Home > Media, Religion, Social Trends > Swami Vivekanand in the USA

Swami Vivekanand in the USA


Swami Vivekananda to me has been slogans. Is there more to him?

A rarely seen photograph of Swami Vivekananda. (Vivekananda, who traveled widely to deliver his spiritual message, in Pasadena, Calif., in 1900. From the Vedanta Society of Southern California; source and courtesy - nytimes.com). Click for source.

A rarely seen photograph of Swami Vivekananda. (Vivekananda, who traveled widely to deliver his spiritual message, in Pasadena, Calif., in 1900. From the Vedanta Society of Southern California; source and courtesy - nytimes.com). Click for source.

So little to go on …

Do most Indians ‘admire’ him, because of the press he got during his US visit? And later?

But then, I must also admit, I have not quite been able to figure out this man. But then I have not tried hard enough.

Does the 2ndlook community have any answers?

  1. October 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

    https://twitter.com/#!/bhasinusc/status/120440344641929216

  2. October 2, 2011 at 10:20 am
    I am OK with a ‘sex-maniac’. Hermits and rishis in Indian tradition were not necessarily celibate.

    Anyways …

    One – What’s the big deal about sex?

    Two – There is nothing on the web-page about Swami Vivekananda’s sexual adventures – except a guilt-ridden, did-nothing visit to a brothel – from where he was thrown out.

  3. October 2, 2011 at 10:46 am

    @bhasinusc that crap book has been stripped by many. but still makes the rounds. there is no shortage of demonising books on hindu saints and religion as you get enormous funding, try.

  4. October 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Yes there are many who admire him because he was famous in the west (most people think of the Chicago address the moment they hear Vivekananda’s name). But I think (coming from my experience) that there is a comparable and sizable number of Indians who admire him as a Guru and as an expounder of the most profound vedic truth (I have a lot of friends who have read the complete works of Vivekananda). There are also many who admire for being one of the main figures behind India’s freedom struggle & the resurgence of the native culture (both being the same).
    Unni

  5. October 2, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I think Vivekanada is a posterboy for the Neo-Vedantins. The serious students of vedanta do not give him any consideration.Nor was he any kind of serious thinker, he repeated the same European stereotype of India. The other name that come to my mind is Rajarammohan roy.

  6. October 2, 2011 at 11:01 pm
    Sunil – My impression exactly – but then I speak from a position of ignorance.

    One thing is clear.

    Bhagat Singh and Vivekananda inspire young Indians like no one’s business.

    Bhagat Singh, I understand and also admire. His politics were misplaced – but what the hell, a man can make mistakes. Bhagat Singh would have corrected himself, if he had lived long enough.

    Vivekananda is black box to me!

  7. S. Dave
    October 4, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Vivekananda will remain a black box to anybody who has not approached spirituality seriously. Serious students of your so called Vedanta — who are they? and you say no one gives credit to Vivekananda? you are sleeping my friend! have a 2ndlook about yourself first.

    one sentence of Vivekananda is enough to raise a sleeping Soul for any ‘living’ human. many experiences and many examples. you find him black box because He didnt portray himself in temples and told everything in simple but bold language which most donot comprehend. if you are seriously interested in having a second look at Vivekananda — read his biography by credible person….or atleast read ‘Swami Vivekananda on Himself’ (collection of his sayings about his own life). better to start early, so that you can give your self a chance to be awakened to Glorious Star of Indian spirituality — one that had not been produced after Acharya Sankar.

    May Swamiji bless you.
    and remember, you cannot have real understaing of what Mother India is without first understanding Gita and Vivekananda. Thats my claim, which you will accept once you read and ‘understand’.

    last, dont comment until you know something about above facts.

  8. October 5, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Sachin Dave on 2ndlook @ Facebook

    Vivekananda is a mirror. Study him and you will find yourself awakened. Posterboy? Vivekananda? there has not been any such Original spiritual genius in whole world after Acharya Sankara — who cares about those who study Vedanta? Giddha (vultures) fly very high, but their eyes are always on dead flash on ground. Most Indian admire him for his presence in US? study recent history of India. most Indians – whoever admire him — is for his Patriotism and unprecented love for masses of India that India had not seen from the time of Buddha. Please go through a credible biography of Him or atleast ‘Swami Vivekananda on Himself’. May Swamiji bless you and you find Light Eternal, within black box. last, I make a claim that nobody can really understand the scope and aspirations of Mother India, until properly understand Gita and Vivekananda. once you study and ‘understand’ both of these, i am sure nobody will deny this claim. Hari OM!

