Thursday 9 February 2017

Swamiji in Chennai 10 Feb 1897

On the evening of Wednesday, February 10, the Swami attended an at-home held in his honour at the premises of the Social Reform Association, in Black Town. A handsome fan was presented to him as a memento of his visit. In his conversation with the members, he gave little or no encouragement to the revolutionary views entertained by the society's leaders, but "admitted the need for social reforms", such as the removal of untouchability, the restoration and rearrangement of the caste system so as to recover its ancient rationale, and so on.

Some exerts from the interview to Hindu Reporter, (full interview attached)

1 "What is your idea about the results of the Parliament of Religions?"


             "The Parliament of Religions, as it seems to me, was intended for a 'heathen show' before the world: but it turned out that the heathens had the upper hand and made it a Christian show all around. So the Parliament of Religions was a failure from the Christian standpoint, seeing that the Roman Catholics, who were the organisers of that Parliament, are, when there is talk of another Parliament at Paris, now steadily opposing it. But the Chicago Parliament was a tremendous success for India and Indian thought. It helped on the tide of Vedanta, which is flooding the world. The American people -- of course, minus  the fanatical priests and Church - women -- are very glad of the results of the Parliament."

2 "What did you see in Japan, and is there any chance of India following in the progressive steps of Japan?"


             "None whatever, until all the three hundred millions of India combine together as a whole nation. The world has never seen such a patriotic and artistic race as the Japanese, and one special feature about them is this that while in Europe and elsewhere Art generally goes with dirt, Japanese Art is Art plus  absolute cleanliness. I would wish that every one of our young men could visit Japan once at least in his lifetime.

3 "What is the key to Japan's sudden greatness?"


             "The faith of the Japanese in themselves, and their love for their country. When you have men who are ready to sacrifice their everything for their country, sincere to the backbone -- when such men arise, India will become great in every respect. It is the men that make the country!

4 "Is it your wish that India should become like Japan?"


             "Decidedly not. India should continue to be what she is. How could India ever become like Japan, or any nation for the matter of that? In each nation, as in music, there is a main note, a central theme, upon which all others turn. Each nation has a theme: everything else is secondary. India's theme is religion. Social reform and everything else are secondary. Therefore India cannot be like Japan. It is said that when 'the heart breaks', then the flow of thought comes. India's heart must break, and the flow of spirituality will come out. India is India. We are not like the Japanese, we are Hindus. India's very atmosphere is soothing.

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