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8]<OU_1 66549 f 

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Himalay. Xr. ,e,.No. XX11 












Arise ! Awake ! and stop not SKSNl^**^B til! the 8 oal " 

M^yavati Memorial Edition. 



Mayaoati P.O., Almora, 

All rights reserved. 

Price, Rs. 2/12. Foreign, $ 125 or 5s. 

Published by 



Mayavati, Almora. 



Printer : S. C. MAJUMDAR 

7///, Mirzapur St., College Sq.> Calcutta. 


EPISTLES FIRST SERIES (Original & Translated) 

I_LXX 1 114 










BASIS 155 






II. ON FANATICISM . . . . 169 



LIFE 176 

VII. WHO IS A REAL GURU? . . . .184 




















u. s. A 234 


U. S. A. 236 


DISCIPLES) I (Translated) 


PRIVATE DIARY ] .... 247 














THE EAST & THE WEST .... 344 






20th September, 1892. 

Your letter has reached me duly. I do not know 
why I should be undeservingly praised. **None is good, 
save One, that is, God," as the Lord Jesus hath said. The 
rest are only tools in His hands. * "Gloria in Excelsis," 
4 'Glory unto God in the highest," and unto men that 
deserve, but not to such an undeserving one like me. 
Here, "The servant is not worthy of the hire/' and a Fakir, 
especially, has no right to any praise whatsoever, for would 
you praise your servant for simply doing his duty ? 

* * * My unbounded gratitude to Pandit S , and 
to my Professor* for this kind remembrance 6f me. 

Now I would tell you something else. The Hzndu mind 
was ever deductive and never synthetic or inductive. In 
all our philosophies, we always find hair-splitting argu- 
ments, taking for granted some general proposition, but the 
proposition itself may be as childish as possible. Nobody 
ever asked or searched the truth of these general proposi- 
tions. Therefore, independent thought we have almost 
none to speak of, and hence the dearth of those sciences 
which are the results of observation and generalisation. 
And why was it thus? From two causes; The tre- 
mendous heat of the climate forcing us to love rest and 

* Swamiji used to call him Professor, for he read the Maha Bhashya 
of Panini with him. 


contemplation better than activity, and the Brahmanas 
as priests never undertaking journeys or voyages to 
distant lands. There were voyagers and people who 
travelled far ; but they were almost always traders, i.e., 
people from whom priestcraft and their own sole love for 
gain had taken away all capacity for intellectual develop- 
ment. So their observations, instead of adding to the 
store of human knowledge, rather degenerated it. For, 
their observations were bad, and their accounts exaggerated 
and tortured into fantastical shapes, until they passed all 

So you see, we must travel, we must go to 
foreign parts. We must see how the engine of society 
'works in other countries, and keep free and open 
communication with what is going on in the minds of 
other nations, if we really want to be a nation again. And 
over and above all, we must cease to tyrannise. To what 
a ludicrous state are we brought ! If a bhangi comes to 
anybody as a bhangi, he would be shunned as the plague ; 
but no sooner does he get a cupful of water poured upon 
his head with some mutterings of prayers by a Padri, and 
get a coat to his back, no matter how threadbare, and come 
into the room of the most orthodox Hindu, I don't see 
the man who then dares refuse him a chair and a hearty 
shake of the hands I 1 Irony can go no farther. And come 
and see what they, the P&dris, are doing here in the 
Oakshin (South). They are converting the lower classes 
by lakhs ; and in Travancore, the most priest-ridden 
country in India, where every bit of land is owned by the 
Brahmanas, and the females, even of the royal family, hold 
it as high honour to live in concubinage with the Brahmanas, 
nearly one-fourth has become Christian I And I cannot 
blame them ; what part have they in David and what in 
Jesse? When, when, O Lord, shall man be brother to 
man? Yours, 





27th April 1893. 

Your letter has just reached me. I am very much 
gratified by your love for my unworthy self. So, so sorry 
to learn, that poor B has lost his son. "The* Lord gave 
and the Lord hath^taken away ; blessed be the name of 
the Lord." We only know that nothing is lost or can be 
lost. For us is only submission, calm and perfect. The 
soldier has no right to complain, nay murmur, if the 
general orders him into the cannon's mouth. May He 
comfort B in his grief, and may it draw him closer and 
closer to the breast of the All-Merciful Mother. 

As to my taking ship I have already made arrangements 
from Bombay. Tell B that the Raja* or my Gurubhais 
would be the last men to put any obstacles in my way. 
As for the Rajaji, his love for me is simply without limit. 

May the Giver of all good bless you all here and here- 
after, will be the constant prayer of 




10th July, 1893. 

Excuse my not keeping you constantly informed of my 
movements. One is so busy every day, and especially 
myself who am quite new to the life of possessing things 
and taking care of them. That consumes so much of my 
energy. It is really an awful botheration. 

From Bombay we reached Colombo. Our steamer 

* The Maharaja of Khetri, Rajputana. 


remained in port for nearly the whole day, and we took 
the opportunity of getting off to have a look at the town. 
We drove through the streets and the only thing I remem- 
ber, was a temple in which was a very gigantic Murti 
(image) of the Lord Buddha in a reclining posture, entering 
Nirvana. * * * 

The n$xt station was Penang, which is only a strip of 
land along the sea in the body of the Malay Peninsula. 
The Malayas are all Mahommendans, and in old days were 
noted pirates and quite a dread to merchantmen. But now 
the leviathan guns of modern turreted battleships have 
forced the Malays to look about for more peaceful pursuits. 
On our way from Penang to Singapore, we had glimpses 
of Sumatra with its high mountains, and the Captain 
pointed out to me several places as the favourite haunts 
of pirates in days gone by. Singapore is the capital of the 
Straits Settlements. It has a fine botanical garden with 
the most splendid collection of palms. The beautiful 
fan-like palm called the traveller's palm, grows here in 
abundance, and the bread-fruit tree everywhere. The 
celebrated mangosteen is as plentiful here as mangoes in 
Madras, but mango is nonpareil. The people here are 
not half so dark as the people of Madras, although so near 
the line. Singapore possesses a fine museum too. 

Honkong next. You feel that you have reached China, 
the Chinese element predominates so much. All labour, 
all trade seems to beyin their hands. And Honkong is real 
China. As soon as the steamer casts anchor, you are 
besieged witti hundreds of Chinese boats to carry you to 
the land. These boats with two helms are rather peculiar. 
The boatman lives in the boat with his family. Almost 
always, the wife is at the helms, managing one with her 
hands and the other with one of her feet. And in ninety 
per cent, cases, you find a baby tied to her back, with 
the hands and feet of the little Chin left free. It is a quaint 
sight to see the little John Chinaman dangling very quietly 


from his mother's back, whilst she is now setting with 
might and main, now pushing heavy loads, or jumping 
with wonderful agility from boat to boat. And there is 
such a rush of boats and steam-launches coming in and 
going out. Baby John is every moment put into the risk of 
having his little head pulverised, pigtail and all ; but he 
does not care a fig. This busy life seems to have no charm 
for him, and he is quite content to learn the Anatomy of 
a bit of rice-cake given to him from time to time, by the 
madly busy mother. The Chinese child is quite a 
philosopher and calmly goes to work at an age \ \en your 
Indian boy can hardly crawl on all fours. He has 
learned the philosophy of necessity too well. Their 
extreme poverty is one of the causes why the Chinese 
and the Indians have remained in a state of mummified 
civilisation. To an ordinary Hindu or Chinese, everyday 
necessity is too hideous to allow him to think of anything 

Honkong is a very beautiful town. It is built on the 
slopes of hills and on the tops too, which are much cooler 
than the city. There is an almost perpendicular tramway 
going to the top of the hill, dragged by wire-rope and 

We remained three days at Honkong and went to see 
Canton, which is eighty miles up a river. What a scene of 
bustle and life ! What an immefise number of boats 
almost covering the waters ! And not only those that are 
carrying on the trade, but hundreds of others which serve 
as houses to live in. And quite a lot of them so nice and 
big. In fact they are big houses two or three stories high, 
with verandahs running round, and streets between and all 
floating ! 

We landed on a strip of ground given by the Chinese 
Government to foreigners to live in. Around us on both 
sides of the river for miles and miles is the big city a 
"wilderness of human beings, pushing, struggling, surging. 


roaring. But with all its population, all its activity, it is the 
dirtiest town I saw, not in the sense in which a town is called 
dirty in India, for as to that not a speck of filth is allowed by 
the Chinese to go waste ; but because of the Chinaman, 
who has, it seems, taken^ a vow never to bathe I Every 
house is a shop, people living only on the top-floor. The 
streets are very very narrow, so that you almost touch the 
shops on fcoth sides as you pass. At every ten paces 
you find meat-stalls, and there are shops which sell cat's 
and dog's meat. Of course, only the poorest classes of 
Chinamen eat dog or cat. 

The Chinese lady can never be seen. They have got 
as strict a Zenana as the Hindus of Northern India ; only 
the women of the labouring classes can be seen. Even 
amongst these, one sees now and then a woman with feet 
smaller than those of your youngest child, and of course 
they cannot be said to walk, but hobble. 

I went to see several Chinese temples. The biggest 
in Canton is dedicated to the memory of the first Buddhistic 
Emperor and the five hundred first disciples of Buddhism. 
The central figure is of course Buddha, and next beneath 
Him is seated the Emperor, and ranging on both sides are 
the statues of the disciples, all beautifully carved out of 

"From Canton back to Honkong, and from thence to 
Japan. The first port we touched was Nagasaki. We 
landed for a few hours and drove through the town. What 
a contrast ! The Japanese are one of the cleanliest peoples 
on earth. Everything is neat and tidy. Their streets are 
nearly all broad, straight and regularly paved. Their little 
houses are cage-like, and their pine-covered evergreen little 
hills form the background of almost every town and 
village. The short-statured, fair-skinned, quaintly-dressed 
Japs, their movements, attitudes, gestures, everything is 
picturesque. Japan is the land of the picturesque ! 
Almost every house has a garden at the back, very nicely 


laid out according to Japanese fashion with small shrubs, 
grass-plots, small artificial waters and small stone bridges. 

From Nagasaki to Kobe. Here I gave up the steamer 
and took the land-route to Yokohama, with a view to see 
the interior of Japan. 

I have seen three big cities in the interior, Osaka, 
a great manufacturing town, Kioto, the former capital, and 
Tokio, the present capital. Tokio is nearly twice the size 
of Calcutta with nearly double the population. 

No foreigner is allowed to travel in the interior without 
a passport. 

The Japanese seem now to have fully awakened them- 
selves to the necessity of the present times. They have 
now a thoroughly organised army equipped with guns, 
which one of their own officers has invented, and which is 
said to be second to none. Then, they are continually 
increasing their navy. I have seen a tunnel nearly a mile 
long, bored by a Japanese engineer. 

The match factories are simply a sight to see, and they 
are bent upon making everything they want in their own 
country. There is a Japanese line of steamers plying 
between China and Japan, which shortly intends running 
between Bombay and Yokohama. 

I saw quite a lot of temples. In every temple there are 
some Sanskrit Mantras written in old Bengali characters, 
Only a few of the priests know Sanskrit. But they are an 
intelligent sect. The modern rage for progress has 
penetrated even the priesthood. I cannot write what I have 
in my mind about the Japs in one short letter. Only 
I want that numbers of our young men should pay a visit 
to Japan every year. To the Japanese, India is still the 
dreamland of everything high and good. And you, what 

are you? talking twaddle all your lives, vain talkers, 

what are you? Come, see these people and then go and 
hide your faces in shame. A race of dotards, you lose youi 


caste if you come out ! Sitting down these hundreds of 
years with an ever-increasing load of crystallised supersti- 
tion on your heads, for hundreds of years spending all your 
energy upon discussing the touchableness or untouchable- 
ness of this food or that, with all humanity crushed out of 
you by the continuous social tyranny of ages what are 

you? And what are you doing now? promenading 

the sea-shores with books in your hands repeating un- 
digested stray bits of European brainwork, and the whole 
soul bent upon getting a thirty rupees clerkship, or at best 
becoming a lawyer the height of young India's ambition, 
and every student with a whole brood of hungry children 
cackling at his heels and asking for bread ! Is there not 
water enough in the sea to drown you, books, gowns, 
university diplomas, and all? 

Come, be men ! Kick out the priests who are always 
against progress, because they would never mend, their 
hearts would never become big. They are the offspring 
of centuries of superstition and tyranny. Root out priest- 
craft first. Come, be men ! Come out of your narrow 
holes and have a look abroad. See how nations are on the 
march ! Do you love man ? Do you love your country ? 
Then come, let us struggle for higher and better things ; 
look not back, no, not even if you see the dearest and 
nearest cry. Look not back, but forward ! 

India wants the sacrifice of at least a thousand of her 
young men, men, mind, and not brutes. The English 
Government has been the instrument brought over here by 
the Lord, to break your crystallised civilisation, and Madras 
supplied the first men who helped in giving the English a 
footing. How many men, unselfish, thorough-going men, 
is Madras ready now to supply, to struggle unto life and 
death to bring about a new state of things sympathy for 
the poor and bread to their hungry mouths enlighten- 
ment to the people at large and struggle unto death to 


make men of them who have been brought to the level of 
beasts, by the tyranny of your forefathers? 

Yours &c., 


P. S. Calm and silent and steady work, and no news- 
paper humbug, no name-making, you must always 




20th August, 1893. 

Received your letter yesterday. Perhaps you have by 
this time got my letter from Japan. From Japan I reached 
Vancouver. The way was by the Northern Pacific. It 
was very cold and I suffered much for want of warm 
clothing. However, I reached Vancouver anyhow, and 
thence went through Canada to Chicago. I remained about 
twelve days in Chicago. And almost every day I used to 
go to the Fair. It is a tremendous affair. One must take, 

at least ten days to go through it. The lady to whom B 

introduced me, and her husband, belong to the highest 
Chicago society, and they were so very kind to me. I took 
my departure from Chicago and came to Boston. Mr. 
L was with me up to Boston. He was very kind to me. 

The expense I am bound to run into here is awful 

On an average it costs me l every day ; a cigar 
costs eight annas of our money. The Americans are so 
rich that they spend money like water, and by forced 
legislation keep up the price of everything so high, that no 
other nation on earth can approach it. Every common 
coolie earns nine or ten rupees a day, and spends it. All 


those rosy ideas we had before starting have melted, and 
I have now to fight against impossibilities. A hundred 
times I had a mind to go out of the country and go back to 
India. But I am determined, and I have a call from above ; 
I see no way, but His eyes see. And I must stick to my 
guns, life or death. * * * 

Just now I am living as the guest of an old lady in a 
village near Boston. I accidentally made her acquaintance 
in the railway train, and she invited me to come over and 
live with her. I have an advantage in living with her, in 
saving for some time my expenditure of 1 per day, and 
she has the advantage of inviting her friends over here, and 
showing them a curio from India ! And all this must be 
borne. Starvation, cold, hooting in the streets on account 
of my quaint dress, these are what I have to fight against. 
But, my dear boy, no great things were ever done without 
great labour. 

* * Know then that this is the land of Christians, 
and any other influence than that is almost zero. Nor do 
I care a bit for the enmity of any ists in the world. I am 
here amongst the children of the Son of Mary, and the Lord 
Jesus will help me. They like much the broad views of 
Hinduism and my love for the Prophet of Nazareth. I tell 
them that I preach nothing against the Great One of Galilee. 
I only ask the Christians to take in the Great Ones of Ind 
along with the Lord Jesus, and they appreciate it. 

Winter is approaching and I shall have to get all sorts 
of warm clothing, and we require more warm clothing than 

the natives Look sharp, my boy, take courage. 

We are destined by the Lord to do great things in India. 
Have faith. We will do. We, the poor and the despised* 
who really feel, and not those 

In Chicago, the other day, a funny thing happened. 
The Raja of K was here, and he was being lionised by 
some portion of Chicago society. I once met the Raja in 
the Fair grounds, but he was too big to speak with a poor 


Fakir. There was an eccentric Mahratta Brahmana selling 
nail-made pictures in the Fair, dressed in a dhoti. This 
fellow told the reporters all sorts of things against the 
Raja , that he was a man of low caste, that those Rajas 
were nothing but slaves, and that they generally lead 
immoral lives, etc., etc. And these truthful (?) editors for 
which America is famous, wanted to give to the boy's stories 
some weight ; and so the next day they wrote huge columns 
in their papers about the description of a man of wisdom 
from India, meaning me, extolling me to the iliies, and 
putting all sorts of words in my mouth, which I never even 
dreamt of, and ascribing to me all those remarks made by 

the Mahratta Brahmana about the Raja of K . And it 

was such a good brushing that Chicago society gave up the 

Raja in hot haste These newspaper editors made 

capital out of me to give my countryman a brushing. That 
shows, however, that in this country intellect carries more 
weight than all the pomp of money and title. 

Yesterday Mrs. , the lady superintendent of the 

women's prison, was here. They don't call it prison but 
reformatory here. It is the grandest thing I have seen in 
America. How the inmates are benevolently treated, how 
they are reformed and sent back as useful members of 
society ; how grand, how beautiful you must see to 
believe ! And, oh, how my heart ached to think of what 
we think of the poor, the low, in India. They have no 
chance, no escape, no way to climb up. The poor, the low, 
the sinner in India have no friends, no help, they cannot 
rise, try however they may. They sink lower and lower 
every day, they feel the blows showering upon them by a 
cruel society, and they do not know whence the blow 
comes. They have forgotten that they too are men. And 
the result is slavery. Thoughtful people within the last 
few years have seen it, but unfortunately laid it at the door 
of the Hindu religion, and to them, the only way of bettering 
is by crushing this grandest religion of the world. Hear 


me, my friend, I have discovered the secret through the 
grace of the Lord. Religion is not at fault. On the other 
hand, your religion teaches you that every being is only 
your own self multiplied. But it was the want of practical 
application, the want of sympathy the want of heart. 
The Lord once more came to you as Buddha and taught 
you how to feel, how to sympathise with the poor, the 
miserable, the sinner, but you heard Him not. Your 
priests invented the horrible story that the Lord was here 
for deluding demons with false doctrines ! True indeed, 
but we are the demons, not those that believed. And just 
as the Jews denied the Lord Jesus and are since that day 
wandering over the world as homeless beggars, tyrannised 
over by everybody, so you are bond-slaves to any nation 
that thinks it worth while to rule over you. Ah, tyrants ! 
you do not know that the obverse is tyranny, and the 
reverse, slavery. The slave and the tyrant are synonymous. 

B and G may remember one evening at 

Pondichery, we were discussing the matter of sea-voyage 
with a Pandit, and I shall always remember his brutal 
gestures and his Kadapi na (never) ! They do not know 
that India is a very small part of the world, and the whole 
world looks down with contempt upon the three hundred 
millions of earth-worms crawling upon the fair soil of India 
and trying to oppress each other. This state of things must 
be removed, not by destroying religion but by following the 
great teachings of the Hindu faith, and joining with it .the 
wonderful sympathy of that logical development of 
Hinduism, Buddhism. 

A hundred thousand men and women, fired with the 
zeal of holiness, fortified with eternal faith in the Lord, and 
nerved to lion's courage by their sympathy for the poor 
and the fallen and the down- trodden, will go over the length 
and breadth of the land, preaching the gospel of salvation, 
the gospel of help, the gospel of social raising-up the 
gospel of Equality. 


No religion on earth preaches the dignity of humanity 
in such a lofty strain as Hinduism, and no religion on earth 
treads upon the necks of the poor and the low in such a 
fashion as Hinduism. The Lord has shown me that 
religion is not at fault, but it is the Pharisees and Sadducees 
in Hinduism, hypocrites, who invent all sorts of engines of 
tyranny in the shape of doctrines of Paramarthika and 

Despair not, remember the Lord says in the Gita, "To 
workjyou have the right, but not to the result/* Gird up 
your loins, my boy. I am called by the Lord for this. 
I have been dragged through a whole life full of crosses and 
tortures, I have seen the nearest and dearest die, almost of 
starvation, I have been ridiculed, distrusted, and have 
suffered for my sympathy for the very men who scoff and 
scorn. Well, my boy, this is the school of misery, which 
is also the school for great souls ancT prophets for the 
cultivation of sympathy, of patience, and above all, of an 
in Jorrutable iron will which quakes not even if the universe 
bepulverised ^itjour feet. I pity them. It is not their fault. 
They are children, yea, veritable children, though they be 
great and high in society. Their eyes see nothing beyond 
their little horizon of a few yards, the routine-work, eating, 
drinking, earning and begetting, following each other in 
mathematical precision. They know nothing beyond, 
happy little souls ! Their sleep is never disturbed. Their 
nice little brown-studies of lives never rudely shocked by 
the wail of woe, of misery, of degradation and poverty, 
that has filled the Indian atmosphere, the result of 
centuries of oppression. They little dream of the ages of 
tyranny, mental, moral and physical, that has reduced the 
image of God to a mere beast of burden ; the emblem of 
the Divine Mother, to a slave to bear children ; and life 
itself, a curse. But there are others who see, feel, and shed 
tears of blood in their hearts, who think that there is a 
remedy for it, and who are ready to apply this remedy at 


any cost, even to the giving up of life. And "Of such is 
the kingdom of Heaven/* Is it not then natural, my 
friends, that they have no time to look down from their 
heights to the vagaries of these contemptible little insects, 
ready every moment to spit their little venoms ? 

Trust not to the so-called rich, they are more dead than 
alive. The hope lies in you in the meek, the lowly, but 
the faithfal. Have faith in the Lord ; no policy, it is 
nothing. Feel for the miserable and look up for help it 
shall come. I have travelled twelve years with this load 
in my heart and this idea in my head. I have gone from 
door to door of the so-called rich and great. With a 
bleeding heart I have crossed half the world to this strange 
land, seeking for help. The Lord is great. I know He will 
help me. 1 may perish of cold or hunger in this land, but 
I bequeath to you, young men, this sympathy, this struggle 
for the poor, the ignorant, the oppressed. Go now this 
minute to the temple of Parthasarathi, and before Him who 
was friend to the poor and lowly cowherds of Gokula, who 
never shrank to embrace the pariah Guhaka, who accepted 
the invitation of a prostitute in preference to that of the 
nobles and saved her in His incarnation as Buddha yea, 
down on your faces before Him, and make a great sacrifice, 
the sacrifice of a whole life for them, for whom He comes 
from time to time, whom He loves above all, the poor, the 
lowly, the oppressed. Vow then to devote your whole 
lives to the cause of the redemption of these three hundred 
millions, going down and down every day. 

It is not the work of a day, and the path is full of the 
most deadly thorns. But Parthasarathi is ready to be our 
Sarathi, we know that, and in His name and with eternal 
faith in Him, set fire to the mountain of misery that has been 
heaped upon India for ages and it shall be burned down. 
Come then, look it in the face, brethren, it is a grand task 
and we are so low. But we are the sons of Light and 
children of God. Glory unto the Lord, we will succeed. 


Hundreds will fall in the struggle hundreds will be ready 
to take it up. I may die here unsuccessful, another will 
take up the task. You know the disease, you know the 
remedy, only have faith. Do not look up to the so-called 
rich and great ; do not care for the heartless intellectual 
writers, and their cold-blooded newspaper articles. Faith 
sympathy, fiery faith and fiery sympathy ! Life is 
nothing, death is nothing, hunger nothing, colcJ nothing. 
Glory unto the Lord march on, the Lord is our General. 
Do not look back to see who falls forward onward I 
Thus and thus we shall go on, brethren. One falls, and 
another takes up the work. 

From this village I am going to Boston to-morrow. 
I am going to speak at a big Ladies* Club here, which is 
helping Ramabai. I must first go and buy some clothing 
in Boston. If I am to live longer here, my quaint dress will 
not do. People gather by hundreds in the streets to see 
me. So what I want is to dress myself in a long black coat* 
and keep a red robe and turban to wear when I lecture. 

This is what they advise me to do It is necessary to 

remain here for some time to gain any influence. * * * 

In America, there are no classes in the railway except 
in Canada. So I have to travel first-class, as that is the only 
class ; but I do not venture in the Pullmans. They are 
very comfortable, you sleep, eat, drink, even bathe in 
them, just as if you were in a hotel, but they are too 

It is very hard work getting into society and making 
yourself heard. Now nobody is in the towns, they are all 
away in summer places. They will all come back in 
winter. Therefore I must wait. After such a struggle 
I am not going to give up easily. Rome was not built in a 
day. If you can keep me here for six months at least, 
I hope everything will come right. In the meantime I am 
trying my best to find any plank I can float upon. 

Even now it is so cold in New England that every day 


we have fires night and morning. Canada is still colder. 
I never saw snow on such low hills as there. 

Gradually I can make my way ; but that means a longer 
residence in this horribly expensive country. Just now the 
raising of the Rupee in India has created a panic in this 

country, and lots of mills have been stopped I must 


I must try to the end, and even if I die of cold or 
disease or hunger here, you take up the task. Holiness, 
sincerity and faith. First I will try in America, and if I fail, 
I will try in England ; if I fail there too, I can go back to 
India and wait for further commands from On High. 




The 2nd November, 1893. 


I am so sorry that a moment's weakness on my part 
should cause you so much trouble ; I was out of pocket at 
that time. Since then the Lord sent me friends. At a 
village near Boston I made the acquaintance of Dr. Wright, 
Professor of Greek in the Harvard University. He 
sympathised with me very much and urged upon me the 
necessity of going to the Parliament of Religions, which he 
thought would give me an introduction to the nation. As 
I was not acquainted with anybody, the Professor under- 
took to arrange everything for me, and eventually I came 
back to Chicago. Here I, together with the oriental and 
Qidental delegates to the Parliament of Religions, were 
all lodged in the house of a gentleman. 

On the morning of the opening of the Parliament, v r e 


all assembled in a building called the Art Palace, where 
one huge, and other smaller temporary halls were erected 
for the sittings of the Parliament. Men from all nations 
were there. From India were Mazoomdar of the Brahmo 
Samaj, and Nagarkar of Bombay, Mr. Gandhi representing 
the Jains, and Mr. Chakravarti representing Theosophy 
with Mrs. Annie Besant. Of these, Mazoomdar and I were, 
of course, old friends, and Chakravarti knew me by name. 
There was a grand procession, and we were all marshalled 
on to the platform. Imagine a hall below and a huge 
gallery above, packed with six or seven thousand men and 
women representing the best culture of the country, and 
on the platform learned men of all the nations of the earth. 
And I, who never spoke in public in my life, to address this 
august assemblage ! ! It was opened in great form with 
music and ceremony and speeches ; then the delegates 
were introduced one by one, and they stepped up and 
spoke. Of course my heart was fluttering and my tongue 
nearly dried up ; I was so nervous, and could not venture 
to speak in the morning. Mazoomdar made a nice speech, 
Chakravarti a nicer one, and they were much applauded. 
They were all prepared and came with ready-made 
speeches. I was a fool and had none, but bowed down to 
Devi Saraswati and stepped up, and Dr. Barrows introduced 
me. I made a short speech. 1 addressed the assembly as, 
"Sisters and Brothers of America," a deafening applause 
of two minutes followed, and then I proceeded, and^wfeetf 
it was finished 1 sat down, almost exhausted with emotion. 
The next day all the papers announced that my speech was 
the hit of the day, and! I became known to the whole of 
America. Truly has it been said by the great commentator 
Sridhara *gfrj!^^ 
speaker. ' ' His name be praised I From that day I became 

___^~ ' ' ' ' "^ W. 1 1 

a celebrity, and the day I read my paper on Hinduism, the 
hall was packed as it had never been before. I quote to 
you from one of the papers: "Ladies, ladies, ladies 

B * 


packing every place filling every corner, they patiently 
waited and waited while the papers that separated them 
from Vivekananda were read," &c. You would be 
astonished if I sent over to you the newspaper cuttings, but 
you already know that I am a hater of celebrity. Suffice 
it to say, that whenever 1 went on the platform a deafening 
applause would be raised for me. Nearly all the papers 
paid high tributes to me, and even the most bigoted had to 
admit that "This man with his handsome face and magnetic 
presence and wonderful oratory is the most prominent 
figure in the Parliament," &c., &c. * * * 

And how to speak of their kindness ? I have no more 
wants now, I am well-off, and all the money that I require 

to visit Europe I shall get from here A boy called 

N Acharya has cropped up in our midst. He has been 
loafing about the city for the last three years. Loafing or 
no loafing, I like him, but please write to me all about him, 
if you know anything. He knows you. He came in the 
year of the Paris Exhibition to Europe. * * * 

I am now out of want. Many of the handsomest 
houses in this city are open to me. All the time 1 am living 
as a guest of somebody or other. There is a curiosity in 
this nation, such as you meet with nowhere else. They 
want to know everything, and their women they are the 
most advanced in the world. The average American 
woman is far more cultivated than the average American 
man. The men slave all their life for money, and the 
women snatch every opportunity to improve themselves. 
And they are a very kind-hearted, frank people. Every- 
body who has a fad to preach comes here, and I am sorry 
to say that most of these are not sound. The Americans 
have their faults too, and what nation has not? But this is 
my summing up. /Asia laid the germs of civilisation, 
Europe developed man, and America is developing woman 
and the masses. It is the paradise of the woman and the 
labourer. Now contrast the American masses and women 


with ours, and you get the idea at once. The Americans 
are fast becoming liberal. Judge them not by the speci- 
mens of hard-shelled Christians (it is their own- phrase) that 
you see in India. There are those here too, but their 
number is decreasing rapidly, and this great nation is pro- 
gressing fast towards that spirituality which is the standard 
boast of the Hindu. 

The Hindu must not give up his religion, but*must keep 
religion within its proper limits and give freedom to society 
to grow. All the reformers in India made the serious 
mistake of holding religion accountable for all the horrors 
of priestcraft and degeneration, and went forthwith to pull 
down the indestructible structure, and what was the result? 
Failure ! ! Beginning from Buddha down to Ram Mohan 
Roy, everyone made the mistake of holding caste to be a 
religious institution and tried to pull down religion and Caste 
all together, and failed. But in spite of all the ravings of 
the priests, caste is simply a crystallised social institution, 
which after doing its service is now filling the atmosphere 
of India with its stench, and it can only be removed by 
giving back to the people their lost social individuality. 
Every man born here knows that he is a man. Every man 
born in India knows that he is a slave of society. Now, 
freedom is the only condition of growth, taLe th^t off, the 
result is degeneration. With the introduction of modern 
competition, see how caste is disappearing fast I No 
religion is now necessary to kill it. The Brahmana shop- 
keeper, shoemaker and wine-distiller are common in 
Northern India. And why? Because of competition. No 
man is prohibited from doing anything he pleases for hia 
livelihood under the present Government, and the result 
is neck and neck competition, and thus thousands arc 
seeking and finding the highest level they were born for, 
instead of vegetating at the bottom. 

I must remain in this country at least through the winter, 
and then go to Europe. The Lord will provide everything 


for me. You need not disturb yourself about it. I cannot 
expressjny_gmtitude for your Jove* 

Day by day I am feeling that the Lord is with me, and 

I am trying to follow His direction. His will be done 

We will do great things for the world, and that for the sake 
of doing good and not for name and fame. 

"Ours not to reason why, ours but _tojlp and die.** Be 
of good cKeer and believe that we are selected by the Lord 
to do great things, and we will do them. Hold yourself in 
readiness, i.e., be pure and holy, and love for love's sake. 
Love the poor, the miserable, the down-trodden, and the 
Lord will bless you. 

See R and others from time to time, and urge them 
to sympathise with the masses of India. Tell them how they 
are standing on the neck of the poor, and that they are not 
fit to be called men if they do not try to raise them up. Be 
fearless, the Lord is with you, and He will yet raise the 
starving and ignorant millions of India. A railway porter 
here is better educated than many of your young men and 
most of your princes. Every American woman has far 
better education than can be conceived of by the majority 
of Hindu women. Why cannot we have the same 
education? We must. 

Think not that you are poor ; money is not power, but 
goodness, holiness. Come and see how it is so all over 
the world. 

Yours with blessings, 


P. S. By the bye, *s paper was the most curious 
phenomenon I ever saw. It was like a tradesman's 
catalogue, and it was not thought fit to be read in the 
Parliament. So N read a few extracts from it in a side- 
hall and nobody understood a word of it. Do not tJI 
him of it. It is a great art to press the largest amount of 
thought into the smallest number of words. Even ' 


paper had to be cut very short. More than a thousand 
papers were read, and there was no time to give to such 
wild perorations. I had a good long time given to me over 

the ordinary half hour, because the most popular 

speakers were always put down last, to hold the audience. 
And Lord bless them, what sympathy they have, and what 
patience ! They would sit from ten o'clock in the morning 
to ten o'clock at night only a recess of half an hour for a 
meal, and paper after paper read, most of them very trivial, 
but they would wait and wait to hear their favourites. 

Dharmapala of Ceylon was one of the favourites 

He is a very sweet man, and we became very intimatg. 
during the Parliament. 

A Christian lady from Poona, Miss Sorabji, and the 
Jain representative, Mr. Gandhi, are going to remain longer 
in the country and make lecture tours. I hope they will 
succeed. Lecturing is a very profitable occupation in this 
country and sometimes pays well. 

Mr. Ingersoll gets five to six hundred dollars a lectuie. 
He is the most celebrated lecturer in this country. 



(Translated from Bengali.) 

C/o George W. Hale Esqr. 

28th December, 1893. 

It is very strange that news of my Chicago lectures has 
appeared in the Indian papers ; for whatever I do, I try my 
best to avoid publicity. Many things strike me here. It 
may be fairly said that there is no poverty in this country. 
I have never seen women elsewhere as cultured and 


educated as they are here. Well-educated men there are 
in our country, but you will scarcely find anywhere women 
like those here. It is indeed true, that "the Goddess Her- 
self lives in the houses of virtuous men as Lakshmi." 
I have seen thousands of women here whose hearts are as 
pure and stainless as snow. Oh, how free they are ! It is 
they who control social and civic duties. Schools and 
colleges are full of women, and in our country women can- 
not be safely allowed to walk in the streets ! Their kind- 
ness to me is immeasurable. Since I came here 1 have 
been welcomed by them to their houses. They are 
providing me with food, arranging for my lectures, taking 
me to market, and doing everything for my comfort and 
convenience. I shall never be able to repay in the least 
the deep debt of gratitude I owe to them. 

Do you know who is the real "Sakti-worshipper" ? 
It is he who knows that God is the Omnipresent Force in the 
Universe, and sees in women the manifestation of that 
Force. Many men here look upon their women in this 
light. Manu, again, has said that gods bless those families 
where women are happy and well-treated. Here men treat 
their women as well as can be desired, and hence they are 
so prosperous, so learned, so free and so energetic. But 
why is it that we are slavish, miserable and dead? The 
answer is obvious. 

And how pure and chaste are they here ! Few women 
are married before twenty or twenty-five, and they are as 
free as the birds in the air. They go to market, school and 
college, earn money and do all kinds of work. Those who 
are well-to-do devote themselves to doing good to the poor. 
And what are we doing? We are very regular in marrying 
our girls at eleven years of age lest they should become 
corrupt and immoral. What does our Manu enjoin? 
4 'Daughters should be supported and educated with as 
much care and attention as the sons.'* As sons should be 
married after observing Brahmacharya up to the thirtieth 


year, so daughters also must observe Brahmacharya and be 
educated by their parents. But what are we actually 
doing? Can you better the condition of your women? 
Then there will be hope for your well-being. Otherwise 
you will remain as backward as you are now. 

If anybody is born of a low caste in our country he is 
gone forever, there is no hope for him. Why, what a 
tyranny it is ! There are possibilities, opportunities and 
hope for every individual in this country. To-day he is 
poor, to-morrow he may become rich and learned and 
respected. Here everyone is anxious to help the poor. 
In India there is a howling cry that we are very poor, but 
how many charitable associations are there for the well- 
being of the poor ? How many people really weep for the 
sorrows and sufferings of the millions of poor in India? 
Are we men? What are we doing for their livelihood, for 
their improvement ? We do not touch them, we avoid 
their company ! Are we men ? Those thousands of 
Brahmanas what are they doing for the low, down-trodden 
masses of India? "Don't-touch," "Don't- touch," is the 
only phrase that plays upon their lips ! How mean and 
degraded has our eternal religion become at their hands ! 
Wherein does our religion lie now? In "Don't-touchism" 
alone, and nowhere else ! 

I came to this country not to satisfy my curiosity, nor 
for name or fame, but to see if I could find any means for 
the support of the poor in India. If God helps me, you 
will know by and by what those means are. 

As regards spirituality, the Americans are far inferior 
to us, but their society is far superior to ours. We will- 
teach them our spirituality, and assimilate what is best in 
their society. 

With love and best wishes, 




C/o George W. Hale Esqr. 


24th January, 1894. 


Your letters have reached me. I am surprised that so 
much about me has reached you. The criticism of the 
paper you mention is not to be taken as the attitude of the 
American people. That paper is almost unknown here, and 
belongs to what they call a * 'blue-nose Presbyterian paper/* 
very bigoted. Still all the "blue-noses" are not ungentle- 
manly. The American people, and many of the clergy 
are very hospitable to me. That paper wanted a little 
notoriety by attacking a man who was being lionised by 
society. That trick is well known here, and they do not 
think anything of it. Of course our Indian missionaries 
may try to make capital out of it. If they do, tell them, 
"Mark, Jew, a judgment has come upon you !" Their old 
building is tottering to its foundation and must come down 
in spite of their hysterical shrieks. I pity them if their 
means of living fine lives in India is cut down by the influx 
of oriental religions here. But not one of thejr leading 
clergy is ever against me. Well, when I am in the pond 
I must bathe thoroughly. 

I send you a newspaper cutting of the short sketch of 
our religion which I read before them. Most of my 

speeches are extempore I do not require any help 

from India, I have plenty here. Employ the money you 
have in printing and publishing this short speech, and 
translating it into the vernaculars, throw it broadcast ; that 
will keep before us the national mind. In the meantime 
do not forget our plan of a central college, and the starting 
from it to all directions in India. Work hard. * * * 

About the women of America, I cannot express my 


gratitude for their kindness. Lord bless them. In this 
country, women are the life of every movement, and 
represent all the culture of the nation, for men are too busy 
to educate themselves. 

I have received K 's letters. With the question 
whether caste shall go or come I have nothing to do. My 
idea is to bring to the door of the meanest, the poorest, the 
noble ideas that the human race has developed b6th in and 
out of India, and let them think for themselves. Whether 
there should be caste or not, whether women should be 
perfectly free or not, does not concern me. ' 'Liberty. _of 
thought and action is the only condition of life, of growth 
and well-being/*/ Where it does not exist, the man, the 
race, the nation must go down./ 

Caste or no caste, creed or no creed, any man, or 
class, or caste, or nation, or institution which bars the 
power of free thought and action of an individual 
even so long as that power does not injure others is 
devilish and must go down. 

My whole ambition in life is to set in motion a 
machinery which will bring noble ideas to the door of 
everybody, and then let men and women settle their own 
fate. Let them know what our forefathers as well as other 
nations have thought on the most momentous questions of 
life. Let them see specially what others are doing now, 
and then decide. We are to put the chemicals together, 
the crystallisation will be done by nature according to her 
laws. Work hard, be steady and have faith in the Lord. 
Set to work, I am coming sooner or later. Keep the motto 
before you, "Elevation of the masses without injuring the 

Remember that the nation lives in the cottage. But, 
alas ! nobody ever did anything for them. Our modern 
reformers are very busy about widow remarriage. Of 
course I am a sympathiser in every reform, but the fate of 
a nation does not depend upon the number of husbands 


their widows get, but upon the condition of the masses. 
Can you raise them? Can you give them back their lost 
individuality without making them lose their innate spiritual 
nature? Can you become an occidental of occidentals in 
your spirit of equality, freedom, work and energy, and at 
the same time a Hindu to the very backbone in religious 
culture and instincts? This is to be done and we will do it. 
You are all born to do it. Have faith in yourselves, great 
convictions are the mothers of great deeds, f Onward for 
ever! Sympathy for the poor, the down-trodden, even 
unto death, this is our motto. 

Onward, brave lads ! 

Yours affectionately, 


P. S. Preach the idea of elevating the masses by 
means of a central college, and bringing education as well 
as religion to the door of the poor by means of missionaries 
trained in this college. Try to interest everybody. 



The 9th April 1894, 


Secretary Saheb writes me that I must come back to 
India because that is my field. No doubt of that. But my 
brother, we are to light a torch which will shed a lustre over 
all India. So let us not be in a hurry ; everything will come 
by the grace of the Lord. I have lectured in many of the 

big towns of America I have made a good many 

friends here, some of them very influential. Of course the 


orthodox clergymen are against me, and seeing that it is 
not easy to grapple with me they try to hinder, abuse and 

vilify me in every way Lord bless them ! My 

brother, no good thing can be done without obstruction. 

It is only those who persevere to the end that succeed 

I believe that the Satya Yuga will come when there will be 
one caste, one Veda, and peace and harmony. This idea 
of Satya Yuga is what would revivify India. Believe it. * * 
Up boys, and put yourselves to the task ! * * * 

Old Hinduism for ever! Up, up, my boys, we 

are sure to win ! 

* * * When once we begin to work we shall have 
a tremendous "boom/* but I do not want to talk without 
working. * * * 

With all blessings, 



28th May, 1894. 

I could not write you earlier because I was whirling to 
and fro from New York to Boston. I do not know when 
I am going back to India. It is better to leave everything 
in the hands of Him who is at my back directing me. Try 
to work without me, as if I never existed. Do not wait for 
anybody or anything. Do whatever you can. Build your 
hope on none. * * * 

I have done a good deal of lecturing here The 

expenses here are terrible ; money has to fly, although 
I have been almost always taken care of everywhere by the 
nicest and the highest families. 


I do not know whether I shall go away this summer or 
not. Most probably not. In the meantime try to organise 
and push on our plans. Believe you can do everything. 
Know that the Lord is with us, and so, onward, brave souls ! 

I have had enough appreciation in my own country. 
Appreciation or no appreciation, sleep not, slacken not. 
You must remember that not a bit even of our plans has 
been as yt carried out. 

Act on the educated young men, bring them together 
and organise them. Great things can be done by great 
sacrifices only. No selfishness, no name, no fame, 
yours or mine, nor my Master's even ! Work, work 
the_jidea, the plan, my boys, my brave, noble, good 
souls, to the wheel, to the wheel put your shoulders ! 
^Stognpt to look back for name, or fame, or any such 
jionsgnse. Throw self overboard and work. Remember, 
"The gmssjwhenjnade.intQ a rope by being joined together 
can_ even, chain a mad -elephant/' The Lord's blessings 
on you all ! His power be in you all as I believe it is 
already. "Wake up, stop not until the goal is reached," 
say the Vedas. Up, up, the long night is passing, the day 
is approaching, the wave has risen, nothing will be able to 
resist its tidal fury^ The spirit, my boys, the spirit ; the 
love, my children, the love ; the faith, the belief ; and fear 
not ! The greatest sin is fear. 

My blessings on all. Tell all the noble souls there who 
have helped our cause, that I send them my eternal love 
and gratitude, but I beg of them not to ^slacken. Throw 
the idea broadcast. Do not be proud ; do not Insist upon 
anything dogmatic ; do not go against anything ; ours 
is to put^chemicala together. Jthe Lord kuQWS Jhpw^ and when 
the crystaL^Hjfoim. Above all, be not inflated with my 
success or yours. Great works are to be done ; what is 
this small success in comparison to what is to come? 
Believe, believe, the decree has gone forth, the fiat of the 
Lord has gone forth India must rise, the masses and the 


poor are to be made happy. Rejoice! The flood 

of spirituality has risen. I see it is rolling over the land 
resistless, boundless, all-absorbing. Every man to the fore, 
every good will be added to its forces, every hand will 
smooth its way, and glory be unto the Lord ! * * * 

I do not require any help. Try to get up a fund, buy 
some magic-lanterns, maps, globes &c., and some chemi- 
cals. Get every evening a crowd of the poor* and low, 
even the pariahs, and lecture to them about religion first, 
and then teach them through the magic-lantern and other 
things, astronomy, geography &c., in the dialect of the 
people. Train up a band of fiery young men. Put your 
fire in them and gradually increase the organisation letting 
it widen and widen its circle. Do the best you can, do not 
wait to cross the river when the water has all run down. 
Printing magazines, papers etc. are good, no doubt, but 
actual work, my boys, even if infinitesimal, is better than 
eternal scribbling and talking. Call a meeting at B 's, 
get a little money and buy those things I have just now 
stated, hire a hut and go to work. Magazines are 
secondary, but this is primary. You must have a hold on 
the masses. Do not be afraid of a small beginning, great 
things come afterwards. Be courageous. Do not try to 
lead your brethren, but serve them. The brutal mania for 
leading has sunk many a great ship in the waters of life. 
Take care especially of that, i.e., be unselfish even unto 
death, and work. I could not write all I was going to say, 
but the Lord will give you all understanding, my brave 
boys. At it, my boys ! Glory unto the Lord ! 

Yours affectionately, 




U. S. A. 

Hth July, 1894. 

* * * Learn business, my boy. We will do great 
things yet ! Last year I only sowed the seeds ; this year 
I mean to reap. In the meanwhile, keep up as much 

enthusiasm as possible in India, Let K go his own way. 

He will come out all right in time. I have taken his 
responsibility. He has a perfect right to his own opinion. 
Make him write for the paper ; that will keep him in good 
temper! My blessings on him. 

* * * You must send a paper and a letter to 
Professor J. H. Wright of Harvard University, Boston, 
thanking him as having been the first man who stood as 
my friend, 

* * * In the Detroit lecture I got $ 900, i.e., 
Rs. 2,700. In other lectures, I earned in one, $> 2,500, i.e., 
Rs. 7,500, in one hour, but got only 200 dollars ! I was 
cheated by a roguish lecture Bureau. I have given 
them up. * * * 

I shall have to print much matter next year. I am going 

regularly to work The sheer power of the will will do 

everything You must organise a society which should 

regularly meet, and write to me about it as often as you 
can. In fact, get up as much enthusiasm as you can. 
Only, beware of falsehood. Go to work, my boys, the fire 
will come to you ! The faculty of organisation is entirely 
absent in our nature, but this has to be infused. The great 
secret is, absence of jealousy. Be always ready to 
concede to the opinions of your brethren, and try always 
to conciliate. That is the whole secret. Fight on bravely ! 

Life is short! Give it up to a great cause We must 

not join any sect, but we must sympathise and work with 
each Work, workconquer all by your love ! * * 


Try to expand. Remember the only sign of life is 

motion and growth Keep on steadily. So far we 

have done wonderful things. Onward, brave souls, we will 
gain ! Organise and found societies and go to work, that 
is the only way. 

At this time of the year there is not much lecturing to 
be done here, so I will devote myself to my pen, and write. 
I shall be hard at work all the time, and then when the 
cold weather comes and people return to their homes, 
I shall begin lecturing again, and at the same time organise 

My love and blessings to you all. I never forget any- 
body, though I do not write often. Then again, I am now 
continuously travelling, and letters have to be redirected 
from one place to another. 

Work hard. Be holy and pure and the fire will come. 

Yours affectionately, 



U. S. A. 

3ht August, 1894. 


* * * * 

I have received a letter from Cat, but it requires a book 
to answer all his queries. So I send him my blessings 
through you and ask you to remind him that we agree to 
differ, and see the harmony of contrary points. So it does 
not matter what he believes in ; he must act. 

Give my love to B , G. G., K , Doctor, and to 

all our friends and all the great and patriotic souls, who 


were brave and noble enough to sink their differences for 
their country's cause. 

* * * Now organise a little society X ou w *^ 

hoye to take charge of the whole movement, not as 
a leader, tut as a servant. Do you know, the least shqw 

of lea'cfing* destroys ^everything by rousing jealousy ! 

Work slowly by disseminating the ideas broadcast 

Mysore will in time be a great stronghold of our Mission 

Try to collect funds from Mysore and elsewhere 

to build a temple in Madras, which should have a library 
and some rooms for the office and the preachers who should 
be Sannyasins, and for Vairagis who may chance to come. 

Thus we shall progress inch by inch So far you have 

done well indeed, my brave boy. All strength shall be 
given to you. * * * 

This is a great field for my work, and everything done 
here prepares the way for my coming work in England. * * 

You know the greatest difficulty with me is to keep or 
even to touch money. It is disgusting and debasing. So 
you must organise a society to take charge of the practical 
and pecuniary part of it. I have friends here who take care 
of all my monetary concerns. Do you see? It will be a 
wonderful relief to me to get rid of horrid money affairs. 
So the sooner you organise yourselves and you be ready as 
secretary and treasurer to enter into direct communication 
with my friends and sympathisers here, the better for you 
and me. Do that quickly, and write to me. Give the 
society a non-sectarian name. * * * 

* * * Great things are in store for you By 

and by I hope to make you independent of yo^r college 
work, so that you may, without starving yourself and 
family, devote your whole soul to the work. So work, my 
boys, work ! The rough part of the work has been 
smoothened and rounded ; now it will roll on better and 
better every year. And if you can simply keep it going 
well until I come to India, the work will progress by leaps 


and bounds. Rejoice that you have done so much. When 
you feel gloomy, think what has been done within the last 
year. How, rising from nothing, we have the eyes of the 
world fixed upon us now. Not only India, but the world 
outside is expecting great things of us. 

* * * Nothing will be able to resist truth and love 
and sincerity. Are you sincere? unselfish even unto 
death? and loving? Then fear not, not even death. 
Onward, my lads ! The whole world requires Light. It is 
expectant ! India alone has that Light, not in magic 
mummeries and charlatanism, but in the teaching of the 
glories of the spirit of real religion, of the highest 
spiritual truth. That is why the Lord has preserved the 
race through all its vicissitudes unto the present day. Now 
the time has come. Have faith that you are all, my brave 
lads, born to do great things ! Let not the b^uks of puppies 
frighten you, no, not even the thunderbolts of heaven, but 
stand up and work ! 

Ever yours affectionately, 



U. S. A. 

21st September, 1894. 

* * * I have been continuously travelling from 
place to place and working incessantly, giving lectures and 
holding classes &c. 

I have not been able to write a line yet for my proposed 
book. Perhaps I may be able to take it in hand later on. 
1 have made some nice friends here amongst tlie liberal 
people, and a few amongst the orthodox. I hope soon to 
return to India. I have had enough of this country, and 



especially as too much work is making me nervous. The 
giving of too many public lectures and constant hurry have 

brought on this nervousness So you see, I will soon 

return. Of course, there is a growing section with whom 
I am very popular, and who will like to have me here all 
the time. But I think I have had enough of newspaper 
blazoning, and humbugging of a public life. I do not care 
the least for it. 

* * * No large number of men in any country do 
good out of mere sympathy. A few who give money in 
Christian lands often do so through policy or fear of hell. 
So it is as in our Bengali proverb, "Kill a cow and make a 
pair of shoes out of the leather and give them in charity to 
a Brahmana." So it is here, and so everywhere ; and then, 
the Westerners are miserly in comparison to our race. 
I sincerely believe that the Asiatics are the most charitable 
race in the world, only they are very poor. 

I am going to live for a few months in New York. That 
city is the head, hand and purse of the country. Of course, 
Boston is called the Brahmanical city, and here in America 
there are hundreds of thousands that sympathise with rne 

The New York people are very open. 1 will see 

what can be done there, as I have some very influential 
friends. After all, I am getting disgusted with this lecturing 
business. It will take a long time for the Westerners to 
understand the higher spirituality. Everything is . s. d. 
to them. If a religion brings them money or health or 
beauty, or long life, they will all flock to it, other- 
wise not. * * * 

Give to B , G. G., and all of our friends my best 


Yours with everlasting love, 




U. S. A. 

2 1st September, 1894. 

I am very sorry to hear your determination of giving 
up the world so soon. The fruit falls from the tree when 
it gets ripe. So wait for the time to come. Do wot hurry. 
Moreover, no one has the right to make others miserable 
by his foolish acts. Wait, have patience, everything will 
come right in time. * * * 

Yours with blessings, 



U. S. A. 
27th September, 1894. 


* * * One thing I find in the books of rny speeches 
and sayings published in Calcutta. Some of them are 
printed in such a way as to savour of political views ; 
whereas I am no politician, or political agitator. I care 
only for the spirit, when that is right everything will be 

righted by itself So you must warn the Calcutta 

people that no political significance be ever attached falsely 

to any of my writings or sayings. What nonsense! 

I heard that Rev. Kali Charan Banerji in a lecture to 
Christian missionaries said that I was a political delegate. 
If it was said publicly, then publicly ask the Babu from me, 
to write to any of the Calcutta papers and prove it, or else 
take back his foolish assertion. This is their trick ! I have 
said a few harsh words in honest criticism of Christian 


Governments in general, but that does not mean that I care 
for, or have any connection with politics or that sort of 
thing. Those who think it very grand to print extracts 
from those lectures, and want to prove that I am a political 
preacher, to them I say, "Save me from my friends/* * * * 

* * * Tell my friends that a uniform silence is all 
my answer to my detractors. If I give them tit for tat, 
it would bring us down to a level with them. Tell them 
that truth will take care of itself, and that they are not to 
fight anybody for me. They have much to learn yet, and 
they are only children. They are still full of foolish golden 
dreams mere boys ! 

* * * This nonsense of public life and newspaper 
blazoning has disgusted me thoroughly. I long to go back 
to the Himalayan quiet. 

Ever yours affectionately, 



U. S. A. 
29th September, 1894. 


You all have done well, my brave unselfish children. 

1 am so proud of you Hope and do not despair. 

After such a start, if you despair you are a fool. * * * 

Our field is India, and the value of foreign appreciation 

is in rousing India up. That is all We must have a 

strong base from which to spread Do not for a 

moment quail. Everything will come all right. It is will 
that moves the world. 

You need not be sorry, my son, on account of the 
young men becoming Christians. What else can they be 
under the existing social bondages, especially in Madras? 
Liberty is the first condition of growth. Your ancestors 


gave every liberty to the soul, and religion grew. They 
put the body under every bondage and society did not 
grow. The opposite is the case in the West every liberty 
to society, none to religion. Now are falling off the 
shackles from the feet of Eastern society as from those of 
Western religion. 

Each again will have its type ; the religious or intros- 
pective in India, the scientific or out-seeing in tRe West. 
The West wants every bit of spirituality through social 
improvement. The East wants every bit of social power 
through spirituality. Thus it was that the modern reformers 
saw no way to reform but by first crushing out the religion 
of India. They tried and they failed. Why? Because 
few of them ever studied their own religion, and not one 
ever underwent the training necessary to understand the 
Mother of all religions. I claim that no destruction of 
religion is necessary to improve the Hindu society, and 
that this state of society exists not on account of religion, 
but because that religion has not been applied to society 
as it should have been. This I am ready to prove from our 
old books, every word of it. This is what I teach, and 
this is what we must struggle all our lives to carry out. 
But it will take time, a long time to study. Have patience 
and work. ^i'<!cHTT^TPT Save yourself by yourself. 

Yours &c., 


P. S. The present Hindu society is organised only for 
spiritual men, and hopelessly crushes out everybody else. 
Why ? Where shall they go who want to enjoy the world 
a little with its frivolities? Just as our religion takes in all, 
so should our society. This is to be worked out by first 
understanding the true principles of our religion, and then 
applying them to society. This is the slow but sure work 

to be done. 




23rd October, 1894. 


* * * By this time I have become one of their own 

teachers. They all like me and my teachings 

I travel all over the country from one place to another, 
as was my habit in India, preaching and teaching. 
Thousands and thousands have listened to me and taken 
my ideas in a very kindly spirit. It is the most expensive 
country, but the Lord provides for me everywhere I go. 

With my love to you and all my friends there (Limbdi, 




27th October, 1894. 


* * * I am doing exactly here what I used to do 
in India. Always depending on the Lord and making no 

plans ahead Moreover you must remember that 

I have to work incessantly in this country, and that I have 
no time to put together my thoughts in the form of a book, 
so much so, that this constant rush has worn my nerves, 
and I am feeling it. I cannot express my obligation to 
you, A , and all my friends in Madras, for the most un- 
selfish and heroic work you did for me. I am not an 
organiser, my nature tends towards scholarship and medi- 
tation. I think I have worked enough, now I want rest 
and to teach a little to those that have come to me from 


my Gurudeva. You have known now what you can do, 

for it is really you, young men of , that have done all ; 

I am only the figurehead. I am a tyagi monk, I rnly want 
one thing. I do not believe in a God or religion which 
cannot wipe the widow's tears or bring a piece of bread to 
the orphan's mouth. However sublime be the theories, 
however well-spun may be the philosophy I do not call 
it religion so long as it is confined to books and dogmas. 
The eye is in the forehead and not in the back. Move 
onward and carry into practice that which you are very 
proud to call your religion, and God bless you ! 

Look not at me, look to yourselves. I am happy to 
have been the occasion of rousing an enthusiasm. Take 
advantage of it, float along with it and everything will come 
right. Love never fails, my son ; to-day or to-morrow or 
ages after, truth will conquer. Love shall win the victory. 
Do you love your fellow-men? Where should you go to 
seek for God, are not all the poor, the miserable, the 
weak, Gods? Why not worship them first? Why go to 
dig a well on the shores of the Ganges? Believe in the 
omnipotent power of love. Who cares for these tinsel 
puffs of name? I never keep watch of what the news- 
papers are saying. Have you love ? You are omnipotent. 
Are you perfectly unselfish? If so, you are irresistible. 
It is character that pays everywhere. It is the Lord who 
protects His children in the depths of the sea. Your 
country requires heroes ; be heroes ! 

Everybody wants me to come over to India. They 
think we shall be able to do more if I come over. They 
are mistaken, my friend. The present enthusiasm is only 
a little patriotism, it means nothing. If it is true and 
genuine you will find in a short time hundreds of heroes 
coming forward and carrying on the work. Therefore 
know that you have really done all, and go on. Look not 
for me. Here is a grand field. What have I to do with 
'ihis "ism" or that "ism"? I am the servant of the Lord, 


and where on earth is there a better field than here for 
propagating all high ideas? Here, where if one man is 
against me, a hundred hands are ready to help me ; here, 
where man feels for man, and women are goddesses ! 
Even idiots may stand up to hear themselves praised, and 
cowards assume the attitude of the brave, when everything 
is sure to turn out well, but the true hero works in silence. 
How many Buddhas die before one finds expression ! My 
son, I believe in God and I believe in man. I believe in 
helping the miserable, I believe in going even to hell to 
save others. Talk of the Westerners, they have given me 
food, shelter, friendship, protection, even the most 
orthodox Christians ! What do our people do when any 
of their priests go to India? You do not touch them even, 
they are MLECHCHHAS ! No man, no nation, my son, 
can hate others and live. India's doom was sealed the 
very day they invented the word MLECHCHHA and 
stopped from communion with others. Take care how you 
foster that idea. It is good to talk glibly about the 
Vedanta, but how hard to carry out even its least 

precepts I 

Ever yours with blessings, 


P. S. Take care of these two things, love of power 
and jealousy. Cultivate always 'faith in yourself/ 


U. S. A. 

30th November, 1894. 

We must organise our forces in the business part of 
our religious body, but on religious matters must strive not 
to make a sect. * * * 


If anyone can write a real life of Sri Ramakrishna with 
the idea of showing what he came to do and teach, let him 

do it, otherwise let him not distort his life and sayings 

Now let K translate his love, his knowledge, his 

teachings, his eclecticism, etc. This is the theme. The life 
of Sri Ramakrishna wasTah extraordinary searchlight under 
whose illumination one is able to really understand the 
whole scope of Hindu religion. He was the object-lesson 
of all the theoretical knowledge given in the Shastras. He 
showed by his life what the Rishis and Avataras really 
wanted to teach. The books were theories, he was the 
realisation. This man had in fifty-one years lived the five 
thousand years of national spiritual life, and so raised him- 
self to be an object-lesson for future generations. The 
Vedas can only be explained and the Shastras reconciled by 
his theory of Avastha or stages, that we must not only 
tolerate others, but positively embrace them, and that truth 
is the basis of all religions. Now on these lines a most 
impressive and beautiful life can be written. Well, every- 
thing in good time Push on with your work 

independently. "Many come to sit at dinner when it is 
cooked/* Take care and work on. 

Yours ever with blessings, 



U. S. A. 

30th November, 1894. 

* * * As to the wonderful stories published about 
Sri Ramakrishna, I advise you to keep clear of them and 
the fools who write them. They are true, but the fools 
will make a mess of the whole thing, I am sure. He had 


a whole world of knowledge to teach, why insist upon 
unnecessary things as miracles really are ! They do not 
prove anything. Matter does not prove spirit. What 
connection is there between the existence of God, Soul, 

or immortality, and the working of miracles? 

Preach Sri Ramakrishna. Pass the Cup that has satisfied 

your thirst Preach Bhakti. Do not disturb your 

head with metaphysical nonsense, and do not disturb 
others by your bigotry. * * * 

Yours ever with blessings, 



U. S. A. 
26th December, 1894. 


In reference to me every now and then attacks are 
made in missionary papers (so I hear), but I never care to 
see them. If you send any of those made in In Ji I should 
throw them into the waste-paper basket. A little agitation 
was necessary for our work. We have had enough. Pay 
no more attention to what people say about me, whether 
good or bad. You go on with your work and remember 
that ''Never one meets with evil who tries to do 
good/' (Gita). 

Every day the people here are appreciating me 

Everything must proceed slowly I have written to 

you before and I write again, that I shall not pay heed to 
any criticisms or praises in the newspapers. They are 
jojnsigned to the fire. Do you do the same. Pay no 
attention whatsoever to newspaper nonsense or criticism. 


Be sincere and do your duty. Everything will come all 
right. Truth must triumph. * * * 

Missionary misrepresentations should be beneath your 

notice Perfect silence is the best refutation to them, 

and I wish you to maintain the same Make Mr. 

S the President of your society. He is one of the 

sincerest and noblest men I know, and in him, intellect 
and emotion are beautifully blended. Push on in your 
work, without counting much on me ; work on your own 

account As for me, I do not know when I shall go 

back ; I am working here and in India as well. * * * 

With my love to you all, 

Yours ever with blessings, 



CHICAGO, 1894. 


Your letter just to hand Money can be raised in 

this country by lecturing for two or three years. But I have 
tried a little, and although there is much public apprecia- 
tion of my work, it is thoroughly uncongenial and 
demoralising to me. * * * 

I have read what you say about the Indian papers, 
and their criticisms, which are natural. Jealousy Js, the- 
central vice of ^Y^ry^^laX?d^ace. And it is jealousy and 
the want of combination which cause and perpetuate 
slavery. You cannot feel the truth of this remark until you 
come out of India. The secret of Westerners' success is 
this power of combination, the basis of which is mutual 
trust and appreciation. The weaker and more cowardly 
a nation is, so much the more is this sin visible 


But, my son, you ought not to expect anything from a 
slavish race. The case is almost desperate no doubt, but 
let me put the case before you all. Can you put life into 
this dead mass dead to almost all moral aspiration, dead 
to all future possibilities and always ready to spring upon 
those that would try to do good to them? Can you take 
the position of a physician who tries to pour medicine down 

the throat of a kicking and refractory child? An 

American or a European always supports his countrymen 

in a foreign country Let me remind you again, "Thou 

hast the right to work but not to the fruits thereof." 
Stand firm like a rock. Truth always triumphs. Let the 
children of Sri Ramakrishna be true to themselves and 
everything will be all right. We may not live to see the 
outcome, but as sure as we live, it will come sooner or 
later. What India wants is a new electric fire to stir up 
a fresh vigour in the national veins. This was ever, and 
always will be slow work. Be content to work, and 
above all be true to yourself. Be pure, staunch and 
sincere to the very backbone, and everything will be all 
right. If you have marked anything in the disciples of Sri 
Ramakrishna, it is this, they are sincere to the backbone. 
My task will be done and I shall be quite content to die, 
if I can bring up and launch one hundred such men over 
India. He, the Lord, knows best. Let ignorant men talk 
nonsense. We neither seek aid nor avoid it we are the 
servants of the Most High. The petty attempts of small 
men should be beneath our notice. Onward ! Upon ages 
of struggle a character is built. Be not discouraged. One 
word of truth can never be lost ; for ages it may be hidden 
under rubbish, but it will show itself sooner or later. 
Truth is indestructible, virtue is indestructible, purity is 
indestructible. Give me a genuine man ; I do not want 
masses of converts. My son, hold fast ! Do not care for 
anybody to help you. Is not the Lord infinitely greater 
than all human help? Be holy trust in the Lord, depend 


on Him always, and you are on the right track ; nothing 
can prevail against you. * * * 

Let us pray, "Lead, Kindly Light/* a beam will 
come through the dark, and a hand will be stretched forth 
to lead us. I always pray for you : you must pray for me. 
Let each one of us pray day and night for the down- 
trodden millions in India who are held fast by poverty, 
priestcraft and tyranny, pray day and night or them, 
I care more to preach religion to them than to the high and 
the rich. I am no metaphysician, no philosopher, nay, 
no saint. But I am poor, I love the poor. 1 see what they 
call the poor of this country, and how many there are ^ho 
feel for them ! What an immense difference in India ! 
Who feels there for the two hundred millions of men and 
women sunken for ever in poverty and ignorance ? Where 
is the way out? Who feels for them? They cannot find 
light or education. Who will bring the light to them 
who will travel from door to door bringing education to 
them? Let these people be your God think of them, 
work for them, pray for them incessantly the Lord will 
show you the way. Him I call a Mahatman (great soul) 
whose heart bleeds for the poor, otherwise he is a 
Duratman (wicked soul). Let us unite our wills in conti- 
nued prayer for their good. We may die unknown, un- 
pitied, unbewailed, without accomplishing anything, but 
not one thought will be lost. It will take effect, sooner or 
later. My heart is too full to express my feeling ; you 
know it, you can imagine it. So long as the millions live 
in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor, who 
having been educated at their expense, pays not the least 
heed to them ! I call those men who strut about in their 
finery* having got all their money by grinding the poor, 
wretches, so long as they do not do anything for those two 
hundred millions who are now no better than hungry 
savages ! We are poor, my brothers, we are no-bodies, 


but such have been always the instruments of the Most 
High. The Lord bless you all. 

With all love, 



U. S. A. 


* * * Last winter I travelled a good deal in this 
country although the weather was very severe. I thought 

it would be dreadful, but I did not find it so after all 

Hope, your noble work will succeed. You are a worthy 
servant of Him who came, Bahujana-Hitaya Bahujana- 
Sultfiaya (for the good of the many, for the happiness of 
the many). 

* * * The Christianity that is preached in India is 
quite different from what one sees here ; you will be 

astonished to hear, D , that I have friends in this 

country amongst the clergy of the Episcopal and even 
Presbyterian churches, who are as broad, as liberal and 
as sincere, as you are in your own religion. The real 
spiritual man is broad everywhere. His love forces him 
to be so. Those to whom religion is a trade, are forced 
to become narrow and mischievous by their introduction 
into religion of the competitive, fighting and selfish methods 
of the world. 

Yours ever in brotherly love, 




U. S. A. 


Listen to an old story. A lazy tramp sauntering along 
the road saw an old man sitting at the door of his house 
and stopped to enquire of him the whereabouts of a 
certain place. "How far is such and such a village/' he 
asked. The old man remained silent. The man repeated 
his query several times. Still there was no answer. 
Disgusted at this, the traveller turned to go away. 
The old man then stood up and said, "The village of 
is only a mile from here.'* "What!" said the tramp, 
"Why did you not speak when I asked you before?" 
"Because then," said the old man, "you seemed so halting 
and careless about proceeding, but now you are starting 
off in good earnest and you have a right to an answer." 

Will you remember this story, my son? Go to work, 
the rest will come. "Whosoever not trusting in anything 
else but Me, rests on Me, I supply him with everything he 
needs." The Gita. This is no dream. 

* * * The work should be in the line of preaching 
and serving, at the present time. Choose a place of 
meeting where you can assemble every week holding a 
service and reading the Upanishads with the commentaries, 
and so slowly go on learning and working. Everything 
will come to you if you put your shoulders to the 
wheel. * * * 

Now, go to work ! G *s nature ?s of the emotional 

type, you have a level head ; so work together ; plunge in ; 
this is only the beginning. Every nation must save itself ; 
we must not depend upon funds from America for the 
revival of Hinduism, for that is a delusion. To have a 
centre is a great thing ; try to secure such a place in a large 
town like Madras, and go on radiating a living force in all 


directions. Begin slowly. Start with a few lay mis- 
sionaries ; by and by others will come who will devote 
their whole lives to the work. Do not try to be a ruler. 
He is the best ruler who can serve well. Be true unto 
death. The work we want. We do not seek wealth, 

name or fame Be brave Endeavour to interest 

the people of Madras in collecting funds for the purpose, 

and then make a beginning Be perfectly unselfish and 

you will be sure to succeed Without losing the inde- 
pendence in work, show all regards to your superiors. 

Work in harmony My children must be ready to 

jump into fire, if needed, to accomplish their work. Now 
work, work, work ! We will stop and compare notes 
later on. Have patience, perseverance and purity. 

I am writing no book on Hinduism just now. I am 
simply jotting down my thoughts. I do not know if I shall 
publish them. What is in books? The world is too full 
of foolish things already. If you could start a magazine on 
Vedantic lines it would further our object. Be positive ; 
do not criticise others. Give your message, teach what you 
have to teach, and there stop. The Lord knows the 
rest. * * * 

Do not send me any more newspapers, as I do not 
notice the missionary criticisms on myself, and here the 
public estimation of me is better for that reason. 

* * * If y OU are really my children, you will fear 
nothing, stop at nothing. You will be like lions. We must 
rouse India and the whole world. No cowardice. I will 
take no nay. Do you understand ? Be true unto death ! 

The secret of this is Guru-Bhakti. Faith in the Guru 

unto death 1 Have you that ? I believe with all my heart 
that you have, and you know that I have confidence in you, 
so go to work. You must succeed. My prayers and 
benedictions follow every step you take. Work in 
harmony. Be patient with everybody. Every one has my 
love. I am watching you. Onward ! Onward ! This is 


just the beginning. My little work here makes a big echo 
in India, do you know ? So I shall not return there in a 
hurry. My intention is to do something permanent here, 
and with that object I am working day by day. I am every 

day gaining the confidence of the American people 

Expand your hearts and hopes, as wide as the world. 
Study Sanskrit, especially the three Ehashyas (Com- 
mentaries) on the Vedanta. Be ready, for I have many 
plans for the future. Try to be a magnetic speaker. 
Electrify the people. Everything will come to you if you 

have faith. So tell K , in fact, tell all my children there. 

In time they will do great things at which the world will 
wonder. Take heart and work. Let me see what you can 

do Be true to your mission. Thus far you promise 

well, so go on and do better and better still. 

* * * Do not fight with people ; do not antagonise 
anyone. Why should we mind if Jack and John beco^ne 
Christians? Let them follow whatever religion suits them. 
Why should you mix in controversies ? Bear with the 
various opinions of everybody. Patience, purity, and 
perseverance will prevail. 

Yours &c., 




tlth January, 1895. 

Your letter just to hand The Parliament of 

Religions was organised with the intention of proving the 
superiority of the Christian religion over other forms of 
faith, but the philosophic religion of Hinduism was able to 
maintain its position notwithstanding. Dr. B and the 

V D 


men of that ilk are very orthodox, and I do not look to them 

for help The Lord has sent me many friends in this 

country, and they are always on the increase. The Lord 

bless those who have tried to injure me I have been 

running all the time between Boston and New York, two 
great centres of this country, of which Boston may be called 
the brain, and New York, the purse. In both my success 
ij more <than ordinary. I am indifferent to the newspaper 
reports, and you must not expect me to send any of them 
to you. A little boom was necessary to begin work. We 
have had more than enough of that. 

I have written to M , and 1 have given you my 

directions already. Now show me what you can do. No 
foolish talk now, but actual work ; the Hindus must back 
their talk with real work ; if they cannot, they do not 

deserve anything ; that is all As for me, I want to 

teach the truth ; I do not care whether here or elsewhere ! 

In future do not pay any heed to what people say either 
for or against you or me. Work on, be lions and the Lord 
will bless you. I shall work incessantly until I die, and 
even after death I shall work for the good of the world. 
Truth is infinitely more weighty than untruth ; so is good- 
ness. If you possess these, they will make their way by 
sheer gravity. 

* * * Thousands of the best men do care for me ; 
you know this, and have faith in the Lord. I am slowly 
exercising an influence in this land greater than 4 all the 
newspaper blazoning can do of me. * * * 

It is the force of character, of purity and of t~ of 
personality. So long as I have these things you can feel 
easy ; no one will be able to injure a hair of my head. If 

they try they will fail, sayeth the Lord Enough of 

books and theories. It is the life that is the highest and 
the only way to stir the hearts of people ; it Carries the 

personal magnetism The Lord is giving me a deeper 

and deeper insight every day. Work, work, work 


Truce to foolish talk ; talk of the Lord. Life is too short 
to be spent in talking about frauds and cranks. 

You must always remember that every nation must 
save itself ; so must every man ; do not look to others for 
help. Through hard work here, I shall b; able now and 
then to send you a little money for your work ; but that is 
all. If you have to look forward to that, better etop work. 
Know also that this is a grand field for my ideas, .and that 
1 do not care whether they are Hindus or Mahommedans 
or Christians, but those that love the Lord will always 
command my service. 

* * * I like to work on calmly arid silently, and 
the Lord is always with me. Follow me, if you will, by 
being intensely sincere, perfectly unselfish, and above all, 
by being perfectly pure. My blessings go with you. In 
this short life there is no time for the exchange of 
compliments. We can compare notes and compliment 
each other to our hearts' content after the battle is finished. 
Now, do not talk ; work, work, work ! I do not see any- 
thing permanent you have done in India I do not see any 
centre you have made I do not see any temple or hall you 
have erected I do not see anybody joining hands with 
you. There is too much talk, talk, talk ! We are great, 
we are great ! Nonsense ! We are imbeciles; that is what 
we are ! This hankering after name and fame and all other 
humbugs what are they to me? What do I care about 
them ? I should like to see hundreds coming to the Lord ! 
Where are they? I want them, I want to see them. You 
must seek them out. You only give me name and fauie. 
Have done with name and fame ; to work, my brave men, 
to work ! You have not caught my fire yet you do not 
understand me ! You run in the old ruts of sloth and 
enjoyments. Down with all sloth, down with all enjoy- 
ments here or hereafter. Plunge into the fire and bring the 
people towards the Lord. 

That you may catch my fire, that you may be intensely 


sincere, that you may die the heroes' death on the field of 
battle, is the constant prayer of 


P.S. Tell A , K , Dr. B , and all the others 

not to pin their faith on what Tom, Dick and Harry say for 
or against us, but to concentrate all their energy on work. 


u. s. A. 

12th January, 1895. 


* * * Now know once and for all that I do not 
care for name or fame, or any humbug of that type. I want 
to preach my ideas for the good of the world. You have 
done a great work, but so far as it goes, it has only given 
me name and fame. My life is more precious than spend- 
ing it in getting the admiration of the world. I have no 
time for such foolery. What work have you done in the 
way of advancing the ideas and organising in India ? None, 
rone, none / 

An organisation that will teach the Hindus mutual help 
and appreciation is absolutely necessary. Five thousand 
people attended that meeting that was held in Calcutta, 
and hundreds did the same in other places, to express an 
appreciation of my work here, well and good ! But if you 
asked them each to give an anna, would they do it? The 
whole national character is one of childish dependence. 
They are all ready to enjoy food if it is brought to their 

mouth, and even some want it pushed down You 

do not deserve to live if you cannot help yourselves. * * * 

I have given up at present my plan for the education 
of the masses. It will come by and by. What I now want 


is a band of fiery missionaries. We must have a College 
in Madras to teach comparative religions, Sanskrit, the 
different schools of Vedanta and some European languages; 
we must have a press, and papers printed in English and 
in the Vernaculars. When this is done, then I shall know 
that you have accomplished something. Let the nation 
show that they are ready to do. If you cannot do anything 
of the kind in India, then let me alone. I have a message 
to give, let me give it to the people who appreciate it and 
who will work it out. What care I who takes it? "He 
who doeth the will of my Father/* is my own. * * * 

My name should not be made prominent ; it is my 
ideas that I want to see realised. The disciples of all the 
prophets have always inextricably mixed up the ideas of 
the Master with the person, and at last killed the ideas for 
the person. The disciples of Sri Ramakrishna must guard 
against doing the same thing. Work for the idea, not the 
person. The Lord bless you. 

Yours ever with blessings, 


P.S. I am sorry you still continue to send me 
pamphlets and newspapers, which I have written you 
several times not to do. I have no time to peruse them and 
take notice of them. Please send them no more. I do not 

care a fig for what the missionaries, or the s say about 

me. Let them do as they please. The very taking notice 
of them will be to give them importance. Besides, you 
know, the missionaries only abuse and never argue. * * * 



U. S. A. 
23rd January, 1895. 


# # # # # 

I only want men to follow me who will be true and 
faithful unto death. I do not care for success or non- 
success I must keep my movement pure, or I will 

have none of it. * * * 

Yours with love, 



January, 1895. 

(Written to the America lady whom Swamiji called 

"DhirdmAtA," "the Steady Mother/ 9 on the 

occasion of the loss of her father.) 

# # * * 

I had a premonition of your father's giving up the old 
body, and it is not my custom to write to anyone when a 
wave of would-be inharmonious Maya strikes him. But 
these are the great turning-points in life, and I know that 
you are unmoved. The surface of the sea rises and sinks 
alternately, but to the observant soul the child of light 
each sinking reveals more and more of the depth, and of 
the beds of pearls and coral at the bottom. Coming and 
going is all pure delusion. The soul never comes nor goes. 
Where is the place to which it shallgo, when alLsgaceis 
in the soul? When shall be the time forentering and 
departing, when all time is in the soul? 


The earth moves, causing the illusion of the movement 
of the sun ; but the sun does not move. So Prakriti, or 
Maya, or Nature is moving, changing, unfolding veil after 
veil, turning over leaf after leaf ot this grand book, while 
the witnessing soul drinks in knowledge, unmoved, un- 
changed. All souls that ever have been, are, or shall be, are 
all in the present tense, and to use a material simile are 
all standing at one geometrical point. Because the idea of 
space does not occur in the soul, therefore all that were ours, 
are ours, and will be ours ; are always 
with us, were always with us, and will 
be always with us. We are in them. 
They are in us. Take these cells. 
Though each separate, they are all 
nevertheless inseparably joined at A B. 
There they are one. Each is an 
individual, yet all are one at the axis 
A B. None can escape from that axis, 
and however broken or torn the circumference, yet by 
standing at the axis, we may enter any one of the chambers. 
This axis is the Lord. There we are one with Him, all in 
all, and all in God. 

The cloud moves across the face of the moon, creating 
the illusion that the moon is moving. So nature, body, 
matter moves^jon^^creating^ the illusion that the soul is 
moving. Thus we find at last that that instinct (or 
nspiration ?) which men of every race, whether high or low, 
have had to feel the presence of the departed about them> 
is true intellectually also. 

TacK~souT7s a star, and all^tars are set in that infinite 
azure, that eternal sky, the Lord. There is the root, the 
reality, the real individuality of each and all. Religion 
began with the search after some of these stars that had 
passed beyond our horizon, and ended in finding them all 
in God, and ourselves in the same place. The whole 
secret is, the A, that your father has given up the old 


garment he was wearing, and is standing where he was 
through all eternity. Will he manifest another such 
garment in this or any other world? I sincerely pray that 
he may not, until he does so in full consciousness. I pray 
that none may be dragged anywhither by the unseen power 
of his own past actions. I pray that all may be free, that is 
to say, may know that they are free. And if they are to 
dream again, let us pray that their dreams be c*ll rf peace 
and bliss. 


54, W. 33RD STREET, N. Y. 
The 1st Feb., 7895. 


I just received your beautiful note Well, some- 
times it is a good discipline to be forced to work for work's 
sake, even to the length of not being allowed to enjoy the 

fruits of one's labour I am very glad of your criticisms 

and am not sorry at all. The other day at Miss T *s 1 had 
an excited argument with a Presbyterian gentleman, who 
as usual got very hot, angry and abusive. However, I was 
afterwards severly reprimanded by Mrs. B for this, as 
such things hinder my work. So, it seems, is your opinion. 

I am glad you write about it just now, because I have 
been giving a good deal of thought to it. In the first place, 
I am not at all sorry for these things perhaps that may 
disgust you it may : I l^n^w full well how good it is for 
one's worldly prospects to be sweet. I do everything to be 
sweet, but when it comes to a horrible compromise with 
the truth within, then I stop. I do not believe in humility. 
I believe in Samadarsitoam same state of mind with regard 
to all. The duty of the ordinary man is to obey the com- 
mands of his "God," society, but the children of light 


never do so. This is an eternal law. One accommodates 
himself to surroundings and social opinion and gets all good 
things from society, the giver of all good to such. The 
other stands alone and draws society up towards him. The 
accommodating man finds a path of roses the non-accom- 
modating, one of thorns. But the worshippers of "Vox 
populi" go to annihilation in a moment the children of 
truth live for ever. 

I will compare truth to a corrosive substance of infinite 
power. It burns its way in wherever it falls in soft 
substance at once, hard granite slowly, but it must. What 
is writ is writ. I am so, so sotfry, Sister, that I cannot make 
myself sweet and accommodating to every black falsehood. 
But I cannot. I have suffered for it all my life, but I cannot. 
I have essayed and essayed, but I cannot. At last I have 
given it up. The Lord is great. He will not allow me to 
become a hypocrite. Now let what is in come out. I have 
not f ound~a "wayHtliat will please all, and I cannot but be 
what I am, true to my own self. " Youth and beauty 
vanish, life and wealth vanish, name and fame vanish, even 
the mountains crumble into dust. Friendship and love 
vanish. Truth alone abides/' God of Truth, be Thou 
alone my guide ! I am too old to change now into milk and 
honey. Allow me to remain as I am. " Without fear, 
without shop-keeping, caring neither for friend nor foe, 
do thou hold on to truth, Sannyasin, and from this moment 
give up this world and the next and all that are to come 
their enjoyments and their vanities. Truth, be thou alone 
my guide/' I have no desire for wealth or name or fame 
or enjoyments, Sister, ^they^are dust HI?toj' ' wanted 
to help my brethren. I have not the tact to earn money, 
bless the Lord. What reason is there for me to conform 
to the vagaries of the world around me and not obey the 
voice of Truth within? The mind is still weak, Sister, it 
sometimes mechanically clutches at earthly help. But I am 
not afraid. Fear is the greatest sin mv religion teaches. 


The last fight with the Presbyterian priest and the long 
fight afterwards with Mrs. B showed me in a clear light 
what Manu says to the Sannyasin, "Live alone, walk 
alone." All friendship, all love, is only limitation. TEere 
never was a friendship, especially of women, which was 
not exacting. O great sages ! You were right. Qne 
cannot serve the god of truth who leans upon somebody. 
Be^^stili/my soul ! Be alone ! ancTtlie Lord is with you. 
Life is nothing ! Death is a delusion ! All this is not, God 
alone is ! Fear not, my soul ! Be alone. Sister, the way is 
long, the time is short, evening is approaching. I have to 
go home soon. I have no time to give my manners 
a finish. I cannot find time to deliver my message. You 
are good, you are so kind, I will do anything for you ; but 
do not be angry, I see you all as mere children. 