  9. October 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm

  10. October 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Anuraag Sanghi :

    Sunil – My impression exactly – but then I speak from a position of ignorance.
    One thing is clear.
    Bhagat Singh and Vivekananda inspire young Indians like no one’s business.
    Bhagat Singh, I understand and also admire. His politics were misplaced – but what the hell, a man can make mistakes. Bhagat Singh would have corrected himself, if he had lived long enough.
    Vivekananda is black box to me!

    Anurag,

    I often wonder, what is the difference b/w vivekananda and budha? Both are radicals, in my view.. radicalism need not always do good to the society..

    Vivekananda’s was the first attempt to mix nationalism with religion (or say spirituality).. am i right?

  11. October 12, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Buddha like I have pointed out before was not about ahimsa and renunciation. He renewed Bharattantra when it was in danger. This political model of Buddha won him converts all over the world.

    Vivekananda like I said is black box to me. Apart from slogans, I have seen nothing of Vivekananda.

    If he was ‘sex-maniac’ as Bhasin claims (on flimsy evidence), I have no problem.

    If he gave a rousing speech in USA, which brought down the house, I am not impressed.

    What am I left with? A Black Box.

    Which is why I am asking the 2ndlook community to bring out Vivekananda. I am hoping that we understand Vivekananda better after this discussion.

  12. samadhyayi
    January 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    today we have the benefit of hindsight. we have internet so that we could solve the puzzles of the past. but back then how would the leadership of the country take the decisions. who had enough brain to solve the puzzles of history and understand correctly without being affected by preJudices and psychological conditioning etc. that role has been fulfilled by swami vivekananda.
    the range of his knowledge was greater than most of his time.
    he connected the dots. he made the analysis of why things were wrong and he showed the solution. if people had to learn about India and they start somewhere and before they get the full picture of India it will take long time may be a lifetime or more. but if you read vivekananda it becomes easy. thats how he enabled us to see the truth. the greatness of India. the necessity to protect it.

  13. samadhyayi
    January 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    two people lead the fight against brit. in world war1 it was bagha Jatin and in world war 2 it was subash chandra bose.
    both were maJorly influenced by vivekananda.
    bagha Jatin wikipedia says was the direct disciple of vivekananda and subash chandra bose’s quotes suggest that he held vivekananda above everyone else.

  14. samadhyayi
    January 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    we are all selfish and burdened by this selfishness . our work becomes inefficient. but vivekananda was one of the selfless. and therefore the ideas that he set into motion worked fast and moved mountains. it takes a neutral . it takes a God to give the right Judgement of things. he was neutral . he was universal and yet one of us. he was one who would live and die among us as he once said. we often see people saying about ‘ whats wrong with India’ and they start giving advice how India should do this, do that destroy religion etc etc. but all these people have selfish motives and therefore their advice poisonous. but Vivekananda had no selfish motives therefore his advice is valuable.

  15. samadhyayi
    February 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    there is so little info about bhagat singh available and yet you seem to know him and there is so much info about vivekananda available almost like what he did on everyday and yet you dont know him. i dont understand. it is forcing me to take a second look at you. once you say he is a blackbox to me. then you say you also feel same as senthil that he was a poster boy.
    i am like really looking forward to this debate because i have taken time to read about vivekananda. but what i dont understand is what is the debate about. are u trying to suggest that vivekananda was all words and no actions or what
    what second look are you suggesting on him.

  16. February 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm
    Samdhyayi – I am confessing ignorance of specifics. I am also saying that I have not tried to clear my ignorance.

    What is surprising about that?

    I am repeatedly saying that I know little. In fact the first intelligent addition to the Vivekananda legacy, IMHO, came from you. If you have more, please add.

    There must be something to the man, when so many people respond. The two most powerful figures from the 1870-1945 period which arouse interest among young people are Bhagat Singh and Vivekananda. I say this with knowledge looking at stats on the blog.

    So, you will be making a significant contribution by adding to community knowledge.

  17. samadhyayi
    February 2, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Vivekananda is a symbol of celibacy like Hanuman, Bheeshm pitamaha, Ayyappa.
    Vivekananda discouraged young Indians to get married quick and burn out.
    Vivekananda is a rallying point for believers in God and religion.
    Vivekananda is looked upon as someone who harmonised science and religion.
    People admire him because he was brave and noble.
    Like rabindranath tagore says if you want to know India know vivekananda . In him everything is positive nothing negative.

    vivekananda’s brother is bhupendranath dutta who was an indian revolutionary who took part in indo german conspiracy / yugantar party.

    vivekananda encouraged young Indians to go to America and Japan. many did.
    Vivekananda’s irish disciple sister nivedita came to India and dedicated herself to india. indian revolutionaries were harboured at ramakrishna mission at times

    vivekananda’s american disciples helped Indian revolutionaries in America in a small way.

    aurobindo considered vivekananda to be his guru. even when he had never met vivekananda.

    anna hazare read vivekananda ‘s booklet in railway station and after reading it decided to dedicate his life to others’ welfare. only later did he study gandhi’s methods.

  18. samadhyayi
    February 2, 2012 at 8:12 am

    vivekananda asked JamshedJi tata to create science college/research institute (dont remember)
    vivekananda inspired mohun bagan to win football match against arsenal.
    (yah i know its like a schoolboy writing a ten point essay.)

  19. samadhyayi
    February 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Aryans and Tamilians

    By Swami Vivekananda

    From: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda , Volume 4 , Pg.296

    http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.in…ol_4_frame.htm
    now i will add some masala to the debate. quote something controversial from vivekananda.

    “We believe in Indian caste as one of the greatest social institutions that
    the Lord gave to man. We also believe that though the unavoidable defects,
    foreign persecutions, and, above all, the monumental ignorance and pride of
    many Brahmins who do not deserve the name, have thwarted, in many ways, the
    legitimate fructification of this most glorious Indian institution, it has
    already worked wonders for the land of Bharata and is destined to lead
    Indian humanity to its goal.”
    -swami vivekananda

    hee hee haaa haaa haaa

  20. February 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Swami Vivekananda translated Indian philosophy’s complexity, riddled in Sanskrit to plain spoken English of those times. So, naturally his work was similar to Europeans being able to read Bible after Gutenberg. While Europe experienced Lutheran and other christian reformist movements (Quakers …), India was saved from extreme backward thinking in society and also by pseudo-Christian Brahmo Samaj like movements.

    Advaita redux by Swami Vivekananda: Service to humanity is service to God. His message: “You cannot hate anyone because all of us along with everything around us is God and how can you be angry with or Hate your “brothers & sisters”?.”

    Social reform: Spoke against caste, poverty, unhygienic conditions.

    Education: Yes to Western science with a prominent place for Indian philosophy.

    For the sex obsessed in this thread: sex increases testosterone levels. High testosterone is linked to big-fat-egos and clouded thinking. Swamis who have to beg cannot afford to have fat egos. Hence, the bhahmacharya “vrat”?

    Swami Vivekananda was thus a “yuga purusha” and invariably influenced English educated for a century at least. I am not sure if he is still influencing the Facebook/T20 cricket generation though.

  21. February 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    bhaisaab whats this. i keep on going on about vivekananda and no body responds. may be we should say something bad about him and then people start coming. atleast give me your response what do you think of him now.

  22. samadhyayi
    February 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    vivekananda is like bruce lee man.
    after bruce lee chinese got respect in the world.
    same thing.
    after vivekananda Indians got respect in the world.
    ofcourse India was allways great but the world had forgotten Mother India. they thought they were the leaders. but later they began feeling arey we are Just bacchas. This India is great. chalo India.

  23. devilsadvocatesamadhyayi
    February 3, 2012 at 10:23 am

    some little known facts about vivekananda.

