.)
[The Indian Mirror, July 20, 1894]
Swami Vivekananda explained in America the central idea of the Vedas as follows:
I humbly beg to differ from those who see in monotheism, in the recognition of a personal God, apart from Nature, the acme of intellectual development. I believe, it is only a kind of anthropomorphism which the human mind stumbles upon in its first efforts to understand the unknown. The ultimate satisfaction of human reason and custom lies in the realisation of that universal essence which is the All. And I hold an irrefragable evidence that this idea is present in the Vedas, the numerous gods and their invocations notwithstanding. This idea of formless All, the Sat, i.e., esse or being, called Atman and Brahman in the Upanishads, and further explained in the Darsans, is the central idea of the Vedas, nay, the root-idea of the Hindu religion in general. (Unidentified source.)
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA ON THE SEA-VOYAGE MOVEMENT
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, pp. 260-62.)
[The Bengalee, May 18, 1895]
There is not a Hindoo who is not proud of Vivekananda Swami - who would not honor him and his teachings. He has done honor to himself, to his race and his religion. If we are right in this view, it follows that the opinions of Vivekananda are entitled to the highest consideration. This is what he says with regard to the sea-voyage movement: -
Expansion is life; contraction is death. Love is life, hatred is death. We began to die the day we began to contract - to hate other races - and nothing can prevent our death, until we come back to life, to expansion. We must mix, therefore, with all the races of the earth and every Hindoo that goes out to travel in foreign parts, does more benefit to his country than hundreds of those bundles of superstition and selfishness whose one aim in life is to be the dog in the manger. Those wonderful structures of national life which the Western nations have raised are supported by pillars of character - and until we can produce such by the hundred, it is useless to fret and fume against this power or that power. Does anyone deserve liberty who is not ready to give it to others? Let us calmly and in manly fashion go to work - instead of dissipating our energies in unnecessary frettings and fumings and I, for one, thoroughly believe that no power in the universe can withhold from anyone anything he really deserves. The past was great no doubt, but I sincerely believe that the future in store is glorious still. (Vide Complete Works, IV: 366.)
We must mix with other nations and take from them whatever good they have to give us. It is our exclusiveness, our unwillingness to learn from foreign nations which is mainly responsible for our present degradation. We considered ourselves to be the elect of heaven, and superior to the nations of the earth in all respects. We regarded them as barbarians, their touch as pollution, their knowledge as worse than ignorance. We lived in a world of our own creation. We would teach the foreigner nothing - we would learn nothing from the foreigner. At last the disillusion came. The foreigner became our master - the arbiter of our destinies. We eagerly took to his learning. We found that there was much in it that was novel, much that was highly useful. We found that so far as the material comforts of life were concerned the foreigner vastly out-distanced us - that his control over the powers of nature was far greater than any we had dreamt of. He had annihilated time and space, and had subordinated the powers of nature to the convenience of man. He had many wonderful things to teach us. We learnt them eagerly. But still we don't visit his country. If we do, we lose caste. We are under a foreign Government. We eagerly study a foreign language and literature and admire all that is good and beautiful in it. We use foreign articles for dress and consumption. But still we dare not visit the country of our rulers, for fear of excommunication. Against this unmeaning prejudice, the great Swami, who is a Hindoo of Hindoos, indignantly raises his voice of protest. The objectors, in his expressive language, are like the dog in the manger. They will not travel to foreign countries, - they will not allow others to travel. Yet the fact remains, says the Swami, that these travelled Hindoos do more benefit to their country than hundreds of those bundles of superstition and selfishness, whose one aim in life is to be like the dog in the manger. (Vide Complete Works, IV: 366.)
. . . . . .
If we had our Rishis in this age, as we had them in the ages that are gone by, we are sure they would have withdrawn the interdiction to sea-voyage, if indeed any such interdiction has been laid in the past. Society is an organism which obeys the immutable law of progress; and change, judicious and cautious change, is necessary for the well-being, and indeed the preservation of the social system. However that may be, it is something to know that so high an authority and so good a Hindoo as Swami Vivekananda supports travel to foreign countries. . . .
