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Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Sun Oct 31 20:03:08 CST 1999

On Wed, 27 Oct 1999, Ashish Chandra wrote:

> 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".

The only reason the subject has come is because of extravagent claims from
his followers.  If you or other list members have benefited from his
teachings, then good for you.  Personally, I'm happy when knowledge is
increased and ignorance is decreased whatever the method.  It's the
propoganda I find annoying.

> 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.

Then his would-be shishyas should stop treating him like one then.

> Instead, he attributed his fame to his
> Guru and his knoweldge to the knowledge in our ancient scriptures.

The same ones which were dead and gone?  If the quote presented was
incorrect, I take back everything i've said.  If it is true then it
deserves to be criticised.

> 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.

The only slave and moribund nation was the colonial babu class and they
sold themselves into slavery so they don't deserve a lot of sympathy from

>  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.

The common man never gave (and doesn't give) a damn about foreigners and
what they thought.  The common man didn't need rescuing, a tiny
westernized elite did.

> 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.

Then perhaps we are not listening very hard?  In Gujarat, the Akshar
Purushottam Swaminarayana Sanstha, one of the leading Vaishnava sects is
at the forefront of drought relief, medical care, etc..  They help
thousands of people without compromising the least bit in strict obsevence
of Dharma.  They know Naraseva is a complement to Narayanaseva not a
replacement for it.  That's why I regularly donate to their campaigns even
though I don't believe in all aspects of their religion.  On the other
hand, the RK mission don't appear to be doing anything.  But I'll take
your word for it.  If they are doing good things for people then they
deserve that much praise but let's keep things in proportion shall we?

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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