    1. vivekananda has diabetes
    2.Vivekananda was member of freemason secret society.
    3. september 11 was the date of the parliament of religions speech

    freemason conspiracy theories anyone.
    how about rockefeller conspiracies. 911 conspiracy.
    4. John d.rockefeller came to meet vivekananda and apparently vivekananda was the reason rocky decided to give to charity.

    now all of the above facts can be verified easily on checking with complete works of swami vivekananda which is available on multiple sites online. everything about vivekananda is well labelled.
    with dates and everything.

  24. devilsadvocatesamadhyayi
    February 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

    i mean that rockefeller thing may not be a fact. it cant be verified easily. it was from reminscenes of one madam emma calve an opera singer . it is usually printed in vivekananda biographies.
    but the rest are easily verifiable.

  25. February 3, 2012 at 11:21 am

  26. devilsadvocatesamadhyayi
    February 3, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    now they are gonna drag vivekananda into the conspiracy stories. they will say he was a satan worshipper like freemasons. they will say hinduism is an offshoot of freemasonry. and all that paapam is going to go to me. God bless me. but wait arent they thinking that already. do they not think that we hindus are a bunch of satan worshippers.

  27. samadhyayi
    February 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    you know anuraag what vivekananda is all about. he is about a 2nd look. he gave a 2nd look of history. back then. he knew european history better than europeans themselves. so he could give them an answer. thats why Indians admire him.
    (i think i did a mistake by making the link between freemason, vivekananda, rockdfeller, sep 11. now there are going to be conspiracy theories making the rounds against vivekananda. vivekananda was a good guy. no matter what anyone says about him. he cared about all humanity and he didnt eat up brit propoganda about caste system, sati, childmarriage, 1857 Just like you. i am Just afraid seeing those four words in one place is going to wreak some amount of trouble. i Just intended that a sincere non hasty researcher like you should know that info but not everyone. because it is going to inspire some negative conspiracy theory about hinduism .

  28. samadhyayi
    February 6, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Swami vivekanand travelled widely in India.
    bengal,kashmir,raJasthan,maharastra,karnataka,kerela,andhra pradesh, tamilnadu, uttarpradesh, uttaranchal,bangladesh, punJab. he seems to have travelled further than most kings.
    england, america, france,china, egypt, greece, Japan.
    I wonder who else travelled widely in India.
    Shankaracharya is one name that comes into mind.
    who else?

  29. February 6, 2012 at 10:41 am
    A question comes to my mind. How much of his travels were to (modern) Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan?
  30. samadhyayi
    February 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    he has been to lahore.
    sialkot punJab. afghanistan was not part of brit india. right. bangladesh he visited quite late after his return to India.

  31. February 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    i cant see nothing of vivekananda other than slogans- anuraag sanghi
    what do you suppose he should have done to deserve the admiration that he gets. you know the history of that time. what do you suppose he should have done. raised an army against the british or what.

  32. February 8, 2012 at 6:43 am

    why did you chose that photo. what does it suggest to yo.
    i read the reminscenes of the people in the photo.
    Vivekananda was surrounded by women all the time when he was in America. they took him all around the world and shown him how things were done in their world. like mothers
    what else can be expected of a man who is the disciple of a man
    who worshipped God as mother.

  33. February 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

    cutn paste from wikipedia :

    Similar trouble arose in 1916 when Lord Carmichael made some insinuations against Ramakrishna Mission based on an administrative report which cited Swami Vivekananda’s works as the main source of influence on the freedom fighters of Bengal. With inspiration from the holy mother, Swami Saradananda met the Governor and presented his case. Subsequently the Government changed its position. Swami Saradananda thus managed many major crises for Ramakrishna Mission

  34. February 9, 2012 at 7:47 am

    A black box is any device, sometimes highly important, whose workings are not understood by or accessible to its user.

    source: google.

    There must be something to the man, when so many people respond.-sanghi

    One of the most revered leaders of the RSS, Baba Saheb Apte’s life-long pet sentence as:”Vivekananda is like Gita for the RSS.”

    subash bose:socialism in india has its roots in vivekananda.

    american vedantists: vivekananda loved america.
    “He may have upset the reporter, when in London he said, “The American civilization is in my opinion, a very great one. I find the American mind peculiarly susceptible to new ideas, nothing is rejected because it is new. It is examined on its own merits.” He told people in Calcutta: “America is where, more than anywhere else, the feeling of brotherhood has been developed. An American meets you for five minutes on board a train and you are his friend, and the next moment he invites you as a guest to his house and opens his whole home to you. He spoke particularly of our women: “Their kindness to me it would take me years to tell. “They are the life and soul of this country” he remarked, and said he could never repay his debt of gratitude to them. ”

    rss, socialism, americanism, hinduism.
    vivekanand to americans:”I do not want to convert you to a new belief,” he told us; “I want you to keep your own belief; I want to make the Methodist a better Methodist, the Muslim a better Muslim, the Hindu a better Hindu.”