A SUMMARY OF "BUDDHISM, THE FULFILMENT OF HINDUISM"
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, p. 73.)
[The Indian Mirror, June 29, 1895]
Swami Vivekananda's speech, delivered in Chicago at the presentation of the Buddhists on September 26, 1893, is published in MacNeely's edition of the "History of the Parliament of Religions". The following were his concluding words: -
We cannot live without you, nor you without us. Then believe that separation has shown to us, that you cannot stand without the brain and the philosophy of the Brahman [sic], nor we without your heart. This separation between the Buddhist and the Brahman [Brahmin] is the cause of the downfall of India. That is why India has been the slave of conquerors for the past 1000 years. Let us then join the wonderful intellect of the Brahman [Brahmin] with the heart, the noble soul, the wonderful humanising power of the Great Master. (Vide "Buddhism, the Fulfilment of Hinduism", Complete Works, I: 21-23, for a somewhat different summary paragraph.)
INDIAN PHILOSOPHY AND WESTERN SOCIETY
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, pp. 85-86.)
[The Indian Mirror, December 1, 1895] At the weekly meeting of the Balloon Society, an address on "Man and Society in the Light of Vedanta" was given by Swami Vivekananda. The Swami who wore the red robe of his sect, spoke with great fluency and in perfect English for more than an hour without the help of a single note. He said that religion was the most wonderful factor in the social organism. If knowledge was the highest gain that science could give, what could be greater than the knowledge of God, of the soul, of man's own nature which was given by the study of religion? It was not only impossible that there should be one religion for the whole world, but it would be dangerous. If the whole of religious thought was at the same level, it would be the death of religious thought; variety was its life. There were four types of religion - (1) the worker, (2) the emotional, (3) the mystical, and (4) the philosophical. Each man unfortunately became so wedded to his own type that he had no eyes to see what existed in the world. He struggled to make others of the same type. That religion would be perfect which gave scope to all the different characters. The Vedantic religion took in all, and each could choose in what his nature required. A discussion followed.
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA IN AMERICA
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, pp. 89-90.)
[The Indian Mirror (from the New York Herald),
March 25, 1896]
Many well-known persons are seeking to follow the teaching of Swami Vivekananda's Philosophy.
. . . . . .
A Lecture by the Swami
Swami Vivekananda sat in the centre, clad in an ochre coloured robe. The Hindu had his audience divided on either side of him and there was between fifty and a hundred persons present. The class was in Karma-Yoga, which has been described as the realisation of one's self as God through works and duty.
Its theme was: -
"That which ye sow ye reap", whether of good or evil.
Following the lecture or instruction the Swami held an informal reception, and the magnetism of the man was shown by the eager manner in which those who had been listening to him hastened to shake hands or begged for the favour of an introduction. But concerning himself the Swami will not say more than is absolutely necessary. Contrary to the claim made by some of his pupils he declares that he has come to this country alone and not so officially representing any order of Hindu monks. He belongs to the Sanyasis he will say; and is hence free to travel without losing his caste. When it is pointed out to him that Hinduism is not a proselytising religion, he says he has a message to the West as Buddha had a message to the East. (Vide Complete Works, V: 314.) When questioned concerning the Hindu religion, and asked whether he intends to introduce its practices and ritual into [t]his country, he declares that he is preaching simply philosophy.
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, p. 101.)