Dream no more ! Oh, dream no more, my soul ! In 
one word, I have a message to give, I have no time to be 
sweet to the world, and every attempt at sweetness makes 
me a hypocrite. I will die a thousand deaths rather than 
fish existence and yield to every requirement 
of this foolisE "world no matter whether it be my own 
country or a foreign country. You are mistaken, utterly 
mistaken if you think I have a toor/e, as Mrs. B thinks, 
I have no work under or beyond the sun. I have a message 
and I will give it after my own fashion, I will neither 
Hinduise my message, nor Christianise it, nor make it any 
*ise* in the world. I will only my~ise it and that is all. 
Liberty Mukti is all my religion, and everything that tries 
to curb it, 1 will avoid by fight or flight. Pooh ! I try to 
pacify the priests ! ! Sister, do not take this amiss. But 
you are babies and babies must submit to be taught. You 
have not yet drunk of that fountain which makes * 'reason 
unreason mortal immortal this world a zero, and of man 
a God." Come out if you can of this network of foolish- 
ness they call this world. Then 1 will call you indeed 
brave and free. If you cannot, cheer those that dare dash 


this false God, society, to the ground and trample on its 
unmitigated hypocricy ; if you cannot cheer them, pray, 
be silent, but do not try to drag them down again into the 
mire with such false nonsense as compromise and becoming 
nice and sweet. 

I hate this world this dream this horrible nightmare 
with its churches and chicaneries, its books and black- 
guardisms its fair faces and false hearts its howling 
righteousness on the surface and utter hollowness beneath, 
and, above all, its anctifiedL shop-keeping. What ! 
measure my soul according to what the bond-slaves of the 
world say ! Pooh ! Sister, you do not know the Sannyasin. 
**He stands on the head of the Vedas!" say the Vedas, 
because he is free from churches and sects and religions 
and prophets and books and all of that ilk ! Missionary or 
no missionary, let them howl and attack me with all they 
can, I take them as Bhartrihari says, "Go thou thy ways, 
Sannyasin ! Some will say, who is this mad man ? Others, 
who is this Chandala? Others will know thee to be a sage. 
Be glad at the prattle of the worldlings/' But when they 
i ttack, know that "the elephant passing through the market- 
place is always beset by curs, but he cares not. He goes 
straight on his own way. So it is always, when a great soul 
appears there will be numbers to bark after him."* 

I am living with L at 54 W. 33rd Street. He is a 
brave and noble soul, Lord bless him. Sometimes I go to 
the G 's to sleep. 

Lftrd bless you all ever and ever and may He lead you 
quickly out of this big humbug, the world ! May you never 
be enchanted by this old wljxju. the world ! May Sankara 
help you ! May Uma open the door of truth for you and 
take away all your delusions ! 

f Yours with love and blessings, 




u. s. A. 

17th February, 1895. 


* * * The work is terribly hard and the more it is 
growing the harder it is becoming. I need a long rest very 

badly. "Yet a great work is before me in England 

Have patience, my son it will grow beyond all your 

expectations Every work has got to pass through 

hundreds of difficulties before succeeding. Those that 
persevere will see the light, sooner or later. * * * 

F have succeeded now in rousing the very heart of the 
American civilisation, New York, but it has been a terrific 

struggle I have spent nearly all I had on this New 

York work and in England. Now things are in such a shape 
that they will go on. 

To put the Hindu ideas into English and then make out 
of dry Philosophy and intricate Mythology a^d queer startl- 
ing Psychology, a religion which shall be easy, simple, 
popular and at the same time meet the requirements of the 
highest minds is a task only those can understand who 
have attempted it. The abstract Advaita must become 
living poetic in everyday life ; out of hopelessly intricate 
Mythology must come concrete moral forms ; and out of 
bewildering Yogi-ism must come the most scientific and 
practical Psychology and all this must be put in a form so 
that a child may grasp it. That is my life's work* The 
Lord only knows how far I shall succeed. **To work we 
have the right, not to the fruits thereof." It is hard work, 
my boy, hard work ! To keep one's self steady in the 
midst of this whirl of KAma-Kanchana (lust and gold) and 
hold on to one's own ideals, until disciples are moulded to 
conceive of the ideas of realisation and perfect renunciation, 
is indeed difficult work, my boy. Thank God, already 
there is great success, I cannot blame the missljnaries and 


others for not understanding me, they hardly ever saw a 
man who did not care in the least about women and money. 
At first they could not believe it to be possible ; how could 
they? You must not think that the Western nations have 
the same ideas of chastity and purity as the Indians. Their 

equivalence are virtue and courage People are now 

flocking to me. Hundreds have now become convinced 
that there are men who can really control their, bodily 
desires ; and reverence and respect for these principles are 
growing. All thmgs come .to him who^waits. May you be 
blessed for ever and ever. 

Yours with love, 



19 W. 38 St., 
New York, 1895. 


* * * Meddle not with so-called social reform, for 
there cannot be any rejojj3i-,\yithou| sgirituaL^gform first 

Preach the Lord say neither good nor bad aBbut 

the superstitions and evils Do not lose heart, do not 

losejfaith^iii_yfiU^uru, do not lose faith in "Go JT^SbJtong 
as voupossess these three, nolhmg can harirTyou, my child. 

I am growing stronger every ^Tay. Work on, my^brave 

Ever yours with blessings, 




u. s. A. 
6th March, 1895. 


* * * Do not for a moment think the "Yankees" 
are practical in religion. In that the Hindu alone is 

practical, the Yankee in money-making Therefore 

I want to have a solid ground under my feet before I depart. 

Eve-y work should be made thorough You need not 

insist upon preaching Sri Ramakrishna. Propagate his 
ideas first, though I know the world always wants the Man 

first, then the idea Do not figure out big plans at rst, 

but begin slowly, feel your ground, and proceed, up and up. 

* * * Work on, my brave boys. We shall see the 
light some day. 

Harmony and peace ! Let things slowly grow. 

Rome was not built in a day. The Maharaja of Mysore 
is dead one of our greatest hopes. Well ! the Lord is 
great. He will send others to help the cause. 

Send some Kushasanas (small sitting mats) if you can. 

Yours ever with blessings, 



U. S. A. 

4th April 1895. 


Your letter just to hand. You need not be afraid of 
anybody's attempting to hurt me. So long as the Lord 
protects me I shall be impregnable. Your ideas of America 

axe very hazy This is a huge country, the majority 

do not care much about religion Christianity holds its 


ground as a mere patriotism, and nothing more Now 

my son, do not lose courage Send me the Vedanta 

Sutras and the Bhashyas (commentaries) of all the sects. * * 

* * * I am in His hands. What is the use of going 
back to India? India cannot further my ideas. This 
country takes kindly to my ideas. I will go back when 
I get the Command. In the meanwhile, do you all gently 
and patiently work. If anybody attacks me, simply ignore 

his existence My idea is for you to start a society 

where people could be taught the Vedas and the Vedanta, 
with the Commentaries. Work on this line at present 

Know that every time you feel weak, you not onlv 

hurt yourself but also the Cause. Infinite faith and strength 
are the only conditions of success. 

Be cheerful Hold on to your own ideal 

Above all, never attempt to guide or rule others, or, as the 
Yankees say, "boss" others. Be the servant of all. 

Ever yours with blessings, 



U. S. A. 

2nd May, 1895. 


So you have made up your mind to renounce the world. 
I have sympathy with your desire. There is nothing so 
high as renunciation of self. But you must not forget that 
to forego your own favourite desire for the welfare of those 
that depend upon you is no small sacrifice. Follow the 
spotless life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and look 
after the comforts of your family. You do your own duty, 
and leave the rest to Him. 

Love makes no distinction between man and man, 


between an Aryan or a Mlechchha, between a Brahmana 
or a Pariah, nor even between a man or a woman. Love 
makes the whole universe as one's own home. True 
progress is slow but sure. Work among those young men 
who can devote heart and soul to this one duty the duty 
of raising the masses of India. Awake them, unite them, 
and inspire them with this spirit of renunciation ; it depends 
wholly* on the young people of India. 

Cultivate the virtue of obedience, but you must not 
sacrifice your own faith. No centralisation is possible 

unless there is obedience to superiors. No great work can 


be done without this centralisation of individual forces. 
The Calcutta Math is the main centre ; the members of all 
other branches must act in unity and conformity with the 
rules of that centre. 

Give up jealousy and conceit. Learn to work unitedjy 
for others. This is the great need of our country. 

Yours with blessings, 



u. s. A. 
6th May, 1895. 

This morning I received your last letter and the first 

volume of the Bhashya of Ramanujacharya You 

mention about the lectures of a Mr. L If you had 

heard some of the wonderful stories the orthodox men and 
women here invent against me, you would be astonished. 
Now, do you mean to say that a Sannyasin should go about 
defending himself against the brutal and cowardly attacks 
of these self-seeking men and women? I have some very 
influential friends here, who now and then give them their 


quietus. Again, why should I waste my energies defend- 
ing Hinduism if the Hindus all go to sleep ? What are you 
three hundred millions of people doing there, especially 
those that are so proud of their learning, etc. ? Why do 
you not take up the fighting and leave me to teach and 
preach ? Here am I struggling day and night in the midst 

of strangers What help does India send? Did the 

world ever see a nation with less patriotism than the 
Indian? If you could send and maintain for a few years 
a dozen well-educated strong men, to preach in Europe 
and America, you would do immense service to India, 
both morally and politically. Every man who morally 
sympathises with India becomes a political friend. Many 
of the Western people think of you as a nation of half- 
naked savages, and therefore only fit to be whipped into 
civilisation. Why don't you show them to the contrary? 

What can one man do in a far distant land? Even 

what I have done, you do not deserve, you cowards. * * * 

Hindus that have hitherto come to Western lands have 
too often criticised their own faith and country in order to 
get praise or money. You know that I did not come to 
seek name and fame ; it was forced upon me. Why shall 

I go back to India? Who will help me? You are 

children, you prattle you do not know what. Where are 
the men in Madras who will give up the world to preach 
religion? Worldliness and realisation of God cannot go 
together. I am the one man who dared defend his country 
and I have given them such ideas as they never expected 
from a Hindu. There are many who are against me, but 
I will never be a coward like you. There are also 
thousands in the country who are my friends, and hundreds 
who would follow me unto death ; every year they will 
increase, and if I live and work with them, my ideals of 
life and religion will be fulfilled. Do you see? 

I do not hear much now about the Temple Universal 
that was to be built in America ; yet I have a firm footing 

V E 


in New York, the very centre of American life, and so my 
work will go on. I am taking several of my disciples to a 
summer retreat to finish their training in Yoga and Bhakti 
and Jnana, and then they will be able to help carry the 
work on. Now my boys, go to work. 

Within a month I shall be in a position to send some 
money for the paper. Do not go about begging from the 
Hindu beggars. 1 will do it all myself with my own brain 
and strong right hand. I do not want the help of any man 

here or in India Do not press too much the Rama- 

krishna Avatara. 

Now I will tell you my discovery. All of religion is 
contained in the Vedanta, that is, in the three stages of the 
Vedanta philosophy, the Dcaita, Visishtddvaita, and 
Advaita ; one comes after the other. These are the three 
stages of spiritual growth in man. Each one is necessary. 
This is the essential of religion : The Vedanta applied to 
the various ethnic customs and creeds of India, is Hinduism. 
The first stage, i.e. Dvaita, applied to the ideas of the 
ethnic groups of Europe, is Christianity ; as applied to the 
Semitic groups, Mahommedanism. The Advaita as applied 
in its Yoga-perception form, is Buddhism, etc. Now by 
religion is meant the Vedanta ; the applications must vary 
according to the different needs, surroundings and other 
circumstances of different nations. You will find that 
although the philosophy is the same, the Shaktas, Shaivas, 
etc., apply it, each, to their own special cult and forms. 
Now, in your journal write article after article on these 
three systems, showing their harmony as one following after 
the other, and at the same time keeping off the ceremonial 
forms altogether. That is, preach the philosophy, the 
spiritual part, and let people suit it to their own forms. 
I wish to write a book on this subject, therefore I wanted 
the three Bhashyas, but only one volume of the Ramanuja 
has reached me as yet. 

* * * You know I am not much of a writer. I am 


not in the habit of going from door to door begging. I sit 

quiet and let things come to me Now my children, 

I could have made a grand success in the way of organising 
here, if I were a worldly hypocrite. Alas ! That is all of 
religion here ; money and name = priest, money and lust= 
layman. I am to create a new order of humanity here, 
who are sincere believers in God and care nothing for the 
world. This must be slow, very slow. In the meantime 
you go on with your work, and I shall steer my boat straight 
ahead. The journal must not be flippant but steady, calm 

and high-toned Get hold of a band of fine steady 

writers Be perfectly unselfish, be steady and work on. 

We will do great things ; do not fear One thing more. 

Be the servant of all, and do not try in the least to govern 
others. That will excite jealousy and destroy every- 
thing Go on. You have worked wonderfully well. 

We do not wait for help, we will work it out, my boy, be 
self-reliant, faithful and patient. Do not antagonise my 
other friends, live in harmony with all. My eternal love 
to all. 

Ever yours with blessings, 


P.S. Nobody will come to help you, if you put your- 
self forward as a leader Kill self first if you want to 



14th May, 1895. 


* * * * 

Now 1 have got a hold on New York, and I hope to get 
a permanent body of workers who will carry on the work 


when I leave the country. Do you see, my boy, all this 
newspaper blazoning is nothing? I ought to be able to 
leave a permanent effect behind me when I go ; and with 

the blessings of the Lord it is going to be very soon 

Men are more valuable than all the wealth of the world. 

You need not worry about me. The Lord is always 
protecting me. My coming to this country and all my 
labours' must not be in vain. 

The Lord is merciful, and although there are many 
who try to injure me any way they can, there are many also 
who will befriend me to the last. Infinite patience, infinite 
purity, and infinite perseverance are the secret of success 
in a good cause. 

Ever yours with blessings, 



u. s. A. 

20th May, 1895. 

* * * Now I tell you a curious fact. Whenever 
anyone of you is sick, let him himself or anyone of you 
visualise him in your mind, and mentally say and strongly 
imagine that he is all right. That will cure him quickly. 
You can do it even without his knowledge, and even with 
thousands of miles between you. Remember it and do not 
be ill any more. * * * 

I cannot understand why S is so miserable on 

account of his daughters' marriage. After all, he is going 
to drag his daughters through the dirty Samsara which he 
himself wants to escape ! I can have but one opinion of 
that condemnation ! I hate the very name of marriage, 
in regard to a boy or a girl. Do you mean to say that I have 
to help in putting someone into bondage, you fool I If my 


brother M marries, I will throw him off. I am very 

decided about that. * * * 

Yours in love, 



19, W. 38th St., NEW YORK, 

22nd June, 1895. 

I will write you a whole letter instead of a line. I am 
glad you are progressing. You are mistaken in thinking 
that I am not going to return to India ; I am coming soon. 
I am not given to failures, and here I have planted a seed 
and it is going to become a tree, and it must. Only I am 
afraid it will hurt its growth if I give it up too soon. * * * 

Work on, my boy. Rome was not built in a day. I am 
guided by the Lord, so everything will come all right in 
the end. 

With my love ever and ever to you. 

Yours sincerely, 


^ * M|^ fl *M"*~! 
XXXVIII ^-it. U"r 

U. S. A. 

Istjaly, 1895. 
# * * * * 

Let me tell you, A , that you have to defend your- 
selves. Why do you behave like babies? If anybody 
attacks your religion why cannot you defend it? As for 
me you need not be afraid, I have more friends than 
enemies here, and in this country one-third are Christians, 
and only a small number of the educated care about the 


missionaries. Again, the very fact of the missionaries being 
against anything makes the educated like it. They are less 
of a power here now, and are becoming less every day. If 
their attacks pain you, why do you behave like a petulant 
child and refer to me? Cowardice is no virtue. 

Here I have already got a respectable following. Next 
year I will organise it on a working basis and then the work 
will be carried on. And when I am off to India, I have 
friends who will back me here and help me in India too, 
so you need not fear. So long as you shriek at the 
missionary attempts, and jump without being able to do 
anything, I laugh at you, you are little dollies, that is what 
you are What can Swami do for old babies ! ! 

I know, my son, I shall have to come and manufacture 
men out of you. I know that India is only inhabited by 
women and eunuchs. So do not fret. I will have to get 
means to work there. I do not put myself in the hands of 
imbeciles. You need not worry, do what little you can. 

I have to work alone from the top to the bottom "This 

Atman is not to be reached by cowards/* You need not 
be afraid for me. The Lord is with me, you defend your- 
selves only and show me you can do that and I will be 
satisfied ; don't bother me any more with what any one 
says about me. I am not waiting to hear any fool's judg- 
ment of me. You babies, great results are attained only 

by great patience, great courage and great attempts 

K *s mind is taking periodic somersaults, I am afraid. * * 

The brave alone, do great things, not the cowards. 
Know once for all, you faithless ones, that I am in the hands 
of the Lord. So long as I am pure and His servant, not a 

hair of my head will be touched Do something for the 

nation, then they will help you, then the nation will be 
with you. Be brave, be brave, man dies but once. My 

disciples must not be cowards. 

Ever yours with love, 




u. s. A. 

9th July, 1895. 

(Written to the Maharajah of Khetri.) 

* * * About my coming to India, the matter stands 
thus. I am as your Highness well knows, a man oi; dogged 
perseverance. I have planted a seed in this country ; it is 
already a plant, and I expect it to be a tree very soon. 
I have got a few hundred followers. I shall make several 
Sannyasins and then I go to India, leaving the work to them. 
The more the Christian, priests oppose me, the more I am 
determined to leave a permanent mark on their country. 

I have already some friends in London. I ahi going 

there by the end of August This winter anyway has 

to be spent partly in London, and partly in New York, and 
then I shall be free to go to India. There will be enough 
men to carry on the work here after this winter, if the Lord 
is kind. Each work has to pass through these stages, 
ridicule, opposition, and then acceptance. Each man who 
thinks ahead of his time is sure to be misunderstood^ So 
opposition and persecution are welcome, only I have to 
be steady and pure and must have immense faith in God, 
and all these will vanish. * * * 


U. S. A. 

August, 1895. 

By the time this reaches you, dear A , I shall be 

in Paris I have done a good deal of work this year 

and hope to do a good deal more in the next. Don't bother 
about the missionaries. It is quite natural that they should 
cry. Who does not, when his bread is dwindling away? 


The missionary funds have got a big gap the last two years, 
and it is on the increase. However, I wish the missionaries 
all success. So long as you have Ipve for God and Guru, 
and faith in truth, nothing can hurt you, my son. But the 
loss of any of these is dangerous. You have remarked 
well ; my ideas are going to work in the West better than 

in India I have done more for India than India ever 

did for "me I believe in truth, the Lord sends me 

workers by the scores wherever I go and they are not like 

the disciples either, they are ready to give up their 

lives for their Guru. Truth is my God, the Universe my 
country. I do not believe in duty. Duty is the curse of 
the Samsari (householder), not for the Sannyasin. Duty is 
a humbug. I am free, my bonds are cut, what care I where 
this body goes or does not go ? You have helped me well 
right along. The Lord will reward you. I sought praise 
neither from India nor from America, nor do I seek such 
bubbles. I have a truth to teach, I, the child of God. And 
He that gave me the truth will send me fellow-workers from 
the Earth's bravest and best. You Hindus will see in a few 
years what the Lord does in the West. You are like the 
Jews of old dogs in the manger, neither eat nor give others 
to eat. You have no religion, your God is the kitchen, 

your Bible the cooking-pots You are a few brave lads 

Hold on, boys, no cowards among my children 

Are great things ever done smoothly? Time, patience and 
indomitable will must show. I could have told you many 
things that could have made your heart leap, but I will not. 
I want iron wills and hearts that do not know how to quake. 
Hold on. The Lord bless you. 

Ever yours with blessings, 



(Written to an English friend.) 


August, 1895. 

* # * Now here is another letter from Mr. Sturdy. 
I send it over to you. See how things are being prepared 

ahead. Don't you think this coupled with Mr. L *s 

invitation as a Divine call ? I think so and am following it. 

I am going by the end of August with Mr. L to Paris 

and then I go to London. 

What little can be done for my brethren and my work 
is all the help I want from you now. I have done my duty 
by my people fairly well. Now for the world that gave me 
this body the country that gave me the ideas, the humanity 
which allows me to be one of them ! 

The older I grow the more I see behind the idea of the 
Hindus that man is the greatest of all beings. So say the 
Mahommedans too. The angels were asked by Allah to 
bow down to Adam. Iblis did not and therefore he became 
Satan. This earth is higher than all heavens ; this is the 
greatest school in the universe ; and the Mars or Jupiter 
people cannot be higher than us, because they cannot com- 
municate with us. The only so-called higher beings are 
the departed, and these are nothing but men who have 
taken another body. This is finer, it is true, but still a 
man-body, with hands and feet, and so on. And they live 
on this earth in another d^as/ia, without being absolutely 
invisible. They also think, and have consciousness, and 
everything else like us. So they also are men, so are the 
Devas, the angels. But man alone bcomes Gocf, and they 
all have to become men again in order to become God. * * 



9th September, 1895. 


* * * 1 am surprised you take so seriously the 

missionaries' nonsense If the people in India want 

me to keep strictly to my Hindu diet, please tell them to 
send me a cook and money enough to keep him. This silly 
bossism without a mite of real help makes me laugh. On 
the other hand, if the missionaries tell you that I have ever 
broken the two great vows of the Sannyasin, chastity and 
poverty, tell them that they are big liars. Please write 

to the missionary H asking him categorically to write 

you what misdemeanour he saw in me, or give you the 
names of his informants, and whether the information was 
first-hand or not ; that will settle the question and expose 
the whole thing. * * * 

As for me, mind you, I stand at nobody's dictation. 
I know my mission in life, and no charivarism about me ; 
I belong as much to India as to the world, no humbug about 
that. I have helped you all I could. You must now help 
yourselves. What country has any special claim on me? 
Am I any nation's slave? Don't talk any more silly 
nonsense, you faithless atheists. 

I have worked hard and sent all the money I got to 
Calcutta and Madras, and then after doing all this stand 
their silly dictation ! Are you not ashamed ? What do I 
owe to them ? Do I care a fig for their praise or fear their 
blame? I am a singular man, my son, not even you can 
understand me yet. Do your work ; if you cannot, stop ; 
but do not try to "boss" me with your nonsense. I see 
a greater Power than man, or God, or devil, at my back. 
I require nobody's help. I have been all my life helping 

others They cannot raise a few rupees to help the 

work of the greatest man their country ever produced 


Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ; and they talk nonsense and 
want to dictate to the man for whom they did nothing, and 
who did everything he could for them ! Such is the un- 
grateful world ! 

Do you mean to say I am born to live and die one of 
those caste-ridden, superstitious, merciless, hypocritical, 
atheistic cowards that you find only amongst the educated 
Hindus? I hate cowardice, I will have nothing to do with 
cowards or political nonsense. I do not believe in any 
politics. God and truth are the only politics in the world, 
everything else is trash. 

I am going to London to-morrow, * * * 

Yours with blessings, 




24th October, 1895. 

* * * I have already delivered my first address, 
and you may see how well it has been received by the 
notice in the Standard. The Standard is one of the most 
influential conservative papers. I am going to be in 
London for a month, then I go off to America and shall 
come back again next summer. So far you see the seed 
is well sown in England. * * * 

Take courage and work on. Patience and steady work 
this is the only way. Go on, remember patience and 

purity and courage and steady work So long as you 

are pure, and true to your principles, you will never fail, 
Mother will never leave you, and all blessings will be yours. 

Yours with love, 




18th November, 1895. 


* * * In England my work is really splendid. 
I am astonished myself at it. The English people do not 
talk much in the newspapers, but they work silently. I am 
sure of more work in England than in America. Bands 
and bands come and I have no room for so many ; so they 
squat on the floor, ladies and all. I tell them to imagine that 
they are under the sky of India, under a spreading banyan, 
and they like the idea. I shall have to go away next week, 
and they are so sorry. Some think my work here will be 
hurt a little if I go away so soon. I do not think so. 
I do not depend on men or things. The Lord alone 
I depend upon and He works through me. 

* * * Please everybody without becoming a hypo- 
crite and without being a coward. Hold on to your own 
ideas with strength and purity, and whatever obstructions 
may now be in your way, the world is bound to listen to 
you in the long run. * * * 

I have no time even to die, as the Bengalees say. 
I work, work, work, and earn my own bread and help my 
country, and this all alone, and then get only criticism from 
friends and foes for all that ! Well, you are but children, 
I shall have to bear everything. I have sent for a Sannyasin 
from Calcutta, and shall leave him to work in London. 
I want one more for America, I want my own man. 
Guru-Bhakti is the foundation of all spiritual development. 

* * * I am really tired from incessant work. Any 
other Hindu would have died if he had to work as hard as 
I have to I want to go to India for a long rest. * * * 

Ever yours with love and blessings, 




228 W. 39th St., NEW YORK, 

20th December, 1895. 


* * * Have patience and be faithful unto death. 
Do not fight among yourselves. Be perfectly pure in 

money dealings We will do great things yet..> So 

long as you have faith and honesty and devotion everything 
will prosper. 

* * * In translating the Supers, pay particular 
attention to the Bhashyakaras and pay no attention what- 
ever to the orientalists. They do not understand a single 
thing about our Shastras. It is not given to dry philologists 

to understand philosophy or religion For instance, the 

word "*il?tOTcf " in the Rig-Veda was translated "He 
lived without breathing." Now, here the reference is really 
to the chief Prdna, and ** ^raicf " has the root-meaning for 
unmoved, that is, without vibration. It describes the state 
in which the universal cosmic energy or Prdna remains 
before the Kalpa begins ; vide the Bhdshy al^dras. 
Explain according to our sages and not according to the 
so-called European scholars. What do they know? 

* * * Be bold and fearless and the road will be 

clear Mind, you have nothing whatsoever to do with 

the T s. If you all stand by me and do not lose 

patience, I assure you we shall do great work yet. The 
great work will be in England, my boy, by and by. I feel 
you sometimes get disheartened, and I am afraid you get 

temptations to play in the hands of the T s. Mind you, 

that the Guru-Bhakta will conquer the world this is the 

one evidence of history It is faith that makes a lion 

of a man. You must always remember how much work 
I have to do. Sometimes I have to deliver two or three 
lectures a day and thus I make my way against all odds 
hard work ; any weaker man would die. 


* * * Hold on with faith and strength ; be true, 
be honest, be pure, and don't quarrel among yourselves. 
Jealousy is the bane of our race. 

With love to you and all our friends there, 




# * * Our friend was charmed to hear about the 
Vedantic Prana and Al^asha and the Kalpas, which 
according to him are the only theories modern science can 
entertain. Now both A kasha and Prana again are pro- 
duced from the cosmic Mahat, the Universal Mind, the 
Brahma, or Ishvara. Mr. Tesla thinks he can demonstrate 
mathematically that force and matter are reducible to 
potential energy. I am to go and see him next week, to 
get this new mathematical demonstration. 

In that case, the Vedantic cosmology will be placed 
on the surest of foundations. I am working a good deal 
now upon the cosmology and eschatologyf of the Vedanta. 
I clearly see their perfect unison with modern science, and 
the elucidation of the one will be followed by that of the 
other. I intend to write a book later on in the form of 
questions and answers. t The first chapter will be on 
Cosmology, showing the harmony between Vedantic 
theories and modern science. 

* Written to an English friend in the end of 1895 or thereabouts, 
from America, after Swamiji had a conversation with Mr. Tesla, a 
distinguished electrician, on the problem of the relation between Force 
and Matter. 

t That is, doctrine of the last things, death, judgment, &c. 

t This plan was never carried out. But in studying the lectures 
he delivered in London in the year 1896, it is easy to see that his mind 
was still working on the ideas here announced. 


Brahman The Absolute 

Mahat or Ishvara = Primal Creative Energy 

i i i 1 

Prana and Akasha Force and Matter 
The eschatology will be explained from the Advaitic 
standpoint only. That is to say, the dualist claims that the 
soul after death passes on to the Solar sphere, thence to 
the Lunar sphere, thence to the Electric sphere. Thence 
he is accompanied by a Purasha to Brahmaloka. (Thence, 
says the Advaitist, he goes to Nirvana.) 

Now on the Advaitic side, it is held that the soul neither 
comes nor goes, and that all these spheres or layers of the 
universe are only so many varying products of afyasha and 
prana. That is to say, the lowest or most condensed is 
the Solar sphere, consisting of the visible universe, in which 
Prana appears as physical force, and Alaska as sensible 
matter. The next is called the Lunar sphere, \.hich sur- 
rounds the Solar sphere. This is not the moon at all, but 
the habitation of the gods, that is to say, Prana appears in 
it as psychic forces, and AJ^asha as Tanmdtras, or fine 
particles. Beyond this is the Electric sphere, that is to say, 
a condition in which the Prana is almost inseparable from 
A^asha, and you can hardly tell whether Electricity is force 
or matter. Next is the Brahmaloka , where there is neither 
Prana nor Afyasha, but both are merged in the mind-stuff, 
the primal energy. And here there being neither Prana 
nor A kasha the Jiva contemplates the whole universe as 
Samashti, or the sum-total of Mahat or mind. This appears 
as a Purusha, an abstract universal soul, yet not the 
Absolute, for still there is multiplicity. From this the Jiva 
finds at last that Unity which is the end. Advaitism says 
that these are the visions which rise in succession before the 
Jiva, who himself neither goes nor comes, and that in the 
same way this present vision has been projected. The 
projection (Srfsfifi) and dissolution must take place in the 


same order, only one means going backward, and the other 
coming out. 

Now as each individual can only see his own universe, 
that universe is created with his bondage and goes away 
with his liberation, although it remains for others who are 
in bondage. Now name and form constitute the universe. 
A wave in the ocean is a wave, only in so far as it is bound 
by name and form. If the wave subsides, it is the ocean, 
but that name and form have immediately vanished for 
ever. So that the name and form of a wave could never 
be without the water that was fashioned into the wave by 
them, yet the name andTorm tliemselves were not the 
wave. They die as soon as ever it returns to water. But 
other names and forms live in relation to other waves. 
This name-and-form is called Maya, and the water is^ 
Brahman. The wave was nothing but water all the time, 
yet as a ujaue it had the name and form. Again this name 
and form cannot remain for one moment separated from the 
wave, although the wave as water can remain eternally 
separate from name and form. But because the name and 

"fK 1 ...- I* * "/ft*""* '*"*"" " < ~ > "'* V "* t _ "*' _ f _ 

form can never be separated, they can never be said to 
exist. Yet they are not zero. This is called Maya. 

I want to work all this out carefully, but you will see 
at a glance that I am on the right track. It will take 
more study in physiology, on the relations between the 
higher and lower centres, to fill out the psychology of mind, 
Chitta and Buddhi, and so on. But I have clear light now, 
free of all hocus-pocus. * * * 



23rd March, 1896. 


* * * One of my new Sannyasins is indeed a 
woman The others are men. I am going to make 


some more in England and take them over to India with 
me. These " white'* faces will have more influence in India 
than the Hindus, moreover they are vigorous, the Hindus 
are dead. The only hope of India is from the masses. The 
upper classes are physically and morally dead. * * * 

My success is due to my popular style the greatness 
of a teacher consists in the simplicity of his language. 

* * * I am going to England next month/ I am 
afraid I have worked too much ; my nerves are almost 
shattered by this long-continued work. I don't want you 
to sympathise, but only I write this so that you may not 
expect much from me now. Work on, the best way you 
can. I have very little hope of being able to do great things 
now. I am glad however that a good deal of literature has 
been created by taking down stenographic notes of my 

lectures. Four books are ready Well, I am satisfied 

that I have tried my best to do good, and shall have a clear 
Conscience when I retire from work and sit down in a cave. 

With love and blessings to all, 



U. S. A. 

March, 1896. 

* * * Push on with the work. I will do all I can 

If it pleases the Lord, yellow-garbed Sannyasins will 

be common here and in England. Work on, my children. 

Mind, so long you have faith in your Guru, nothing 
will be able to obstruct your way. That transIafiofToFtrie 

tKree Bhashyas will be a great thing in the eyes of the 

* * * Wait, my child, wait and work on. Patience, 

V F 


patience I will burst on the public again in good 

time. * * * 

Yours with love, 



14th Af>ril 1896. 


I received your note this morning. As 1 am sailing 
for England to-morrow, I can only write a few hearty lines. 
I have every sympathy with your proposed magazine for 
boys, anJ will do my best to help it on. You ought to make 
it independent, following the same lines as the Brahma- 
vadin, only making the style and matter much more 
popular. As for example, there is a great chance, much 
more than you ever dream of, for those wonderful stories 
scattered all over the Sanskrit literature, to be re-written and 
made popular. That should be the one great feature of 
your journal. I will write stories, as many as I can, when 
time permits. Avoid all attempts to make the journal 
scholarly, the Brahmavadin stands for that, and it will 
slowly make its way all over the world, I am sure. Use the 
simplest language possible and you will succeed. The 
main feature should be the teaching of principles through 

stories. Don't make it metaphysical at all In India 

the one thing we lack, is the power of combination, 
organisation, the first secret of which is obedience. 

* * * Go on bravely. Do not expect success in a 
day or a year. Always hold on to the highest. Be steady. 
Avoid jealousy and selfishness. Be obedient and eternally 
faithful to the cause of truth, humanity and your country, 
and you will move the world. Remember, it is the person, 


the life, which is the secret of power nothing else. Keep 
this letter and read the last lines whenever you feel worried 
or jealous. Jealousy is the bane of all slaves. It is the 
bane of our nation. Avoid that always. All blessings 
attend you and all success. 

Yours affectionately, 


14th July, 1896. 

I)EAR DR. N , 

* # # After all, no foreigner will ever write the 
English language as well as the native Englishman, and the 
ideas when put in good English, will spread farther than 
m Hindu English. Then again it is much more difficult to 
write a story in a foreign language than an essay 

You must not depend on any foreign help. Nations, 
like individuals, must help themselves. This is real 
patriotism. If a nation cannot do that, its time has not yet 

come. It must wait The new light must spread all 

over India. With this end you must work. * * * 

* * * \S/ e are awfully behindhand in art, especially 

in that of painting. Make the design of symbolical and 

simple. It must express the idea of a re-awakening 

The lotus is a symbol of regeneration. For instance, make 
a small scene of spring re-awakening in a forest, showing 
how the leases and buds are coming again. Slowly go on, 
there are hundreds of ideas to be put forward. * * * 

I am going to Switzerland next Sunday, and shall return 

to London in the autumn and take up the work a ain 

I want rest very badly, you know. 

Yours with all blessings &c., 





6th August, 1896. 

* * * Do not be afraid. Great things are going to 
be done, my child. Take heart. * * * 

Piof. Max Miiller writes me very nice letters, and wants 
material for a big book on Sri Ramakrishna's life. * * * 

Enough of this newspaper blazoning, I am tired of it, 
anyhow. Let us go our own way and let fools talk. 
Nothing can resist truth. 

I am, as you see, now in Switzerland, and am always 
on the move. I cannot and must not do anything in the 
way of writing, nor much reading either. There is a big 
London work waiting for me from next month. Ii* winter 
1 am going back to India and will try to set things on their 
feet there. 

My love to all. Work on, brave hearts, fail not, no 
saying nay ; work on, the Lord is behind the work. 
Mahashatyi is with you. 

Yours with love and blessings, 




8th August, 1896. 



Several things are necessary. First, that there should 
be strict integrity. Not that I even hint that any of you 
would digress from it, but the Hindus have a peculiar 


slovenliness in business matters, not being sufficiently 
methodical and strict in keeping accounts, &c. 

Secondly, entire devotion to the cause, knowing that 
your SALVATION depends upon making the Brahmavadin a 
success. Let this paper be your Ishtadevata and then you 
will see how success comes. I have already sent for 

Abhedananda from India Remember that perfect 

purity and disinterested obedience to the Guru are the 
secret of all success. * * * 

A big foreign circulation of a religious paper is 
impossible. It must be supported by the Hindus, if they 
have any sense of virtue or gratitude left to them. 

By the bye, Mrs. Annie Besant invited me to speak at 
her Lodge, on Bhakti. I lectured there one night. Col. 
Olcott was also there. I did it to show my sympathy for 

all sects Our countrymen must renjember that in 

things of the Spirit we are the teachers, and no foreigners 
but in things of the world we ought to learn from them. 

I have read Max Miiller's article, which is a good one, 
considering that when he wrote it, six months ago, he had 
no materials except Mazumdar's leaflet. Now he writes 
me a long and nice letter offering to write a book on Sri 
Ramakrishna. I have already supplied him with much 
material, but a good deal more is needed from India. 

Work on ! Hold on ! Be brave ! Dare anything and 
everything ! 

* * * It is all misery, this Samsara, don't you see ! 

Yours with blessing and love, 





26th August, 1896, 

I have just now got your letter. I am on the move. 
I have been doing a great deal of mountain-climbing and 
glaciefr-crossing in the Alps. Now I am going to Germany. 
1 have an invitation from Prof. Deussen to visit him at Kiel. 
From thence I go back to England. Possibly I will return 
to India this winter. 

What I objected to in the design for was not only 
its tawdriness, but the crowding in of a number of figures 
without any purpose. A design should be simple, sym 

bolical and condensed. I will try to make a design for 

in London, and send it over to you. * * * 

The work is going on beautifully, I am very glad to say 

* * * I w ill give you one advice however. Al! 
combined efforts in India sink under the weight of one 
iniquity, we have not yet developed strict business 
principles. Business is business, in the highest sense, and 
no friendship or as the Hindu proverb says "eye-shame" 
should be there. One should keep the clearest account 
of everything in his charge and never, never apply the 
funds intended for one thing to any other use whatsoever 
even if one starves the next moment. This is business 
integrity. Next, energy unfailing. Whatever you do let 
that be your worship for the time. Let this paper be your 
God for the time, and you will succeed. 

When you have succeeded in this paper, start verna 
cular ones on the same lines in Tamil, Telugu, Canarese, 
etc. We must reach the masses. The Madrasis are good, 
energetic, and all that, but the land of Sankaracharya has 
lost the spirit of renunciation, it seems. 

My children must plunge into the breach, must 
renounce the world, then the firm foundation will be laid 


Go on bravely never mind about designs and other 
details at present "With the horse will come the reins/* 
Work unto death I am with you, and when I am gone, 
my spirit will work with you. This life comes and goes 
wealth, fame, enjoyments are only of a few days. It is 
better, far better to die on the field of duty, preaching the 
truth, than to die like a worldly worm. Advance ! 

Yours with all love and blessings, 



Westminster, London, 1896 


I have returned about three weeks from Switzerland 

The work in London is growing apace, the classes 

are becoming bigger as thev go on In America there 

is room for twenty preachers on the Vedanta and Yoga 

Half the United States can be conquered in ten years, 

given a number of strong and genuine men. Where are 
they ? You are all boobies over there ! Selfish cowards, 
with your nonsense of lip-patriotism, orthodoxy and boasted 
religious feeling ! ! ! The Madrasis have more of go and 
steadiness, but every fool is married. Marriage ! Marriage ! 

Marriage! Then the way our boys are married now- 

a-days ! It is very good to aspire to be a non-attached 

householder, but what we want in Madras is not that just 
now but non-marriage. * * * 

My child, what I want is muscles of iron and nerves of 
steel, inside which dwells a mind of the same material as 
that of which the thunderbolt is made. Strength, manhood, 
Kshatra-Virya + Brahma-Teja. .Our beautiful, hopeful boys, 
they have everything, only if they are not slaughtered by 


the millions at the altar of this brutality they call marriage. 

Lord, hear my wails ! Madras will then awake when 
at least one hundred of its very heart's blood, in the form 
of its educated young men, will stand aside from the world, 
gird their loins, and be ready to fight the battle of truth, 
marching on from country to country. One blow struck 
outside of India is equal to a hundred thousand struck 
within. . Well, all will come if the Lord wills it. 

* * * Max Miiller is getting very friendly. I am 
soon going to deliver two lectures at Oxford. 

I am busy writing something big on the Vedanta 
philosophy. I am busy collecting passages from the 
various Vedas bearing on the Vedanta in its threefold 
aspects. You can help me by getting someone to collect 
passages bearing on, first, the Advaitist idea, then, the 
Visishtadvaitic, and the Dvaitist from the Samhitas, the 
Brahmanas, the Upanishads and the Puranas. They should 
be classified and very legibly written with the name and 
chapter of the book, in each case. It would be a pity to 
leave the West, without leaving something of the philosophy 
in book- form. 

There was a book published in Mysore in Tamil 
characters, comprising all the one hundred and eight 
Upanishads; I saw it in Professor Deussen's library. Is 
there a reprint of the same in Devanagri ? If so, send me 
a copy. If not, send me the Tamil edition, and also write 
on a sheet the Tamil letters and compounds, and all 
juxtaposed with its Nagri equivalents, so that I may learn 
the Tamil letters. * * * 

Mr. Satyanadhan, whom I met in London the other 
day, said that there has been a friendly review of my Raja- 
Yoga book in the Madras Mail, the chief Anglo-Indian 
paper in Madras. The leading physiologist in America, 

1 hear, has been charmed with my speculations. At the 
same time, there have been some in England, who ridiculed 
my ideas. Good ! My speculations of course are awfully 


bold, a good deal of them will ever remain meaningless, 
but there are hints in it which the physiologists had better 
taken up earlier. Nevertheless, I am quite satisfied with 
the result. "Let them talk badly of me if they please, but 
let them talk," is my motto. 

