विद्महे विवेकानन्दाय धीमहि । तन्नो वीर: प्रचोदयात् ।
C/O GEORGE W. HALE ESQ.,
541 DEARBORN AVENUE, CHICAGO,
24th January, 1894.
DEAR FRIENDS, (His disciples in Madras)
Your letters have reached me. I am surprised that so much about
me has reached you. The criticism you mention of the Interior is
not to be taken as the attitude of the American people. That
paper is almost unknown here, and belongs to what they call a
"blue-nose Presbyterian paper", very bigoted. Still all the
"blue-noses" are not ungentlemanly. The American people, and
many of the clergy, are very hospitable to me. That paper wanted
a little notoriety by attacking a man who was being lionised by
society. That trick is well known here, and they do not think
anything of it. Of course, our Indian missionaries may try to
make capital out of it. If they do, tell them, "Mark, Jew, a
judgment has come upon you!" Their old building is tottering to
its foundation and must come down in spite of their hysterical
shrieks. I pity them — if their means of living fine lives in
India is cut down by the influx of oriental religions here. But
not one of their leading clergy is ever against me. Well, when I
am in the pond, I must bathe thoroughly.
I send you a newspaper cutting of the short sketch of our
religion which I read before them. Most of my speeches are
extempore. I hope to put them in book form before I leave the
country. I do not require any help from India, I have plenty
here. Employ the money you have in printing and publishing
this short speech; and translating it into the vernaculars,
throw it broadcast; that will keep us before the national
mind. In the meantime do not forget our plan of a central
college, and the starting from it to all directions in India.
Work hard. . . .
About the women of America, I cannot express my gratitude for
their kindness. Lord bless them. In this country, women are the
life of every movement, and represent all the culture of the
nation, for men are too busy to educate themselves.
I have received Kidi's letters. With the question whether caste
shall go or come I have nothing to do. My idea is to bring to
the door of the meanest, the poorest, the noble ideas that the
human race has developed both in and out of India, and let them
think for themselves. Whether there should be caste or not,
whether women should be perfectly free or not, does not concern
me. "Liberty of thought and action is the only condition of
life, of growth and well-being." Where it does not exist,
the man, the race, the nation must go down.
Caste or no caste, creed or no creed, any man, or class, or
caste, or nation, or institution which bars the power of free
thought and action of an individual — even so long as that power
does not injure others — is devilish and must go down.
My whole ambition in life is to set in motion a machinery
which will bring noble ideas to the door of everybody, and
then let men and women settle their own fate. Let them know what
our forefathers as well as other nations have thought on the
most momentous questions of life. Let them see specially what
others are doing now, and then decide. We are to put the
chemicals together, the crystallization will be done by nature
according to her laws. Work hard, be steady, and have faith in
the Lord. Set to work, I am coming sooner or later. Keep the
motto before you — "Elevation of the masses without injuring
Remember that the nation lives in the cottage. But, alas!
nobody ever did anything for them. Our modern reformers
are very busy about widow remarriage. Of course, I am a
sympathiser in every reform, but the fate of a nation does not
depend upon the number of husbands their widows get, but upon
the condition of the masses. Can you raise them? Can you
give them back their lost individuality without making them
lose their innate spiritual nature? Can you become an
occidental of occidentals in your spirit of equality, freedom,
work, and energy, and at the same time a Hindu to the very
backbone in religious culture and instincts? This is to be
done and we will do it. You are all born to do it. Have faith
in yourselves, great convictions are the mothers of great
deeds. Onward for ever! Sympathy for the poor, the
downtrodden, even unto death — this is our motto.
Onward, brave lads!
PS. Do not publish this letter; but there is no harm in
preaching the idea of elevating the masses by means of a central
college, and bringing education as well as religion to the door
of the poor by means of missionaries trained in this college.
Try to interest everybody.
I send you a few newspaper cuttings — only from the very best
and highest. The one by Dr. Thomas is very valuable as written
by one of the, if not the leading clergymen of America. The
Interior with all its fanaticism and thirst for notoriety was
bound to say that I was the public favourite. I cut a few lines
from that magazine also.
Join the year long 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda : sv150.org
Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari