SWAMI VIVEKANANDA AS A PATRIOT
Perhaps the distinguishing feature of the Swami's patriotism was the fact that it was centred in the country itself. Like all religious teachers in India he had a more complex and comprehensive view of what constituted the nation than could be open to any lay mind. And he hoped for nothing from the personality or the methods of the foreigners. He occasionally accepted Europeans as his disciples, but he always disciplined them to the emphatic conviction that they "must work under black men".
Before meeting his own guru, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, he may be said to have imbibed completely all that the Europeanising movement among his own people had to give. His whole life from this point becomes a progressive recapture of national ideals. He was no student of economic sociality, but his Asiatic common sense and brilliant power of insight were of themselves enough to teach him that the labour-saving mechanism of the far West,— where vast agricultural areas have to be worked single-handed—could only be introduced to the remote East — where a tiny plot of land maintains each its man or men—at the cost of overwhelming economic disaster. He was eager indeed to see the practicability of modern science developed among his own people, but this was rather with the object of giving a new and more direct habit of thought than with any outlook on the readjustment of conditions.
He probably understood as well as any university student of the West, (for scholars there are the only people who understand the actual bearing of national and economic questions! statesmen certainly do not!) that the problem of Asia today is entirely a question of the preservation of her old institutions at any cost, and not at all of the rapidity of innovation. He was no politician : he was the greatest of nationalists.
To him the very land was beautiful,—"The green earth, mother!" The organisation of labour through all its grades, the blossoming of ideals, the fruitage of social and spiritual powers, of thought and deed, represented a mine of wealth from which his great mind and passionate reverence could perpetually draw forth new treasures of assimilated thought for the guidance and enlightenment of cruder people. It was not the religion alone, or the philosophy alone, or the Indian Samadhi alone that spoke to the world through this great teacher.
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