Thursday, 7 September 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Sister Christine : 56


It often seemed to us that Swami Vivekananda was not consistent. For days together he would inveigh passionately against child-marriage, caste, purdah, emotionalism in religion, or some other subject, until he made us believe that there was no other point of view. Then quite suddenly, perhaps in answer to a facile acceptance of all that he had said, he would turn and rend those who agreed with him, demolish all his previous contentions, and prove conclusively that the opposite was true. "But, Swamiji," someone said in distress, "you said just the opposite yesterday." "Yes, that was yesterday," he would reply, if at all. Neither did he try to reconcile the two points of view or make any explanation. If we did not think he was consistent, what was that to him? As Emerson says. "A foolish consistence is the hobgoblin of little minds." He was looking at all the problems of life from a different vantage point. From his observation tower, the surrounding country looked different from what it did to us who were a part of the landscape. The most he ever said was, "Don't you see, I am thinking aloud?"

We came to know long afterwards that after weighing all the pros and cons, he came to a conclusion. This did not mean that he thought that one side was altogether right and the other altogether wrong, but rather that the balance was slightly in favour of the one, and probably only so because of the needs of time. Having come to this decision, he no longer discussed the matter but thought of some way to put his conclusions into practice.