[The Indian Mirror, June 19, 1896]
Swami Saradananda in a letter from London written to the Editor of the Brahmavadin says: -
Swami Vivekananda has made a very good beginning here. A large number of the people attend his classes regularly, and the lectures are most interesting. Canon Haweis, one of the leaders of the Anglican Church, came the other day, and was much interested. He saw the Swami before, in the Chicago fairs, and loved him from that time. On Tuesday last, the Swami lectured on "Education" at the Sesame Club. It is a respectable club got up by women for diffusing female education. In this he dealt with the old educational system of India, pointed out clearly and impressively that, the sole aim of the system was "man-making" and not cramming and compared it with the present system. He held that, the mind of the man is an infinite reservoir of knowledge, and all knowledge, present, past or future, is within man, manifested or non-manifested, and the object of every system of education should be to help the mind to manifest it. For instance, the law of gravitation was within man, and the fall of the apple helped Newton to think upon it, and bring it out from within his mind. His class days have been arranged as follows: -
Tuesdays, morning and evening; Thursdays, morning and evening; Friday, evening question classes. So the Swami has to do four lectures, and one class on questions every week. In the class lecture, he has begun with Gnan [Jnâna-]Yoga. A short-hand report of these lectures is being taken down by Mr. Goodwin, who is a great admirer of the Swami, and these lectures will be published later on.
THE SWAMI VIVEKANANDA IN ENGLAND
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, pp. 493-95.)
[The Brahmavadin, July 18, 1896]
I feel sure you will be glad to have an idea of the progress of the Swami's work in England, as a supplement to the letter which the Swami Saradananda sent you a few weeks ago. At that time a series of Sunday lectures was being arranged, and three of these have now been given. They are held in one of the galleries of the Royal Institute of Painters in water colours, 191 Piccadilly, and have been so far remarkably successful in attaining their object, that of reaching people who, from one reason or another, cannot attend the class talks. The first of the series was "The Necessity of Religion". (Cf. Mr. J. J. Goodwin's published transcript "The Necessity of Religion", Complete Works, II: 57-69.) The Swami claimed that religion is and has been the greatest force in moulding the destinies of the human race. Concerning its origin he said that either of the two theories, (1) Spirit origin, (2) Search after the infinite, will meet the case, and, to his mind, neither contradicts the other, because the search after the departed of the Egyptians and Babylonians, and the attempt to peep behind the veil of the dawn, the evening, the thunderstorm, or other natural phenomena, of the Aryans, can both be included as a search after the super-sensuous, and therefore the unlimited. This unlimited, in the course of time became abstracted, first as a person, then as a presence, and lastly as the essence of all existence. To his mind the dream state is the first suggestion of religious inquiry, and inasmuch as the awakened state has always been, and always will be accompanied by the dream state, a suggestion of existence finer than that of the awakened state yet vanishing during it, the human mind will always be predisposed in favour of spiritual existence and a future life. It is in our dream-state that we really find, in a sense, our immortality. Later on, as dreams are found to be only milder manifestations of the awakened state, the search for still deeper planes of the mind begin[s], the super-conscious state of the mind. All religions claim to be founded on facts discovered in this state. The two important points to consider in this connection are, that all facts discovered in this way are, in the highest sense, abstractions, and secondly, that there is a constant struggle in the race to come up to this ideal, and everything which thwarts our progress towards that we feel as a limitation. This struggle soon ends in the discovery that to find infinite happiness, or power, or knowledge, or any other infinity, through the senses, is impossible, and then the struggle for other channels of expansion begins, and we find the necessity of religion. The second lecture was upon the subject "A Universal Religion", (No verbatim transcript available.) when the Swami gave, in substance, the lecture which most of your readers have seen in print as it was delivered in New York. As this lecture may be termed the Swami's "plan of campaign" we always await its delivery with very great interest, and it is most encouraging to note that the impression made here in London was equally as good as was the case when the lecture was delivered in the Hardman Hall, New York. The third of the series brought us up to Sunday last, June 21st, when "The Real and the Apparent Man" (Cf. Mr. J. J. Goodwin's published transcript "The Real Nature of Man", Complete Works, II: 70-87.) was the subject under discussion. In this the Swami, link by link, glanced over the thread of thought which has gradually advanced from the consideration of men as separate entities from God and the rest of the universe, up to the point at which we concede the impossibility of more than one Infinity, and the necessary consequence that which we now regard as men, as animals, as the universe of matter, cannot be the real unity; that the real must be something which is indivisible, and unchangeable; and when reason forces us to the conclusion that this phenomenal world can only be an illusion, through which we, as entities in the illusion, have to pass to discover our real nature, "That which exists is one; sages call it variously". But the Swami did not stop with the theory; he showed what would be the practical effect of such a theory, the gradual elimination from society of class distinctions, and distinctions between man and man, by greater unselfishness in the matters of money and power. Answering the objection that such a religion means loss of individuality, he argued that that which is changeful cannot be the real individuality, and that the gradual discovery of the reality behind us would mean the assumption of individuality and not its destruction.