  35. February 9, 2012 at 11:50 am

    A black box is any device, sometimes highly important, whose workings are not understood by or accessible to its user.

    do you use vivekananda.

  36. February 9, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    sub: please specify what you find odd/ contradictory in vivekananda so that i can answer properly

    i think blackbox will be clear if one tries to find God .
    i think everyone else were sectarian and he was not.
    i agree with sachin dave that anyone who hasnt practiced advaita cant understand vivekananda.

    i request you to be specific about your doubts about vivekananda.
    i mean what exactly do you find odd with his behaviour. is it the photo or that socialists like him or that he liked america or that he repeated western stereotype of India.

    in my opinion he didnt repeat western stereotype of India. i will provide quotes and references once you have specified what exactly you find wrong/odd/contradictory in him.

    in my opinion he is pure and good and godly. and i am ready to argue on behalf of this view. but i dont understand your standpoint regarding him. you said mere posterboy. and i dont know what neo vedantists are.

    i have Just gone thru his writings for the second time and can assist with some quotations and links that support the fact that he was a good man.

    i am really excited to be part of this discussion. unfortunately my knowledge at this moment is much less than yours(i dont understand economics and some of the words that u use like posterboy and blackbox and neovedantists). but i want to take part on this Journey of solving historical mysteries.

  37. February 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm
    be specific about your doubts about vivekananda

    I dont have doubts. I am ignorant.

    i mean what exactly do you find odd with his behaviour

    Is there anything odd about Vivekananda’s behaviour? Remember, I dont know.

    I went to Vivekananda Rock memorial in Kanyakumari – many (many)years ago. I saw hundreds of people milling around. I want to know what is it that Vivekananda did to deserve that memorial – and the crowd?

  38. February 10, 2012 at 9:25 am

    vivekananda was the first person in modern times who actually knew India for what it was and loved India for what it was.
    so if one single person has to be singled out who saved India. it will be Vivekananda.
    How he saved India. by loving it. nobody loved India as Vivekananda did. because nobody knows India.
    bhagat singh didnt know India
    communists dont know India.
    Gandhi knew India only after he read vivekananda.

  39. February 10, 2012 at 10:07 am

    ok may be Gandhi didnt knew India that well.

  40. February 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

    this is what he said of India

    “This national ship has been ferrying millions and millions of souls across the water of life. For scores of shining centuries it has been plying across this water, and through its agency, millions of souls have been taken to the other shore, to blessedness. But today, perhaps through your own fault, this boat has become a little damaged, has sprung a leak….Let us go and stop the holes. Let us gladly do it with our hearts’ blood; and if we cannot, then let us die. We will make a plug of our brains and put them into the ship, but condemn it never. Say not one harsh word against this society. I love it for its greatness. I love you all because you are the children of gods, and because you are the children of glorious forefathers….All blessings be upon you!”

    Amen!

  41. February 10, 2012 at 10:15 am

    http://www.indiaheritage.org/rendez/viveka.htm

    this article describes him well.

  42. February 10, 2012 at 11:01 am

    the speech at parliament of religinos was not easy:
    it is a ground breaking speech. what made the speech special was the conviction of the speaker. everybody spoke of their own god and sect. only he spoke that of ‘The God’.
    and it was not a walk in the park or the picnic as the picture above suggests.
    how did he raise money to go to america.
    his disciple alasinga perumal of madras literally begged from house to house to rise the money.
    how did he make some random tamil guy his disciple when he was bengali. brief contact and this tamil guy who is a professor with big family to support and little means decides to beg from door to door for this guy.

    then what happened he arrived too soon in america. months before the parliament. there he was with little money and he slept on the streets in the cold. hotels didnt take him being a colored man. then he impressed one lady on train and she took him to her house. then later he impressed a harvard professor who thought vivekananda smarter than all the harvard professors put together.
    this was all before the parliament speech.

    pretty impressive.