* * * Persevere on, my brave lads. We have only 

just begun. Never despond! Never say enough^ 

As soon as a man comes over to the West and sees different 
nations, his eyes open. This way 1 get strong workers, not 
by talking, but by practically showing what we have in 
India and what we have not. I wish at least that a million 
Hindus had travelled all over the world ! 

Yours ever with love, 




22nd. September, /896. 


* * * I had a beautiful time with Prof. Deussen in 
Germany. Later, he and I came together to London, and 
we have already become great friends. 

* * * There is yet a vast untrodden field, namely 
the writing of the lives and works of Tulsi Das, Kabir, 
Nanak, and of the saints of Southern India. They should 
be written in a thorough-going, scholarly style, and not in 
a slipshod, slovenly way. In fact, the ideal of the paper, 
apart from the preaching of Vedanta, should be to make it 
a magazine of Indian research and scholarship, of course, 
bearing on religion. You must approach the best writers 


and get carefully written articles from their pen Work 

on with all energy. 

Yours with love, 




28th October, 1896. 


* * * 1 am not yet sure what month I shall reach 
India. I will write later about it. The new Swami* 
delivered his maiden speech yesterday at a friendly 
society's meeting. It was good and I liked it ; he has the 
making of a good speaker in him, I am sure. 

* * * You have not yet printed the Again, 

books must be cheap for India to have a large sale ; the 

types must be bigger to satisfy the public You can 

very well get out a cheap edition of if you like. I have 

not reserved any copyright on it purposely. You have 

missed a good opportunity by not getting out the book 

earlier, but we Hindus are so slow that when we have done 
a work the opportunity has already passed away, and thus 

we are the losers. Your book came out after a year's 

talk ! Did you think the Western people would wait for 
it till Doomsday? You have lost three-fourths of the sale 

by his delay That H is a fool, slower than you, 

and his printing is diabolical. There is no use in publishing 
books that way ; it is cheating the public, and should not 
be done. I shall most probably return to India accompanied 
by Mr. and Mrs. Sevier, Miss Miiller and Mr. Goodwin. 

* The Swami Abhedananda. 


Mr. and Mrs. Sevier are probably going to settle in Almora 
at least for sometime, and Goodwin is going to become a 
Sannyasin. He of course will travel with me. It is he to 
whom we owe all our books. He took shorthand notes of 

my lectures, which enabled the books to be published 

All these lectures were delivered on the spur of the moment, 
without the least preparation, and as such, they should be 

carefully revised and edited Goodwin will have to 

live with me He is a strict vegetarian. 

Yours with love, 




11th November, 1896. 

I shall most probably start on the 16th of December, 
or may be a day or two later. I go from here to Italy, and 
after seeing a few places there, join the steamer at 
Naples. * * * 

The first edition of Raja- Yoga is sold out, and a second 
is in the press. India and America are the biggest 
buyers. * * * 

Yours with love and blessings, 





20th November, 1896. 

I am leaving England on the 16th of December for Italy, 
and shall catch the North German Lloyd S. S. Prinz Regent 
Luitpold at Naples. The steamer is due at Colombo on 
the 1 4th of January next. I intend to see a little of Ceylon, 
and shall then go to Madras. 

* * * Mr. Sevier and his wife are going to start a place 
near Almora in the Himalayas which I intend to make my 
Himalayan Centre, as well as a place for Western disciples 
to live as Brahmacharins and Sannyasins. Goodwin is an 
unmarried young man who is going to travel and live with 
me ; he is like a Sannyasin. 

* * * Miss M. Noble of Wimbledon is a great 
worker. * * * 

I am very desirous to reach Calcutta before the birth- 
day festival of Sri Ramakrishna My present plan of 

work is to start two centres, one in Calcutta, and the other 
in Madras, in which to train up young preachers. I have 
funds enough to start the one in Calcutta, which being the 
scene of Sri Ramakrishna's life-work, demands my first 
attention. As for the Madras one, I expect to get funds in 

We will begin work with these three centres ; and 
later on, we will get to Bombay and Allahabad. And from 
these points, if the Lord is pleased, we will invade not only 
India, but send over bands of preachers to every country 
in the world. That should be our first duty. Work on 
with a heart. 

* * . * Now we have got one Indian magazine in 
English fixed. We can start some in the vernaculars also 
Papers of this kind are supported by a little circle of 


followers The Indian papers are to be supported by 

the Indians. To make a paper equally acceptable to all 
nationalities, means a staff of writers from all nations, and 
that means at least a hundred thousand rupees a year * * 

You must not forget that my interests are international 
and not Indian alone. * * * 

Yours with all love and blessings, 



London, 1896. 

(On the eve of the lecture-tour of Dr. Barrows in India 
at the end of 1896, Swamiji in a letter to the Indian Mirror, 
Calcutta, introduced the distinguished visitor to his country- 
men and advised them to give him a fitting reception. He 
wrote among other things as follows :) 

Dr. Barrows was the ablest lieutenant Mr. C. Boney 
could have selected to carry out successfully his great plan 
of the Congresses at the World's Fair, and it is now a matter 
of history how one of these Congresses scored a unique 
distinction, under the leadership of Dr. Barrows. 

It was the great courage, untiring industry, unruffled 
patience and never-failing courtesy of Dr. Barrows that 
made the Parliament a grand success. 

India, its people and their thoughts, have been brought 
more prominently before the world than ever before, by 
that wonderful gathering at Chicago, and that national 
benefit we certainly owe to Dr. Barrows more than to any 
other man at that meeting. 

Moreover, he comes to us in the sacred name of 
religion, in the name of one of the great teachers of 
mankind, and I am sure, his exposition of the system of 
the Prophet of Nazareth would be extremely liberal and 


elevating. The Christ-power this man intends to bring to 
India, is not that of the intolerant, dominant Superior, with 
heart full of contempt for everything else but its own self, 
but that of a brother who craves for a brother's place as a 
co-worker of the various powers, already working in India. 
Above all, we must remember that gratitude and hospitality 
are the peculiar characteristics of Indian humanity, and as 
such, i would beg my countrymen to behave in such a 
manner, that this stranger from the other side of the globe 
may find that in the midst of all our misery, our poverty and 
degradation, the heart beats as warm as of yore, when the 
'wealth of Ind' was the proverb of nations, and India was 
the land of the 'Aryas.' 


(Written to an American lady.) 

13th December, 1896. 


We have only to grasp the idea of graduation of 
morality and everything becomes clear. 

Renunciation non-resistance non-destructiveness 
are the ideals to be attained through less and less worldli- 
ness, less and less resistance, less and less destructiveness. 
Keep the ideal in view and work towards it. None can 
live in the world without resistance, without destruction, 
without desire. The world has not come to that state yet 
when the ideal can be realised in society. 

The progress of the world through a^I its evils is making 
it fit for the ideals, slowly but surely. The majority will 
have to go on with this slow growth, the exceptional ones 
will have to get out to realise the ideal in the present state 
of things. 


Doing the duty of the time is the best way, and if it is 
done only as a duty it does not make us attached. 

Music is the highest art, and to those who understand, 
is the highest worship. 

We must try our best to destroy ignorance and evil. 
Only we have to learn that evil is destroyed by the growth 
of good. 

Yours affectionately, 




(Translated from Bengali.) 


Darjeeling, 6th April, 1897. 

(To the Editor, Bharati.} 


I feel much obliged for the "Bharati" sent by you, and 
consider myself fortunate that the cause to which my 
humble life has been dedicated, has been able to win the 
approbation of highly talented ladies like you. 

In this battle of life, men are rare who encourage the 
initiator of new thought, not to speak of women who would 
offer him encouragement, particularly in our unfortunate 
land. It is therefore that the approbation of an educated 
Bengali lady is more valuable than the loud applause of all 
the men of India. 

May the Lord grant that many women like you be born 
in this country, and devote their lives to the betterment of 
their motherland 1 

I have something to say in regard to the article you have 


written about me in the Bharati. It is this. It has been for 
the good of India that religious preaching in the West has 
been and will be done. It has ever been my conviction that 
we shall not be able to rise unless the Western people come 
to our help. In this country no appreciation of merit can 
yet be found, no financial strength, and what is the most 
lamentable of all, there is not a bit of practicality. 

There are many things to be done, but means are 
wanting in this country. We have brains, but ro hands. 
We have the doctrine of Vedanta, but we have not the 
power to reduce it into practice. In our books there is the 
doctrine of universal equality, but in work we make great 
distinctions. It was in India that unselfish and disinterested 
work of the most exalted type was preached, but in practice 
we are awfully cruel, awfully heartless unable to think of 
anything besides our own mass-of-flesh bodies. 

Yet it is only through the present state of things that it 
is possible to proceed to work. There is no other way. 
Every one has the power to judge of good and evil, but he 
is the hero who undaunted by the waves of Samsdra which 
is full of errors, delusions and miseries with one hand 
wipes the tears, and with the other, unshaken, shows the 
path of deliverance. On the one hand there is the con- 
servative society, like a mass of inert matter ; on the other, 
the restless, impatient, fire-darting reformer ; the way to 
good lies between the two. I heard in Japan that it was the 
belief of the girls of that country that their dolls would be 
animated if they were loved with the heart. The Japanese 
girl never breaks her doll. O you of great fortune, I too 
believe that India will awake again if any one could love 
with the whole heart the people of the country bereft of 
the grace of affluence, of blasted fortune, their discretion 
totally lost, down-trodden, ever-starved, quarrelsome and 
envious. Then only will India awake, when hundreds of 
large-hearted men and women giving up all desires of 
enjoying the luxuries of life, will long and exert themselves 


to their utmost, for the well-being of the millions of their 
countrymen who are gradually sinking lower and lower in 
the vortex of destitution and ignorance. I have experienced 
even in my insignificant life, that good motives, sincerity 
and infinite love can conquer tlve world. One single soul 
possessed of these virtues can destroy the dark designs of 
millions of hypocrites and brutes. 

My going over to the West again is yet uncertain ; if 
I go, know that too will be for India. Where is the strength 
of men in this country? Where is the strength of money > 
Many men and women of the West are readv to do good 
to India by serving even the lowest chandalas, in tine Indian 
way, and through the Indian religion. How many such are 
there in this country ? And financial strength ! To meet 
the expenses of my reception, the people of Calcutta made 

me deliver a lecture, and sold tickets ! I do not blame 

or censure anybody for this, I only want to show that our 
well-being is impossible without men and monev coming 
from the West. 

Ever grateful and ever praying to the LorJ for your 




29th May, 1897. 

Your letter and the two bottles containing the medicines 
were dulv received. I have begun from last evening a trial 
of your medicines. Hope the combination will have a 
better effect than the one alone. 

* * * I began to take a lot of exercise oa horse- 
back, both morning and evening. Since that I am very 

V G 


much better indeed. 1 was so much better the first week 
of my gymnastics, that I have scarcely felt so well since 
I was a boy and used to^ have "Kusti" exercises. I really 
began to feel that it was a pleasure to have a body. Every 
movement made me conscious of strength, every move- 
ment of the muscles was pleasurable. That exhilarating 
feeling has subsided somewhat, yet I feel very strong. In 

a trial of strength I could make both G. G. and N go 

down before me in a minute. In Darjeeling I always felt 
that I was not the same man. Here I feel that I have no 
disease whatsoever, but there is one marked change. 
I never in my life could sleep as soon as I got into bed. 
I must toss for at least two hours. Only from Madras to 
Darjeeling (during the first month) I would sleep as soon as 
my head touched the pillow. That ready disposition to 
sleep is gone now entirely, and my old tossing habit and 
feeling hot after the evening meal have come back. 1 do 
not feel any heat after the day meal. There being an 
orchard here, I began to take more fruit than usual as soon 
as 1 came. But the only fruit to be got here now is the 
apricot. I am trying to get more varieties frdm Naini Tal. 
There has not been any thirst even though the days are 

Fearfully hot On the whole my own feeling is one of 

revival of great strength and cheerfulness, and a feeling of 
exuberant health, only 1 am afraid I am getting fat on a too 

much milk diet. Don't you listen to what J writes. 

Hie is a hypochondriac himself and wants to make every- 
body so. I ate one-sixteenth of a Barphi (sweetmeat) in 

-ucknow, and that according to J was what put me out 

>f sorts in Almora ! J is expected here in a few* days. 

am going to take him in hand. By the bye, I am very 
tusceptible of malarious influences. The first week's in- 
lisposition at Almora might have been caused to a certain 
extent by my passage through the "terrai." Anyhow I feel 
rery, very strong now. You ought to see me, Doctoi, 
I sit meditating in front of the beautiful snow-peaks 


and repeat from the Upanishads, *T W Kftt 
UTTO fiu(V*T*f *lt^ I "He has neither disease, nor decay, 
nor death, for, verily, he has obtained a body full of the 
fire of Yoga. 

1 am very glad to learn of the success of the meetings 
of the Ramakrishna Mission at Calcutta. All blessings 
attend those that help in the great work, * * * 

With all love, 

Yours in the Lord, 



1st fane, 1897. 


The objections you show about the Vedas would be 
valid if the word Vedas meant Samhitas. The word Vedas 
includes the three parts, the Samhitas, the Brahmanas, and 
the Upanishads, according to the universally received 
opinion in India. Of these, the first two portions, as being 
the ceremonial parts, have been nearly put out of sight; 
the Upanishads have alone been taken up by all our 
philosophers and founders of sects. 

The idea that the Samhitas are the only Vedas is very 
recent and has been started by the late Swami Dayananda. 
This opinion has not got any hold on the orthodox 

The reason qjF this opinion was that Swami Dayananda 
thought he could find a consistent theory of the whole, 
based on a new interpretation of the Samhitas, but the 
difficulties remained the same, only they fell back on the 
Brahmanas. And in spite of the theories of interpretation 
and interpolation a good deal still remains. 


Now if it is possible to build a consistent religion on 
the Samhitas, it is a thousand times more sure that a very 
consistent and harmonious faith can be based upon the 
Upanishads, and moreover, here one has not to go against 
the already received national opinion. Here all the 
Acharyas of the past would side with you, and you have 
a vast scope for new progress. 

Gita no doubt has already become the Bible of 
Hinduism and it fully deserves to be so, but the personality 
of Krishna has become so covered with haze, that it is 
impossible to-day to draw any life-giving inspiration from 
that life. Moreover the present age requires new modes 
of thought and new life. 

Hoping this will help you in thinking along these lines, 

I am yours with blessings. 



: i 

: i 


ifir i wn^?^r4t%p<wiT: frsn^mt cff%4r: i 

I HVR ^ T 


(Written to a disciple.) 

3r J /u/y, /S97. 

Constant salutation be to Sri Ramakrishna, the Free, 
the Ishvara, the Shiva-form, by whose power we and the 
whole world are blessed. 

iMayest thou live long, O Saratchandra, 

Those writers of Shastra who do not tend towards 
work say, that all-powerful destiny prevails ; but others 
who are workers consider the will of man as superior. 
Knowing that the quarrel between those who believe in 
the human will as the remover of misery, and others who 
rely on destiny, is due to indiscrimination, try to ascend 
the highest peak of Knowledge. 


It has been said that adversity is the touchstone of true 
knowledge, and this may be said a hundred times with 
regard to the truth: "Thou art That/* This truly 
diagnoses the Vairagya ( dispassion ) disease. Blessed is 
the life of one who has developed this symptom. In spite 
of your dislike I repeat the old saying, ** Wait for a short 
time. " You are tired with rowing ; rest on your oars. 
The momentum will take the boat to the other side. This 
has been said in the Gita passage (IV, 38), **In good 
time, having reached perfection in Yoga, one realises that 
oneself in one's own heart " ; and in the Upanishad, 
* 'Immortality can be attained neither by riches nor progeny, 
but by renunciation alone'* (Kaivalya, 2). Here, by the 
word renunciation Vairagya is referred to. It may be of 
two kinds, with or without purpose. If the latter, none 
but worm-eaten brains will try for it. But if the other is 
referred to, then renunciation would mean the withdrawal 
of the mind from other things and concentrating it on God 
or Atman. The Lord of all cannot be any particular 
individual. He must be the sum-total. One possessing 
Vairagya does not understand by Atman the individual 
ego, but the All-pervading Lord, residing as the Self and 
Internal Ruler in all. He is perceivable by all as the sum- 
total. This being so, as Jiva and Ishvara are in essence 
the same, serving the Jivas and loving God must mean one 
and the same thing. Here is a peculiarity : when you 
serve a Jiva with the idea that he is a Jiva, it is Day a 
( compassion ) and not Prerna ( love ) ; but when you serve 
him with the idea that he is the Self, that is Prema ( love ). 
That the Atman is the one objective of love is known from 
Sruti, Smriti and direct perception. Bhagavan Chaitanya 
was right, therefore, when He said : ** Lcrve to God and 
compassion to the Jivas. " This conclusion of the 
Bhagavan, intimating differentiation between Jiva and 
Ishvara was right, as He was a dualist. But for us, 
Advaitists, this notion of Jiva as distinct from God is the 


cause of bondage. Our principle should be, therefore, 
love, and not compassion. The application of the word 
compassion even to Jiva seems to me to be rash and vain. 
For us, it is not to pity but to serve. Ours is not the feeling 
of compassion, but of love, and the feeling of Self in all. 

O Sharman, may for thy good thine be that Vairagyam, 
the feel of which is love, which unifies all inequalities, 
cures the disease of Samsara, removes the threefold misery 
inevitable in this phenomenal world, reveals the true nature 
of all things, destroys the darkness of Maya, and which 
brings out the Self -hood of everything from Brahma to the 
blade of grass ! 

This is the constant prayer of 

Ever bound to thee in love. 


(Written to a Western lady friend). , .</ 

9th July, 1897. 


I am very sorry to read between the lines the despond- 
ing tone of your letter, and I understand the cause ; thank 
you for your warning, I understand your motive perfectly. 

I had arranged to go with A to England but the doctors 

not allowing, it fell through. I will be so happy to learn 

that J-J has met him. He will be only too glad to meet 

any of you. 

I had also a lot of cuttings from different American 
papers fearfully criticising my utterances about American 
women and furnishing me with the strange news that I had 
been outcasted ! As if I had any caste to lose, ISeing a 


Not only no caste has been lost, but it has considerably 
shattered the opposition to sea-voyage my going to the 
West. If I should have to be outcasted, I will have to be 
done so with half the ruling princes of India and almost all 
of educated India. On the other hand, a leading Raja of 
the caste to which I belonged before my entering the order, 
got up a banquet in my honour, at which were most of the 
big-bugs of that caste. The Sannyasins, on the other hand, 
may not dine with any one in India as beneath the dignity 
of gods to dine with mere mortals. They are regarded as 
Narayanas, while the others are mere men. And dear 

M , these feet have been washed and wiped and 

worshipped by the descendants of kings and there has been 
a progress through the country which none ever com- 
manded in India. 

It will suffice to say that the police were necessary to 
keep order if I ventured out into the street ! That is out- 
casting indeed ! ! Of course that took the starch out of the 
missionaries, and who are they here? Nobodies. We are 
in blissful ignorance of their existence all the time. I had 
in a lecture said something about the missionaries and the 
origin of that species except the English church gentlemen, 
and in that connection had to refer to the very churchy 
women of America and their power of inventing scandals. 
This the missionaries are parading as an attack on 
American women en masse to undo my work there, 
as they will know that anything said against them- 
selves will rather please the U. S. people. My dear 

M , supposing I had said all sorts of fearful things 

against the * 'yanks" would that be paying off a 
millionth part of what they say of our mothers and sisters? 
"Neptune's waters'* would be perfectly useless to wash off 
the hatred the Christian "yanks" of both sexes bear to us, 
"heathens of India," and what harm have we done them? 
Let the "yanks" learn to be patient under criticism and 
then criticise others. It is a well-known psychologicaljaefr 


that^those who are ever ready Jo abuse others cannot bear 
the slightest touch oF criticism from others. TRen again, 

what do I owe them? Except your Family, M~s. B , 

the Leggets and a few other kind persons who else has 
been kind to me ? Who came forward to help me work out 
my ideas? I had to work till I am at death's door and had 
to spend nearly the whole of that in America, so that they 
may learn to be broader and more spiritual. In England 
1 worked only six months. There was not a breath of 
scandal save one and that was the working of an American 
woman which greatly relieved my English friends not only 
no attacks, but many of the best English church clergymen 
became my firm friends, and without asking I got much 
help for my work and I am sure to get much more. There 
is a society watching my work and getting help for it and 
four respectable persons followed me to India to help my 
work, and dozens were ready, and the next time I go, 
hundreds will be. 

Dear, dear M , do not be afraid for me. * * * 

The world is big, very big and there must be some place 
for me even if the "yankees" ra ge. Anyhow, I am quite 
satisfied with my work. I never planned anything. I have 
taken things as they came. Only one idea was burning in 
my brain to start the machine for elevating the Indian 
masses and that I have succeeded in doing to a certain 
extent. It would have made your heart glad to see how my 
boys are working in the midst of famine and disease and 
misery nursing by the mat-bed of the cholera-stricken 
Pariah and feeding the starving Chanddla and thej.-prd 
sends help to me and tojthem all. "What are men ?" He 
is with me, the Beloved, He was when I was in America, 
in England, :vvhen I was roaming about unknown from place 
to placeJpJkdia. What do 1 care about what they talk 
the babies, they do not know any better. WhgtJ^I, whc 
have realised the Spirit and the vanity of all earthly 

nonsense, to be swerved from my path by babies' prattle ! 

I had to talk a lot about myself because I owed that 
to you. I feel my task is done at most three or four years 
more of life is left. I have lost all wish for my salvation. 
I never wanted earthly enjoyments. I must see my machine 
in strong working order, and then knowing sure that I have 
put in a lever for the good of humanity, in India at least, 
which no power can drive back, I will sleep, without caring 
vhat will be next ; and may I be born again and again, and 
suffer thousands of miseries, so that I may worship the only 
GodTthat exists, the only GocTI believe in, the ^sum-total of 
all soul?, : and above all, my God the wicked, my God the 
miserable, my God the poor of all races, of all species, is 
the^special object of my worship. 

, "He who is the high and the low, the saint and the 
sinner, the god and the worm, Him worship, the visible, 
the knowable, the real, the omnipresent, break all other 

**In whom there is neither past life nor future birth, 
nor death nor going nor coming, in whom we always have 
been and always will be one, Him worship, break all other 

My time is short. I have got to unbreast whatever 
I have to say, without caring if it smarts some or Jrritates 
others. Therefore, my dear M - , do not be frigKtened 
at whatever djroj^ jFiomoriy lips, for the power Jbehind me 
^ LordT^^M^. knows best. 

If I have to please the world, that will be injuring 
the voice of majority is wrong, seeing that they govern and 
the sad state of the world. Every new thought must create 
opposition, in the civilised a polite sneer, in the savage 
vulgar howls and filthy scandals. 

Even these earth-worms must stand up erect, even 
children must see light. The Americans are drunk with 
new wine. A hundred waves of prosperity have come and 


gone over my country. We have learned the lesson which 
no child cant yet understand. It is vanity. This hideous 
world is Maya. Renounce and be happy. Give up the 
idea of sex and possessions. TEere is no other bond. 
Marriage and sex and money are the only living devils. 
All earthly love proceeds from the body, body, body. No 
sex, no possessions ; as these fall off, the eyes open to 
spiritual vision. The soul regains its own infinite 
power. * * * 

Yours ever affly., 



(Written to M. regarding the Leaves from the Gospel 
of Sri Ramakrishna in Bengali.) 

24th November, 1897. 


Many many thanks for your second leaflet. It is 
indeed wonderful. The move is quite original, and never 
was the life of a great Teacher brought before the public 
. untarnished by the writer's mind, as you are doing. The 
language also is beyond all praise, so fresh, so pointed 
and withal so plain and easy. 

I cannot express in adequate terms how I have enjoyed 
them. I am really in a transport when I read them. 
Strange, isn't it? Our Teacher and Lord was so original, 
and each one of us will have to be original or nothing, I 
now understand wky none of us attempted his life before. 
It has been reserved for you, this great work. He is with 
you evidently. 

With all love and namaskara, 



P. S. The Socratic dialogues are Plato all over ; you 
are entirely hidden. Moreover, the dramatic part is 
infinitely beautiful. Everybody likes it, here and in the 


(Translated from a letter written to a Bengali lady.) 

3rd January, 1898. 


Some very important questions have been raised in 
your letter. It is not possible to answer them fully in a 
short note, still I reply to them as briefly as possible. 

(1) Rishi, Muni or God none has power to force an 
institution on society. When the needs of the times press 
hard on it, society adopts certain customs for self-preser- 
vation. Rishis have only recorded those customs. As a* 
man often resorts even to such means as are good for 
immediate self -protection, but which are very injurious 
in the future, similarly, society also not unfrequently saves 
itself for the time being, but these immediate means which 
contributed to its preservation turn out to be terrible in 
the long run. 

'For example, take the prohibition of widow-marriage 
in our country. Don't think that Rishis or wicked men 
introduced the law pertaining to it. Notwithstanding the 
desire of men to keep women completely under their 
control, they never could succeed in introducing those laws 
without betaking themselves to the aid of a social necessity 
of the time. Of this custom two points should be specially 
observed : 

(a) Widow-marriage takes place among the lower 


(b) Among the higher classes the number of women 
is greater than that of men. 

Now, if it be the rule to marry every girl, it is difficult 
enough to get one husband apiece ; then how to get, by 
and by, two or three for each ? Therefore has society put 
one party under disadvantage, i.e., it does not let her have 
a second husband, who has had one ; if it did, one maid 
would have to go without a husband. On the other hand, 
widow-marriage obtains in communities having a greater 
number of men than women, as in their case the objection 
stated above does not exist. It is becoming more and more 
difficult in the West, too, for unmarried girls to get husbands. 

Similar is the case with the caste system, and other 
social customs. 

So, if it be necessary to change any social custom, the 
necessity underlying it should be found out first of all, and 
by altering it the custom will die of itself. Otherwise no 
good will be done by condemnation or praise. 

(2) Now the question is, is it for the good of the public 
at large that social rules are framed, or society is formed ? 
Many reply to this in the affirmative ; some again may hold 
that it is not so. Some men, being comparatively powerful, 
slowly bring all others under their control, and by 
stratagem, force or adroitness gain their own objects. If 
this be true, what can be the meaning of the statement that 
there is danger in giving liberty to the ignorant? What, 
again, is the meaning of liberty? 

Liberty does not certainly mean the absence of 
obstacles in the path of misappropriation of wealth etc. by 
you and me, but it is our natural right to be allowed to use 
our own body, intelligence or wealth according to our will, 
without doing any harm to others ; and all the members 
of a society ought to have the same opportunity for obtain- 
ing wealth, education or knowledge. The second question 
is, those who say that if the ignorant and the poor be given 
liberty, i.e., full right to their body, wealth etc., and if their 


children have the same opportunity to better their condition 
and acquire knowledge like those of the rich and the highly 
situated, they would be perverse do they say this for the 
good of the society, or blinded by their selfishness? In 
England too I have heard, "Who will serve us if the lower 
classes get education?" 

For the luxury of a handful of the rich, let millions of 
men and women remain submerged in the hell of want and 
abysmal depth of ignorance, for if they get wealth and 
education, society will be upset ! ! 

Who constitute society? The millions or you, I and 
a few others of the upper classes ? 

Again, even if the latter be true, what ground is there 
for our vanity that we lead qthers ? Are we omniscient ? 

Raise self by self. Let each one work 

out one's own salvation. It is freedom in every way, i.e., 
advance towards Mukti is the worthiest gain of man. To 
advance oneself towards freedom, physical, mental and 
spiritual, and help others to do so is the supreme prize of 
man. Those social rules which stand in the way of the 
unfoldment of this freedom are injurious, and steps should 
be taken to destroy them speedily. Those institutions 
should be encouraged by which men advance in the path of 

That, in this life, we feel a deep love at first sight 
towards a particular person who may not be endowed with 
extraordinary qualities, is explained by the thinkers of our 
country as due to the associations of a past incarnation. 

Your question regarding the will is very interesting : 
it is the subject to know. The essence of all religions is the 
annihilation of desire, along with which comes, therefore, 
of a certainty, the annihilation of the will, for desire is only 
the name of a particular mode of will. Why, again, is this 
Jagat (universe)? Or why are these manifestations of the 
will? Some religions hold that the evil will should be 
destroyed and not the good. The denial of desire here 


would be compensated by enjoyments hereafter. This 
reply does not of course satisfy the wise. The Buddhists, 
on the other hand, say that desire is the cause of misery, 
its annihilation is quite desirable. But like killing a man 
in the effort of killing the mosquito on his cheek, they have 
gone to the length of annihilating their own selves in their 
efforts to destroy misery according to the Buddhistic 

The fact is, what we call will is the inferior modification 
of something higher. Desirelessness means the disappear- 
ance of the inferior modification in the form of will, and the 
appearance of that superior state. That state is beyond 
the range of mind and intellect. But though the look of 
the gold mohur is quite different from that of the rupee and 
the pice, yet as we know for certain that the gold mohur is 
greater than either, so, that highest state, Mukti or Nirvana, 
call it what you like, though out of the reach of mind and 
intellect, is greater than will and all other powers. It is no 
power, but power is its modification, therefore is it higher. 
Now you will see that the result of the proper exercise of 
the will, first with motive for an object and then without 
motive, is that the will-power will attain a much higher 

In the preliminary state, the form of the Guru is to be 
meditated upon by the disciple. Gradually it is to be 
merged in the Ishtam. By Ishtam is meant the object of 
love and devotion. * * * 

It is very difficult to superimpose divinity on man, but 
one is sure to succeed by repeated efforts. God is in every 
man, whether man knows it or not ; your loving devotion 
is bound to call up the divinity in him. 

Ever your well-wisher, 





15th May, 1901 


Your letter from is quite exciting. I have just 

returned from my tour through East Bengal and Assam. 
As usual I am quite tired and broken down. 

If some real good comes out of a visit to the H. H. of 
I am ready to come over, otherwise I don't want to 
undergo the expense and exertion of the long journey. 
Think it well over and make enquiries, and write me if you 
still think it would be best for the Cause for me to come to 
see the H. H. * * * 

Yours with love and blessings, 




9th February, 1902. 

* * * In answer to C 's letter, tell him to study 

the Brahma-Sutras himself. What does he mean by the 
Brahma-Sutras containing references to Buddhism? He 
means the Bhdshyas, of course, or rather ought to mean, 
and Sankara was only the last Bhdshyakdra. There are 
references though in Buddhistic literature to Vedanta, and 
the Mahay ana school of Buddhism is even non- Advaitistic . 
Why does Amara Singha, a Buddhist, give as one of the 

names of Buddha Advayavadi? C writes, the word 

Brahman does not occur in the Upanishads ! Quel betise I 

I hold the Mahayana to be the older of the two schools 
of Buddhism. 


The theory of Maya is as old as the Rik Samhita. The 
Svetasvatara Upanishad contains the word "Maya" which 
is developed out of Prakriti. I hold that Upanishad to be 
at least older than Buddhism. 

I have had much light of late about Buddhism, and I am 
ready to prove (1) that Shiva- worship, in various forms, 
antedated the Buddhists, that the Buddhists tried to get 
hold of the sacred places of the Shaivas, but failing in that, 
made new places in the precincts just as you find now at 
Bodh-Gaya and Sarnath (Benares). 

(2) The story in the Agni Purana about Gayasura does 
not refer to Buddha at all as Dr. Rajendralala will have it 
but simply to a pre-existing story. 

(3) That Buddha went to live on Gayasirsha mountain 
proves the pre-existence of the place. 

(4) Gaya was a place of ancestor-worship already, and 
the footprint- worship the Buddhists copied from the Hindus. 

(5) About Benares, even the oldest records go to prove- 
it as the great place of Shiva-worship ; &c., &c. 

Many are the new facts I have gathered in Bodh-Gaya 
and from Buddhist literature. Tell C to read for him- 
self, and not be swayed by foolish opinions. 

I am rather well here, in Benares, and if 1 go on improv- 
ing in this way it will be a great gain. 

A total revolution has occurred in my mind about the 
relation of Buddhism and Neo-Hinduism. I may not live 
to work out the glimpses, but I shall leave the lines of work 
indicated, and you and your brethren will have to work 
it out. 

Yours with all blessings and love, 


V H 



(Written to a Western lady friend.) 

June, 1902. 

* * * In my opinion, a race must first cultivate a 
great respect for motherhood, through the sanctification and 
inviolability of marriage, before it can attain to the ideal of 
perfect chastity. The Roman Catholics and the Hindus, 
holding marriage sacred and inviolate, have produced great 
chaste men and women of immense power. To the Arab, 
marriage is a contract or a forceful possession, to be dis- 
solved at will, and we do not find there the development of 
the ideal of the virgin, or the Brahmacharin. Modern 
Buddhism, having fallen among races who had not yet 
come up to the evolution of marriage has made a travesty 
of monasticism. So, until there is developed in Japan a 
great and sacred ideal about marriage (apart from mutual 
attraction and love), I do not see how there can be great 
monks and nuns. As you have come to see that the glory 
of life is chastity, so my eyes also have been opened to the 
necessity of this great sanctification for the vast majority, 
in order that a few lifelong chaste powers may be 
produced. * * * 




(The Westminster Gazette, 23rd October, 1895.) 

Indian philosophy has in recent years had a deep and 
growing fascination for many minds, though up to the 
present time its exponents in this country have been entirely 
Western in their thought and training, with the result that 
vqry little is really known of the deeper mysteries of the 
Vedanta wisdom, and that little only by a select few. Not 
many have the courage or the intuition to seek in heavy 
translations, made greatly in the interests of philologists, 
for that sublime knowledge which they really reveal to an 
able exponent brought up in all the traditions of the East. 

It was therefore with interest and not without some 
curiosity, writes a correspondent, that I proceeded to 
interview an exponent entirely novel to Western people, 
in the person of the Swami Vivekananda, an actual Indian 
Yogi, who has boldly undertaken to visit the Western world 
to expound the traditional teaching which has been handed 
down by ascetics and Yogis through many ages, and who 
in pursuance of this object, delivered a lecture last night 
in the Princes' Hall. 

The Swami Vivekananda is a striking figure with his 
turban (or mitre-shaped black cloth cap) and his calm but 
kindly features. 

On my inquiring as to the significance, if any, of his 
name, the Swami said : "Of the name by which I am now 
known (Swami Vivekananda), the first word is descriptive 
of a Sannyasin, or one who formally renounces the world, 
and the second is the title I assumed as is customary with 


all Sannyasins on my renunciation of the world ; it 
signifies, literally, 'the bliss of discrimination/ " 

"And what induced you to forsake the ordinary course 
of the world, Swami?" I asked. 

"I had a deep interest in religion and philosophy from 
my childhood," he replied, "and our books teach renun- 
ciation as the highest ideal to which man can aspire. It 
only needed the meeting with a great Teacher Rama- 
krishna Paramahamsa to kindle in me the final determina- 
tion to follow the path he himself had trod, as in him I found 
my highest ideal realised/* 

Then did he found a sect, which you now represent ?' 
4 'No/' replied the Swami quickly. "No, his whole 
life was spent in breaking down the barriers of sectarianism 
and dogma. He formed no sect. Quite the reverse. He 
advocate3~~~and strove to establish absolute freedom of 
thought. He was a great Yogi/' 

"Then you are connected with no society or sect in 
this country? Neither Theosophical nor Christian Scientist, 
nor any other?" 

"None whatever!" said the Swami in clear and 
impressive tones. (His face lights up like that of a child, 
it is so simple, straightforward and honest.) "My teaching 
is my own interpretation of our ancient books, in the light 
which my Master shed upon them. I claim no supernatural 
authority. Whatever in my teaching may appeal to the 
highest intelligence and be accepted by thinking men, the 
adoption of that will be my reward/' "All religions," he 
continued, "have for their object the teaching either of 
devotion, knowledge, or Yoga, in a concrete form. Now, 
the philosophy of Vedanta is the abstract science which 
embraces all these methods, and this it is that I teach, 
leaving each one to apply it to his own concrete form. 1 
refer each individual to his own experiences, and where 
reference is made to books, the latter are procurable, and 
may be studied by each one for himself. Above all, I 


teach no authority proceeding from hidden beings speaking 
through visible agents, any more than I claim learning from 
hidden books or manuscripts. 1 am the exponent of no 
occult societies, nor do I believe that good can come of 
such bodies. (Truth stands on its own authority and truth 
can bear the light of day| 

"Then you do not propose to form any society, 
Swami ? " I suggested. 

"None ; nt> society whatever. I teach only the Self, 
hidden in the heart of every individual, and common to 
all. A handful of strong men knowing that Self and living 
in Its light would revolutionise the world, even to-day, as 
has been the case by single strong men before, each in 
his day. 

Have you just arrived from India ? I inquired 
for the Swami is suggestive of Eastern suns. 

"No," he replied "I represented the Hindu 
religion at the Parliament of Religions held at Chicago in 
1893. Since then I have been travelling and lecturing in 
the United States. The American people have proved 
most interested audiences and sympathetic friends, and 
my work there has so taken root that I must shortly return 
to that country. 

44 And what is your attitude towards the Western 
religions, Swami ? 

I propound a philosophy which can serve as a basis 
to every possible religious system in the world, and my 
attitude towards all of them is one of extreme sympathy 
my teaching is antagonistic to none. I direct my atten- 
tion to the individual, to make him strong, to teach him 
that he himself is divine, and I call upon men to make 
themselves conscious of this divinity within. That is really 
the ideal conscious or unconscious of every religion. 

"And what shape will your activities take in this 
country ? 

My hope is to imbue individuals with the teachings 


to which I have referred, and to encourage them to express 
these to others in their own way ; let them modify them 
as they will ; I do not teach them as dogmas ; truth at 
length must inevitably prevail. 

"The actual machinery through which I work is in the 
hands of one or two friends. On October 22, they have 
arranged for me to deliver an address to a British audience 
at Princes* Hall, Piccadilly, at 8-30 P.M. The event is 
being advertised. The subject will be on the key of my 
philosophy * Self -Knowledge. ' Afterwards 1 am pre- 
pared to follow any course that opens to attend meetings 
in people's drawing-rooms or elsewhere, to answer letters, 
or discuss personally. In a mercenary age I may venture 
to remark that none of my activities are undertaken for a 
pecuniary reward. 

I then took my leave from one of the most original of 
men that I have had the honour of meeting. 


(Sunday Times, London, 1896.) 

English people are well acquainted with the fact that 
they send missionaries to India's "coral strands." Indeed, 
so thoroughly do they obey the behest : * Go ye forth 
into all the world and preach the Gospel, * that none of 
the chief British sects are behindhand in obedience to the 
call to spread Christ's teaching.. People are not so well 
aware that India also sends missionaries to England. 

By accident, if the term may be allowed, I fell across 
the Swami Vivekananda in his temporary home at 63, St. 
George's Road, S. W., and as he did not object to discuss 
the nature of his work and visit to England, 1 sought him 
there, and began our talk with an expression of surprise 
at his assent to my request. 


44 I got thoroughly used to the interviewer in America. 
Because he is not the fashion in my country, that is no 
reason why I should not use means existing in any country 
I visit, for spreading what I desire to be known ! There 
I was representative of the Hindu religion at the World's 
Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893. The Raja of 
Mysore and some other friends sent me there. I think I 
may lay claim to having had some success in America. 
I had many invitations to other great American cities 
besides Chicago ; my visit was a very long one, for, with 
the exception of a visit to England last summer, repeated 
as you see this year, I remained about three years in 
America. The American civilisation is, in my opinion, 
a very great one. I find the American mind peculiarly 
susceptible to new ideas ; nothing is rejected because it 
is new. It is examined on its own merits, and stands 
or falls by these alone. 

44 Whereas in England you mean to imply some- 
thing ? 

"Yes, in England, civilisation is older, it has gathered 
many accretions ac the centuries have rolled on. In 
particular, you have many prejudices that need to be 
broken through, and whoever deals with you in ideas 
must lay this to his account. 

" So they say. I gather that you did not found 
anything like a church or a new religion in America. 

44 That is true. It is contrary to our principles to 
multiply organisations, since, in all conscience, there are 
enough of them. And when organisations are created, 
they need individuals to look after them. Now, those 
who have made Sannyasa that is, renunciation of all 
worldly position, property, and name, whose aim is to 
seek spiritual knowledge, cannot undertake this work, 
which is, besides, in other hands. 

Is your teaching a system of comparative religion ? 
* 4 It might convey a more definite idea to call it the 


kernel of all forms of religion, stripping from them the 
non-essential, and laying stress on that which is the real 
basis. I am a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a 
perfect Sannyasin whose influence and ideas I fell under. 
This great Sannyasin never assumed the negative or 
critical attitude towards other religions, but showed their 
positive side, how they could be carried into life and 
practised. To fight, to assume the antagonistic attitude, 
is the exact contrary of his teaching, which dwells on the 
truth that the world is moved by love. You know that 
the Hindu religion never persecutes. It is the land where 
all sects may live in peace and amity. The Mahommedans 
brought murder and slaughter in their train, but until their 
arrival peace prevailed. Thus the Jains, who do not 
believe in a God, and who regard such belief as a delusion, 
were tolerated, and still are there to-day. India sets the 
example of real strength, that is, meekness. Dash, pluck, 
fight, all these things are weakness. 

It sounds very like Tolstoy's doctrine ; it may do 
for individuals, though personally 1 doubt it. But how 
will it answer for nations ? 

