Wednesday 8 November 2023


Having this idea of sanctity of all work in his heart, no one burned with indignation so much as Swamiji did, at the way in which we have been treating the lower classes and reducing "the images of God to mere beasts of burden" as Swamiji used to say; and most of our present day activities in connection with the depressed class mission can be directly or indirectly traced to his impassionate denunciation of the selfish doings of the higher classes and their spirit of "Don't—Touchism" and to his great teaching that the salvation of this country entirely depends on the general education and uplifting of the masses and the lower classes. In this connection he narrated an incident from the life of the late Dr. Mohendralal Sircar which made a deep and indelible impression on him. One day, Dr. Sircar and a friend of his were going along a road in Calcutta, when a bhangy (scavenger) with a load of night-soil passed them from the opposite direction. The stench from it was so abominable as to make that friend close his nose with his dhoti or cloth, but the Doctor passed on unconcerned without showing any signs of disgust. This was a wonder to the friend, who knew how nervous and fastidious was Dr. Sircar who would eat bread only when the wheat was examined grain by grain by his wife and ground. The friend therefore questioned him if his sense of smell had become blunt. To which Dr. Sircar replied "Sir, it is we that have reduced that poor man to this wretched condition. He carries my excreta on his head; am I to cover my nose and shun him?" This is just exactly what we have been doing. Swamiji's sympathy for the masses and especially the lower classes was so profound that he very often used to shed tears when he thought of their miserable condition and his own inability to uplift them all at once.

Continuing his talk on the messages of these great teachers, he said, Lord Buddha's message was also similar though expressed in a different way, suited to his own times. His teaching was: "Root out selfishness and everything that makes you selfish and follow the four-fold path of love." "As soon as selfish desires arise," said Swamiji, "as soon as selfish pursuit is followed immediately the whole man, the real man is gone and you become a slave.'' "Time flies. The world is finite and all misery. Note the first utterance of the child when it enters into the world, it weeps. That is the fact, the child weeps. This is a place for weeping! If we listened to this great message we should not be selfish''.

Then the other great messenger was Jesus of Nazareth, and his message was also the same: "Behold the kingdom of heaven is at hand and repent ye and follow me. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me is not worthy of me." (St. Mathew X 37-38). And yet Christ has also said "Render unto Caeser, Caesar's dues and to God God's," i. e., do your civil and other worldly duties loyally but at the same time let your heart abide in God. Thus said Swamiji, there is a place for all these messages in our hearts.

Then, are there no other teachers "Oh yes" said Swamiji, "Why? There is Mahomed the great messenger of equality, of the brotherhood of man, of his own Religion at least practically. Mahomed by his own life showed that amongst Mahomedans there should be perfect equality and brotherhood without any question of caste, race, creed, colour or sex. A Hindu or a Negro of Africa is hated by them as a Kafir but the moment he becomes a Mahomedan, he can sit and eat from the plate of another Mahomedan however noble and great he may be." "But what do we Hindus do exclaimed Swamiji, "If any one outside our sect touches our food we throw it away! Notwithstanding our grand philosophy our weakness consists in not practising the grand truths of that philosophy; but the greatness of Mahomed is in showing the perfect equality of man regardless of race or colour. The colour bar does not stand in his way of recognising any one as his brother, if he is only of his religion.''

But will other great prophets come on into this world? "Certainly," replied Swamiji, "There have been many more and many more will come, but what of that? Do not care for that, nor look forward to that. I would rather that each one of you become a prophet, for all of you have the same germ within you. Each one of these great teachers has been great; each has left something for us; they have been our Gods. We salute them, we are their servants. You must revere all these great teachers but at the same time, you must try to supplement their teachings with your own realisations and become a prophet yourself unto others. It is not an impossible task, for if these great teachers have been prophets and children of God, we also are the same. They reached their perfection and we are going to attain ours now. Remember the words of Jesus. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. This very moment let everyone of us make a staunch resolution that 'I will become a prophet, I will become a messenger of Light, I will become a child of God, nay, I will become a God'."

On the tree of the absolute Existence-Knowledge-Bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda) there hang innumerable Ramas, Krishnas, Buddhas, Christs, and such others, out of which one or two come down to this world now and then and produce mighty changes and revolutions.

Think not that Sita, Rama, Sri Krishna, Radha, and such others, were not historical personages, but mere allegories, or that the Scriptures have an inner and esoteric meaning only. Nay, they were beings of flesh and blood just as you are, but because they are Divinities, their lives can be interpreted both historically and spiritually.

(Vedanta Kesari - Aug 1914)
Celebrating 50 Glorious Years of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial : विवेकानन्द शिला स्मारक - एक भारत विजयी भारत :
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