  43. February 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    i give up. i dont have the knowledge to ascertain if vivekananda was right or wrong.you know your sanskrit and history. why dont u read the books and give us a second look.

  44. February 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm
    I think half the Vivekananda story is here.

    He was hardly the religious Hindu figure. But from your narrative, it seems like he was more of revolutionary who used India’s ancient dharmic idioms to organize opposition to the British. And in this he preceded Gandhiji.

    If you can organize the weblinks and bring order to this story you have uncovered, I would only be too happy to publish this as guest post.

  45. February 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Anuraag Sanghi181 :

    He was hardly the religious Hindu figure.

    he was many things.

    http://kmrao.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/swami-vivekananda-the-precursor-of-freedom-movement-of-bharat/

    this paper read at 150th says it all about the revolutionary effect.

  46. February 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    If you can organize the weblinks and bring order to this story you have uncovered, I would only be too happy to publish this as guest post.
    dhanyavaad
    thats the nicest thing anyone has said to me in a long time.

    i am working on a post that fits to the standards of this blog. it might take a few days.

    the above link i posted. i am not sure if you would want to link to Just about any blog but thought that i would bring your attention to the article which has captured a good part of the story.

  47. February 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Various are the customs all over India, but they are local. The greatest mistake made is that ignorant people always think that this local custom is the essence of our religion. -Vivekananda

  48. February 21, 2012 at 7:03 am

    swami vivekananda was hardly the religious figure.- anuraag sanghi

    many people think swami vivekananda was a realised master. nay an avatar. i am one of them. as far as his organising opposition against british. we can at best read between the lines and guess. neverthless vivekananda is the first generaliser of
    hinduism if there ever was one. vivekananda spoke in the parliament of religions and hinduism was born. there was no hinduism before that.

  49. February 24, 2012 at 7:40 am
    vivekananda spoke in the parliament of religions and hinduism was born. there was no hinduism before that.

    I have been thinking of this statement.

    If it is factually true, it is a very interesting political development. India never had domestic religion – and you are saying that Vivekananda created Hinduism to organize India against the British. Vivekananda used the maya of religion, which is a Desert Bloc invention, against the Desert Bloc itself.

    Remarkable strategy, if true. It would then mean that BG Tilak, MK Gandhi followed and Vivekananda’s strategy.

    Would you know if Kabir, Guru Nanak, Surdas used a name like Hindu or its equivalent? Like I said, you are about the only one making sense to me on Vivekanada.

  50. samadhyayi
    February 26, 2012 at 10:04 am

    name and form are maya.

  51. samadhyayi
    February 26, 2012 at 10:28 am

    he didnt create it consciously. it Just happened. it Just happened. as if the consciousness of the nation spoke through him. like a tool in the hands of divinity he was.

  52. samadhyayi
    February 26, 2012 at 11:07 am

    As for religious sects — the Brahmo Samaj, the Arya Samaj, and other sects have been useless mixtures; they were only voices of apology to our English masters to allow us to live! We have started a new India — a growth — waiting to see what comes. We believe in new ideas only when the nation wants them, and what will be true for us. The test of truth for this Brahmo Samaj is “what our masters approve”; with us, what the Indian reasoning and experience approves. The struggle has begun — not between the Brahmo Samaj and us, for they are gone already, but a harder, deeper, and more terrible one.
    -Vivekananda in a letter
    (Mary, you can afford to be optimistic, can I? Suppose you simply publish this letter — the law just passed in India will allow the English Government in India to drag me from here to India and kill me without trial.)