Admirably for them also. It was India's Karma, 
her fate, to be conquered, and in her turn, to conquer 
her conqueror. She has already done so with her 
Mahommedan victors : educated Mahommedans are Sufis, 
scarcely to be distinguished from Hindus. Hindu 
thought has permeated their civilisation ; they assumed 
the position of learners. The great Akbar, the Moghul 
Emperor, was practically a Hindu. And England will be 
conquered in her turn. To-day she has the sword, but it 
is worse than useless in the world of ideas. You know 
what Schopenhauer said of Indian thought. He foretold 
that its influence would be as momentous in Europe, when 
it became well-known, as the revival of Greek and Latin 
culture after the Dark Ages. 


Excuse me saying that there do not seem many signs 
of it just now. 

44 Perhaps not, " said the Swami, gravely. " I daresay 
a good many people saw no signs of the old Renaissance, 
and did not know it was there, even after it had come. 
But there is a great movement, which can be discerned by 
those who know the signs of the times. Oriental research 
has of recent years made great progress. At present it is 
in the hands of scholars, and it seems dry and heavy in the 
work they have achieved. But gradually the light of 
comprehension will break. 

And India is to be the great conqueror of the futur$ ? 
Yet she does not send out many missionaries to preach her 
ideas. I presume she will wait until the world comes to 
her feet?" 

"India was once a great missionary power. Hundreds 
of years before England was converted to Christianity, 
Buddha sent out missionaries to convert the world of Asia 
to His doctrine. The world of thought is being converted. 
We are only at the beginning as yet. The number of those 
who decline to adopt any special form of religion is greatly 
increasing, and this movement is among the educated 
classes. In a recent American census, a large number of 
persons declined to class themselves as belonging to any 
form of religion. All religions are different expressions of 
the same truth ; all march on or die out. They are the 
radii of the same truth, the expression that variety of minds 

**Now we are getting near it. What is that central 

"The Divine within ; every being, however degraded, 
is the expression of the Divine. The Divinity becomes 
covered, hidden from view. I call to mind an incident of 
the Indian Mutiny. A Swami, who for years had fulfilled 
a vow of eternal silence, was stabbed by a Mahommedan. 
They dragged the murderer before his victim and cried out, 


'Speak the word, Swami, and he shall die/ After many 
years of silence, he broke it to say with his last breath : 
'My children, you are all mistaken. That man is God Him- 
self/ The great lesson is, that unity is behind all. Call it 
God, Love, Spirit, Allah, Jehovah, it is the same unity 
that animates all life from the lowest animal to the noblest 
man. Picture to yourself an ocean ice-bound, pierced with 
many different holes. Each of these is a soul, a man, 
emancipated according to his degree of intelligence, essay- 
ing to break through the ice/* 

"I think 1 see one difference between the wisdom of 
the East and that of the West. You aim at producing very 
perfect individuals by Sannyasa, concentration, and so forth. 
Now the ideal of the West seems to be the perfecting of the 
social state ; and so we work at political and social 
questions, since we think that the permanence of our 
civilisation depends upon the well-being of the people/* 

"But the basis of all systems, social or political/' said 
the Swami with great earnestness, "rests upon the good- 
ness of man. No nation is great or good because Parlia- 
ment enacts this or that, but because its men are great and 
good. I have visited China which had the most admirable 
organisation of all nations. Yet to-day China is like a 
disorganised mob, because her men are not equal to the 
system contrived in the olden days. Religion goes to the 
root of the matter. If it is right, all is right/* 

"It sounds just a little vague and remote from practical 
life, that the Divine is within everything but covered. One 
~an*t be looking for it all the time/* 

"People often work from the same ends and fail to 
recognise the fact. One must admit that law, Government, 
politics are phases not final in any way. There is a goal 
beyond them where law is not needed. And by the way, 
the very word Sannyasin means the divine outlaw, one 
might say, divine Nihilist, but that miscomprehension 
pursues those that use such a word. All great Masters 


teach the same thing. Christ saw that the basis is not law, 
that morality and purity are the only strength. As for your 
statement, that the East aims at higher self-development, 
and the West at the perfecting of the social state, you do 
not of course forget that there is an apparent self and a 
real self.** 

"The inference, of course, being that we work for the 
apparent, you for the real.** 

"The mind works through various stages tD attain its 
fuller development. First, it lays hold of the concrete, 
and only gradually deals with abstractions. Look, too, 
how the idea of universal brotherhood is reached. First 
it is grasped as brotherhood within a sect hard, narrow, 
and exclusive. Step by step we reach broad generalisations 
and the world of abstract ideas/* 

4 'So you think that those sects, of which we English are 
so fond, will die out. You know what the Frenchman said, 
'England, the land of a thousand sects and but one sauce.* 

"I am sure that they are bound to disappear. Their 
existence is founded on non-essentials ; the essential part 
of them will remain, and be built up into another edifice. 
You know the old saying that it is good to be born in a 
church, but not to die in it.** 

" Perhaps you will say how your work is progressing 
in England ?** 

"Slowly, for the reasons I have already named. When 
you deal with roots and foundations, all real progress must 
be slow. Of course, I need not say that these ideas are 
bound to spread by one means or another, and to many of 
us the right moment for their dissemination seems now to 
have come.*' 

Then 1 listened to an explanation of how the work is 
carried on. Like many an old doctrine, this new one is 
offered without money and without price, depending 
entirely upon the voluntary efforts of those who embrace it. 

The Swami is a picturesque figure in his Eastern dress. 


His simple and cordial manner, savouring of anything but 
the popular idea of asceticism, an unusual command of 
English and great conversational powers add not a little 

to an interesting personality His vow of Sannyasa 

implies renunciation of position, property, and name, as 
well as the persistent search for spiritual knowledge. 


(India, London, 1896.) 

During the London season, Swami Vivekananda has 
been teaching and lecturing to considerable numbers of 
people who have been attracted by his doctrine and 
philosophy. Most English people fancy that England has 
the practical monopoly of missionary enterprise, almost 
unbroken save for a small effort on the part of France. 
I therefore sought the Swami in his temporary home in 
South Belgravia to enquire what message India could 
possibly send to England, apart from the remonstrances she 
has too often had to make on the subject of home charges, 
judicial and executive functions combined in one person, 
the settlement of expenses connected with Sudanese and 
other expeditions. 

"It is no new thing/' said the Swami composedly, 
"that India should send forth missionaries. She used to do 
so under the Emperor Asoka, in the days when the Buddhist 
faith was young, when she had something to teach the 
surrounding nations/' 

"Well, might one ask why she ever ceased doing so, 
and why she has now begun again?" 

"She ceased because she grew selfish, forgot the 
principle that nations and individuals alike subsist and 
prosper by a system of give and take. Her mission to the 


world has always been the same. It is spiritual, the realm 
of introspective thought has been hers through all the ages ; 
abstract science, metaphysics, logic, are her special domain. 
In reality, my mission to England is an outcome of 
England's to India. It has been hers to conquer, to govern, 
to use her knowledge of physical science to her advantage 
and ours. In trying to sum up India's contribution to the 
world, I am reminded of a Sanskrit and an English idiom. 
When you say a man dies, your phrase is, 'He gave up the 
ghost/ whereas we say, 'He gave up the body/ Similarly, 
you more than imply that the body is the chief part of man 
by saying it possesses a soul. Whereas we say a man is 
a soul and possesses a body. These are but small ripples 
on the surface, yet they show the current of your national 
thought. I should like to remind you how Schopenhauer 
predicted that the influence of Indian philosophy upon 
Europe would be as momentous when it became well- 
known, as was the revival of Greek and Latin learning at 
the close of the Dark Ages. Oriental research is making 
great progress ; a new world of ideas is opening to the 
seeker after truth/* 

"And is India finally to conquer her conquerors?" 

"Yes, in the world of ideas. England has the sword, 
the material world, as our Mahommedan conquerors had 
before her. Yet Akbar the Great became practically a 
Hindu; educated Mahommedans, the Sufis, are hardly to be 
distinguished from the Hindus ; they do not eat beef, and 
in other ways conform to our usages. Their thought has 
become permeated by ours/* 

"So, that is the fate you foresee for the lordly Sahib I 
Just at this moment he seems to be a long way off it/' 

"No, it is not so remote as you imply. In the world ol 
religious ideas, the Hindu and the Englishman have mucl: 
in common, and there is proof of the same thing among 
other religious communities. Where the English ruler 01 
civil servant has had any knowledge of India's literature 


especially her philosophy, there exists the ground of a 
common sympathy, a territory constantly widening. It is 
not too much to say that only ignorance is the cause 
of that exclusive sometimes even contemptuous attitude 
assumed by some.** 

"Yes, it is the measure of folly. Will you say why 
you went to America rather than to England on your 
mission ?" 

"That was a mere accident a result of the World's 
Parliament of Religions being held in Chicago at the time 
of the World *s Fair, instead of in London, as it ought to 
have been. The Raja of Mysore and some other friends 
sent me to America as the Hindu representative. I stayed 
there three years, with the exception of last summer and this 
summer, when I came to lecture in London. The 
Americans are a great people, with a great future before 
them. I admire them very much, and found many kind 
friends among them. They are less prejudiced than the 
English, more ready to weigh and examine a new idea, to 
value it in spite of its newness. They are most hospitable 
too ; far less time is lost in showing one's credentials, as 
it were. You travel in America, as I did, from city to city, 
always lecturing among friends. I saw Boston, New York, 
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Desmoines, Memphis 
and numbers of other places." 

"And leaving disciples in each of them?" 

"Yes, disciples, but not organisations. That is no part 
of my work. Of these there are enough in all conscience. 
Organisations need men to manage them ; they must seek 
power, money, influence. Often they struggle for domi- 
nation, and even fight." 

' 'Could the gist of this mission of yours be summed up 
in a few words? Is it comparative religion you want to 

"It is really the philosophy of religion, the kernel of 
all its outward forms. All forms of religion have an 


essential and a non-essential part. If we strip from them 
the latter, there remains the real basis of all religion, which 
all forms of religion possess in common. Unity is behind 
them all. We may call it God, Allah, Jehovah, the Spirit, 
Love ; it is the same unity that animates all life, from its 
lowest form to its noblest manifestation in man. It is on 
this unity that we need to lay stress, whereas in the West, 
and indeed everywhere, it is on the non-essential that men 
are apt to lay stress. They will fight and kill each other 
for these forms, to make their fellows conform. Seeing 
that the essential is love of God and love of man, this is 
curious, to say the least.** 

**I suppose a Hindu could never persecute." 

"He never yet has done so : he is the most tolerant of 
all the races of men. Considering how profoundly religious 
he is, one might have thought that he would p ers ecut e those 
who believe in no God. The Jains regard such belief as 
sheer delusion, yet no Jain has ever been persecuted. In 
India the Mahommedans were the first who ever took the 

44 What progress does the doctrine of essential unity 
make in England ? Here we have a thousand sects/^ 

"They must gradually disappear as liberty and 
knowledge increase. They are founded on the non- 
essential, which by the nature of things cannot survive. 
The sects have served their purpose, which was that of 
an exclusive brotherhood on lines comprehended by those 
within it. Gradually we reach the idea of universal 
brotherhood by flinging down the walls of partition which 
separate such aggregations of individuals. In England the 
work proceeds slowly, possibly because the time is not more 
than ripe for it ; but all the same, it makes progress. Let 
me call your attention to th# similar work that England is 
engaged upon in India. Modern caste distinction is a 
barrier to India's progress. It narrows, restricts, separates. 
It will crumble before the advance of ideas/' 


" Yet some Englishmen, and they are not the least 
sympathetic to India, nor the most ignorant of her history, 
regard caste as in the main beneficent. One may easily be 
too much Europeanised. You yourself condemn many of 
our ideals as materialistic/* 

"True. No reasonable person aims at assimilating 
India to England ; the body is made by the thought that 
lies behind it. The body politic is thus the expression of 
national thought, and in India, of thousands of years of 
thought. To Europeanise India is therefore an impossible 
and foolish task : the elements of progress were always 
actively present in India. As soon as a peaceful govern- 
ment was there, these have always shown themselves. 
From the time of the Upanishads down to the present day, 
nearly all our great Teachers have wanted to break through 
the barriers of caste, i.e., caste in its degenerate state, not 
the original system. What little good you see in the present 
caste clings to it from the original caste, which was the most 
glorious social institution. Buddha tried to re-establish 
caste in its original form. At every period of India's 
awakening, there have always been great efforts made to 
break down caste. But it must always be we who build up 
a new India as an effect and continuation of her past, 
assimilating helpful foreign ideas wherever they may be 
found. Never can it be they ; growth must proceed from 
within. AH that England can do is to help India to work 
out her own salvation. All progress at the dictation of 
another, whose hand is at India's throat, is valueless in my 
opinion. The highest work can only degenerate when 
slave-labour produces it." 

"Have you given any attention to the Indian National 
Congress movement?" 

"I cannot claim to have given much ; my work is in 
another part of the field. But I regard the movement as 
significant, and heartily wish it success. A nation is being 
made out of India's different races. I sometimes think they 


are no less various than the different peoples of Europe. 
In the past, Europe has struggled for Indian trade, a trade 
which has played a tremendous part in the civilisation of 
the world ; its acquisition might almost be called a turning- 
point in the history of humanity. We see the Dutch, 
Portuguese, French, and English contending for it in 
succession. The discovery*bf America may be traced to 
the indemnification the Venetians sought in the far distant 
West for the loss they suffered in the East." 

"Where will it end?" 

"It will certainly end in the working out of India's 
homogeneity, in her acquiring what we may call democratic 
ideas. Intelligence must not remain the monopoly, of the 
cultured few ; it will be disseminated from higher to lower 
classes. Education is coming, and compulsory education 
will follow. The immense power of our people for work 
must be utilised. India'sjDotentialities are great, and will 
be called forth/' ~~ 

"Has any nation ever been great without being a great 
military power?" 

"Yes," said the Swami without a moment's hesitation, 
"China has. Amongst other countries, I have travelled in 
China and Japan. To-day, China is like a disorganised 
mob ; but in the heyday of her greatness she possessed the 
most admirable organisation any nation has yet known. 
Many of the devices and methods we term modern, 
were practised by the Chinese for hundreds and even 
thousands of years. Take competitive examination as an 

"Why did she become disorganised?" 

"Because she could not produce men equal to the 
system. You have the saying that men cannot be made 
virtuous by an Act of Parliament ; the Chinese experienced 
it before you. And that is why religion is of deeper 
importance than politics, since it goes to the root, and deals 
with the essentials of conduct." 

v i 


"Is India conscious of the awakening that you 
allude to?" 

"Perfectly conscious. The world perhaps sees it 
chiefly in the Congress movement and in the field of social 
reform ; but the awakening is quite as real in religion, 
though it works more silently/* 

"The West and East have such different ideals of life. 
Ours seems to be the perfecting of the social state. Whilst 
we are busy seeing to these matters, orientals are meditat- 
ing on abstractions. Here has Parliament been discussing 
the payment of the Indian army in the Sudan. All the 
respectable section of the Conservative press has made a 
loud outcry against the unjust decision of the Government, 
whereas you probably think the whole affair not worth 

"But you are quite wrong/' said the Swami, taking the 
paper and running his eyes over extracts from the Conserva- 
tive journals. "My sympathies in this matter are naturally 
with my country. Yet it reminds one of the old Sanskrit 
proverb : 'You have sold the elephant, why quarrel over 
the goad?' India always pays. The quarrels of politicians 
are very curious. It will take ages to bring religion into 

"One ought to make the effort very soon all the same/' 

"Yes, it is worth one's while to plant an idea in the 
heart of this great London, surely the greatest governing 
machine that has ever been set in motion. I often watch 
it working, the power and perfection with which the 
minutest vein is reached, its wonderful system of circulation 
and distribution. It helps one to realise how great is the 
Empire, and how great its task. And with all the rest, it 
distributes thought. It would be worth a man's while to 
place some ideas in the heart of this great machine, so that 
they might circulate to the remotest part." 

The Swami is a man of distinguished appearance. 
Tall, broad, with fine features enhanced by his picturesque 


Eastern dress, his personality is very striking By 

birth, he is a Bengali, and by education, a graduate of 
the Calcutta University. His gifts as an orator are high. 
He can speak for an hour and a half without a note, or 
the slightest pause for a word. * * * 

C. S. B. 


(The Echo, London, 1896.) 

* * * I presume that in his own country the 
Swami would live under a tree, or at most in the precincts 
of a temple, his head shaved, dressed in the costume of 
his country. But these things are not done in London, 
so that I found the Swami located much like other people, 
and, save that he wears a long coat of a dark orange shade, 
dressed like other mortals likewise. He laughingly related 
that his dress, especially when he wears a turban, does 
not commend itself to the London street arab, whose 
observations are scarcely worth repeating. I began by 
asking the Indian Yogi to spell his name very slowly. 

* 'Do you think that nowadays people are laying much 
stress on the non-essential?" 

"I think so, among the backward nations, and among 
the less cultured portion of the civilised people of the West. 
Your question implies that among the cultured and the 
wealthy, matters are on a different footing. So they are ; 
the wealthy are either immersed in the enjoyment of wealth, 
or grubbing for more. They, and a large section of the 
busy people, say of religion that it is rpt, stuff, nonsense, 
and they honestly think so. The only religion that is 


fashionable is patriotism and Mrs. Grundy. People merely 
go to church when they are marrying or burying somebody/* 

44 Will your message take them oftener to church?" 

"I scarcely think it will. Since I have nothing whatever 
to do with ritual or dogma ; my mission is to show that 

religion is everything and in everything And what 

can we say of the system here in England? Everything 
goes to show that Socialism or some form of rule by the 
people, call it what you will, is coming on the boards. 
The people will certainly want the satisfaction of their 
material needs, less work, no oppression, no war, more 
food. What guarantee have we that this, or any civilisa- 
tion, will test, unless it is based on religion, on the goodness 
of man? Depend on it, religion goes to the root of the 
matter. If it is right, all is right.'* 

"It must be difficult to get the essential, the 
metaphysical, part of religion into the minds of the people. 
It is remote from their thoughts and manner or life." 

"In all religions we travel from a lesser to a higher 
truth, never from error to truth. There is a Oneness 
behind all creation, but minds are very various. *That 
which exists is One, sages call It variously.' What I mean 
is that one progresses from a smaller to a greater truth. 
The worst religions are only bad readings of the truth. 
One gets to understand bit by bit. Even devil-worship 
is but . perverted reading of the ever-true and immutable 
Brahman. Other phases have more or less of the truth in 
them. No form of religion possesses it entirely." 

"May one ask if you originated this religion you have 
come to preach to England?" 

"Certainly not. I am a pupil of a great Indian sage, 
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He was not what one might 
call a very learned man, as some of our sages are but a 
very holy one, deeply inbued with the spirit of Vedanta 
philosophy. When I say philosophy, I hardly know 
whether I ought not to say religion, for it is really both. 


You must read Professor Max Miiller's account of my 
Master in a recent number of the Nineteenth Century. 
Ramakrishna was born in the Hooghly district in 1836, 
and died in 1886. He produced a deep effect on the 
life of Keshub Chunder Sen and others. By discipline 
of the body and subduing of the mind he obtained a 
v/onderful insight into the spiritual world. His face was 
distinguished by a childlike tenderness, profound humility, 
and remarkable sweetness of expression. No one could 
look upon it unmoved." 

4 'Then your teaching is derived from the Vedas?" 
* 4 Yes, Vedanta means the end of the Vedas, the third 
section or Upanishads, containing the ripened ideas which 
we find more as germs in the earlier portion. The most 
ancient portion of the Vedas is the Samhita, which is in 
very archaic Sanskrit, only to be understood by the aid of 

a very old dictionary, the Nirukta of Yaska." 

# # * 

44 I fear that we English have rather the idea that India 
has much to learn from us ; the average man is pretty 
ignorant as to what may be learned from India." 

"That is so, but the world of scholars know well how 
much is to be learned and how important the lesson. You 
would not find Max Miiller, Monier Williams, Sir William 
Hunter, or German Oriental scholars, making light of 

Indian abstract science." * * * 

# # # 

The Swami gives his lecture at 39, Victoria Street. 
All are made welcome, and, as in ancient apostolic times, 
the new teaching is without money and without price. 
The Indian missionary is a man of exceptionally fine 
physique ; his command of English can only be described 
as perfect. * * * 

S. B. 




( The HfnJu, Madras, February, 1897.) 

Q. The theory that the universe is false seems to be 
understood in the following senses, i. e., (a) the sense 
in which the duration of perishing forms and names is 
infinitesimally small with reference to eternity ; (b) the 
sense in which the period between any two 'pralayas' 
(involution of the universe) is infinitesimally small with 
reference to eternity ; (c) the sense in which the universe 
is ultimately false though it has an apparent reality at 
present, depending upon one sort of consciousness, in the 
same way as the idea of silver superimposed on a shell, or 
that of a serpent on a rope, is true for the time being in 
effect, and is dependent upon a particular condition of 
mind ; (d) the sense in which the universe is a phantom 
just like the son of a barren woman, or like the horns of 
a hare. 

In which of these senses is the theory understood in 
the Advaita philosophy? 

A. There are many classes of Advaitists and each 
has understood the theory in one or the other sense. 
Sankara taught the theory in the sense (c), an I it is his 
teaching that the universe, as it appears, is real for all 
purposes for every one in his present consciousness, but 
it vanishes when the consciousness assumes a higher form* 
You see the trunk of a tree standing before you and you 
mistake it for a ghost. The idea of a ghost is for the time 
being real, for it works on your mind and produces the 
same result upon it as if it were a ghost. As soon as you 
discover it to be a stump, the idea of the ghost disappears. 
The idea of a stump and that of the ghost cannot co-exist, 
and when one is present, the other is absent. 


Q. Is not the sense (d) also adopted in some of the 
writings of Sankara? 

A. No. Some other men who, by mistake, carried 
Sankara 's notion to an extreme, have adopted the sense 
(d) in their writings. The senses (a) and (b) are peculiar 
to the writings of some other classes of Advaita 
philosophers but never received Sankara's sanction. 

Q. What is the cause of the apparent reality? 

A. What is the cause of your mistaking a stump for 
a ghost? The universe is the same, in fact, but it is your 
mind that creates various conditions for it. 

Q. What is the true meaning of the statement that 
the Vedas are beginningless and eternal? Does it refer 
to the Vedic utterances or the statements contained in the 
Vedas ? If it refers to the truth involved in such statements, 
are not the sciences, such as Logic, Geometry, Chemistry, 
&c., equally beginningless and eternal, for they contain an 
everlasting truth? 

A. There was a time when the Vedas themselves 
were considered eternal in the sense in which the divine 
truths contained therein were changeless and permanent, 
and were only revealed to man. At a subsequent time, 
it appears that the utterance of the Vedic hymns with the 
knowledge of its meaning was important, and it was held 
that the hymns themselves must have had a divine origin. 
At a still later period the meaning of the hymns showed 
that many of them could not be of divine origin, because 
they inculcated upon mankind performance of various un- 
holy acts, such as torturing animals, and we can also find 
many ridiculous stories in the Vedas. The correct meaning 
of the statement, 'The Vedas are beginningless and 
eternal' is, that the law or truth revealed by them to man 
is permanent and changeless. Logic, Geometry, 
Chemistry, &c., reveal also a law or truth which is 
permanent and changeless, and in that sense, they are 
also beginningless and eternal. But no truth or law is 


absent from the Vedas, and I ask any one of you to point 
out to me any truth which is not treated of in them. 

Q. What is the notion of Mukti, according to the 
Advaita philosophy, or in other words, is it a conscious 
state? Is there any difference between the Mukti of the 
Advaitism and the Buddhistic Nirvana? 

/4.- There is a consciousness in Mukti, which we call 
super-consciousness. It differs from your present 
consciousness. It is illogical to say that there is no 
consciousness in Mukti. The consciousness is of three 
sorts, the dull, mediocre and intense, as is the case of light. 
When vibration is intense, the brilliancy is so very power- 
ful as to dazzle the sight itself and in effect is as ineffectual 
as the dullest of lights. The Buddhistic Nirvana must 
have the same degree of consciousness whatever the 
Buddhists may say. Our definition of Mukti is affirmative 
in its nature, while the Buddhistic Nirvana has a negative 

Q. Why should the unconditioned Brahman choose 
to assume a condition for the purpose of manifestation of 
the world's creation? 

A. The question itself is most illogical. Brahman is 
Aoangmanasogocharam, meaning that which is incapable 
of being grasped by word > and mind. Whatever lies 
beyond the region of space, time and causation cannot be 
conceived by the human mind, and the function of logic 
and enquiry lies only within the region of space, time and 
causation. While that is so, it is a vain attempt to question 
about what lies beyond the possibilities of human 

Q. Here and there attempts are made to import into 
the Paranas hidden ideas which are said to have been 
allegorically represented. Sometimes it is said that the 
Puranas need not contain any historical truth, but are 
mere representations of the highest ideals illustrated with 
fictitious characters. Take for instance, Vishnupurana, 


Ramayana, or Bharata. Do they contain historical veracity, 
or are they mere allegorical representations of metaphysical 
truths, or are they representations of the highest ideals for 
the conduct of humanity, or are they mere epic poems 
such as those of Milton, Homer, &c. ? 

A .Some historical truth is the nucleus of every 
Purana. The object of the Puranas is to teach mankind 
the sublime truth in various forms ; and even if they do 
not contain any historical truth, they form a great authority 
for us in respect of the highest truth which they inculcate. 
Take the Ramayana, for illustration, and for viewing it as 
an authority of binding character, it is not even necessary 
that one like Rama should have ever lived. The sublimity 
of the law propounded by Ramayana or Bharata does not 
depend upon the truth of any personality like Rama or 
Krishna, and one can even hold that such personages never 
lived, and at the same time take those writings as high 
authorities in respect of the grand ideas which they place 
before mankind. Our philosophy does not depend upon 
any personality for its truth. Thus Krishna did not teach 
anything new or original to the world, nor does Ramayana 
profess anything which is not contained in the scriptures. 
It is to be noted that Christianity cannot stand without 
Christ, Mahommedanism without Mahommed, and 
Buddhism without Buddha, but Hinduism stands 
independent of any man, and for the purpose of estimating 
the philosophical truth contained in any Purana, we need 
not consider the question whether the personages treated 
of therein were really material men or were fictitious 
characters. The object of the Puranas was the education 
of mankind, and the sages who constructed them contrived 
to find some historical personages, and to superimpose, 
upon them all the best or worst qualities just as they 
wanted to, and laid down the rules of morals for the 
conduct of mankind. Is it necessary that a demon with 
ten heads (Dashamukha) should have actually lived as 


stated in the Ramayana? It is the representation of some 
truth which deserves to be studied, apart from the question 
whether Dashamutyia was a real or fictitious character. 
You can now depict Krishna in a still more attractive 
manner, and the description depends upon the sublimity of 
your ideal, but there stands the grand philosophy contained 
in the Puranas. 

Q. Is it possible for a man, if he were an adept, to 
remember the events connected with his past incarnations ? 
The physiological brain, which he owned in his previous 
incarnation, and in which the impressions of his experience 
were stored, is no longer present, but in this birth he is 
endowed with a new physiological brain, and while that 
is so, how is it possible for the present brain to get at the 
impressions received by another apparatus which is not in 
existence at present? 

Swami. What do you mean by an adept? 

Correspondent. One that has developed the hidden 
powers of his nature. 

Swami. I cannot understand how the hidden powers 
can be developed. I know what you mean, but I should 
always desire that the expressions used are precise and 
accurate. You may say that the powers hidden are un- 
covered. It is possible for those that have uncovered the 
hidden powers of their nature to remember the incidents 
connected with their past incarnations, for their present 
brain had its beeja (seed) in the Siikshma man after death. 

Q. Does the spirit of Hinduism permit the proselytism 
of strangers into it? And can a Brahmana listen to the 
exposition of philosophy made by a Chandala ? 

A. Proselytism is tolerated by Hinduism. Any man, 
whether he be a Sudra or Chandala, can expound 
philosophy even to a Brahmana. The truth can be learnt 
from the lowest individual, no matter to what caste or creed 
he belongs. 


Here the Swami quoted Sanskrit verses of high 
authority in support of his position. 

The discourse ended, as the time appointed in the 
programme for his visiting the Temple had already arrived. 
He accordingly took leave of the gentlemen present and 
proceeded to visit the Temple. 


(The Hindu, Madras, February, 1897.) 

Our representative met the Swami Vivekananda in the 
train at the Chingleput Station and travelled with him to 
Madras. The following is the report of the interview : 

** What made you go to America, Swamiji?" 

** Rather a serious question to answer in brief. I can 
only answer it partly now. Because I travelled all over 
India, I wanted to go over to other countries. I went to 
America by the Far East." 

** 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 \yith dirt, 
Japanese Art is Art plus absolute cleanliness. \ I would 
wish that every one of our young men could visit Japaij 
once at least in his lifetime. | It is very easy to go there. 
The Japanese think that everything Hindu is great, and 
believe that India is a holy land. Japanese Buddhism is 
entirely different from what you see in Ceylon. It is the 
same as Vedanta. It is positive and theistic Buddhism, 
not the negative atheistic Buddhism of Ceylon." 


"What is the key to Japan's sudden greatness?" 
"The faith of the Japanese in themselves^ .and their 
love for their country. When you liave men who are ready 
to sacrifice their everything for their country, and sincere 
to the backbone when such men arise, India will become 
great in every respect. It is the men that make the 
country ! What is there in the country ? If you catch the 
social morality and the political morality of the Japanese, 
you will be as great as they are. The Japanese are ready 
to sacrifice everything for their country, and they have 
become a great people. But you are not; you cannot be, 
you sacrifice everything only for your own families and 
possessions. T 

"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. 
Bach nation has a theme : everything else is secondary. 
India's theme is religion!. Social reform and everything 
*lse is secondary. Therefore, India cannot be like Japan, 
t is said that when 'the heart breaks/ then the flow of 
:hought comes. India's heart must break and the flow of 
spirituality will come out. India is India. We are not like 
.he Japanese, we are Hindus. India's very atmosphere is 
soothing. I have been working incessantly here, and 
amidst this work I am getting rest. It is only from spiritual 
>vork that we can get rest in India. If your work is material 
icre, you die of diabetes!" 

* "So much for Japan. What was your first experience 
>f America, Swamiji?" 

"From first to last it was very good. With the 
exception of the missionaries and 'Church- women' the 
Americans are most_ hospitable, kind-hearted, generous, 
md good-natured." 


"Who are these 'Church-women' that you speak of, 

"When the woman tries her best to find a husband, 
she goes to all the fashionable sea-side resorts and tries 
all sorts of tricks to catch a man. When she fails in her 
attempts, she becomes, what they call in America, an 'old 
maid/ and joins the Church. Some of them become very 
'Churchy.* These 'Church-women' are awful fanatics. 
They are under the thumb of the priests there. Between 
them and the priests they make hell of earth and make a 
mess of religion. With the exception of these, the 
Americans are a very good people. They loved me so 
much, and I love them a great deal. I felt as if I was one 
of them." 

"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 'fyeathen show' before the world ; but it 
turned out that the heathens had the upper hand, and made 
it a 'Christian show* all round. 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 a 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." 

"What prospects have you, Swamiji, for the spread of 
your mission in England?" 

"There is every prospect. Before many years elapse, 
a vast majority of the English people will be Vedantins. 
There is a greater prospect of this in England than there is 
in America. You see, Americans make a fanfaronade of 
everything, which is not the case with Englishmen. Even 


Christians cannot understand their New Testament, without 
understanding the Vedanta. Vedanta is the rationale of 
all religions. Without the Vedanta every religion is 
superstition ; with it everything becomes religion/* 

What is the special" trait you noticed in the English 

4 'The Englishman goes to practical work as soon as he 
believes in something. He has tremendous energy for 
practical work. There is in the whole world no human 
being superior to the English gentleman or lady. That is 
really the reason of my faith in them. John Bull is rather 
a thick-headed gentleman to deal with. You must push 
and push an idea till it reaches his brain, but once 
there, it does not get out. In England, there was not one 
missionary or anybody who said anything against me ; not 
one who tried to scandalise me. To my astonishment, 
many of my friends belong to the Church of England. 
I learn, these missionaries do not come from the higher 
classes in England. Caste is as rigorous there as it is here, 
and the English churchmen belong to the class of gentle- 
men. They may differ in opinion from you, but that is no 
bar to their being friends with you ; therefore, I would 
give a word of advice to my countrymen, which is, not to 
take notice of the vituperative missionaries, now that I have 
known what they are. We have 'sized' them, as the 
Americans say. Non- recognition is the only attitude to 
assume towards them/* 

"Will you kindly enlighten me, Swamiji, on the Social 
Reform movements in America and England?" 

*' Yes. All the social upheavalists, at least the leaders 
of them, are trying to find that all their communistic or 
equalising theories must have a spiritual basis, and that 
spiritual basis is in the Vedanta only. I have been told by 
several leaders, who used to attend my lectures, that they 
required the Vedanta as the basis of the new order of 


"What are your views with regard to the Indian 

"Oh, we are awfully poor, and our masses are very 
ignorant about secular things. Our masses are very good 
because poverty here is not a crime. Our masses are not 
violent. Many times I was near being mobbed in America 
and England, only on account of my dress. But I never 
heard of such a thing in India as a man being mobbed 
because of peculiar dress. In every other respect, our 
masses are much more civilised than the European 

"What will you propose for the improvement of your 
masses ?" 

44 We have to give them secular education. We have 
to follow the plan laid down by our ancestors, that is, to 
bring all the ideals slowly down among the masses. Raise 
them slowly up, raise them to equality. Impart even 
secular knowledge through religion/* 

"But do you think, Swamiji, it is a task that can be 
easily accomplished?" 

"It will, of course, have gradually to be worked out. 
But if there are enough self-sacrificing young fellows, who 
I hope may work with me, it can be done to-morrow. It all 
depends upon the zeal and the self-sacrifice brought to the 

"But if the present degraded condition is due to their, 
past Karma, Swamiji, how do you think they could get out 
of it easily, and how do you propose to help them?" 

The Swamiji readily answered : /"Karma is the eternal 
assertion of human freedom. 1 If we can bring ourselves 
down by our Karma, surely it is in our power to raise our- 
selves by it. The masses, besides, have not brought them- 
selves down altogether by their own Karma, so that we 
should give them better environments to work in. I do 
not propose any levelling up of castes. ' Caste is a very good 
thing. Caste is the plan we want to follow. What caste 


really is, not one in a million understands. There is no 
country in the world without caste. In India, from caste 
we reach to the point where there is no caste. Caste is 
based throughout on that principle. The plan in India is 
to make everybody Brahmana, the Brahmana being the 
ideal of humanity. If you read the history of India you will 
find that attempts have always been made to raise the lower 
classes. Many are the classes that have been raised. 
Many more will follow till the whole will become Brahmana. 
That is the plan. We have only to raise them without 
bringing down anybody. And this has mostly to be done 
by the Brahmanas themselves, because it is the duty of 
every aristocracy to dig its own grave ; and the sooner it 
does so, the better for all. No time should be lost. Indian 
caste is better than the caste which prevails in Europe or 
America. I do not say it is absolutely good. Where will 
you be if there were no caste ? Where would be your 
learning, and other things, if there were no caste ? There 
would be nothing left for the Europeans to study if caste 
had never existed ! The Mahommedans would have 
smashed everything to pieces. Where do you find the 
Indian Society standing still? It is always on the move. 
Sometimes, as in the times of foreign invasions, the move- 
ment has been slow, at other times quicker. This is what 
I say to my countrymen. I do not condemn them. I look 
into their past. I find that under the circumstances no 
nation could do more glorious work. I tell them that they 
have done well. I only ask them to do better/' 

"What are your views, Swamiji, in regard to the relation 
of caste to rituals?" 

"Caste is continually changing, rituals are continually 
changing, so are forms. It is the substance, the principle, 
that does not change. It is in the Vedas that we have to 
study our religion. With the exception of the Vedas every 
book must change. The authority of the Vedas is for all 
time to come ; the authority of every one of our other 


books is for the time being. For instance, one Smriti is 
powerful for one age, another for another age. Great 
prophets are always coming and pointing the way to work. 
Some prophets worked for the lower classes, others like 
Madhva gave to women the right to study the Vedas. 
Caste should not go; but should only be re-adjusted 
occasionally. Within the old structure is to be found life 
enough for the building of two hundred thousand new 
ones. It is sheer nonsense to desire the abolition of caste. 
The new method is evolution of the old/' 

"Do not Hindus stand in need of social reform?" 

**We do stand in need of social reform. At times 
great men would evolve new ideas of progress, and Kings 
would give them the sanction of law. Thus social 
improvements had been in the past made in India, and in 
modern times to effect such progressive reforms, we will 
have first to build up such an authoritative power. Kings 
having gone, the power is the people's. We have, there- 
fore, to wait till the people are educated, till they 
understand their needs and are ready and able to solve 
their problems. (The tyranny of the minority is the worst 
tyranny in the world/ Therefore, instead of frittering away 
our energies on ideal reforms, which would never become 
practical, we had better go to the root of the evil and make 
a legislative body, that is to say, educate our people, so that 
they may be able to solve their own problems. Until that 
is done all these ideal reforms will remain ideals only. The 
new order of things is the salvation of the people by the 
people, and it takes time to make it workable, especially in 
India which has always in the past been governed by 

** Do you think Hindu society can successfully adopt 
European social laws?" 

**No, not wholly. I would say, the combination of 
the Greek mind represented by the external European 
energy, added to the Hindu spirituality, would be an ideal 

V J 


society for India. For instance, it is absolutely necessary 

for you, instead of frittering away your energy and often 

talking of ideal nonsense, to learn from the Englishman 

the idea of prompt obedience to leaders, the absence of 

jealousy, the indomitable perseverance and the undying 

faith in himself. As soon as he selects a leader for a 

work, the Englishman sticks to him through thick and 

thin and obeys him. Here in India, everybody wants to 

become a leader, and there is nobody to obey. Every 

one should learn to obey before he can command. There 

is no end to our jealousies ; and the more impotent the 

Hindu, the more jealous he is. Until this absence of 

jealousy, and obedience to leaders are learnt by the 

Hindu, there will be no power of organisation. We shall 

have to remain the hopelessly confused mob that we are 

now, hoping and doing nothing. | India has to learn from 

Europe the conquest of external nature, and Europe has 

to learn from India the conquest of internal nature. Then 

there will be neither Hindus nor Europeans there will 

be the ideal humanity which has conquered both the 

natures, the external and the internal. We have developed 

one phase of humanity, and they another. It is the union 

of the two that is wanted. The word freedom which is 

the watchword of our religion really means freedom 

physically, mentally and spiritually." 

"What relation, Swamiji, does ritual bear to religion?" 

4 'Rituals are the Kindergarten of religion. They are 
absolutely necessary for the world as it is now ; only we 
shall have to give people newer and fresher rituals. A 
party of thinkers must undertake to do this. Old rituals 
must be rejected and new ones substituted.*' 

"Then you advocate the abolition of rituals, don't 

"No, my watchword is construction, not destruction. 
Out of the existing rituals, new ones will have to be 
evolved. There is infinite power of development in every- 


thing; that is my belief. One atom has the power of the 
whole Universe at its back. All along in the history of 
the Hindu race, there never was any attempt at destruction, 
only construction. One sect wanted to destroy, and they 
were thrown out of India : they were the Buddhists. We 
have had a host of reformers, Sankara, Ramanuja, 
Madhva and Chaitanya these were great reformers, who 
always were constructive, and built according to the 
circumstances for their time. This is our peculiar method 
of work. All the modern reformers take to European 
destructive reformation, which will never do good to any 
one and never did. Only once was a modern reformer 
mostly constructive, and that was Raja Ram Mohan Roy. 
The progress of the Hindu race has been towards the 
realisation of the Vedantic ideals, f All history of Indian 
life is the struggle for the realisation of the ideal of the 
Vedanta through good or bad fortune.! Whenever there 
was any reforming sect or religion which rejected the 
Vedantic ideal, it was smashed into nothing." 
"What is your programme of work here?" 
"I want to start two institutions, one in Madras and 
one in Calcutta, to carry out my plan; and that plan 
briefly is to bring the Vedantic ideals into the everyday 
practical life of the saint or the sinner, of the sage or the 
ignoramus, of the Brahmana or the Pariah/' 

Our representative here put to him a few questions 
relative to Indian politics; but before the Swami could 
attempt anything like an answer, the train steamed up to 
the Egmore platform, and the only hurried remark that 
fell from the Swami was, that he was dead against all 
political entanglements of Indian and European problems. 
The interview then terminated. 






(Madras Times, February, 1897.) 

For the past few weeks, the Hindu public of Madras 
have been most anxiously expecting the arrival of Swami 
Vivekananda, the great Hindu Monk of worldwide fame. 
At the present moment his name is on everybody's lips. 
In the school, in the college, in the High Court, on the 
marina and in the streets and bazars of Madras, hundreds 
of inquisitive spirits may be seen asking everybody when 
the Swami will be coming. Large numbers of students 
from the Mofussil who have come up for the University 
examinations, are staying here, awaiting the Swami, and 
increasing their hostelry bills, despite the urgent call of 
their parents to return home immediately. In a few days 
the Swami will be in our midst. From the nature of the 
receptions received elsewhere in this Presidency, from the 
preparations being made here, from the triumphal arches 
erected at Castle Kernan, where the "Prophet" is to be 
lodged at the cost of the Hindu public, and from the 
interest taken in the movement by the leading Hindu 
gentlemen of this city, like the Hon'ble Mr. Justice 
Subramaniya Iyer, there is no doubt that the Swami will 
have a grand reception. It was Madras that first 
recognised the superior merits of the Swami, and equipped 
him for Chicago. Madras will now have again the honour 
of welcoming the undoubtedly great man who has done 
so much to raise the prestige of his motherland. Four 
years ago, when the Swami landed here, he was practically 
an obscure individual. In an unknown bungalow at St. 
Thome, he spent nearly two months, all along holding 
conversations on religious topics, and teaching and 


instructing all comers who cared to listen to him. Even 
then a few educated young men with "a keener eye'* 
predicted that there was something in the man, "a power" 
that would lift him above all others, that would pre- 
eminently enable him to be the leader of men. These 
young men who were then despised as * 'misguided 
enthusiasts," "dreamy revivalists," have now the supreme 
satisfaction of seeing "their Swami," as they love to call 
him, return to them with a great European and American 
fame. The mission of the Swami is essentially "spiritual." 
He firmly believes that India, the motherland of spirituality, 
has a great future before her. He is sanguine 
that the West will more and more come to 
appreciate what he regards as the sublime truths 
of the Vedanta. His great motto is "Help, and not 
Fight," "Assimilation, and not Destruction," "Harmony 
and Peace, and not Dissension." Whatever difference of 

opinion followers of other creeds may have with him, 

few will venture to deny that the Swami has done 

yeoman's service to his country in opening the eyes of the 
Western world to "the good in the Hindu." He will 
always be remembered as the first Hindu Sannyasin who 
dared to cross the sea to carry to the West the message of 
of what he believes in as a religious peace. 