The three lectures thus given have been so favorably received, and there have been so many wishes expressed for their continuation that three further lectures are to be given. . . .
A DISCIPLE (Probably Mr. E. T. Sturdy.)
63, St. George's Rd.
London, S. W.
June 23, 1896
ON THE SWISS ALPS*
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, p. 117.)
[The Indian Mirror, September 22, 1896]
Swami Vivekananda writes from Lake Luzern [Lucerne] Switzerland, under date the 23rd of August last. (Evidently an unpublished extract from one of the three (1, 2, 3) letters the Swami wrote from Lucerne (Vide "Epistles", Complete Works, V and VI).) He has been walking over several parts of the Cis-Alpine country, enjoying the pleasing views of nature there. He says that the scenery is in no respect less grand than that of the Himalayas. Still, he makes out two points of difference between the two mountainous regions. In the former the rapid and thick colonization has been marring the beauty of the place. In the latter, there has not yet been any such marked tendency. The former has become a resort mainly for the sanatorists and summer-residents; and the latter mainly for the pilgrims and devotees. The Swami is shortly going to visit Germany, where an interview will take place with Prof. Deussen, after which, by the 24th of September, he will go back to England. To India, most likely, as he says, he is returning by the next winter. He intends to reside in the Himalayas.
"THE IDEAL OF UNIVERSAL RELIGION"
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, pp. 331-33.)
[The Journal of the Maha-Bodhi Society, November 1896]
We have been presented with a copy of a booklet entitled the "Ideal of Universal Religion", published by the Brahmavadin Publishing Company, Madras. It is a lecture by Swami Vivekananda, delivered in America. The lecture is highly interesting and instructive. It is an attempt at a reconciliation between the diversity of religions. We hail the booklet as the symptom of the times, for it is evident for obvious reasons that men are beginning to awaken to the importance of this problem of religious harmony. Recently, in these countries leaders of different religious sects have attempted in their own way to reconcile this religious diversity, and have failed; they have aspired to defend their dogmas on the ground of distorted views of sectarianism. Swami Vivekananda has propounded a philosophical and at the same time a most practical solution of this problem of religious harmony. According to him, Vedanta is the bond between the ever conflicting religious differences. In the internal world, like the external world, there is also the centripetal and centrifugal action. We repel something, we attract something. Today we are attracted by some, to-morrow we are repelled by some. The same law cannot be applied at all times and in all cases. "Religion is the highest place of human thought and life, and herein the workings of these two forces have been most marked." At the outset, it apparently appears that there cannot reign unbroken harmony in this plane of mighty struggle. In every religion there are three parts, namely, philosophy, mythology and rituals. Every recognised religion [has] all these three things. But there can be no universal philosophy, mythology and rituals for the whole world. Where then the universality? How is it possible then to have a universal form of religion? "We all hear," says Swami Vivekananda, about universal brotherhood, and how societies stand up practically to preach this, Universal brotherhood, that is, we shout like drunken men we are all equal, therefore, let us make a sect. As soon as you make a sect you protest against equality, and thus it is no more. (Cf. the American lecture, delivered January 12, 1896 (Complete Works, II: 379-80).)
