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anandharig anandharig at INF.COM
Wed Oct 27 23:26:39 CDT 1999

Well said Ashish .
Let's please stop this discussions now.
If anybody has dislike for Swami VivekAnand then it's his problem.
Let's start some constructive discussion.

                -----Original Message-----
                From:   Ashish Chandra [mailto:ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM]
                Sent:   Thursday, October 28, 1999 1:23 AM
                To:     anandharig

                Namaste All,

                The name of Swami Vivekananda has come up again and it is my
                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

                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 written.

                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 a
                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 in
                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 to
                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. He
                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

                Jaladhar, RK Mission is not a cult that seeks to increase
its numbers.  They
                are still welded to the idea of service as Swami Vivekananda
has envisioned.
                We hear all about Christian missionaries setting up schools
and hospitals in
                remote parts of India but never hear of other "Hindu"
organisations that are
                doing stellar work.


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