A representative of our paper interviewed the Swami 
Vivekananda, with a view to elicit from him an account 

of the success of his mission in the West The 

Swami very courteously received our representative, and 
motioned him to a chair by his side. The Swami was 
dressed in yellow robes, was calm, serene, and dignified, 
and appeared inclined to answer any questions that might 
be put to him. We have given the Swami's words as 
taken down in shorthand by our representative 

"May I know a few* particulars about your early life?" 
asked our representative. 

The Swami, said : * 'Even while I was a 


student at Calcutta, I was of a religious temperament. I 
was critical even at that time of my life, mere words would 
not satisfy me. Subsequently I met Ramakrishna Parama- 
hamsa, with whom I lived for a long time, and under whom 
1 studied. After the death of my father I gave myself up 
to travelling in India and started a little monastery in Cal- 
cutta. During my travels, I came to Madras, where 1 
received help from the late Maharajah of Mysore and the 
Rajah of Ramnad." 

"What made Your Holiness carry the mission of 
Hinduism to Western countries?'* 

* 'I wanted to get experience. My idea as to the 
keynote of our national downfall is, that we do not mix 
with other nations that is the one and the sole cause. We 
never had opportunity to compare notes. We were 
Kupa-Mandufyas (frogs in a well)." 

"You have done a good deal of travelling in the 

"I have visited a good deal of Europe, including 
Germany and France, but England and America were the 
chief centres of my work. At first I found myself in a 
critical position, owing to the hostile attitude assumed by 
those who went there from India, against the people of 
this country. I believe the Indian nation is by far the most 
moral and religious nation in the whole world, and it would 
be a blasphemy to compare the Hindus with K any other 
nation. At first, many fell foul of me, manufactured huge 
lies against me by saying that I was a fraud, that I had a 
harem of wives, and half a regiment of children. But my 
experience of these missionaries opened my eyes as to 
what they are capable of doing in the name of religion. 
Missionaries were nowhere in England. None came to fight 
me. Mr. Lund went over to America to abuse me behind 
my back, but people would not listen to him. I was very 
popular with them. When I came back to England, I 
thought this missionary would be at me, but the Truth 


silenced him. In England the social status is stricter than 
caste is in India. The English Church people are all 
gentlemen born, which many of the missionaries are not. 
They greatly sympathised with me. I think that about 
thirty English Church clergymen agree entirely with me 
on all points of religious discussion. I was agreeably 
surprised to find that the English clergymen, though they 
differed from me, did not abuse me behind my back, and 
stab me in the dark. nThere is the benefit of caste and 
hereditary culture/* 

44 What has been the measure of your success in the 

44 A great number of people sympathised with me in 
America much more than in England. /Vituperation by 
the low-caste missionaries made my cause succeed better./ 
I had no money, the people of India having given me my 
bare passage-money, which was spent in a very short time. 
I had to live just as here on the charity of individuals. The 
Americans are very hospitable people. In America one- 
third of the people are Christians, but tLe rest have no 
religion, that is, they do not belong to any of the sects, 
but amongst them are to be found the most 'spiritual* 
persons. I think the work in England is sound. If I die 
to-morrow and cannot send any more Sannyasins, still the 
English work will go on. The Englishman is a very good 
man. He is taught from his childhood to suppress all his 
feelings. He is thick-headed, and is not so quick as the 
Frenchman or the American. He is immensely practical. 
The American people are too young to understand 
renunciation. England has enjoyed wealth and luxury for 
ages. Many people there are ready for renunciation. 
When I first lectured in England I had a little class of twenty 
or thirty, which was kept going when I left, and when I 
went back from America I could get an audience of one 
thousand. In America I could get a much bigger one, as 
I spent three years in America and only one year in 


England. I have two Sanny&sins one in England and 
dne in America, and I intend sending Sannyasins to other 

4 'English people are tremendous workers. Give them 
an idea, and you may be sure that that idea is not going 
to be lost, provided they catch it. People here have given 
up the Vedas, and all your philosophy is in the kitchen. 
The religion of India at present is 'Don't-touchism' that 
is a religion which the English people will never accept. 
The thoughts of our forefathers and the wonderful life- 
giving principles that they had discovered, every nation 
will take. The biggest guns of the English Church told 
me that I was putting Vedantism into the Bible. The 
present Hinduism is a degradation. There is no book 
on philosophy, written to-day, in which something of our 
Vedantism is not touched upon even the works of Herbert 
Spencer contain it. The philosophy of the age is 
Advaitism, everybody talks of it ; but only in Europe they 
try to be original. They talk of Hindus with contempt, 
but at the same time swallow the truths given out by the 
Hindus. Professor Max Miiller is a perfect Vedantist, and 
has done splendid work in Vedantism. He believes in 
re-incarnation. * ' 

"What do you intend doing for the regeneration of 

\*'I consider that the great national sin is the neglect of 
the masses, and that is one of the causes of our downfall. 
No amount of politics would be of any avail until the 
masses in India are once more well educated, well fed, 
and well cared for. They pay for our education, they 
build our temples, but in return they get kicks. They are 
practically our slaves. If we want to regenerate India, we 
must work for them. I want to start two central institutions 
at first one at Madras, and the other at Calcutta, for 
training young m6n as preachers. I have funds for starting 


the Calcutta one. English people will find funds for my 

"My faith is in the younger generation, the modern 
generation, out of them will come my workers. They will 
work out the whole problem, like lions. I have formulated 
the idea and have given my life to it. If I do not achieve 
success, some better one will come after me to work it out, 
and 1 shall be content to struggle. The one problem you 
have is to give to the masses their rights. You have the 
greatest religion which the world ever saw, and you feed 
the masses' with stuff and nonsense. You have the 
perennial fountain flowing, and you give them ditch-water. 
Your Madras graduate would not touch a low-caste man, 
but is ready to get out of him the money for his education. 
I want to start at first these two institutions for educating 
missionaries, to be both spiritual and secular instructors to 
our masses. They will spread from centre to centre, until 
we have covered the whole of India. The great thing is to 
have faith in oneself, even before faith in God; but the 
difficulty seems to be that we are losing faith in ourselves 
day by day. That is my objection against the reformers. 
The orthodox have more faith and more strength in them- 
selves, in spite of their crudeness; but the reformers simply 
play intp the hands of Europeans and pander to their 
vanity. (Our masses are gods as compared with those of 
other countries. I This is the only country where poverty is 
not a crime.! They are mentally and physically handsome; 
but we hated and hated them till they have lost faith in 
themselves. They think they are born slaves. Give them 
their rights, and let them stand on their rights. This is the 
glory of the American civilisation. Compare the Irishman 
with knees bent, half-starved, with a little stick and bundle 
of clothes, just arrived from the ship, with what he is after 
a few months' stay in America. He walks boldly and 
bravely. He has come from a country where he was a 
slave, to a country where he is a brother. 


* 'Believe that the soul is immortal, infinite and all- 
powerful. My idea of education is, personal contact with 
the teacher Gttrugriha-Vdsa. Without the personal life 
of a teacher there would be no education. Take your 
Universities. What have they done during the fifty years 
of their existence ? They have not produced one original 
man. They are merely an examining body. The idea of 
the sacrifice for the common weal is not yet developed in 
our nation." 

"What do you think of Mrs. Besant and Theosophy ?" 

"Mrs. Besant is a very good woman. 1 lectured at her 
Lodge in London. I do not know personally much about 
her. Her knowledge of our religion is very limited ; she 
picks up scraps here and there ; she never had time to 
study it thoroughly. That she is one of the most sincere 
women, her greatest enemy will concede. She is con- 
sideied the best speaker in England. She is a Sannyasin. 
But I do not believe in Mahatmas and Kuthumis. Let her 
give up her connection with the Theosophical Society, 
stand on her own footing, and preach what she thinks 
right! " 

Speaking of social reforms, the Swami expressed 
himself about widow-marriage thus : "I have yet to see a 
nation whose faith is determined by the number of 
husbands their widows get.'* 

Knowing as he did, that several persons were waiting 
downstairs to have an interview with the Swami, our 
representative withdrew, thanking the Swami for the kind- 
ness with which he had consented to the journalistic torture. 

The Swami, it may be remarked, is accompanied by 
Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Sevier, Mr. T. G. Harrison, a Buddhist 
gentleman of Colombo, and Mr. J. J. Goodwin. It appears 
that Mr. and Mrs. Sevier accompany the Swami, with a 
view to settle in the Himalayas, where they intend building 
a residence for the Western disciples of the Swami, who 
may have an inclination to reside in India. For twenty 


years, Mr. and Mrs. Sevier had followed no particular 
religion, finding satisfaction in none of those that were 
preached ; but on listening to a course of lectures by the 
Swami, they professed to have found a religion that 
satisfied their heart and intellect. Since then they have 
accompanied the Swami through Switzerland, Germany 
and Italy, and now to India. Mr. Goodwin, a journalist 
in England, became a disciple of the Swami fourteen 
months ago, when he first met him at New York. He 
gave up his journalism and devotes himself attending to 
the Swami, and taking down his lectures in shorthand. 
He is in every sense a true "disciple," saying that he 
hopes to be with the Swami till his death. 



(Prabuddha Bharata, September, 1898.) 

In an interview which a representative of "Prabuddha 
Bharata" had recently with the Swami Vivekananda, that 
great Teacher was asked : "What do you consider the 
distinguishing feature of your Movement, Swamiji?" 

"Aggression/* said the Swami promptly, "aggression 
in a religious sense only. Other sects and parties have 
carried spirituality all over India, but since the days of 
Buddha we have been the first to break bounds and try to 
flood the world with missionary zeal." 

* 'And what do you consider to be the function of your 
Movement as regards India?" 

"To find the common bases of Hinduism and awaken 
the national consciousness to them. At present there are 
three parties in India included under the term 'Hindu* 
the orthodox, the reforming sects of the Mahommedan 


period, and the reforming sects of the present time. 
Hindus from North to South are only agreed on one point, 
viz., on not eating beef." 

44 Not in a common love for the Vedas?" 

4 'Certainly not. That is just what we want to re- 
awaken. India has not yet assimilated the work of 
Buddha. She is hypnotised by His voice, not made alive 
by it." 

4 *In what way do you see this importance of Buddhism 
in India to-day?*' 

* 4 It is obvious and overwhelming. You see India never 
loses anything ; only she takes time to turn everything 
into bone and muscle. Buddha dealt a blow at animal 
sacrifice, from which she has never recovered; and Buddha 
said, 'Kill no cows/ and cow-killing is an impossibility 
with us." 

With which of the three parties you name do you 
identify yourself, Swamiji?" 

4 'With all of them. We are orthodox Hindus," said 
the Swami, "but," he added suddenly with great earnest- 
ness and emphasis, "we refuse entirely to identify ourselves 
with *Don*t-touchism/ That is not Hinduism : it is in none 
of our books : it is an unorthodox superstition which has 
interfered with national efficiency all along the line." 

"Then what you really desire is national efficiency?" 

4 'Certainly. Can you adduce any reason why India 
should lie in the ebb-tide of the Aryan nations? Is she 
inferior in intellect? Is she inferior in dexterity? Can 
yovulook at her art, at her mathematics, at her philosophy, 
and answer *yes' ? All that is needed is, that she should 
de-hypnotise herself and wake up from her age-long sleep 
to take her true rank in the hierarchy of nations." 

44 But India has always had her deep inner life. Are 
you not afraid, Swamiji, that in attempting to make her 
active you may take from her, her one great treasure?" 

44 Not at all. The history of the past has gone to 


develop the inner life of India and the activity (i. e., the 
outer life) of the West. Hitherto these have been divergent. 
The time has now come for them to unite. Ramakrishna 
Paramahamsa was alive to the depths of his being, yet 
on the outer plane who was more active? This is the 
secret. Let your life be as deep as the ocean, but let it 
also be as wide as the sky/' 

4 'It is a curious thing," continued the Swami, "that the 
inner life is often most profoundly developed where the 
outer conditions are most cramping and limiting. But this 
is an accidental not an essential association, and if we 
set ourselves right here in India, the world will be 
'rightened.' For are we not all one?** 

*' Your last remarks, Swamiji, raise another question. 
In what sense is Sri Ramakrishna a part of this awakened 

4 That is not for me to determine," said he Swami. 
4 *I have never preached personalities. My own life is 
guided by the enthusiasm of this great soul ; but others 
will decide for themselves how far they share in this attitude. 
Inspiration is not filtered out to the world through one 
channel, however great. Each generation should be 
inspired afresh. Are we not all God?'* 

4 'Thank you. I have only one question more to ask 
you. You have defined the attitude and function of your 
Movement with regard to your own people. Could you in 
the same way characterise your methods of action as a 

"Our method," said the Swami, "is very easily 
described. It simply consists in reasserting the national 
life. Buddha preached renunciation. India heard, and 
yet in six centuries she reached her greatest height. The 
secret lies there. The national ideals of India are 
RENUNCIATION and SERVICE. Intensify her in those channels 
and the rest will take care of itself. The banner of the 


spiritual cannot be raised too High in this country. In it 
alone is salvation." 



(Prabaddha Bharata, December, 1898.) 

It was early one Sunday morning, (writes our repre- 
sentative), in a beautiful Himalayan valley, that I was at 
last able to carry out the order of the Editor, and call on 
the Swami Vivekananda, to ascertain something of his 
views on the position and prospects of Indian Women. 

"Let us go for a walk," said the Swami, when I had 
announced my errand, and we set out at once amongst 
some of the most lovely sceneries in the world. 

By sunny and shady ways we went, through quiet 
villages, amongst playing children, and across the golden 
cornfields. Here the tall trees seemed to pierce the blue 
above, and there a group of peasant girls stooped, sickle in 
hand, to cut and carry off the plume-tipped stalks of maize- 
straw for the winter stores. Now the road led into an 
apple orchard, where great heaps of crimson fruit lay under 
the trees being picked and sorted, and again we were out 
in the open, facing the snows that rose in august beauty 
above the white clouds against the sky. 

At last my companion broke the silence. "The Aryan 
and Semitic ideals of woman," he said, "have always 
been diametrically opposed. Amongst the Semites the 
presence of woman is considered dangerous to devotion 
and she may not perform any religious function, even 
such as the killing of a bird for food : according to the 
Aryan, a man cannot perform a religious action without a 


"But Swamiji!" said I, startled at an assertion so 
sweeping and so unexpected "Is Hinduism not an Aryan 

"Modern Hinduism," said the Swami quietly, "is 
largely Pauranika, that is, post-Buddhistic in origin. 
Dayananda Saraswati pointed out that though a wife is 
absolutely necessary in the Sacrifice of the domestic fire, 
which is a Vedic rite, she may not touch the Shalagrama 
Shila, or the household-idol, because that dates from the 
later period of the Puranas." 

I "And so you consider the inequality of woman 
amongst us as entirely due to the influence of Buddhism?}- 

** Where it exists, certainly/* said the Swami, "but we 
should not allow the sudden influx of European criticism, 
and our consequent sense of contrast, to make us acquiesce 
too readily in this notion of the inequality of our women. 
Circumstances have forced upon us, for many centuries, 
the woman's need of protection. This, and not her 
inferiority, is the true reading of our customs." 

44 Are you then entirely satisfied with the position of 
women amongst us, Swamiji?" 

4 *By no means," said the Swami, "but our right of 
interference is limited entirely to giving education. Women 
must be put in a position to solve their own problems 
in their own way. No one can or ought to do this for 
them. And our Indian women are as capable of doing 
it as any in the world." 

"How do you account for the evil influence which 
you attribute to Buddhism?" 

"It only came with the decay of the faith," said the 


"Every movement triumphs by dint of some 

unusual characteristic, and when it falls, that point of 
pride becomes its chief element of weakness./ The Lord 
Buddha greatest of men was a marvellouis organiser, 
and carried the world by this means. But His religion 
was the religion of a monastic order. It had, therefore, 


the evil effect of making the very robe of the monk 
honoured. He also introduced for the first time the com- 
munity-life of religious houses, and thereby necessarily 
made women inferior to men, since the great abbesses 
could take no important step without the advice of certain 
abbots. It ensured its immediate object, the solidarity of 
the faith, you see, only its far-reaching effects are to be 

"But Sannyasa is recognised in the Vedas!" 

"Of course it is, but without making any distinction 
between men and women. Do you remember how 
Yajnavalkya was questioned at the Court of King Janaka? 
His principal examiner was Vachaknavi, the maiden 
orator Brahmavadini, as the word of the day was. 'Like 
two shining arrows in the hand of the skilled archer/ she 
says, 'are my questions/ Her sex is not even commented 
upon. Again, could anything be more complete than the 
equality of boys and girls in our old forest universities? 
Read our Sanskrit dramas read the story of Shakuntala, 
and see if Tennyson's 'Princess' has anything to teach 

"You have a wonderful way of revealing the glories 
of our past, Swamiji!" 

"Perhaps, because I have seen both s^des of the 
world," said the Swami gently, "and I know that the 

race that produced Sita even if it only dreamt cf her 


has a reverence for woman that is unmatched on the earth. 
There is many a burden bound with legal tightness on 
the shoulders of Western women that is utterly unknown 
to ours. We have our wrongs and our exceptions certainly, 
but so have they. We must never forget that all over 
the globe the general effort is to express love aud tender- 
ness ancl uprightness, and that national customs are only 
the nearest vehicles of this expression. With regard to 
the domestic virtues I have no hesitation in saying that 


our Indian methods have in many ways the advantage 
over all others/* 

"Then have our women any problems at all, Swamiji?" 

"Of course, they have many and grave problems, but 
none that are not to be solved by that magic word 
'Education/ The true education, however, is not yet 
conceived of amongst us." 

44 And how would you define that?" 

"I never define anything," said the Swami smiling, 
"still it may be described as a development of faculty, 
not an accumulation of words, or, as a training of indi- 
viduals to will rightly and efficiently. So shall we bring 
to the need of India great fearless women women worthy 
to continue the traditions of Sanghamitta, Lila, Ahalya 
Bai, and Mira Bai, women fit to be mothers of heroes, 
because they are pure and selfless, strong with the strength 
that comes of touching the feet of God." 

"So you consider that there should be a religious 
element in education, Swamiji?" 

"I look upon Religion as the innermost core of 
education," said the Swami solemnly. "Mind, I do not 
mean my own, or any one else's opinion about religion. 
I think the teacher should take the pupil's starting-point in 
this, as in other respects, and enable her to develop along 
her own line of least resistance." 

"But surely the religious exaltation of Brahmacharya, 
by taking the highest place from the mother and wife, and 
giving it to those who evade those relations, is a direct 
blow dealt at Woman?" 

"You should remember," said the Swami, "that if 
Religion exalts Brahmacharya for woman, it does exactly 
the same for man. Moreover, your question shows a 
certain confusion in your own mind. Hinduism indicates 
one duty, only one, for the human soul. It is to seek to 
realise the permanent amid the evanescent. No one 
presumes to point out any one way in which this may be 

V K 


done. Marriage or non-marriage, good or evil, learning 
or ignorance, any of these is justified, if it leads to the 
Goal. In this respect lies the great contrast between it 
and Buddhism, for the latter *s outstanding direction is to 
realise the Impermanence of the External, which, broadly 
speaking, can only be done in one way. Do you recall 
the story of the young Yogi in the Mahabharata, who 
prided himself on his psychic powers by burning the bodies 
of a crow and crane by his intense will, produced by 
anger? Do you remember the young saint went into the 
town, and found first a wife nursing her sick husband, and 
then the butcher Dharmavyadha, both of whom had 
obtained enlightenment in the path of common faithfulness 
and duty?*' 

"And so what would you say, Swamiji, to the women 
of this country?" 

"Why, to the women of this country," said the Swami, 
~ 4 J would say exactly what I say to the men. Believe in 
India, and in our Indian faith. Be strong and hopeful and 
unashamed, and remember that with something to take, 
Hindus have immeasurably more to give than any other 
people in the world." 


(Prabuddha Bharata, April 1899.) 

Having been directed by the Editor, (writes our 
representative), to interview Swami Vivekananda on the 
question of converts to Hinduism, I found an opportunity 
one evening on the roof of a Ganges houseboat. It was 
after nightfall and we had stopped at the embankment 


of the Ramakrishna Math, and there the Swami came down 
to speak with me. 

Time and place were alike delightful. Overhead, the 
stars, and around the rolling Ganges. While on one side 
stood the dimly lighted building, with its background of 
palms and lofty shade-trees. 

4 'I want to see you, Swami," I began, "on this matter 
of receiving back into Hinduism those who have been 
perverted from it. Is it your opinion that they should be 

"Certainly," said the Swami, "they can and ought to 
be taken." 

He sat gravely for a moment, thinking, and then re- 
sumed. "Besides," he said, "we shall otherwise decrease 
in numbers. When the Mahommedans first came, we are 
said I think on the authority of Ferishta, the oldest 
Mahommedan historian to have been six hundred millions 
of Hindus. Now we are about two hundred millions. 
And then, every man going out of the Hindu pale is not 
only a man less, but an enemy the more. 

"Again, the vast majority of Hindu perverts to Islam 
and Christianity are perverts by the sword, or the 
descendants of these. It would be obviously unfair to 
subject these to disabilities of any kind. As to the case 
of born aliens, did you say? Why, born aliens have been 
converted in the past by crowds, and the process is still 
going on. 

"In my own opinion, this statement not only applies 
to aboriginal tribes, to outlying nations, and to almost all 
our conquerors before the Mahommedan conquest, but 
also to all those castes who find a special origin in the 
Puranas. I hold that they have been aliens thus adopted. 

"Ceremonies of expiation are no doubt suitable in 
the case of willing converts, returning to their Mother- 
Church, as it were; but on those who were alienated by 


conquest, as in Kashmir and Nepal, or on strangers 
wishing to join us, no penance should be imposed." 

"But of what caste would these people be, Swamiji?" 
I ventured to ask. "They must have some, or they can 
never be assimilated into the great body of Hindus. 
Where shall we look for their rightful place?" 

"Returning converts," said the Swami quietly, "will 
gain their own castes, of course. And new people will 
make theirs. You will remember," he added, "that this 
has already been done in the case of Vaishnavism. 
Converts from different castes and aliens were all able to 
combine under that flag, and form a caste by themselves, 
and a very respectable one too. From Ramanuja down 
to Chaitanya of Bengal, all great Vaishnava Teachers have 
done the same." 

"And where should these new people expect to 
marry?" I asked. 

"Amongst themselves as they do now," said the 
Swami quietly. 

"Then as to names," I enquired. "I suppose aliens 
and perverts who have adopted non-Hindu names should 
be named newly. Would you give them caste-names, or 

"Certainly," said the Swami, thoughtfully, "there is 
a great deal in a name!" and on this question he would 
say no more. 

But my next enquiry drew blood. "Would you leave 
thfese new-comers, Swamiji, to choose their own form of 
religious belief out of many-visaged Hinduism, or would 
you chalk out a religion for them?" 

"Can you ask that?" he said. "They will choose for 
themselves. For unless a man chooses for himself, the 
very spirit of Hinduism is destroyed. \ The essence of our 
Faith consists simply in this freedom of the Ishtam.f* 

I thought the utterance a weighty one, for thd man 
before me has spent more years than any one else living, 


I fancy, in studying the common bases of Hinduism in a 
scientific and sympathetic spirit and the freedom of the 
Ishtam is obviously a principle big enough to accommodate 
the world. 

But the talk passed to other matters, and then withi 
a cordial goodnight, this great teacher of religion lifted his 
lantern and went back into the Monastery, while I, by the 
pathless paths of the Ganges, in and out amongst her 
crafts of many sizes, made the best of my way back to 
my Calcutta home. 



Isolation of the soul from all objects, mental and 
physical, is the goal; when that is attained, the soul will 
find that it was alone all the time, and it required no one 
to make it happy. jAs long as we require someone else 
to make us happy we are slaves \ When the Purusha finds 
that It is free, and does not require anything to complete 
Itself, that this Nature is quite unnecessary, then freedom 
(Kaivalya) is attained. 

Men run after a few dollars and do not think anything 
of cheating a fellow-being to get those dollars; but if they 
would restrain themselves, in Jv few years they would 
develop such characters as would bring them millions of 
dollars, if they wanted them. Then their will would 
govern the universe. But we are all such fools ! 

What is the use of talking of one's mistakes to the 
world? They cannot thereby be undone. For what one 
has done one must suffer; he must try and do better. The 
world sympathises only with the strong and the powerful. 

It is only work that is done as a free-will offering to 
humanity and to Nature, that does not bring with it any 
binding attachment. 

Duty of any kind is not to be slighted. A man who 
does the lower work is not for that reason only, a lower 
man than he who does the higher work; /a man should 
not be judged by the nature of his duties, but by the 
manner in which he does them, j His manner of doing 


them and his power to do them are indeed the test of a 
man. j A shoemaker who ban turn out a strong, nice pair 
of shoes in the shortest possible time, is a better man, 
according to his profession and his work, than a professor 
who talks nonsense every day of his life. 

Every duty is holy, and {devotion to duty is the highest 
form of the worship of God; it is certainly a source of 
great help in enlightening and emancipating the deluded 
and ignorance-encumbered soul of the Baddhas the 
bound ones. 

By doing well the duty which is nearest to us, the duty 
which is in our hands now, we make ourselves stronger; 
and improving our strength in this manner step by step, 
we may even reach a state in which it shall be our privilege 
to do the most coveted and honoured duties in life and 
in society.^ 

Nature 's justice is uniformly stern and unrelenting j 

The most practical man would neither call life good 
nor evil. 

Every successful man must have behind him some- 
where, tremendous integrity, tremendous sincerity, and 
that is the cause of his signal success in life.h He may not 
have been perfectly unselfish; yet he was tending towards 
it. If he had been perfectly unselfish, his would have 
been as great a success as that of the Buddha, or of the 
Christ. I The degree of unselfishness marks the degree of 
success everywhere. - 

The great leaders of mankind belong to higher fields 
than that of platform work. 

However we may try, there cannot be any action 
which is perfectly pure, or any which is perfectly impure, 
taking purity or impurity in the sense of injury or non- 
injury. 'We cannot breathe or live without injuring others, 
and every morsel of food we eat is taken from another's 
mouth j our very lives are crowding out some other lives.- 
It may be those of men or animals, or small fungi, but 


someone somewhere we have to crowd out. That being 
the case, it naturally follows that perfection can never be 
attained by work. We may work through all eternity, but 
there will be no way out of this intricate maze : we may 
work on and on and on, but there will be no end. 

The man who works through freedom and love, cares 
nothing for results. But the slave wants his whipping; the 
servant wants his pay. So with all life; take for instance 
the public life. The public speaker wants a little applause, 
or a little hissing and hooting. If you keep him in a corner 
without it, you kill him, for he requires it. This is working 
through slavery. To expect something in return, under 
such conditions, becomes second nature. Next comes the 
work of the servant, who requires some pay; I give this 
and you give me that. Nothing is easier than to say, 
"I work for work's sake," but nothing is so difficult to 
attain. I would go twenty miles on my hands and knees 
to look on the face of the man who can work for work's 
sake. There is a motive somewhere. If it is not money, 
it is power. If it is not power, it is gain. Somehow, some- 
where, there is a motive power. You are my friend, and 
I want to work for you and with you. This is all very 
well, and every moment I may make protestation of my 
sincerity. But take care, you must be sure to agree with 
me ! If you do not, I shall no longer take care of you, 
or live for you ! This kind of work for a motive brings 
misery. That work alone brings unattachment and bliss, 
wherein we work as masters of our own minds. 

The great lesson to learn is, that I am not the standard 
by which the whole universe is to be judged; each man 
is to be judged by his own idea, each race by its own 
standard and ideal, each custom of each country by its 
own reasoning and conditions. American customs are the 
result of the environment in which the Americans live, and 
Indian customs are the result of the environment in which 


the Indians are; and so of China, Japan, England and 
every other country. 

We all find ourselves in the position for which we are 
fit, each ball finds its own hole; and if one has some 
capacity above another, the world will find that out too, 
in this universal adjusting that goes on. So it is no use 
to grumble. If there is a rich man who is wicked, and 
so forth, yet there must be in that man certain qualities 
that made him rich, and if any other man has the same 
qualities he will also become rich. What is the use of 
fighting and complaining ? That will not help us to better 
things. He who grumbles at the little thing that has fallen 
to his lot to do, will grumble at everything.' Always 
grumbling he will lead a miserable life, and everything 
will be a failure. But that man who does his duty as he 
goes, putting his shoulder to the wheel, will see the light, 
and higher and higher duties will fall to his share. 


There are fanatics of various kinds. Some people *v, 
wine fanatics and cigar fanatics. Some think that if men 
gave up smoking cigars, the world would arrive at the 
millennium. Women are generally amongst these fanatics. 
There was a young lady here one day, in this class. She 
was one of a number of ladies in Chicago who have built 
a house where they take in the working people, and give 
them music and gymnastics. One day this young lady 
was talking about the evils of the world and said she knew 
the remedy. I asked, "How do you know?" and she 
answered, "Have you seen the Hull House?'* In her 
opinion, this Hull House is the one panacea for all the 
evils that flesh is heir to. This will grow upon her. I am 


sony for her. There are some fanatics in India who think 
that if a woman could marry again when her husband 
died, it would cure all evil. This is fanaticism. 

When I was a boy I thought that fanaticism was a 
great element in work, but now, as I grow older, I find 
out that it is not. 

There may be a woman who would steal and make 
no objection to taking some one else's bag and going away 
with it. But perhaps that woman does not smoke. She 
becomes a smoke fanatic, and as soon as she finds a man 
smoking, she strongly disapproves of him, because he 
smoked a cigar. There may be a man who goes about 
cheating people; there is no trusting him; no woman is 
safe with him. But perhaps this scoundrel does not drink 
wine. If so, he sees nothing good in anyone who drinks 
wine. All these wicked things that he himself does are 
of no consideration. This is only natural human selfish- 
ness and one-sidedness. 

You must also remember that the world has God to 
govern it and He has not left it to our charity. The Lord 
God is its Governor and Maintainer, and in spite of these 
wine fanatics and cigar fanatics, and all sorts of marriage 
fanatics, it would go on. If all these persons were to die, 
it would go on none the worse. 

Do you not ^remember in your own history how the 
"Mayflower" people came out here, and began to call 
themselves Puritans. They were very pure and good as 
far as they went, until they began to persecute other 
people, and throughout the history of mankind it has been 
the same. Even those that run away from persecution 
indulge in persecuting othefs as soon as a favourable 
opportunity to do so occurs. 

In ninety cases out of a hundred, fanatics must have 
bad livers, or they are dyspeptics, or are in some way 
diseased. By and by even physicians will find out that 


fanaticism is a kind of disease. I have seen plenty of it. 
The Lord save me from it ! 

My experience comes to this, that it is rather wise to 
avoid all sorts of fanatical reforms. This world is slowly 
going on, let it go slowly. Why are you in a hurry ? Sleep 
well and keep your nerves in good order; eat right food, 
and have sympathy with the world. Fanatics only make 
hatred. Do you mean to say that the temperance fanatic 
loves these poor people who become drunkards ? A fanatic 
is simply a fanatic because he expects to get something 
for himself in return. As soon as the battle is over he goes 
for the spoil. When you come out of the company of 
fanatics you may learn how to really love and sympathise, 
and the more you attain of love and sympathy, the less 
will be your power to condemn these poor creatures ; 
rather you will sympathise with their faults. It will become 
possible for you to sympathise with the drunkard and to 
know that he is also a man like yourself. You will then 
try to understand the many circumstances that are drag- 
ging him down, and feel that if you had been in his place 
you would perhaps have committed suicide. I remember 
a woman, whose husband was a great drunkard, and she 
complained to me of his becoming so. I replied, "Madam, 
if there were twenty millions of wives like yourself, all 
husbands would become drunkards." I am convinced 
that a large portion of drunkards are manufactured by their 
wives. My business is to tell the truth and not to flatter 
anyone. These unruly women from whose minds the 
words bear and forbear are gone for ever, and whose false 
ideas of independence lead them to think that men should 
be at their feet, and who begin to howl as soon as men 
dare say anything to them which they do not like, such 
women are becoming the bane of the world, and it is a 
wonder that they do not drive half the men in it to commit 
suicide. In this way things should not go* on. Life is not 


so easy as they believe it to be; it is a more serious 
business ! 

A man must not only have faith but intellectual faith 
too. To make a man take up everything and believe il, 
would make him a lunatic. I once had a book sent me, 
which said I must believe everything told in it. It said 
there was no soul, but that there were gods and goddesses 
in heaven, and a thread of light going from each of our 
heads to heaven ! How did the writer know all these 
things ? She had been inspired, and wanted me to believe 
it too, and because I refused, she said, **You must be a 
very bad man; there is no hope for you!" This is 


The highest man cannot work, for there is no binding 
element, no attachment, no ignorance in him. A ship is 
said to have passed over a mountain of magnet ore, and 
all the bolts and bars were drawn out, and it went to 
pieces. It is in ignorance that struggle remains, because 
we are all really atheists. Real theists could not work. 
We are atheists more or less. We do not see God or 
believe in Him. He is G-O-D to us, and nothing more. 
There are moments when we think He is near, but then 
we fall down again. When you see Him, who struggles 
for whom ? Help the Lord ! There is a proverb in our 
language, * 'Shall we teach the Architect of the universe 
how to build?" So those are the highest of mankind who 
do not work. The next time you see these silly phrases 
&bout the world and how we must all help God, and do 
this or that for Him, remember this. Do not think such 
thoughts ; they are too selfish. All the work you do is 


subjective, is done for your own benefit. God has not 
fallen into a ditch for you and me to help Him out, by 
building a hospital or something of that sort. He allows 
you to work. He allows you to exercise your muscles in 
this great gymnasium, not in orde'r to help Him but that 
you may help yourself. Do you think even an ant will 
die for want of your help ? Most arrant blasphemy ! The 
world does not need you at all. The world goes on, you 
are like a drop in this ocean. A leaf does not move, the 
wind does not blow without Him. Blessed are we that 
we are given the privilege of working for Him, not of 
helping Him. Cut out this word *help* from your mind. 
You cannot help; it is blaspheming. You are here your- 
self at His pleasure. Do you mean to say, you help Him? 
You worship. When you give a morsel of food to the 
dog, you worship the dog as God. God is in that dog. 
He is the dog. JHeJs all and in alL We are allowed to 
worship Him. Stand in that reverent attitude to the whole 
universe, and then will come perfect non-attachment. This 
should be your duty. This is the proper attitude of work. 
This is the secret taught by Karma- Yoga. 


At the forty-second meeting of the Ramakrishna 
Mission held at the premises No. 57, Ramkanta Bose's 
Street, Baghbazar, Calcutta, on the 20th March, 1898, the 
Swami Vivekananda gave an adddress on "Work without 
motive," and spoke to the following effect : 

When the Gita was first preached, there was then 
going on a great controversy between two sects. One 
party considered the Vedic Yajnas and animal sacrifices 


and such like Karmas to constitute the whole of religion. 
The other preached that the killing of numberless horses 
and cattle cannot be called religion. The people belong- 
ing to the latter party were mostly Sannyasins, and 
followers of Jnanam. They believed that the giving up of 
all work and the gaining of the knowledge of the Self was 
the only path to Moksha. By the preaching of His great 
doctrine of work without motive, the Author of the Gita 
set at rest the disputes of these two antagonistic sects. 

Many are of opinion that the Gita was not written at 
the time of the Mahabharata, but was subsequently added 
to it. This is not correct. The special teachings of the 
Gita are to be found in every part of the Mahabharata, 
and if the Gita is to be expunged, as forming no part of 
it, every other portion of it which embodies the same 
teachings should be similarly treated. 

Now, what is the meaning of working without motive ? 
Nowadays many understand it in the sense that one is to 
work in such a way that neither pleasure nor pain touches 
his mind. If this be its real meaning, then the animals 
might be said to work without motive. Some animals 
devour their own offspring, and they do not feel any pangs 
at all in doing so. Robbers ruin other people by robbing 
them of their possessions, but if they feel quite callous to 
pleasure or pain, then they also would be working without 
motive. If the meaning of it be such, then one who has 
a stony heart, the worst of criminals, might be considered 
to be working without motive. The Vails have no feelings 
of pleasure or pain, neither has a stone, and it cannot be 
said that they are working without motive. In the above 
sense the doctrine is a potent instrument in the hands 
of the wicked. They would go on doing wicked deeds, 
and would pronounce themselves as working without a 
motive. If such be the significance of working without 
a motive, then a fearful doctrine has been put forth by 
the preaching of the Gita. Certainly this is not the mean- 


ing. Furthermore, if we look into the lives of those 
were connected with the preaching of the Gita, we shouuj 
find them living quite a different life. Arjuna killed 
Bhishma and Drona in battle, but withal, he sacrificed all 
his self-interest and desires and his lower self, millions 
of times. 

Gita teaches Karma- Yoga. We should work through 
Yoga (concentration). In such ' concentration. . in. . action 
(Karma^Yoga) there is no consciousness of the lower ego 
present. The consciousness that I am doing this and that, 
is never present when one works through Yoga. The 
Western people do not understand this. They say that 
if there be no consciousness of ego, if this ego is gone, 
how then can a man work? But when one works Jjvith 
concentration, Joging. .all consciousness oFKimself , the work 
that is done would be infinitely better, and this every one 
might have experienced in his own life. We perform 
many works subconsciously t such as the digestion of food, 
&c., many others consciously, and others again by be- 
coming immersed in Samadhi as it were, when there is 
no consciousness of the smaller ego. If the painter losing 
the consciousness of his egp becomes completely immersed 
in his painting, he would be able to produce masterpieces.. 
The good cook concentrates his whole self on the food- 
material he handles, he loses all other consciousness for 
the time being. But they are only able to do perfectly a 
single work in this way, to which they are habituated. 
The Gita teaches tha^all works should be done thus. H 
who is one with the Lord through Yoga, performs all his 
works by becoming immersed in concentration, and does 
not _gk^ any personal benefit. Such a performance of 
Work brings only good to the world, no evil can come out 
of it. Those who work thus never do anything for them- 

The result of every work is mixed with good and evil. 
There is no good work that has not a touch of evil in it. 


Like smoke round the fire, some evil always clings to 
work. We should engage in such works which bring the 
largest amount of good and the smallest measure of evil. 
Arjuna killed Bhishma and Drona ; if this was not done 
Duryodhana could not be conquered, the force of evil 
would have triumphed over the force of good, and thus 
a great calamity would have fallen on the country. The 
government of the country would have been usurped by 
a body of proud unrighteous kings, to the great misfortune 
of the people. Similarly, Sri Krishna killed Kamsa, 
Jarasandha and others who were tyrants, but not a single 
one of His deeds was done for Himself. Every one of 
them was for the good of others. We are reading the 
Gita by candle-light, but numbers of insects are being 
burnt to death. Thus it is seen that some evil clings to 
work. Those who work without any consciousness t of 
their lower ego are not affected with evil, for they work 
for the good of the world. To work without motive, to 
work unattached, brings the highest bliss and freedom. 
This secret of Karma- Yoga is taught by the Lord Sri 
Krishna in the Gita. 



If atavism gains, you go down ; if evolution gains, you 
go on. Therefore we must not allow atavism to take 
place. Here, in my own body, is the first work of the 
study. We are too busy trying to mend the ways of our 
neighbours, that is the difficulty. We must begin with 
our own bodies. The heart, the liver, &c., are all 
atavistic ; bring them back into consciousness, control 
them, so that they will obey your commands and act up 


to your wishes. There was a time when we had control 
of the liver ; we could shake the whole, skin, as can the 
cow. I have seen many people bring the control back by 
sheer hard practice. Once an impress is made, it js there. 
Bring back all the submerged activities the vast ocean of 
action. This is the first part of the great study, and is 
absolutely necessary for our social well-being. On the 
other hand, only the consciousness need not be studied all 
the time. 

Then there is the other part of the study, which is not 
so necessary in our social life, as tending to liberation. 
Its direct action is to free the soul, to take the torch into 
the gloom, to clean out what is behind, to shake it up, or 
even defy it, and to make us march onward piercing the 
gloojn. That is the goal, the superconscious. Then, 
when that state is reached, this very man becomes divine, 
becomes free. And to the mind thus trained to transcend 
all, gradually this universe will begin to give up its secrets ; 
the book of Nature will be read, chapter after chapter, 
till the goal is attained, and we pass from this vale of life 
and death to that One, where death and life do net exist, 
and we know the Real and become the Real. 

