Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Memories of Eric Hammond - 1

When Swamiji came to London, he created considerable attention. Something of the wonder and admiration which had surrounded him during the Parliament of Religions at Chicago had anticipated his advent. His arresting appearance and even more arresting eloquence called many persons to his presence. London affords full scope for multitudinous experiences. It is a city of a thousand phases. Preachers and pleaders of all opinions from all parts of the world gravitate to London. The metropolis with its teeming millions is the natural lodestone that attracts men whose views are as varied as the countries by which they are sent forth. Every form of doctrine is exploited there. Every day a host of halls are filled by anxious inquirers listening to exponents of theories more or less thrilling. Opinions and theories are weighed in the balance. Religions are reviewed. Creeds are criticized and compared. The notation of human impulse, onward, upward, is sounded by performers of all degrees.

London is indeed a very volcano of eruptions, sometimes pious, sometimes philosophical, sometimes pretentious, but mainly eager and earnest. Here, then, to London came Swamiji to place himself, among many conflicting elements, as the protagonist of Hinduism. No more fitting or outstanding person could have arrived at the centre of British thought. Fortified by his intimate acquaintance of, and his infinite belief in, Shri Ramakrishna, he brought the full force of that great soul to bear upon the minds of his hearers. The bed-rock principle on which Shri Ramakrishna stood, and which Swamiji expounded, is slated by the latter in these few words: "Do not care for doctrines, do not care for dogmas, or sects, or churches, or temples; they count for little compared with the essence of existence in each man which is spirituality; and the more this is developed in each man, the more powerful is he for good. Earn that first, acquire that, and criticize no one, for all doctrines and creeds have some good in them. Show by your lives that religion does not mean words, or names, or sects, but that it means spiritual realization. Only those can understand who have felt. Only those that have attained to spirituality can communicate it to others, can be great teachers of mankind. They alone are powers of light" My Master) This essential doctrine of spirituality and its realization, preached as only Vivekananda could preach it, drew folks towards him from far and near. London quickly learnt that a striking personality had made his advent.

To be continued.....(Memoirs of Eric Hammond)

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