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Devendra Vyas dev_vyas74 at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 27 22:25:02 CDT 1999

very well said ashish and very succintly summed up.the sun never calls  it
self the sun,it for us to call it so.sw.v never claimed his own own
greatness that is why he was great,but viewing in retrospect can't be helped
if we are serious students and moreover i don't think any geniune student of
advaita in the whole world would object to a few words in praise of sw.v.
otherwise, by the same token,someone can object to praising lord sankara

>From: Ashish Chandra <ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM>
>Reply-To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
>Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 14:20:31 EDT
>Namaste All,
>The name of Swami Vivekananda has come up again and it is my personal
>opinion that we err by calling him 1) what he never claimed for himself and
>2) dubbing him a "modernist thinker".
>I am sure there are enough here who have read Swamiji's writings and would
>therefore be aware that he never claimed for himself the position of some
>sort of expert on Hindu philosophy. Instead, he attributed his fame to his
>Guru and his knoweldge to the knowledge in our ancient scriptures.
>He came and his fame spread. That is beyond doubt. He appealed not to the
>experts of philosophy, but rather to a slave and moribund nation crying out
>for the release of its ancient spirit. He appealed to the common man,
>telling him about the greatness of his culture and religion. A thousand
>years of slavery dented our spirits. In him, India saw something to
>celebrate about.
>He never put himself at par with our Acharyas. Never did he criticize the
>Shastras. Even those texts which the secularists of today flaunt as
>Brahiminical and oppressive, even those he defended by saying that they
>might have been relevant in the times. If anyone claims that he came to
>reform Hinduism, then that person has not suffeciently imported what he
>said. He was wedded to the spirit of Bharat, as Sister Nivedita has
>As for our customs, he crticized what he termed as "Don't touchism". Citing
>the example of Malabar, he said that if an Untouchable crossed the path of
>Brahmana, he was beaten up and scolded for that but as soon as that person
>took up the name of John or Ismail, he was welcomed with full honors. This
>he termed as hypocrisy.
>I feel it would be an injustice to his greatness and memory if we indulge
>judging him in retrospect. Let us even call him an ordinary man who was
>deeply pained at the "patan" of society around him and the misery of his
>fellow countrymen. To him, the message of Vedanta provided the inspiration
>for not just his personal Moksha, but to serve selflessly (Nar Seva Narayan
>Seva), something which forms the hallmark of the ideal of Seva as a means
>Chitta Shuddhi. He was not "flattered" by calling himself God but tried to
>make the enslaved Indian fearless by claiming so on the basis of Vedanta.
>wanted to "raise" the Hindu spirit which had suffered enormously because of
>invasions etc. Let us also not forget that the call for action was from his
>Guru, something no Shishya can ignore (Swami Dayananda Saraswati is another
>We can argue endlessly about all that he did. I can also say that I am
>interpreting Swamiji but this is the closest I can get to following his
>ideas verbatim. If we don't want to call him a great Advaitin, fine. We
>can't claim for him what he never claimed for himself. However, one message
>that comes out loud and clear from his writings is that be proud of your
>culture and religion because it is this land which is the land of Rishis'
>Tapas and it is here that Man himself is considered God. Be proud of your
>Hindu heritage by knowing what it is all about. If his writings become the
>seed for a new thrist to know about our culture/traditions/scriptures, then
>Swamiji has been immensely successul, as he has been in my case.
>Jaladhar, RK Mission is not a cult that seeks to increase its numbers.
>are still welded to the idea of service as Swami Vivekananda has
>We hear all about Christian missionaries setting up schools and hospitals
>remote parts of India but never hear of other "Hindu" organisations that
>doing stellar work.
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>bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam
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