  53. samadhyayi
    February 26, 2012 at 11:26 am

    To Miss Mary Hale

    RIDGELY MANOR,
    30th October, 1899.
    MY DEAR OPTIMIST,
    I received your letter and am thankful that something has come to force optimistic laissez faire into action. Your questions have tapped the very source of pessimism, however. British rule in modern India has only one redeeming feature, though unconscious; it has brought India out once more on the stage of the world; it has forced upon it the contact of the outside world. If it had been done with an eye to the good of the people concerned, as circumstances favoured Japan with, the results could have been more wonderful for India. No good can be done when the main idea is blood-sucking. On the whole the old regime was better for the people, as it did not take away everything they had, and there was some justice, some liberty.
    A few hundred, modernised, half-educated, and denationalised men are all the show of modern English India — nothing else. The Hindus were 600 million in number according to Ferishta, the Mohammedan historian, in the 12th century — now less than 200 million.
    In spite of the centuries of anarchy that reigned during the struggles of the English to conquer, the terrible massacre the English perpetrated in 1857 and 1858, and the still more terrible famines that have become the inevitable consequence of British rule (there never is a famine in a native state) and that take off millions, there has been a good increase of population, but not yet what it was when the country was entirely independent — that is, before the Mohammedan rule. Indian labour and produce can support five times as many people as there are now in India with comfort, if the whole thing is not taken off from them.
    This is the state of things — even education will no more be permitted to spread; freedom of the press stopped already, (of course we have been disarmed long ago), the bit of self-government granted to them for some years is being quickly taken off. We are watching what next! For writing a few words of innocent criticism, men are being hurried to transportation for life, others imprisoned without any trial; and nobody knows when his head will be off.
    There has been a reign of terror in India for some years. English soldiers are killing our men and outraging our women — only to be sent home with passage and pension at our expense. We are in a terrible gloom — where is the Lord? Mary, you can afford to be optimistic, can I? Suppose you simply publish this letter — the law just passed in India will allow the English Government in India to drag me from here to India and kill me without trial. And I know all your Christian governments will only rejoice, because we are heathens. Shall I also go to sleep and become optimistic? Nero was the greatest optimistic person! They don’t think it worth while to write these terrible things as news items even! If necessary, the news agent of Reuter gives the exactly opposite news fabricated to order! Heathen-murdering is only a legitimate pastime for the Christians! Your missionaries go to preach God and dare not speak a word of truth for fear of the English, who will kick them out the next day.
    All property and lands granted by the previous governments for supporting education have been swallowed up, and the present Government spends even less than Russia in education. And what education?
    The least show of originality is throttled. Mary, it is hopeless with us, unless there really is a God who is the father of all, who is not afraid of the strong to protect the weak, and who is not bribed by wealth. Is there such a God? Time will show.
    Well, I think I am coming to Chicago in a few weeks and talk of things fully! Don’t quote your authority.
    With all love, ever your brother,
    VIVEKANANDA.
    PS. As for religious sects — the Brahmo Samaj, the Arya Samaj, and other sects have been useless mixtures; they were only voices of apology to our English masters to allow us to live! We have started a new India — a growth — waiting to see what comes. We believe in new ideas only when the nation wants them, and what will be true for us. The test of truth for this Brahmo Samaj is “what our masters approve”; with us, what the Indian reasoning and experience approves. The struggle has begun — not between the Brahmo Samaj and us, for they are gone already, but a harder, deeper, and more terrible one.

  54. February 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    What is your reading of Vivekananda on Max Muller

  55. February 28, 2012 at 10:23 am

    well what is your reading.

  56. February 28, 2012 at 10:45 am
    I dont have a feel for him. Dont have a reading.
  57. February 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    tell me whats the problem with max muller and i will give u my take on it. dont expect me to read the whole sacred works of the east 50 volumes. hahaha

  58. February 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    i do have an opinion.

  59. February 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    isnt it self explanatory. the essay that you have linked.

  60. February 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    isnt it self explanatory. the essay that you have linked.

    Not to me. Vivekananda is beyond me! You explain!

  61. February 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    vivekananda thinks high of max muller. but who doesnt think high of vivekananda. he finds something good in everybody. thats all.
    i think you are interested in max muller creating self image of indians as philosophers being detrimental to indians. which i think is reading too much in to things. isnt Gandhi the proof that indians are indeed philosophers. philosophers in west and east means two different things. philosophers in west are not very practical and in india they are extremely practical.

  62. February 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    philosophers in west are not very practical and in india they are extremely practical

    That is a new point of difference that you bring into the debate.

  63. February 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    well what do you think.
    in the land that has produced the brahma sutra. it is no big deal to produce panchatantra, arthashastra and kamasutra.

