Saturday, 16 June 2018

The National Significance Of The, Swami Vivekananda's Life And Work - 3

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

To him, nothing Indian required apology. Did anything seem, to the pseudo-refinement of the alien, barbarous or crude? Without denying, without minimising anything his colossal energy was immediately concentrated on the vindication of .that particular point, and the unfortunate critic was tossed backwards and forwards on the horns of his own argument. One such instance occurred when an Englishman on boardship asked him some sneering question about the Puranas, and never can any who were present forget how he was pulverised, by a reply that made the Hindu Puranas, compare favourably with the Christian Gospels, but planted the Vedas and Upanishads high up beyond the reach of any rival. There was no friend that he would not sacrifice without mercy at such a moment in the name of national defence. Such an attitude was not, perhaps, always reasonable. It was often indeed frankly unpleasant. But it was superb in the manliness that even enemies must admire. To Vivekananda, again, everything Indian was absolutely and equally sacred, -"This land to which must come all souls wending their way Godward!" his religious consciousness tenderly phrased it. At Chicago, any Indian man attending the Great World Bazaar, rich or poor, high or low, Hindu, Mohammedan, Parsi, what not, might at any moment be brought by him to his hosts for hospitality and entertainment, and they well knew that any failure of kindness on their part to the least of these would immediately have
cost them his presence.

He was himself the exponent of Hinduism, but finding another Indian religionist struggling with the difficulty of presenting his case, he sat down and wrote his speech for him, making a better story for his friend's faith than its own adherent could have done! He took infinite pains to teach European disciples to eat with their fingers, and perform the ordinary simple acts of Hindu life. "Remember, if you love India at all, you must love her as she is, not as you might wish her to become" he used to say. And it was this great firmness of his, standing like a rock for what actually was, that did more than any other single fact, perhaps, to open the eyes of those aliens who loved him to the beauty and strength of that ancient poem—the common life of the common Indian people. For his own part, he was too free from the desire for approbation to make a single concession to newfangled ways. The best of every land had been offered him, but it left him still the simple Hindu of the old style, too proud of his simplicity to find any need of change. "After Ramakrishna, I follow Vidyasagar!" he exclaimed, only two days before his death, and out came the oftrepeated story of the wooden sandals coming pitter patter with the Chudder and Dhoti, into the Viceregal Council Chamber, and the surprised "But if you didn't want me, why did you ask me to come?" of the old Pundit, when they remonstrated.

To be continued...........