Mahomedans talk of universal brotherhood, but what comes out of them in reality? Nobody who is not a Mahomedan will be admitted into the brotherhood, he will have his throat cut. We think we cannot do better than quote his own words, wherein he with his wonderful lucidity and depth of views and in a remarkably catholic mind propounds forcibly the philosophy of the universal religion [Vide Complete Works, II: 375-96]. . . .
In society there are various natures of men. Some are active working men, there is the emotional man, then there is the mystic man and lastly there is the philosopher. Vivekananda strikes the key note of his whole philosophy when he declares that the attempt to help mankind to become beautifully balanced in all these four directions, is his ideal of religion and this religion is called in India, Yoga. The worker is called the Karma-yogin; who seeks union through love is called Bhakti-yogin; he who seeks through mysticism is called Raja-yogin; and he who seeks it through philosophy is called Jnan[a]-yogin. The religion which has a place for men of all these natures and a religion which satisf[ies] the thirst of men of different inclination, may be the universal religion, and that religion is Vedanta. Most cordially we recommend this admirable little book to our readers. For it contains some clear and definite expressions of views on the most vital problem that is engaging the serious attention of theologians. The price of the book is As. 3, and may be had at the Brahmavadin Office, Triplicane, Madras.
THE BANQUET FOR RANJIT SINJHI
(New Discoveries, Vol. 4, pp. 479-80.)
[The Indian Mirror, December 16, 1896]
On the 21st of this month [November], the Cambridge "Indian Majlis" gave a complimentary dinner at the University Arms Hotel [in Cambridge] to Prince Ranjit-sinhji and Mr. Atul Chandra Chatterjee. Mr. Hafiz G. Sarwir of St. John's College, took the chair. There were about fifty Indians present and a few Englishmen. . . .
Swami Vivekananda rose next to respond [to the toast of India] amidst loud and deafening cheers. (There is no verbatim transcript available. Cf. the following January 8, 1897 Indian newspaper report, "The Majlis in Cambridge".) The Swami began by saying that he did not know exactly why he should be chosen to respond to the toast unless it be for the reason that he in physical bulk bore a striking resemblance to the national animal of India (laughter). He desired to congratulate the guest of the evening and he took the statement which the Chairman had made that Mr. Chatterjee was going to correct the mistake of past historians of India, to be literally true. For out of the past the future must come and he knew no greater and more permanent foundation for the future than a true knowledge of what had preceded before. The present is the effect of the infinity of causes which represent the past. They had many things to learn from the Europeans but their past, the glory of India which had passed away, should constitute even a still greater source of inspiration and instruction. Things rise and things decay, there is rise and fall everywhere in the world. . . . [Vide the block quotation under "The Majlis In Cambridge" for the remaining text of this report.]
THE MAJLIS IN CAMBRIDGE
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, pp. 310-11.)
[The Amrita Bazar Patrika, January 8, 1897]
. . . The gathering was a unique one, for the Indians met together to talk (in the Majlis they all talk), about the successes of Ranjit Sing[h] and Atul Chandra Chatterjee. It is a pity the name of Professor Bose was not associated with the above two; and we think, Swami Vivekananda, who was present on the occasion, also deserved a recognition. We shall, however, not commit the mistake of omitting the last two in noticing to show what the Indians have been able to achieve in the West.
What the Swamiji did was to remove the impression from the minds of the Americans that the Indians were barbarians, superstitious in their beliefs, and addicted to monstrous cruelties. The advent of the Swamiji in the West has done this service, that it has created an impression in many quarters that the Indians are not an inferior race as Sir Charles Elliot called them, and that they can, in such subjects as religion and philosophy say things which are not known even to the West. The advent of the Swamiji in the West has undoubtedly enhanced the character of the Indians in the West. . . .