The first thing necessary is a quiet and peaceable life. 
If I have to go about the world the whole day to make 
a living, it is hard for me to attain to anything very high 
in this life. Perhaps in another life I shall be born under 
more propitious circumstances. But if I am earnest 
enough, these very circumstances will change even in this 
birth. Was there anything you did not get which you 
really wanted? It could not be. For it is the want that 
creates the body. It is the light that has bored the holes, 
as it were, in your head, called the eyes. If the light had 
not existed you would have had no eyes. It is sound 
that has made the ears. The object of perception existed 
first, before you made the organ.] In a few hundred 
thousand years, or earlier, we may have other organs to 


perceive electricity and other things. There is no desire 
for a peaceful mind. Desire will not come unless there is 
something outside to fulfil it] The outside something just 
bores a hole in the body as it were, and tries to get into 
the mind. So, when the desire shall arise to have a 
peaceful, quiet life, where everything shall be propitious 
for the development of the mind, that shall come, you 
may take that as my experience. It may come in 
thousands of lives, but it must come. Hold on to that, 
the desire. You cannot have the strong desire if its object 
was not outside for you already. Of course, you must 
understand, there is a difference between desire and 
desire. The master said : "My child, if you desire after 
God, God shall come to you/* The disciple did not 
understand his master fully. One day both went to bathe 
in a river, and the master said, "Plunge in/* and the boy 
did so. In a moment the master was upon him, holding 
him down. He would not let the boy come up. When 
the boy struggled and was exhausted, he let him go. 
"Yes, my child, how did you feel there?'* Oh the desire 
for a breath of air!'* "Do you have that kind of desire 
For God?'* "No, sir/* "Have that kind of desire for 
God and you shall have God/* 

That, without which we cannot live, must come to us. 
If it did not come to us life could not go on. 

If you want to be a Yogi, you must be free, and place 
yourself in circumstances where you are alone and free 
: rom all anxiety. He who desires for a comfortable and 
lice life and at the same time wants to realise the Self is 
ike the fool who, wanting to cross the river, caught hold 
>f a crocodile mistaking it for a log of wood. "Seek ye 
irst the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all 
:hese things shall be added unto you/* Unto Lim comes 
everything who does not care for anything. Fortune is like 
i flirt ; she cares not for him who wants hW ; but she is 
it the feet of him who does not care for her. Money 


comes and showers itself upon one who does not care for 
it ; so does fame come in abundance, until it is a trouble 
and a burden. They always come to the Master. The 
slave never gets anything. The Master is he who can live 
in spite of them, whose life does not depend upon the 
little, foolish things of the world. Live for an ideal, and 
that one ideal alone. Let it be so great, so strong, that 
there may be nothing else left in the mind ; no place for 
anything else, no time for anything else. 

How some people give all their energies, time, brain, 
body, and everything, to become rich ! They have no 
time for breakfast ! Early in the morning they are out, 
and at work ! They die in the attempt ninety per c nt. 
of them, and the rest, when they make money, cannot 
enjoy it. That is grand ! I do not say it is bad to try to 
be rich. It is marvellous, wonderful. Why, what does it 
show? It shows that one can have the same amount of 
energy and struggle for freedom, as one has for money. 
We know we have to give up money and all other things 
when we die, and yet, see the amount of energy we can 
put forth for them. But we, the same human beings, 
should we not put forth a thousandfold more strength and 
energy to acquire that which never fades, but which 
remains to us for ever? For this is the one great friend, 
our own good deeds, our own spiritual excellence, that 
follows us beyond the grave. Everything else is left behind 
here with the body, 

That is the one great first step, the real desire for 
the ideal. Everything comesjeasx_dFter^^hat. That the 
Indian mina f ouncT out ; there, in India, men go to any 
length to find truth. But here, in the West, the difficulty 
is, that everything is made so easy. It is not truth, but 
development, that is the great aim. The struggle is the 
great lesson. Mind you, the great benefit in this life is 
struggle. It is through that we pass,+- if there is any road 
to Heaven it is through Hell. Through Hell to Heaven 


is always the way. When the soul has 
circumstance, and has met death, a thousand times death 
on the way, but nothing daunted has struggled forward 
again and again and yet again, then the soul comes out 
as a giant and laughs at the ideal he has been struggling 
for, because he finds how much greater is he than 
the ideal. I am the end, my own Self, and nothing else, 
for what is there to compare to my own Self ? Can a bag 
of gold be the ideal of my Soul ? Certainly not ! My 
Soul is the highest ideal that I have. Realising my own 
real nature is the one goal of my life. 

There is nothing that is absolutely evil. The devil Las 
a place here as well as God, else he would not be here. 
Just as I told you, it is through Hell that we pass to 
Heaven. Our mistakes have placed here. Go on! Do 
not look back if you think you have done something that 
is not right. Now, do you believe you could be what you 
are to-day, had you not made those mistakes before? 
Bless your mistakes, then. They have been angels 
unawares. Blessed be torture ! Blessed be happiness ! 
Do not care what be your lot. Hold on to the ideal ! 
March on ! Do not look back upon little mistakes and 
things ! In this battlefield of ours, the dust of mistakes 
must be raised. Those who are so thin-skinned that they 
cannot bear the dust, let them get out of the ranks. 

So, then, this tremendous determination to struggle, 
a hundredfold more determination than that which you 
put forth to gain anything which belongs to this life, is the 
first great preparation. 

And then along with it there must be meditation. 
Meditation is the one thing. Meditate! The greatest 
thing is meditation. It is the nearest approach to spiritual 
life the mind meditating. It is the one moment in our 
daily life that we are not at all material, the Soul thinking 
of Itself, free from all matter, this marvellous touch of 
the Soul ! 


The body is our enemy, and yet is our friend, Which 
of you can bear the sight of misery? And which of you 
cannot do so when you see it only as a painting ? Because 
it is unreal, we do not identify ourselves with it ; we know 
it is only a painting; it cannot bless us, it cannot hurt us. 
The most terrible misery painted upon a piece of canvas, 
we may even enjoy ; we praise the technique of the artist, 
we wonder at his marvellous genius, even though the scene 
he paints is most horrible. That is the secret ; that non- 
attachment. Be the Witness. 

No breathing, no physical training of Yoga, nothing is 
of any use until you reach to the idea of "I am the 
Witness/* Say, when the tyrant hand is on your neck, 
*'I am the Witness ! I am the Witness !" Say, **I am the 
Spirit! Nothing external can touch me/* When evil 
thoughts arise, repeat that, give that sledge-hammer blow 
on their heads, "I am the Spirit! I am the Witness, the 
Ever-Blessed ! I have no reason to do, no reason to suffer, 
1 have finished with everything, I am the Witness. I am 
in my picture gallery, this universe is my museum, I am 
looking at these successive paintings. They are all 
beautiful, whether good or evil. I see the mavellous skill, 
but it is all one. Infinite flames of the Great Painter! 
Really speaking, there is naught, neither volition, nor 
desire. He is all. He She the Mother, is playing, and 
we are like dolls, Her helpers in this play ! Here, She puts 
one now in the garb of a beggar, another moment, in the 
garb of a king, the next moment, in the garb of a saint, 
and again, in the garb of a devil. We are putting on 
different garbs, to help the Mother Spirit in Her play!" 

When the baby is at play, she would not come even 
if called by her mother. But when she finishes her play, 
she would rush to her mother, and would have no nay. 
So there come moments in our life, when we feel our play 
is finished, and we want to rush to the Mother. Then all 
our toil here will be of no value ; men, women and 


children, wealth, name and fame, joys and glories of 
life, punishments and successes, will be no more, and the 
whole life will seem like a show. We shall only see the 
infinite rhythm going on, endless and purposeless, going 
we do not know where. Only this much shall we say : 
our play is done. 


Everything in Nature rises from some fine seed-forms, 
becomes grosser and grosser, exists for a certain time, and 
again goes back to the original fine form. Our earth, for 
instance, has come out of a nebulous form which becoming 
colder and colder turned into this crystallised planet upon 
which we live, and in the future it will again go to pieces 
and return to its rudimentary nebulous form. This is 
happening in the universe, and has been through time 
immemorial. This is the whole history of man, the whole 
history of Nature, the whole history of life. 

Every evolution is preceded by an involution. The 
whole of the tree is present in the seed, its cause. The 
whole of the human being is present in that one proto- 
plasm. The whole of this universe is present in the 
cosmic fine universe. Everything is present in its cause, 
in its fine form. This evolution, or gradual unfolding of 
grosser and grosser forms, is true, but each case has been 
preceded by an involution. The whole of this universe 
must have been involuted before it came out, and has 
unfolded itself in all these various forms to be involved 
again once more. Take, for instance, the life of a little 
plant. We find two things that make the plant a unity by 
itself, its growth and development, its decay and death. 
These make one unity, the plant life. So, taking that 
plant life as only one link in the chain of life, we may 


take the whole series, One Life, beginning in the proto- 
plasm and ending in the most perfect man. Man is one 
link, and the various beasts, the lower animals and plants 
are other links. N<-w go back to the source, the finest 
particles from which they started, and take the whole 
series as but one life, and you will find that every evolution 
here is the evolution of something which existed 

Where it begins there it ends. What is the end of 
this universe? Intelligence, is it not? The last to come 
in the order of creation, according to the evolutionists, 
was intelligence. That being so, it must be the cause, 
the beginning, of creation also. At the beginning that 
intelligence remains involved, and in the end, it gets 
evolved. The sum- total of the intelligence displayed in 
the universe must therefore be the involved universal 
intelligence unfolding itself, and this universal intelligence 
is what we call God, from Whom we come and to Whom 
we return, as the scriptures say. Call it by any other 
name, you cannot deny that in the beginning there is that 
infinite cosmic intelligence. 

What makes a compound? A compound is that in 
which the causes have combined and become the effect. 
So these compound things can be only within the circle 
of the law of causation ; so far as the rules of cause and 
effect go, so far can we have compounds and combinations. 
Beyond that, it is impossible to talk of combinations, 
because no law holds good therein. Law holds good only 
in that universe which we see, feel, hear, imagine, dream, 
and beyond that we cannot place any idea of law. That is 
our universe which we sense or imagine, and we sense 
what is within our direct perception, and we imagine what 
is in our mind. What is beyond the body is beyond the 
senses, and what is beyond the mind is beyond the 
imagination, and therefore is beyond our universe, and 
therefore beyond the law of causation. The Self of man 


being beyond the law of causation Is not a compound, is not 
the effect of any cause, and therefore is ever free, and is the 
ruler of everything that is within law. Not being a com- 
pound It will never die, because death means going back 
to the component parts, destruction means going back to 
the cause. Because It cannot die, It cannot live, for both 
life and death are modes of manifestation of the same 
thing. So the Soul is beyond life and death. You were 
never born and you will never die. Birth and death 
belong to the body only. 

The doctrine of Monism holds that this Universe is 
all that exists ; gross or fine, it is all here ; the effect and 
the cause are both here; the explanation is here. What is 
known as the particular is simply repetition in a minute 
form of the universal. We get our idea of the Universe 
from the study of our own Souls, and what is true there 
also holds good in the outside universe. The ideas of 
heaven and all these various places, even if they be true, 
are in the Universe. They altogether make this Unity. 
The first idea, therefore, is that of a Whole, a Unit, 
composed of various minute particles, and each one of 
us is a part, as it were, of this Unit. As manifested beings 
we appear separate, but as a reality we are one. The 
more we think ourselves separate from this Whole, the 
more miserable we become. So, Advaita is the basis of 



A real Guru is one who is born from time to time as 
a repository of spiritual force which he transmits to future 
generations through successive links 6f Guru and Sishya 
(disciple). The current of this spirit-force changes its 
course from time tp time, just as a mighty stream of water 


opens up a new channel and leaves the old one for good. 
Thus it is seen that old sects of religion grow lifeless in 
the course of time and new sects arise with the fire of life 
in them. Men who are truly wise commit themselves to 
the mercy of that particular sect through which the current 
of life flows. Old forms of religion are like the skeletons 
of once mighty animals, preserved in museums. They 
should be regarded with due honour. They cannot satisfy 
the true cravings of the soul for the Highest, just as a dead 
mango-tree cannot satisfy the cravings of a man for a 
bunch of luscious mangoes. 

The one thing necessary is to be stripped of our 
vanities the sense that we possess any spiritual wisdom, 
and to surrender ourselves completely to the guidance of 
our Guru. The Guru only knows what will lead us towards 
perfection. We are quite blind to it. We do not know 
anything. This sort of humility will open the door of our 
heart for spiritual truths. Truth will never come into our 
minds so long as there will remain the faintest shadow of 
Ahamkara (egoism). All of you should try to root out 
this devil from your heart. Complete self -surrender is 
the only way to spiritual illumination. 



The secret of Greek Art is its imitation of Nature even 
to the minutest details ; whereas the secret of Indian Art 
is to represent the ideal. The energy of the Greek painter 
is spent in perhaps painting a piece of flesh, and he is so 
successful that a dog is deluded into taking it to be a real 
bit of meat and so goes to like it. Now, what glory is 
there in merely imitating Nature? Why not place an 
actual bit of flesh before the dog? 


The Indian tendency, on the other hand, to represent 
the ideal, the super-sensual, has become degraded into 
painting grotesque images. Now, true Art can be com- 
pared to a lily which springs from the ground, takes its 
nourishment from the ground, is in touch with the ground, 
and yet is quite high above it (when full-blown). So Art 
must be in touch with Nature, and wherever that touch 
is gone, Art degenerates, yet it must be above Nature. 

Art is representing the beautiful. There must be art 
in everything. 

The difference between architecture and building is, 
that the former expresses an idea, while the latter is merely 
a structure bxrilt on economical principles. The value of 
matter depends solely on its capacities of expressing ideas. 

The artistic faculty was highly developed in our -Lord, 
Sri Ramakrishna, and he used to say that without this 
faculty none can be truly spiritual. 



Simplicity is the secret. My ideal of language is my 
Master's language, most colloquial and yet most expressive. 
It must express the thought which is intended to be 

The attempt to make the Bengali language perfect in 
so short a time, will make it cut and dried. Properly 
speaking, it has no verbs. Michael Madhusudan Dutt 
attempted to remedy this in poetry. The greatest poet in 
Bengal was Kavikankana. The best prose in Sanskrit is 
Patanjali's Mahabhashya. There the language is vigorous, 
The language of Hitopadesha is not bad, but the language 
of Kadambari is an example of degradation. 

The Bengali language must be modelled not after the 


Sanskrit, but rather after the Pali, which has a strong 
resemblance to it. In coining or translating technical terms 
in Bengali, one must, however, use all Sanskrit words for 
them, and an attempt should be made to coin new words. 
For this purpose, if a collection is made from a Sanskrit 
dictionary of all those technical terms, then it will help 
greatly the constitution of the Bengali language. 



In explanation of the term Sannyasin, the Swami in the 
course of one of his lectures in Boston said : 

When a man has fulfilled the duties and obligations of 
that stage of life in which he is born, and his aspirations 
lead him to seek a spiritual life, and to abandon altogether 
the worldly pursuits of possession, fame, or power ; when, 
by the growth of insight into the nature of the world, he 
sees its impermanence, its strife, its misery, and the paltry 
nature of its prizes, and turns away from all these, then 
he seeks the True, the Eternal Love, the Refuge. He 
makes complete renunciation (Sannyasa) of all worldly 
position, property and name, and wanders forth into the 
world to live a life of self-sacrifice, and to persistently seek 
spiritual knowledge, striving to excel in love and com- 
passion, and to acquire lasting insight. Gaining these 
pearls of wisdom by years of meditation, discipline and 
inquiry, he in his turn becomes a teacher, and hands on to 
disciples, lay or professed, who may seek them from him, 
all that he can of wisdom and beneficence. 

A Sannyasin cannot belong to any religion, for his is 
a life of independent thought, which draws from all 
religions ; his is a life of realisation, not merely of theory or 
belief, much less of dogma. 




The men of the world should have no voice in the 
affairs of the Sannyasins. The Sannyasin should have 
nothing to do with the rich, his duty is with the poor. He 
should treat the poor with loving care, and serve them 
joyfully with all his might. To pay respects to the rich 
and hang on them for support, has been the bane of all 
the Sannyasin communities of our country. A true 
Sannyasin should scrupulously avoid that. Such a conduct 
becomes a public woman rather than one who professes 
to have renounced the world. How should a man immersed 
in Kdma-Kdnchana (lust and greed), become a devotee of 
one whose central ideal is the renunciation of Kama- 
Kdnchana? Sri Ramakrishna wept and prayed to the 
Divine Mother to send him such a one to talk with, as 
would not have in him the slightest tinge of Kama- 
Kdnchana, for he would say, "My lips burn when I talk 
with the worldly-minded." He also used to say that he 
could not even bear the touch of the worldly-minded and 
the impure. The King of Sannyasins (Sri Ramakrishna) can 
never be preached by men of the world. The latter can 
never be perfectly sincere, for he cannot but have some 
selfish motives to serve. If Bhagavan (God) incarnates 
Himself as a householder I can never believe Him to be 
sincere. When a householder takes the position of the 
leader of a religious sect, he begins to serve his own interests 
in the name of principle, hiding the former in the garb of 
the latter, and the result is, the sect becomes rotten to the 
core. All religious movements headed by householders 
have shared the same fate. Without renunciation religion 
can never stand. 

Here Swamiji wais asked, What are we, Sannyasins, 
to understand by renunciation of Kanchana (wealth)? 
and he answered as follows : 


With a view to certain ends we have to adopt certain 
means. These means vary according to the conditions cf 
time, place, individual, &c., but the end always remains 
unaltered. In the case of the Sannyasin, the end is the 
liberation of the Self and doing good to humanity 

^ I** and of / the .ways tc 

attain it, the renunciation of Kama-Kdnchana is the most 
important. Remember, renunciation consists in the total 
absence of all selfish motives, and not in mere abstinence 
from external contact, such as, avoiding to touch one's 
money kept with another but at the same time enjoying all 
its benefits. Would that be renunciation? For accom- 
plishing the two above-mentioned ends, the begging 
excursion would be a great help to a Sannyasin at a time 
when the householders strictly obeyed the injunctions of 
Manu and other law-givers, by setting apart every day a 
portion of their meal for ascetic guests. Nowadays things 
have changed considerably, especially, as in Bengal, where 
no MaJAu^an* system prevails. Here it would be mere 
waste of energy to try to live on Mddhukari and you would 
profit nothing by it. The injunction of BhiJ^sha (begging) is 
a means to serve the above two ends, which will not be 
served by that way now. It does not therefore go against 
the principle of renunciation under such circumstances, if 
a Sannyasin provides for mere necessaries of life and 
devotes all his energy to the accomplishment of his ends for 
which he took Sannyasa. Attaching too much importance 
ignorantly to the means brings confusion. The end should 
never be lost sight of. 

* Literally, 'bee-like/ The system of begging one's food piece- 
meal from several houses, so as not to tax the householder, as a bee 
gathers honey from different flowers. 



In one of his question classes the talk drifted on to the 
Adhikdrwada, or the doctrine of special rights and 
privileges, and Swamiji in pointing out vehemently the 
evils that have resulted from it, spoke to the following 
effect : 

With all my respects for the Rishis of yore I cannot 
but denounce their method in instructing the people. They 
always enjoined upon them to do certain things, but took 
care never to explain to them the reason why. This method 
was pernicious to the very core, and instead of enabling 
men to attain the end, it laid upon their shoulders a mass 
of meaningless nonsense. Their excuse for keeping the 
end hidden from view was, that the people could not have 
understood their *real meaning even if they had presented 
it to them, not being worthy recipients of such. This 
Adhityirivada is the outcome of pure selfishness. They 
knew that by this enlightenment of their special subject, 
they would lose their superior position of instructors to the 
people. Hence their endeavour to support this theory. 
If you consider a man too weak to receive these lessons 
you should try the more to teach and educate him, you 
should give him the advantage of more teaching, instead 
of less, to train up his intellect, so as to enable him to 
comprehend the more subtle problems. These advocates 
of Adhik&rivcida ignored the tremendous fact of the infinite 
possibilities of the human soul. Every man is capable of 
receiving knowledge if it is imparted in his own language. 
A teacher who cannot convince others should weep on 
account of his own inability to teach the people in their 
own language, instead of cursing them and dooming them 
to live in ignorance and superstition, setting up the plea 
that the higher knowledge is not for them. Speak out the 
truth boldly, without any fear that it will puzzle the weak. 


Men are selfish, they do not want others to come up to 
the same level of their knowledge for fear of losing their 
own privilege and prestige over others. Their contention 
is, that the knowledge of the highest spiritual truths will 
bring about confusion in the understanding of the weak- 
minded men, and so the sloka goes : 

"One should not unsettle the understanding of the 
ignorant, attached to action (by teaching them of Jnanam); 
the wise man, himself steadily acting, should engage the 
ignorant in all work !" 

1 cannot believe in the self-contradictory statement that 
light brings greater darkness. It is like losing life in the 
ocean of Sachchidananda, in the ocean of Absolute 
Existence and Immortality. How absurd ! Knowledge 
means freedom from the errors which ignorance leads to. 
Knowledge paving the way to error ! Enlightenment 
leading to confusion ! Is it possible ? Men are not bold 
enough to speak out broad truths, for fear of losing the 
respect of the people. They try to make a compromise 
between the real, eternal truths and the nonsensical 
prejudices of the people, and thus set up the doctrine 
that Lokdcharas (customs of the people) and Deshacharas 
(customs of the country) must be adhered to. No 
compromise ! No whitewashing ! No covering of corpses 
beneath flowers ! Throw away such texts as : TfQffif 
<5nnPqKt ......... *' "yet the customs 4 of the people have 

to be followed ......... " Nonsense ! The result of this sort 

of compromise is that the grand truths are soon buried 
under heaps of rubbish, and the latter are eagerly held as 
real truths. Even the grand truths of the Gita, so boldly 
preached by Sri Krishna, received the gloss of compromise 
in the hands of future generations of disciples, and the 
result is that the grandest scripture of the world now 
contains many things 'which go to lead men astray. 


This attempt at compromise proceeds from arrant 
downright cowardice. Be bold ! My children should be 
brave, above all. Not the least compromise on any account. 
Preach the highest truths broadcast. Do not fear of losing 
your respect, or of causing unhappy friction. Rest assured 
that if you serve truth in spite of temptatious to forsake it, 
you will attain a heavenly strength in the face of which 
men will quail to speak before you things which you do 
not believe to be true. People would be convinced of 
what you would say to them, if you can strictly serve truth 
for fourteen years continually, without swerving from it. 
Thus you will confer the greatest blessing on the masses, 
unshackle their bondages and uplift the whole nation. 



The dualist thinks you cannot be moral unless you 
have a God with a rod in His hand, ready to punish you. 
How is that? Suppose a horse had to give us a lecture 
on morality, one of those very wretched cab-horses, who 
only moves with the whip, to which he has become 
accustomed; he begins to speak about human beings, and 
says that they must be very immoral. Why? 'Because 
I know they are not whipped regularly." The fear of the 
whip only makes one more immoral. 

You all say there is a God and that He is an Omni- 
present Being. Close your eyes and think what He is. 
What do you find? Either you are thinking, in bringing 
the idea of Omnipresence in your mind, of the sea or the 
blue sky, or an expanse meadow, or such thing as you 
have seen in your life. If that is so, you do not mean 
anything by Omnipresent God; it has no meaning at all 
to you. So with every other attribute of Gpd. What idea 


have we of omnipotence or omniscience > We have none. 
Religion is realising, and I will call you a worshipper of 
God, when you have become able to realise the Idea. 
Before that it is the spelling of words and no more. It is 
this power of realisation that makes religion; no amount 
of doctrines or philosophies, or ethical books, that you may 
HaVe stuffed into your brain, will matter much, only what 
ryou flfg, pnd whp* y^ 11 kiavf* r^f?"/?. 

The personal _God is the same Absolute looked at 
through the haze of Maya. When we approach Him with 
the five senses, we can only see Him as the personal God. 
The idea is that the Selfjpannot be objectified. How can 
the Knower know Itself? But It can cast a shadow, as 
it were, if that can be called objectification. So the highest 
form of that shadow, that attempt ^t objectifying Itself, 
is the perQnaUQod~~ The Self is the eternal subject, and 

- m * . i 

we are struggling all the time to objectify that Self. Anci 
out oFThat struggle has come this phenomenal universe 
and what we call matter, and so on. But these are very 
weak attempts, and the highest objectification of the Self 
possible to us is the personal God" This objectification is 
an attempt to reveal our own nature. According to the 
Sankhya, Nature is showing all these experiences to the 
soul, and when it has got real experience it will know its 
own nature. According to the Advaita Vedantist, the soul 
is struggling to reveal itself. After long struggle, it finds 
that the subject must always remain the subject; and then 
begins non-attachment, and it becomes free. 

When a man has reached that perfect state, he is of 
the same nature as the personal God. **I and my Father 
are one/* He knows that he is one with Brahman, the 
Absolute, and projects himself as the personal God does. 
He plays, as even the mightiest of kings may sometimes 
play with dolls. 

Some imaginations help to break the bondage of the 
rest. The whole universe is imagination, but one set of 

V M 


imaginations will cure another set. Those that tell us that 
there is sin and sorrow and death in the world are terrible. 
But the other set, thou art holy, there is God, there is 
no pain, these are good, and help to break the bondage 
of the others. The highest imagination that can break 
all the links of the chain is that of the personal God. 

To go and say, "Lord, take care of this thing and 
give me that; Lord, I give you my little prayer and you 
give me this thing of daily necessity; Lord, cure my 
headache and all that;" these are not Bhakti. They are 
the lowest states of religion. They are the lowest form 
of Karma. If a man uses all his mental energy in seeking 
to satisfy his body and its wants, show me the difference 
between him and an animal. Bhakti is a "higher thing, 
higher than even desiring heaven. The idea of heaven 
is of a place of intensified enjoyment. How can that 
be God? 

Only the fools rush after sense enjoyments. It is easy 
to live in thejenses. It is easier to run in the old groove, 
eating and drinking; but what these modern philosophers 
want to tell you is, to take these comfortable ideas and put 
the stamp of religion on them. Such a doctrine is dangerous. 
Death lies in the senses. Life on the plane of the Spirit 
is the only life, life on any other plane is mere death; the 
whole of this life can be only described as a gymnasium, 
We must go beyond it to enjoy real life. 

As long as "Touch-me-not-ism" is your creed and the 
kitchen-pot your deity, you cannot rise spiritually. 

All the petty differences between religion and religion 
are mere word-struggles, nonsense. Everyone thinks, 
"This is my original idea," and wants to have things his 
own way. That is how struggles come. 

In criticising another, we always foolishly take one 
especially brilliant point as the whole of our life, and 
compare that with the dark ones in the life of another. 
Thus we make mistakes in judging individuals. 


Through fanaticism ajndL bigotry a religion can be 
propagated very* quickly, no doubt, but the preaching of 
that religion 73 firm-based on solid ground, which gives 
everyone liberty to his opinions, and thus uplifts him to a 
higher path, though this process is slow. 

First deluge the land (India) with spiritual ideas, then 
other ideas \Vill follow. The gift of spirituality and spiritual 
knowledge is the highest, for it saves from many and many 
a birth ; the next gift is secular knowledge as it opens the 
eyes of human beings towards that spiritual knowledge; 
the next is the saving of life, and the fourth is the gift 
of food. 

Even if the body goes in practising Sadhanas (austerities 
for realisation), let it go; what of that? 

Realisation will come in the fulness of time, by living 
constantly in the company of Sadhus. 

A time comes when one understands that to serve a 
man even by preparing a chhilam of tobacco is far greater 
than millions of meditation. 

He who can properly prepare a chhilam of tobacco 
can also properly meditate. 

Gods are nothing but highly developed dead men. 
We can get help from them. 

Anyone and everyone cannot be an Acharya (teacher 
of mankind), but many may become Mukta (liberated). 
The whole world seems like a dream to the liberated, but 
the Acharya has to take up his stand between the two 
states. He must have the knowledge that the world is true, 
or else why should he teach ? Again, if he has not realised 
the world as a dream; then he is no better than an ordinary 
man, and what could he teach? The Guru has to bear 
the disciple's burden of sin; and that is the reason why 
diseases and other ailments appear even in the body of 
powerful Acharyas. But if he be imperfect, they attack 
his mind also, and he falls. So it is a difficult thing to 
be an Acharya. 


It is easier to become a Jivanmukta (free in this 
very life) than to be an Acharya. For the former knows 
the world as a dream and has no concern .vith it; but an 
Acharya knows it as a dream and yet has to remain in it 
and work. It is not possible for everyone to be an Acharya. 
He is an Acharya through whom the Divine Power acts. 
The body in which one becomes an Acharya is very 
different from that of any other man. There is a science 
for keeping that body in a perfect state. His is the most 
delicate organism, very susceptible, bearing in him the 
feeling of intense joy and intense suffering. He is 

In every sphere of life we find that it is the person 
within that triumphs, and that, personality is the secret 
of all success. 

Nowhere is seen such sublime unfoldment of feeling 
as in Bhagavan Sri Krishna Chaitanya, the Prophet of 

Sri Ramakrishna is a force. You should not think 
that his doctrine is this or that. But he is a power, living 
even now in his disciples and working in the world. 
I saw him growing in his ideas. He is still growing. Sri 
Ramakrishna was both a Jivanmukta and an Acharya. 


In reply to a question as to the exact position of 
Ishvara in Vedantic philosophy, the Swami Vivekananda, 
while in Europe, gave the following definition : 

" Ishvara is the sum-total of individuals, yet He is an 
Individual, as the human body is a unit, of which each 
cell is an individual. Samashti, or collected, equals God; 


Vyashti, or analysed, equals the Jiva. The existence of 
Ishvara, therefore, depends on that of Jiva, as the body 
on the cell, and vice versa. Thus, Jiva and Ishvara are 
co-existent beings; when one exists, the other must. Also, 
because, except on our earth, in all the higher spheres, 
the amount of good being vastly in excess of the amount 
of evil the sum-total (Ishvara) may be said to be all-good. 
Omnipotence and Omniscience are obvious qualities, and 
need no argument to prove, from the very fact of totality. 
Brahman is beyond both these, and is not a conditioned 
state; it is the only Unit not composed of many units; the 
principle which runs through all, from a cell to God, 
without which nothing can exist, and whatever is real is 
that principle, or Brahman. When I think I am Brahman, 
I alone exist; so with others. Therefore, each one is the 
whole of that principle." 


All souls are playing, some consciously, some^ un- 
consciously; religion is learning to play consciously. 

The same law which holds good in our worldly life, 
also holds good in our religious life and in the life of the 
cosmos. It is one, it is universal?"" It Is not that religion 
is guided^by one law and the world by another. The flesh 
and .JtKgL, devil are but degrees of difference from God 

Theologians, philosophers and scientists, in the 
are ransacking everything to get a proof that they Hye 
aRerwiards ! What a storm^in _ala-cuj> ! There are^much 
higher^ things to think^qf. What silly superstition^ isjthia, 
that you ever jiie ! It requires no .priests or spirits _cr f 


ghosts to tell us that we shall not die. It is the most self- 
evident JQ &]] truths. No man can imagine his own anni- 
hilation. The idea of immortality is inherent in man. 

Wherever there is life, with it there is death. Life is 
%? shadow oLdeath, and death, the shadow of life. The 
line of demarcation is too fine to determine, too difficult 

.. - ^^^^*" 1 *"9*M"^i^^^^^^^ _ ^ _ ! 111 1 1 1 . mi <t^x: j . OR-_, _ 

to grasg, and moat difficult to hold on to. 

I do not believe in eternal progress, that we are going 
on ever and ever in a straight line. It is too nonsensical 
to believe. There is no motion in a straight line. 
A. straight line infinitely projected becomes a circle. The 
force sent out will complete the circle and return to its 
starting place, fr 

jfc. There is no progress in a straight line. E- ver y s u ' 
rnoves jn at^ciicjfi, as it were, and will have to complete 
it, and no soul can go ^spjojvr but jhat th^re will coipe a 
time when it will have to go upwards. It may start straight 
dfifwn, but it has to take the upward curve to complete 
the circuit. We are all projected from a common centre, 
ttduch, IS-jQpd. and will come back after completing the 
circuit, to the centre from which we started. || 

Each soul is a circle. The centre isj^vhere the body 
is, and the activity is manifested there. You are omni- 
present, though you have the consciousness of being 
concentrated in only one poirrt. That point has taken up 
partides^of matter, and formed them into a machine to 
e 2EEI5?- ^ ~- That through which it expresses itself is 
called jhejbpdy. You are jeyjerywhexe. When one body 
or machine fails you, the centre moves on and takes up 
omer particles of matter, finer or grosser, and works 
through_them. Here is man, andT what is God? God is 
acj^rcje, with circumference nowhere, and centre every- 
wiuype. Every point in that circle is living, conscious, 
active, and^guallxjvvorking. Witfopj^rJL^^ only 

one pqijltJbi-XX^scioys, and^jhat ppjnt jpoyes^forward and 


* s a circle whose circumference is nowhere 
(limitless), but whose centre is in some body. Death is 
but au change of centre. Godjs a .circle whose circum- 
ference. is nowhere, and whpsf centre^Js_ everywhere. 
When we can get out of the limited centre of body, we 
shall .realise Cod, our true"3di 

A tremendous stream is flowing towards the ocean, 
carrying little bits of paper and straw hither and^hither 
onlt^ They may struggle to go back, but in the long run, 
they must flow down to the ocean. So you and I and aH 
Nature are like these little straws carried in mad currents 
towards that ocean of Life^ Perfection and God.. We may 
struggle to go back, or float against the current and play 
all sorts of pranks, but in the long run we must.^Q^ancj 
loin this_great ocean oFTLiFe and Blifi3. 

Jnanam (knowledge) is "creedlessness"; but that does 
not mean that it despises creeds*. It only mjeans that a 
stage above and beyqnjd creeds has been gained^ The 
fnani (true philosopher) strive^ to destroy nothing, but t 
help all. All rivers roll their wat&rg into the sea and[ 
lecorrxe one. So all creeds should^ lead^tp Jnanam 

Jnananj teaches that the world should be renounced, 
but not on that account abandonesL To live in the world 
and_b not of jj:, is the true .test of reimDciaticyj. 

I cannot see how it can be otherwise^ than that all 
knowledge is stored up in us from the beginning. If you 
and I are little waves in the ocean, then that ocean is the 

f ^_ ____ . _ ..-*- ^ ^^ ^^.^kf ^ .^. - - .- ,' >v^w, -^,, - ,, .. * , . 

background . 

There is really ^ differefic^^betwe^ ?nisd> 

and Spirit. They are only ^ different jghases of experiencing 
th<e One. This very world is _seen ^,fexJl^./!ySLJffiS9S2^2 8 
matter, by the _very wijdkedj^sJbrll, by the goodjasjieavfin, 
and. J^yt.he.. perfect as God. 

'WJg cannot bring it to sense demonstration that 
Brahmap is the onlylreaFltEing; "*l>u 


that this is the only conclusion that x>ne can come to. 
For instance, there must be this oneness in everything, 
even in common things. There is the human generalisa- 
tion, For example. We say that all the variety is createS 
by name and form; yet, when we want to grasp and 
separate jit, it is nowhere. We can never see name or 
form or causes standing by themselves. So this pheno- 
menon is Mayq^-something which depends on the 
noumenal and apart from it has no existence. Take a 
wave in the ocean. That wave exists so long as that 
quantity of water remaina in_a ijvy$y$ .form; but as soon as 
it^goes down and becomes the ocean, the wave ceases to 
exisJk But the whole mass of water does not depend so 
much on its jFftOii. The ocean remains, while the wave 

The real is one. It is the mind which makes it appear 
as many. When we perceive the diversity, the unity has 
gone; ajnd as soon as we perceive the unity, the diversity 
has vanished. Just as in everyday life, when you perceive 
the unity, you do not perceive the diversity. At the begin- 
^IMBLJyPli- start with unity. It is a , curious fact that a 
Chinaman will not know the difference in appearance 
between one American and another ; and you will not 
know the difference between different Chinamen. ^ 

It can be shown that it is the mind which makes 
things knowable. It is only things which have certain 
peculiarities that bring themselves within the range of the 
known and knowable. That which has no qualities is 
unknowable. For instance, there is some external world, 
X, unknown and unknowable. When I look at it, it is X 
plus mind. When I want to know the world, my mind 
contributes three quarters of it. The internal world is 
Y plus mind, and the external world X plus mind. All 
differentiation in either the external or internal world is 
created by the mind, and that which exists is unknown 
and unknowable. It is beyond the range of knowledge, 


and that which is beyond the range of knowledge can have 
no differentiation. Therefore this X outside is the same 
as the Y inside, and therefore the real is one. 

God does not reason. Why should you reason if 
you know? It is a sign of weakness that we have to go 
on crawling like worms, to get a few facts, and then 
the whole thing tumbles down again. The spirit is reflect- 
ed in mind and in everything. It^ is the light of the Soirit 
that makes the mind sentient. Everything is an expression 
oF the Spirit ; the minds are so many mirrors. What you 
call love* fear* hatred, virtue* and vice, are all reflections 
of the Spirit. When the reflector is base, the reflection is 

The Real Existence is without manifestation. We can- 
not conceive It, because we should have to conceive through 
the mind, which is itself a manifestation. Its glory is that 
It is inconceivable. We must remember that in life the 
lowest and highest vibrations of light we do not see, but 
they are the opposite poles of existence. There are certain 
things which we do not know now, but which we can know. 
It is through our ignorance that we do not know them. 
There are certain things which we can never know, because 
they are much higher than the highest vibrations of 
knowledge. . But we are the Eternal all the time, although 
we cannot know it. Knowledge will be impossible there. 
The very fact of the limitations of the conception is the 
basis for its existence. For instance, there is nothing so 
certain in me as my self ; and yet I can only conceive of 
it as a body and mind, as happy or unhappy, as a man or 
a woman. At the same time, I try to conceive of it as it 
really is, and find that there is no other way of doing it but 
by dragging it down ; yet I am sure of that reality. "No 
one, O beloved, loves the husband for the husband's sake, 
but because the Self is there. It is in and through the Self 
that she loves the husband. No one, O beloved, loves the 
wife for the wife's sake, but in and through the Self/' 


And that Reality is the only thing we know, because in and 
through It we know everything else ; and yet we cannot 
conceive of It. How can we know the Knower? If we 
knew It, It would not be the Knower, but the known ; It 
would be objectified. 

The man of highest realisation exclaims, **I am the 
King of kings ; there is no king higher than I. I am the 
God of gods ; there is no God higher than I ! I alone exist, 
One without a second/' This monistic idea of Vedanta 
seems to many, of course, very terrible, but that is on 
account of superstition. 

We are the Self, eternally at rest, and at peace. We 
must not weep ; there is no weeping for the Soul. We in 
our imagination think that God is weeping on His throne, 
out of sympathy. Such a God would not be worth attain- 
ing. Why should God weep at all? To weep is a sign 
of weakness, of bondage. 

Seek the Highest, always the Highest, for in the 
Highest is eternal bliss. If I am to hunt, I will hunt the 
lion. If I am to rob, I will rob the treasury of the king. 
Seek the Highest. 

O, One that cannot be confined or described ! One 
that can be perceived in our heart of hearts ! One beyond 
all compare, beyond limit, unchangeable like the blue sky ! 
O, learn the All, holy one ! Seek for nothing else ! 

Where changes of Nature cannot reach, thought beyond 
all thought, Unchangeable, Immovable ; Whom all books 
declare, all sages worship ; O, holy one, seek for nothing 

Beyond compare, Infinite Oneness ! No comparison is 
possible. Water above, water below, water on the right, 
water on the left ; no wave on that water, no ripple, all 
silence, all eternal bliss. Such will come to thy heart. 
Seek for nothing else 1 

Why weepest thou, brother? There is neither death 
nor disease for thee. Why weepest thou, brother? There 


is neither misery nor misfortune for thee. Why weepest 
thou, brother? Neither change nor death was predicated 
of thee. Thou art Existence Absolute. 

I know what God is, I cannot speak Him to you. I 
know not how God is, how can I speak Him to you ? But 
seest thou not, my brother, that thou art He, thou art He? 
Why go seeking God here and there ? Seek not, and that 
is God. Be your own Self ! 

Thou art our Father, our Mother, our dear Friend. 
Thou bearest the burden of the world. Help us to bear 
the burden of our lives. Thou art our Friend, our Lover, 
our Husband, Thou art ourselves ! 



The question what is the cause of Maya (Illusion)? 
has been asked for the last three thousand years ; and the 
only answer is, when the world is able to formulate a logical 
question, we will answer it- The question is contradictory, 
Our position is that the Absolute has become this relative 
only apparently, that the Unconditioned has become the 
conditioned only in Maya* By the very admission of the 
Unconditioned, we admit that the Absolute cannot be 
acted upon by anything else. It is uncaused, which means 
that nothing outside Itself can act upon It. First of all, if 
It is unconditioned, It cannot have been acted upon by 
anything else. In the Unconditioned there cannot be time, 
space, or causation. That granted, your question will be : 
* * What caused that which cannot be caused by anything, 
to be changed into this?'* Your question is only possible 
in the conditioned. But you take it out of the conditioned, 
and want to ask* it in the Unconditioned. Only when the 


Unconditioned becomes conditioned, and space, time, and 
causation come in, can the question be asked* We can 
only say ignorance makes the illusion. The question is 
impossible. Nothing can have worked on the Absolute. 
There was no cause. Not that we do not know, or that 
we are ignorant; but It is above knowledge, and cannot 
be brought down to the plane of knowledge. We can use 
the words "I do not know" in two senses. In one way, 
they mean that we are lower than knowledge, and in the 
other way, that the thing is above knowledge. The X-rays 
have become known now. The very causes of these are 
disputed, but we are sure that we shall know them. Here we 
can say we do not know about the X-rays. But about the 
Absolute we cannot know. In the case of the X-rays we 
do not know, although they are within the range of know- 
ledge; only we do not know them yet. But, in the other 
case, It is so much beyond knowledge that It ceases to be 
a matter of knowing. **By what means can the Knower 
be known ?" You are always yourself and cannot objectify 
yourself. This was one of the arguments used by our 
philosophers to prove immortality. If I try to think I arn 
lying dead, what have I to imagine? That I am standing 
and looking down at myself, at some dead body. So that 
I cannot objectify myself. 