  64. February 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    bharat ko samAJ ne ke liye vivekanand ko padna Jaroori hai. mai ne kaafi kah liya. tum poora books pado. tumey kaafi benefit hoga. kyu ki vivekanand ney bharat key bhaare mey bahut soch diya hai. padney key baadh apna second look dena. vivekanand sahi hai yaa galat. tum poora padke hamey batao. it is definitely worth the time of anyone who cares about India and its future.

  65. samadhyayi
    February 29, 2012 at 5:24 am

    i am working on the max muller story to clear up somethings for myself. i will be glad to help you with answers

  66. samadhyayi
    February 29, 2012 at 5:45 am

    ok i will summarise vivekanand for you.
    here
    the difference between raJa ram mohan roy , dayanand saraswati and swami vivekanand is this.

    dayanand saraswati wanted to prove that present day hinduism was not based on the vedas. which if he had done would have been fatal for hinduism which people dont understand easily.

    raJa ram mohan roy was Just trying to please his masters.
    doing his best to survive and make others survive.

    but vivekananda was an ambitious man. when vivekanand appeared at the parliiament of religions the definitions that he gave for vedas and hinduism were so broad that they could include everyone in its fold.

    vivekanand did not directly take part in revolutionary activities. neither did he publish any books on history of india or commentary on vedas.
    but he made lectures in america which established the world view of hinduism and indian view of hinduism then when he came to india he made speeches in some important places like aryasamAJ
    sanatan sikh sabha and rameswaram temple in tamilnadu and other gatherings of knowledgeable people.

  67. February 29, 2012 at 5:55 am
    vivekanand did not directly take part in revolutionary activities. neither did he publish any books on history of india or commentary on vedas.
    but he made lectures in america which established the world view of hinduism and indian view of hinduism

    This ties in very well with your earlier statement below.

    his organising opposition against british. we can at best read between the lines and guess. neverthless vivekananda is the first generaliser of
    hinduism if there ever was one. vivekananda spoke in the parliament of religions and hinduism was born. there was no hinduism before that.

  68. samadhyayi
    February 29, 2012 at 5:58 am

    the only thing vivekanand condemned was untouchability. he was not radical in anyother way.

  69. samadhyayi
    February 29, 2012 at 6:04 am

    vivekanand built indian nationalism consciously. and he gave it such a universal view point that everyone felt safe to subscribe to it.

  70. samadhyayi
    February 29, 2012 at 6:07 am

    i will tell you what. vivekanand did what buddha did in the past.
    he revived the tradition of indian missonaries taking over the world.

  71. samadhyayi
    February 29, 2012 at 6:19 am

    RUDOLF HOERNLE: Rudolf Hoernle was the Principal of Queen’s College, Banaras, in Samvat 1926. At that time Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who later on founded the Arya Samaja happened to reach Banaras for the first time for the propagation of his mission. Dr. Hoernle met Swami Dayananda on several occasions. He wrote an article on /Swamiji from which the following extract is noteworthy, because it reveals the real intention of many European scholars who take to study of Sanskrit and ancient scriptures of Bharatvarsha. Hoernle says:-
    ‘…….he (Dayananda) may possibly convince the Hindus that their modern Hinduism is altogether in the opposition to the Vedas……. If once they became thoroughly convinced of this radical error, they will no doubt abandon Hinduism at once…… They cannot go back to the Vedic state; that is dead and gone, and will never revive; something more or less new must follow. We hope it may be Christianity,…….’

    http://www.salagram.net/WesternIndologists-page.htm

  72. February 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Rishi, Muni, or God — none has power to force an institution on society. When the needs of the times press hard on it, society adopts certain customs for self-preservation. Rishis have only recorded those customs As a man often resorts even to such means as are good for immediate self-protection but which are very injurious in the future, similarly society also not unfrequently saves itself for the time being, but these immediate means which contributed to its preservation turn out to be terrible in the long run.
    sane man vivekananda.
    what do you say

  73. February 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Swami Vivekananda’s talk on caste was most comprehensive and interesting. He said it was not a granted [graded] system of classes, but that each caste thought itself to be superior to all the others.
    this was newspaper report in newyork 1896

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