Said Swami Vivekananda:-
And though India is fallen to-day she will assuredly rise again. There was a time when India produced great philosophers and still greater prophets and preachers. The memory of those days ought to fill them with hope and confidence. This was not the first time in the history of India that they were so low. Periods of depression and degradation had occurred before this but India had always triumphed in the long run and so would she once again in the future. (At this time, there is no complete verbatim transcript available. Cf. the preceding December 16, 1896 Indian newspaper report , "The Banquet to Ranjit Sinhji", p.541.)
VIVEKANANDA IN THE WEST
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, p. 312.)
[The Amrita Bazar Patrika, January 20, 1897]
Swami Vivekananda has received the ovation of a conquering hero, returning home. The last we heard of him in England was when he got a farewell address from his English disciples, who expressed their undying love for India. . . .
No one has any accurate knowledge of what Swami Vivekananda was doing in the West. We hear that he has made some impression in America and also in England. . . .
The Swami is, however, well aware of the nature of the mission before him. He says that Vedantism teaches the truth, which is that man is a divine being and that the highest and the lowest are the manifestations of the same Lord. He does not, however, admit that knowledge alone is sufficient for the salvation of man. Says he:-
But his knowledge ought not to be a theory, but life. Religion is a realization, not talk, not doctrines, nor theories, however beautiful all these may be. Religion is being and becoming, not hearing or acknowledging. It is not an intellectual assent; but one's whole nature becoming changed into it. Such is religion. By an intellectual assent we can come to a hundred sort of foolish things, and change the next day, but this being and becoming is what is religion.
In the above noble sentiments, the Swami shews [shows] that he understands the situation pretty well. That which produces the rebirth of a man is religion. Under the influence of religion a man becomes a quite different being from what he was before. Unless that is the result of his religion, his religion is a myth.
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, pp. 203-4.)
[The Indian Mirror, February 24, 1898]
Swami Vivekananda has been urging on the people of Lahore and Sialkote the need of practical work. (Cf. "Bhakti" (a report from The Tribune), Complete Works, III: 391, for a somewhat different paraphrased passage.) The starving millions, he urged, cannot live on metaphysical speculation; they require bread; and in a lecture he gave at Lahore on Bhakti, he suggested as the best religion for to-day that everyman should, according to his means, go out into the street and search for hungry Narayans, take them into their houses, feed them and clothe them. The giver should give to man, remembering that he is the highest temple of God. He had seen charity in many countries, and the reason of its failure was the spirit, in which it was carried out. "Here take this and go away". Charity belied its name so long as it was given to gain reputation or applause of the world.
OUR MISSION IN AMERICA
(Vivekananda in Indian Newspapers, p. 208.)
[The Indian Mirror, April 24, 1898]
Swami Vivekananda, in introducing the lecturer Swami Saradananda, said:
Ladies and Gentlemen, - The speaker of tonight just comes from America. As you all know here that America is for your country, although our countrymen, specially Swami Dayananda Saraswati, used to call this country as Patal, inhabited by Laplands, Rakshas and Asurs, &c. (Laughter and loud cheers). Well, Gentlemen, whether it is Patal or not you ought to decide that by seeing those few ladies present here, who have come from the country of your so-called Patal, whether they are Naga Kanyas or not. (Cheers). Now, America is perfectly a new country. It was discovered by Columbus, the Italian, and before that a prior claim is put forward by the Norwegians who say, that they have discovered the northern part of it, and then before that there is another prior claim of the Chinese, who at one time preached the noble doctrine of Buddhism in all parts of the world, and it is said that Buddhist Missionaries were also sent from India to America, and specially in Washington, where some sort[s] of records are still to be traced by any traveller going there. Well, the table has now been turned at last for a century or more and instead of America being discovered, she discovers persons that go over to her. (Loud applause). It is a phenomenon that we observe every day there, multitudes of persons coming over from every part of the country [world?] and getting themselves discovered in the United States. It is a fact, well-known to you here all that several of our own countrymen have been discovered in that way. (Cheers). To-day, here I present before you one of your Calcutta boys, that has been similarly discovered by the Americans. (Cheers).