In the matter of the projection of Akasha and Prana 
into manifested form, and the return to fine state, there is 

* Some of those which precede and those which follow are taken 
from the answers given by the Swami to questions at afternoon talks 
with Harvard students on March 22 and 24, 18%. There have also been 
added notes and selections from unpublished lectures and discourses. 


a good deal of similarity between Indian thought and 
modern science. The modems have their evolution, and 
so have the Yogis. But I think that the Yogis' explanation 
of evolution is the better one. "The change of one species 
into another is attained by the infilling of nature/' The 
basic idea is that we are changing from one species to 
another, and that man is the highest species. Patanjali 
explains this "infilling of nature" by the simile of peasants 
irrigating fields. Our education and progression simply 
mean taking away the obstacles, and by its own nature the 
divinity will manifest itself. This does away with all the 
struggle for existence. The miserable experiences of life 
are simply in the way, and can be eliminated entirely. 
They are not necessary for evolution. Even if they did not 
exist, we should progress. It is in the very nature of things 
to manifest themselves. The momentum is not from out- 
side, but comes from inside. Each soul is the sum-total 
of the universal experiences already coiled up there ; and 
of all these experiences, only those will come out which 
find suitable circumstances. 

So the external things can only give us the environ- 
ments. These competitions and struggles and evils that 
we see are not the effect of the involution or the cause, but 
they are in the way. If they did not exist, still man would 
go on and evolve as God, because it is the very nature of 
that God to come out and manifest Himself. To my mind 
this seems very hopeful, instead of that horrible idea of 
competition. The more I study history, the more I find 
that idea to be wrong. Some say that if man did not fight 
with man, he would not progress. I also used to think so ; 
but I find now that every war has thrown back human 
progress by fifty years instead of hurrying it forward. 
The day will come when men will study history from a 
different light, and find that competition is neither the 
cause nor the effect, simply a thing on the way, not 
necessary to evolution at all. 


The theory of Patanjali is the only theory I think a 
rational man can accept. How much evil the modern 
system causes ! Every wicked man has a license to be 
wicked under it. I have seen in this country (America) 
physicists who say that all criminals ought to be extermin- 
ated, and that that is the only way in which criminality can 
be eliminated from society. These environments can 
hinder, but they are not necessary to progress. The most 
horrible thing about the way of competition is that one may 
conquer the environments, but that where one may conquer, 
thousands are crowded out. So it is evil at best. That 
cannot be good which helps only one and hinders the 
majority. Patanjali says that these struggles remain only 
through our ignorance, and are not necessary, and are not 
part of the evolution of man. It is just our impatience 
which creates them. We have not the patience to go and 
work our way out. For instance, there is a fire in a theatre, 
and only a few escape. The rest in trying to rush out crush 
each other down. That crush was not necessary for the 
salvation of the building, nor of the two or three who 
escaped. If all had gone out slowly, not one would have 
been hurt. That is the case in life. The doors are open 
for us, and we can all get out without the competition and 
struggle; and yet we struggle. The struggle we create 
through our own ignorance, through impatience; we are 
in too great a hurry. The highest manifestation of strength 
is to keep ourselves calm and on our own feet. 


The Vedaijta philosophy is the foundation of Buddhism 
and everything else in India ; but what we call the Advaita 
philosophy of the modem school has a great many conclu- 

sions of the Buddhists. Of course the Hindus will not 

admit that, tl 

lat is, the orthodox Hindus, because to them 

the Buddhists are heretics. But there is a conscious attempt 
to stretch out tijhe whole doctrine to include the heretics also. 

The Vedajnta has no quarrel with Buddhism. The idea 
of the Vedanjta is to harmonise all. With the Northern 
Buddhists we have no quarrel at all. But the Burmese and 
Siamese and elll the Southern Buddhists say that there is a 
phenomenal wforld, and ask what right we have to create 
a noumenal w>[Srld behind this. The answer of the Vedanta 
is that this is false statement. The Vedanta never con- 
tended that there is a noumenal and a phenomenal. There 
is one. Seen through the senses it is phenomenal, but it is 
really the noumenal all the time. The man who sees the 
rope does not see the snake. It is either the rope or the 
snake, but never the two. So the Buddhistic statement of 
our position, that we believe there are two worlds, is 
entirely false. They have the right to. say it is the 
phenomenal if they like, but no right to contend that other 
men have not the right to say it is the noumenal. 

Buddhism does not want to have anything except 
phenomena. In phenomena alone is desire. It is desire 
that is creating all this. Modern Vedantists do not hold 
this at all. We say there is something which has become 
the will. Will is a manufactured something, a compound, 
not a 'simple.' There cannot be any will without an 
external object. We see that the very position that will 
created this universe is impossible. How could it? Have 
you ever known will without external stimulus? Desire 
cannot arise without stimulus, or, in modern philosophic 
language, of nerve stimulus. Will is a sort of reaction of 
the brain, what the Sankhya philosophers c^Il Buddhi. 
This reaction must be preceded by action, and action 
presupposes an external universe. When there is no 
external universe, naturally there will be no will ; and yet, 
according to your theory, it is will that created the universe. 


Who creates the will ? Will is co-existent wifch the universe. 
Will is one phenomenon caused by the same (impulse which 
created the universe. But philosophy must mot stop there. 
Will is entirely personal ; therefore we cinnnot go with 
Schopenhauer at all. Will is a compound ~pa mixture of 
the internal and the external. Suppose a man were born 
without any senses, he would have no wiM at all. Will 
requires something from outside, and the brai^n will get some 
energy from inside; therefore will is a compound, as much 
a compound as the wall or anything else. We do not agree 
with the will-theory of these German philosophers at all. 
Will itself is phenomenal, and cannot be tk Absolute. It 
is one of the many projections. There is something which 
is not will, but is manifesting itself as will. That I can 
understand. But that will is manifesting itself as every- 
thing else, I do not understand, seeing that we cannot have 
any conception of will, as separate from the universe. 
When that something which is freedom becomes will, it is 
caused by time, space, and causation. Take Kant's 
analysis. Will is within time, space, and causation. Then 
how can it be the Absolute ? One cannot will without 
willing in time. 

If we can stop all thought, then we know that we are 
beyond thought. We come to this by negation. When 
every phenomenon has been negatived, whatever remains, 
that is It. That cannot be expressed, cannot be manifested, 
because the manifestation will be, again, will. 



The Vedantist says that a man neither is born nor dies 
nor goes to heaven, and that reincarnation is really a myth 
with regard to the soul. The example is given of a book 


being turned over. It is the book that evolves, not the 
man. Every soul is omnipresent, so where can it come or 
go ? These births and deaths are changes in Nature which 
we are mistaking for changes in us. 

Reincarnation is the evolution of Nature and the 
manifestation of the God within. 

The Vedanta says that each life is built upon the past, 
and that when we can look back over the whole past we 
are free. The desire to be free will take the form of a 
religious, disposition from childhood. A few years will, as 
it were, make all truth clear to one. After leaving this life, 
and while waiting for the next, a man is still in the 

We would describe the soul in these words : This soul 
the sword cannot cut, nor the spear pierce; the fire cannot 
burn nor water melt it; indestructible, omnipresent is this 
soul. Therefore weep not for it. 

If it has been very bad, we believe that it will become 
good in the time to come. The fundamental principle is, 
that there is eternal freedom for every one. Every one 
must come to it. We have to struggle, impelled by our 
desire to be free. Every other desire but that to be free is 
illusive. Every good action, the Vedantist says, is a 
manifestation of that freedom. 

I do not believe that there will come a time when all 
the evil in the world will vanish. How could that be ? This 
stream goes on. Masses of water go out at one end, but 
masses are coming in at the other end. 

The Vedanta says that you are pure and perfect, and 
that there is a state beyond good and evil, and that is your 
own nature. It is higher even than good. Good is only a 
lesser differentiation than evil. 

We have no theory of evil. We call it ignorance. 

So far as it goes, all dealing with other people, all 
ethics, is in the phenonftfenal world. As a most complete 
statement of truth, we would not think of applying such 

V N 


things as ignorance to God. Of Him we say that He *s 
Existence, Knowledge, and Blias Absolute. Every effort 
of thought and speech will make the Absolute phenomenal, 
and break Its character. 

There is one thing to be remembered : that the asser- 
tion I am God can not be made with regard to the 
eWorld. If you say in the sense-world that you are 
is to prevent your doing wrong? So the 
!>n of your divinity applies only to the noumenal. 
II I .am God, 1 am beyond the tendencies of the senses, 
and will not do evil. Morality of course is not the goal 
of man, but the means through which this freedom is 
fcttafoed. The Vedanta says that Yoga is one way that 
makes men realise this divinity. The Vedanta says this 
ft crottp by the realisation of the freedom within, and that 
everything will give way to that. Morality and ethics will 
all range themselves in their proper places. 

All the criticism against the Advaita philosophy can 
be summed up in this : that it does not conduce to sense 
enjoyments; and we are glad to admit that. 

The Vedanta system begins with tremendous 
pessimism, and ends with real optimism. We deny the 
sense optimism, but assert the real optimism of the Super- 
sensuous. That real happiness is not in the senses, but 
above the senses; and it is in every man. The sort of 
optimism which we see in the world is what will le^d to 
ruin through the senses. 

Abnegation has the greatest importance in our philo- 
sophy. Negation implies affirmation of the Real Self. 
The Vedanta is pessimistic so far as it negatives the world 
of the senses, but it is optimistic in its assertion of the 
real world. 

The Vedanta recognises the reasoning power of man 
a good deal, although it says there is something higher 
than intellect; but the road lies through intellect. 


We need reason to drive out all the old superstitions; 
and what remains is Vedantism. There is a beautiful 
Sanskrit poem in which the sage says to himself : Why 
weepest thou, my friend? There is no fear or death for 
thee. Why weepest thou? There is no misery for thee, 
for thou art like the infinite blue sky, unchangeable in thy 
nature. Clouds of all colours come before it, play for a 
moment, and pass away; it is the same sky. Thou hast 
only to drive away the clouds. 

We have to open the gates and clear the way. The 
water will rush irr and fill in by its own nature, because 
it is there already. 

Man is a good deal conscious, partly unconscious, and 
there is a possibility of getting beyond consciousness. It 
is only when we become men that we can go beyond all 
reason. The words higher or lower can be used only in 
the phenomenal world. To say them of the noumenal 
world is simply contradictory, because there is no 
differentiation there. Man-manifestation is the highest in 
the phenomenal world. The Vedantist says he is higher 
than the Devas. The gods will all have to die and will 
become men again, and in the man-body alone they will 
become perfect. 

It is true that we create a system, but have to admit 
that it is not perfect, because the reality must be beyond 
all systems. We are ready to compare it with other 
systems, and are rj ady to show that this is the only rational 
system that can be; but it is not perfect, because reason 
is not perfect. It is, however, the only possible rational 
system that the human mind can conceive. 

It is true to a certain extent that a system must dis- 
seminate itself to be strong. No system has disseminated 
itself so much as the Vedanta. It is the personal contact 
that teaches even now. A mass of reading does not make 
men; those who were real men were made so by personal 
contact. It is true that there are very few of these real 


men, but they will increase. Yet you cannot believe that 
there will come a day when we shall all be philosophers. 
We do not believe that there will come a time when there 
will be all happiness and no unhappiness. 

Now and then we know a moment of supreme bliss, 
when we ask nothing, give nothing, know nothing but 
bliss. Then it passes, and we again see the panorama of 
the universe moving before us; and we know that it is but 
a mosaic work set upon God, who is the background of 
all things. 

The Vedanta teaches that Nirvana can be attained 
here and now, that we do not have to wait for death to 
reach it. Nirvana is the realisation of the Self; and after 
having once known that, if only for an instant, never again 
can one be deluded by the mirage of personality. Having 
eyes, we must see the apparent, but all the time we know 
what it is; we have found out its true nature. It is the screen 
that hides the Self, which is unchanging. The screen 
opens, and we find the Self behind it. All change is in 
the screen. In the saint the screen is thin, and the reality 
can almost shine through. In the sinner the screen is thick, 
and we are apt to lose sight of the truth that the Atman 
is there, as well as behind the saint's screen. When the 
screen is wholly removed, we find it really never existed, 
that we were the Atman and nothing else, even the 
screen is forgotten. 

The two phases of this distinction in life are, first, 
that the man who knows the real Self, will not be affected 
by anything; secondly, that that man alone can do good 
to the world. That man alone will have seen the real 
motive of doing good to others, because there is only one. 
It cannot be called the egoistic, because that would be 
differentiation. It is the only selflessness. It is the 
perception of the universal, not of the individual. Every 
case of love and sympathy is an assertion of this universal. 
"Not 1, but thou." Help another because I am in him and 


he in me, is the philosophical way of putting it. The real 
Vedantist alone will give up his life for a fellow-man 
without any compunction, because he knows he will not 
die. As long as there is one insect left in the world, he is 
living ; as long as one mouth eats, he eats. So he goes 
on doing good to others, and is never hindered by the 
modern ideas of caring for the body. When a man reaches 
this point of abnegation, he goes beyond the moral struggle, 
beyond everything. He sees in the most learned priest, in 
the cow, in the dog, in the most miserable places, neither 
the learned man, nor the cow, nor the dog, nor the miser- 
able place, but the same divinity manifesting itself in them 
all. He alone is the happy man ; and the man who has 
acquired that sameness, has even in this life, conquered 
all existence. God is pure; therefore such a man is said 
to be living in God. Jesus says, "Before Abraham was, 
I am." That means that Jesus and others like him are 
free spirits ; and Jesus of Nazareth took human form, not 
by the compulsion of his past actions, but just to do good 
to mankind. It is not that when a man becomes free, he 
will stop and become a dead lump; but he will be more 
active than any other being, because every other being 
acts only under compulsion, he alone through freedom. 

If we are inseparable from God, have we no individu- 
ality? Oh, yes: that is God. Our individuality is God. 
This is not the individuality you have now; you are coming 
towards that. Individuality means what cannot be divided. 
How can you call this individuality? One hour you are 
thinking one way, and the next hour another way, and 
two hours after, another way. Individuality is that which 
changes not, is beyond all things, changeless. It would be 
tremendously dangerous for this state to remain in eternity, 
because then the thief would always remain a thief, and 
the blackguard a blackguard. If a baby died, he would 
have to remain a baby. The real individuality is that 


which never changes, and will never change ; and that is 
the God within us. 

Vedantism is an expansive ocean on the surface of 
which a man-of-war could be near a catamaran. So in the 
Vedantic ocean a real Yogi can be by the side c f an idolater 
or even an atheist. What is more, in the Vedantic ocean, 
the Hindu, Mahommedan, Christian or Parsi, are all one, 
all children of the Almighty God. 



The struggle never had meaning for the man who is 
free. But for us it has a meaning, because it is name-and- 
form that creates the world. 

We have a place for struggle in the Vedanta, but not 
for fear. All fears will vanish when you begin to assert 
your own nature. If you think that you are bound, bound 
you will remain. If you think you are free, free you will 

That sort of freedom which we can feel when we are 
yet in the phenomenal is a glimpse of the real, but not yet 
the real. 

I disagree with the idea that freedom is obedience to 
the laws of nature. I do not understand what it means. 
According to the history of human progress, it is dis- 
obedience to nature that has constituted that progress. It 
may be said that the conquest of lower laws w^s through 
the higher. But even there, the conquering mind was only 
trying to be free ; and as soon as it found that the struggle 
was also through law, it wanted to conquer that also. So 
the ideal was freedom in every case. The trees never 
disobey law. I never saw a cow steal. An oyster never 


told a lie. Yet they are not greater than man. This life 
is a tremendous assertion of freedom; and this obedience 
to law, carried far enough, would make us simply mattef, 
either in society, or in politics, or religion. Too many 
laws are a sure sign of death. Wherever in any society 
there are too many laws, it is a sure sign that thnt society 
will soon die. If you study the characteristics of India, you 
will find that no nation possesses so many laws as the 
Hindus, and national death is the result. But the Hindus 
had one peculiar idea, they never made any doctrines or 
dogmas in religion; and the latter has had the greatest 
growth. Eternal law cannot be freedom, because to say 
that the eternal is inside law, is to limit it. 

There is no purpose in view with God, because if there 
were some purpose, He would be nothing better than a 
man. Why should He need any purpose ? If He had any, 
He would be bound by it. There would be something 
besides Him which was greater. For instance, the carpet- 
weaver makes a piece of carpet. The idea was outside of 
him, something greater. Now where is the idea to which 
God would adjust Himself ? Just as the greatest emperors 
sometimes play with dolls, so He is playing with this nature; 
and what we call law is this. We can it law because we 
can only see little bits which run smoothly. All our ideas 
of law are within the little bit. It is nonsense to say that 
law is infinite, that throughout all time stones will fall. If 
all reason be based upon experience, who was there to see 
if stones fell five millions of years ago? So law is not 
constitutional in man. It is a scientific assertion as to man 
that where we begin, there we end. As a matter of fact, 
we get gradually outside of law, until we get out altogether, 
but with the added experience of a whole life. In God and 
freedom we began, and freedom and God will be the end. 
These laws are in the middle state through which we have 
to pass. Our Vedanta is the assertion of freedom always. 
The very idea of law will frighten the Vedantist; and 


^eternal law is a very dreadful thing for him, because there 
would be no escape. If there is to be an eternal law 
binding him all the time, where is the difference between 
him and a blade of grass? We do not believe in that 
abstract idea of law. 

We say that it is freedom that we are to seek, and 
that that freedom is God. It is the same happiness as in 
everything else; but when man seeks it in something which 
is finite, he gets only a spark of it. The thief when he 
steals^ gets the same hajpjyness^as the rrmn who finds it in 
God; but the thief gets only a little spark, with a mass of 
misery. The real happiness is God. Love is God, free- 
dom is God; and everything that is bondage is not God. 

Man has freedom already, but he will have to discover 
it. He has it, but every moment forgets it. That dis- 
covering, consciously or unconsciously, is the whole life 
of every one. But the difference between the sage and 
the ignorant man is, that one does it consciously, and the 
other unconsciously. Every one is struggling for freedom, 
from the atom to the star. The ignorant man is satisfied 
if he can get freedom within a certain limit, if he can 
get rid of the bondage of hunger, or of being thirsty. But 
the sage feels that there is a stronger bondage which has 
to be thrown off. He would not consider the freedom of 
the Red Indian as freedom at all. 

According to our philosophers, freedom is the goaL 
Knowledge cannot be_the^goal, because__knowle"<rge is a 
compound! It is a compound of power and freedom, and 
it is feedam^alQIiethat is desirable. That is what men 

struggle after. Simply~tKe possession of power would not 
be knowledge. For instance, a scientist can send an 
electric shock to a distance of a mile; but nature can send 
it to an unlimited distance. Why do we not build statues 
to Nature then ? It is not law that we want, but ability to 
break law. We want to be outlaws. If you are bound 
by laws, you will be a lump of clay. Whether you are 


beyond law or not is not the question; but the thought 
that we are beyond law, upon that is based the whole 
histoty of humanity. For instance, a man lives in a forest, 
and never has had any education or knowledge. He sees 
a stone falling down, a natural phenomenon happening, 
and he thinks it is freedom. He thinks it has a soul, 
and the central idea in that is freedom. But as soon as 
he knows that it must fall, he calls it nature, dead, 
mechanical action. I may or may not go into the street. 
In that is my glory as a man. If I am sure that I must 
go there, I give myself up and become a machine. Nature 
with its infinite power is only a machine; freedom alone 
constitutes sentient life. The Vedanta says that the idea 
of the man in the forest is the right one; his glimpse is 
right, but the explanation is wrong. He holds to this nature 
as freedom, and not as governed by law. Only after all 
this human experience we will come back to think the 
same, but in a more philosophical sense. For instance, 
I want to go out into the street. I get the impulse of my 
will, and then I stop; and the time that intervenes between 
the will and going into the street, I am working uniformly. 
Uniformity of action is what we call law. This uniformity 
of my actions, I find, is broken into very short periods, 
and so I do not call my actions under law. I work through 
freedom. I walk for five minutes; but before those five 
minutes of walking, which are uniform, there was the 
action of the will, which gave the impulse to walk. There- 
fore man says he is free, because all his actions can be 
cut up into small periods; and although there is sameness 
in the small periods, beyond the period there is not the 
same sameness. In this perception of non-uniformity is 
the idea of fieedom. In nature we see only very large 
periods of uniformity; but the beginning and end must be 
free impulses. The impulse of freedom was given just at 
the beginning, and that has rolled on; but this, compared 
with our periods, is so much longer. We find by analysis 


on philosophic grounds, that we are not free. But there 
will remain this factor, this consciousness that I am free. 
What we have to explain is, how that comes. We will 
find that we have these two impulsions in us. Our reason 
tells us that all our actions are caused, and at the same 
time, with every impulse we are asserting our freedom. 
The solution of the Vedanta is that there is freedom inside, 
that the soul is really free, but that that soul's actions 
are percolating through body and mind, which are not free. 

As soon "as we react, we become slaves. A man 
blames me, and 1 immediately react in the form of anger. 
A little vibration which he created made me a slave. So 
we have to demonstrate our freedom. They alone are the 
j\grft yhn ftftg.._in the highest, most learned man, or the 
lowest animal, or the worst and most wicked of mankind, 
neither a man nor a sage, nor an animal, but the same 
God in all of them. Even injthis Jifjgjthey have conquered 
Jbeayen, and have taken a firm stand uponjttvfs equality. 
jaod iaLp.ure, jtKe same_to all. Therefore such a sage would 
be a living God. This is the goal towards which we are 
going; and every form of worship, every action of man- 
kind, is a method of attaining to it. The man who wants 
money is striving for freedom, to get rid of the bondage 
of poverty. Every action of man is worship, because the 
idea is to attain to freedom, and all action, directly or 
indirectly, tends to that. Only, those actions that dgter 
are to be avoided. The whole universe is worshipping, 
consciously or unconsciously; only it does not know, that, 
while even it is cursing, it is in another form worshipping 
the same God it is cursing, because those who are cursing 
are also struggling for freedom. They never think that 
in reacting from a thing they are making themselves slaves 
to it. JkJsJiard to kick against ^^pricks^ 

If we could get ridTJftKebelief in our limitations, it 
would be possible for us to do everything just now. It is 
only a question of time, if that is so, add power, and so 


diminish time. Remember the case of the professor who 
learned the secret of the development of marble, and who 
made marble in twelve years, while it took nature centuries. 


The greatest misfortune to befall the world would be 
if all mankind were to recognise and accept but one 
religion, one universal form of worship, one standard of 
morality.. This would be the death-blow to all religious 
and spiritual progress. Instead of trying to hasten this 
disastrous event by inducing persons, through good or 
evil methods, to conform to our own highest ideal of truth, 
we ought rather to endeavour Jo remove all obstacles which 
prevent men from developing in accordance with their 
own highest ideals, and thus make their attempt vain to 
establish one universal religion. 

The ultimate goal of all mankind, the aim and end 
of all religions, is but one re-union with God, or, what 
amounts to the same, with the divinity which is every 
man's true nature. But while the aim is one, the method 
of attaining may vary with the different temperaments 
of men. 

Both the goal and the methods employed for reach- 
ing it are called Yoga, a word derived from the same 
Sanskrit root as the English, yoke, meaning "to join," to 
join us to our reality, God. There are various such Yogas 
or methods of union but the chief ones are Karma- 
Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Raja- Yoga, and Jnana-Yoga. 

Every man must develop according to his own nature. 
As every science has its methods, so has every religion. 
The methods of attaining the end of religion are called 


Yoga by us, and the different forms of Yoga that we teach, 
are adapted to the different natures and tempeiaments of 
men. We classify them in the following way, under 
four heads : 

(1) Karma- Yoga The manner in which a man realises 
his own divinity through works and duty. 

(2) Bhakti-Yoga The realisation of the divinity 
through devotion to, and love of, a personal God. 

(3) Raja- Yoga The realisation of the divinity through 
the control of mind. 

(4) Jnana-Yoga The realisation of a man's own 
divinity through knowledge. 

These are all different roads leading to the same 
centre God. Indeed, the varieties of religious belief are 
an advantage, since all faiths are good, so far as they 
encourage man to lead a religious life. The more sects 
there are, the more opportunities there are for making 
successful appeals to the divine instinct in all men. 

Speaking of the world-wide unity, before the Oak 
Peach Christian Unity, Swami Vivekananda said : 

All religions are, at the bottom, alike. This is so, 
although the Christian Church, like the Pharisee in the 
parable, thanks God that it alone is right, and thinks that 
all other religions are wrong and in need of Christian light, 
Christianity must become tolerant before the world will 
be willing to unite with the Christian Church in a common 
charity. God has not left Himself without a witness in 
any heart, and men, especially men who follow Jesus 
Christ, should be willing to admit this. In fact, Jesus 
Christ was willing to admit every good man to the family 
of God. It is not the man who believes a certain some- 
thing, but the man who does the will of the Father in 
heaven, who is right. On this basis being right and 
doing right the whole world can unite. 



Q. I should like to know something about the 
present activity of philosophic thought in India. To what 
extent are these questions discussed > 

A. As I have said, the majority of the Indian people 
are practically dualists, and the minority are monists. 
The main subject of discussion is Maya and Jiva. When 
I came to this country, I found that the labourers were 
informed of the present condition of politics; but when 
I asked them what is religion, and what are the doctrines 
of this and that particular sect, they said: "We do not 
know; we go to church/* In India if I go to a peasant 
and ask him, "Who governs you?" he says, "I do not 
know; I pay my taxes." But if I ask him what is his 
religion, he says, "I am a dualist," and is ready to give 
you the details about Maya and Jiva. He cannot read or 
write, but he "has learned all this from the monks, and is 
very fond of discussing it. After the day's work, the 
peasants sit under a tree and discuss these questions. 

Q. What does orthodoxy mean with the Hindus? 

A . In modern times it simply means obeying certain 
caste laws as to eating, drinking, and marriage. After 
that the Hindu can believe in any system he likes. There 
was never an organised church in India; so there was 
never a body of men to formulate doctrines of orthodoxy. 
In a general way, we say that those who believe in the 
Vedas are orthodox; but in realty we find that many of 

*This discussion followed the lecture on the Vedanta Philosophy 
delivered by the Swami at the Graduate Philosophical Society of 
Harvard University. U. S. A., March 25, 18%. (See Vol. 1, p. 360, 
2nd Ed.) 


the dualistic sects believe more in the Puranas than in the 
Vedas alone. 

Q. What influence had your Hindu philosophy on 
the Stoic philosophy of the Greeks ? 

A . It is very probable that it had some influence on 
it through the Alexandrians. There is some suspicion of 
Pythagoras* being influenced by the Sankhya thought. 
Any way, we think the Sankhya philosophy is the first at- 
tempt to harmonise the philosophy of the Vedas through 
reason. We find Kapila mentioned even in the Vedas, 
' 3 sW ^ffo^f snjcf *renflii I He who (supports through know- 
ledge) the first-born sage, Kapila." 

Q. WHat is the antagonism of this thought with 
Western science? 

A. No antagonism at all. We are in harmony with 
it. Our theory of evolution and of Akasha and Prana is 
exactly what your modern philosophies have. Your belief 
in evolution is among our Yogis and in the Sankhya philo- 
sophy. For instance, Patanjali speaks of one species 
being changed into another by the infilling of nature, 
r '*rra i (FCTft' | 9ro: irawri^Ul" ; only he differs from you in the 
explanation. His explanation of this evolution is spiritual. 
He says that just as when a farmer wants to water his 
field from the canals that pass near, he has only to lift up 
his gate, "W 

so each man is the Infinite already, only these bars and 
bolts and different circumstances shut him in, but as soon 
as they are removed, he rushes out and expresses himself. 
In the animal, the man was held in abeyance; but as soon 
as good circumstances came, he was manifested as man. 
And again, as soon as fitting circumstances came, the God 
in man manifested Itself. So we have very little to quarrel 
with in the new theories. For instance, the theory of the 
Sankhya as to perception is very little different from 
modern physiology. 

Q. But your method is different? 


A. Yes. We claim that concentrating the powers of 
the mind is the only way to knowledge. In external 
science, concentration of mind is putting it on something 
external; and in internal science, it is drawing towards 
one's self. We call this concentration of mind, Yoga. 

Q. In the state of concentration does the truth of 
these principles become evident? 

A. The Yogis claim a good deal. They claim th^it 
by concentration of the mind every truth in the universe 
becomes evident to the mind, both external and internal 

Q. What does the Advaitist think of cosmology? 

A. The Advaitist would say that all this cosmology 
and everything else are only in Maya, in the phenomenal 
world. In truth they do not exist. But as long as we are 
bc^und, we have to see these visions. Within these visions 
things come in a certain regular order. Beyond them 
there is no law and order, but freedom. 

Q. Is the Advaita antagonistic to Dualism? 

A. The Upanishads not being in a systematised 
form, it was easy for philosophers to take up texts where 
they liked to form a system. Therefore the Upanishads 
had always to be taken, else there would be no basis. Yet 
we find all the different schools of thought in the 
Upanishads. Our solution is that the Advaita is not 
antagonistic to the dualistic. We say the latter is only one 
of three steps. Religion always takes three steps. The 
first is dualism. Then man gets to a higher state, partial 
non-dualism. And at last he finds he is one with the uni- 
verse. Therefore the three do not contradict, but fulfil. 

Q, Why does Maya, or ignorance, exist? 

A. Why, cannot be asked beyond the limit of 
causation. It can only be asked within Maya. We say 
we will answer the question when it is logically formulated. 
Before that we have no right to answer, 

Q. Does the personal God belong to Maya? 


A. Yes; but the personal God is the same Absolute 
seen through Maya. That Absolute under the control of 
nature is what is called the human soul; and that which 
is controlling nature is Ishvara or the personal God. If a 
man starts from here to see the sun, he will see at first a 
little sun; but as he proceeds he will see it bigger and 
bigger, until he reaches the real one. At each stage of 
his progress he was seeing apparently a different sun; yet 
we are sure it was the same sun he was seeing. So all 
these things are but visions of the Absolute, and as such 
they are true. Not one is a false vision, but we can only 
say they were lower stages. 

Q. What is the special process by which one will 
come to know the Absolute? 

A. We say there are two processes. One is the 
positive, and the other, the negative. The positive is that 
through which the whole universe is going, that of love. 
If this circle of love is increased indefinitely, we reach the 
one universal love. The other is the "Neti," "Neti," 
"not this,*' "not this," stopping every wave in the mind 
which tries to draw it out; and at last the mind dies, as it 
were, and the Real discloses Itself. We call that Samadhi, 
or super-consciousness. 

Q. That would be, then, merging the subject in the 
object ! 

A. Merging the object in the subject, not merging 
the subject in the object. Really this world dies and I 
remain, I am the only one that remains. 

Q. Some of our philosophers in Germany have 
thought that the whole doctrine of Bhakti (Love for the 
Divine) in India was very likely the result of Occidental 

A. I do not take any stock in that, the assumption 
was ephemeral. The Bhakti of India is not like the 
Western Bhakti. The central idea of ours is that there 
is no thought of fear. It is always, love God. There id 


no worship through fear, but always through love, from 
beginning to end. In the second place, the assumption 
is quite unnecessary. Bhakti is spoken of in the oldest of 
the Upanishads, which is much older than the Christian 
Bible, The germs of Bhakti are even in the Samhita (the 
Vedic hymns). The word Bhakti is not a Western word. 
It was suggested by the word Shraddha. 

Q. What is the Indian idea of the Christian faith? 

A. That it is very good. The Vedanta will take in 
every one. We have a peculiar idea in India. Suppose 
1 had a child. I should not teach him ggny religion; I should 
teach him breathings, the practice of concentrating the 
mind, and just one line of prayer, not prayer in your 
sense, but simply something like this, **I meditate on Him 
vho is the Creator of this universe : may He enlighten my 
mind!" That way he would be educated, and then go 
about hearing different philosophers and teachers. He 
would select one who he thought would suit him best; and 
this man would become his Guru or teacher, and he would 
become a Shishya or disciple. He would say to that main : 
"This form of philosophy which you preach is the best; 
so teach me/' Our fundamental idea is that your doctrine 
cannot be mine, or mine yours. Each one must have his 
own way. My daughter may have one method and my 
son another, and I, again, another. So each one has an 
Ishtam or chosen way, and we keep it to ourselves. It is 
between me and my teacher, because we do not want to 
create a fight. It will not help any one to tell it to others, 
because each one will have to find his own way. So only 
general philosophy and general methods can be taught 
universally. For instance, giving a ludicrous example, It 
may help me to stand on one leg. It would be ludicrous 
to you if I said eveiy one must do that, but it may suit 
me. It is quite possible (or me to be a dualist, and for 
my wife to be a monist, and so on. One of my sons may 

V O 


worship Christ or Buddha or Mahommed, so long as he 
obeys the caste laws. That is his own Ishtam. 

Q. Do all Hindus believe in caste? 

A. They are forced to. They may not believe, but 
they have to obey. 

Q. Are these exercises in breathing and concentra- 
tion universally practised? 

A. Yes; only some practise only a little, just to 
satisfy the requirements of their religion. The temples in 
India are not like the churches here. They may all vanish 
to-morrow, and will not be missed. A temple is built by 
a man who wants to go to heaven, or to get a son, or 
something of that sort. So he builds a large temple, and 
employs a few priests to hold services there. I need not 
go there at all, because all my worship is in the home. 
In every house is a special room set apart, which is called 
the chapel. The first duty of the child, after his initiation, 
is to take a bath, and then to worship; and his worship 
consists of this breathing and meditating, and repeating 
of a certain name. And another thing is to hold the body 
straight. We believe that the mind has every power over 
the body to keep it healthy. After one has done this, then 
another comes and takes his seat, and each one does it in 
silence. Sometimes there are three or four i. A the same 
room, but each one may have a different method. This 
worship is repeated at least twice a day. 

Q. This state of oneness that you speak of, is it an 
ideal or something actually attained? 

A. We say it is within actuality ; we say we realise 
that state. If it were only in talk, it would be nothing. 
The Vedas teach three things : this Self is first to be heard, 
then to be reasoned, and then to be meditated upon. 
When a man first hears it, he must reason on it, so that 
he does not believe it ignorantly, but knowingly; and after 
reasoning what he is, he must meditate upon it, and then 


realise it. And that is religion. Belief is no part of reli- 
gion. We say religion is a super-conscious state. 

Q. If you ever reach that state of super-conscious- 
ness, can you ever tell about it? 

A. No; but we know it by its fruits. An idiot, 
when he goes to sleep, comes out of sleep an idiot, or 
even worse. But another man goes into the state of medi- 
tation, and when he comes out he is a philosopher, a 
sage, a great man. That shows the difference between 
these two states. 

Q. I should like to ask, in continuation of Professor 

's question, whether you know of any people who 

have made any study of the principles of self -hypnotism, 
which they undoubtedly practised to a great extent in 
ancient India, and what has been recently stated and 
practised in that thing? Of course you do not have it so 
much in modern India. 

A. What you call hypnotism in the West is only a 
part of the real thing. The Hindus call it self-hypnotiza- 
tion. They say you are hypnotized already, and that you 
should get out of it and de-hypnotize yourself. 'There 
the sun cannot illume, nor the moon, nor the stars; the 
flash of lightning cannot illume that; what to speak of this 
mortal fire! Thatjshining, everything else shines." Tha fc 
is not hypnotization, but de-hypnotization. We say that 
every other religion that preaches these things as real, is 
practising a form of hypnotism. It is the Advaitist alon 
that does not care to be hypnotized. His is the r 
system that more or less understands that hypnotism r 
with every form of dualism. But the Advaitist say 
away even the Vedas, throw away even the per? 
throw away even the universe, throw away ev 
body and mind, and let nothing remain, ir 
rid of hypnotism perfectly. "From where 
back with speech, being unable to re 
Bliss of Brahman, no more is fear/' 


tion. "I have neither vice nor virtue ,_ nor misery, nor 
happiness ; I care neither for the Vedas nor sacrifices, nor 
ceremonies; I am neither food, nor eating, nor eater, for 
I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss 
Absolute; I am He, I am He." We know all about 
hypnotism. We have a psychology which the West is just 
beginning to know, but not yet adequately, I am sorry 
to say. 

Q. What do you call the astral body? 
A. The astral body is what we call the Linga Sharira. 
When this body dies, how can it come to take another 
body? Force cannot remain without matter. So a little 
part of the fine matter remains, through which the internal 
organs make another body, for each one is making his 
own body; it is the mind that makes the body. If I be- 
come a sage, my brain gets changed into a sage's brain ; 
and the Yogis say that even in this life a Yogi can change 
his body into a god-body. 

The Yogis show many wonderful things. One ounce 
of practice is worth a thousand pounds of theory. So I 
have no right to say that because I have not seen this or 
that thing done, it is false. Their books say that with 
practice you can get all sorts of results that are most 
wonderful. Small results can be obtained in a short time 
by regular practice ; so that one may know that there is 
no humbug about it, no charlatanism. And these Yogis 
explain the very wonderful things mentioned in all scrip- 
ts, in a scientific way. The question is, how these 
ds of miracles entered into every nation. The man 
ys that they are all false, and need no explanation, 
ional. You have no right to deny them until you 
hem false. You must prove that they are with- 
dation, and only then^ have you the right to 
^eny them. But you have not done that, 
d, the Yogis say they are not miracles, 
they can do them even to-day. Many 


wonderful things are done in India to-day. But none of 
them are done by miracles. There are many books on 
the subject. Again, if nothing else has been done in that 
line except a scientific approach towards psychology, that 
credit must be given to the Yogis. 

Q. Can you say in the concrete what the manifesta- 
tions are, which the Yogi can show? 

A. The Yogi wants no faith or belief in his science 
but that which is given to any other science, just enough 
gentlemanly faith to come and make the experiment. The 
ideal of the Yogi is tremendous. I have seen the lower 
things that can be done by the power of the mind, and 
therefore I have no right to disbelieve that the highest 
things can be done. The ideal of the Yogi is eternal peace 
and love through omniscience and omnipotence. I know 
a Yogi who was bitten by a cobra, and who fell dowix on 
the ground. In the evening he revived again, and when 
asked what happened, he said : "A messenger came from 
my Beloved.*' All hatred and anger apd jealousy have 
been burned out of this man. Nothing can make him 
react ; he is infinite love all the time, and he is omnipotent 
in his power of love. That is the real Yogi. And this 
manifesting different things is accidental, on the way. 
That is not what he wants to attain. The Yogi says, every 
man is a slave except the Yogi. He is a slave to food, to 
air, to his wife, to his children, to a dollar, slave to a 
nation, slave to name and fame, and to a thousand things 
in this world. The man who is not controlled by any one 
of these bondages is alone a real man, a real Yogi. "They 
have conquered relative existence in this life who are firm- 
fixed in the sameness. God is pure and the same to all. 
Therefore such are said to be living in God.** 

Q. Do the Yogis attach any importance to caste? 

A. No; caste is only the training school for un- 
developed minds. 


Q. Is there no connection between this idea of super- 
consciousness and the heat of India? 

A. I do not think so; because all this philosophy was 
thought out fifteen thousand feet above the level of the 
sea, among the Himalayas, in an almost Arctic tempera- 

Q. Is it practicable to attain success in a cold climate ? 

A . It is practicable, and the only thing that is practi- 
cable in this world. We say you are a born Vedantist, 
each one of you. You are declaring your oneness with 
everything each moment you live. Every time that your 
heart goes out towards the world, you are a true Vedantist, 
only you do not know it. You are moral without knowing 
why; and the Vedanta is the philosophy which analysed 
and taught man to be moral consciously. It is the essence 
^f all religions. 

Q. Should you say that there is an unsocial principle 
in our Western people, which makes us so pluralistic, and 
that Eastern people are more sympathetic than we are? 

A. 1 think the Western people are more cruel, and 
the Eastern people have more mercy towards all beings. 
But that is simply because your civilisation is very much 
more recent. It takes time to make a thing come under 
the influence of mercy. You have a great deal of power, 
and the power of control of the mind has especially been 
very little practised. It will take time to make you gentle 
and good. This feeling tingles in every drop of blood in 
India. If I go to the villages to teach the people politics, 
they will not understand; but if I go to teach them Vedanta, 
they will say: "Now, Swami, you are all right/' That 
Vairagyam, "non-attachment," is everywhere in India, 
even to-day. We are very much degenerated now; but 
kings will give up their thrones and go about the country 
without anything. 

In some places 'the common village-girl with her 
spinning-wheel says : "Do not talk to me of dualism; my 


spinning-wheel says 'Soham, Soham,' *1 am He, I am 
He/ " Go and talk to these people, and ask them why 
it is that they speak so and yet kneel before that stone* 
They will say that with you religion means dogma, but 
with them realisation. "I will be a Vedantist," one of 
them will say, "only when all this has vanished, and I 
have seen the reality. Until then there is no difference 
between me and the ignorant. So I am using these stones, 
and am going to temples, and so on, to come to realisation. 
I have heard, but I want to see and realise." "Different 
methods of speech, different manners of explaining the 
methods of the scriptures, these are only for the enjoy- 
ment of the learned, not for freedom." (Sankara) It is 
realisation which leads us to that freedom. 

Q. Is this spiritual freedom among the people con- 
sistent with attention to caste? 

A . Certainly not. They say there should be no caste* 
Even those who are in caste say it is not a very perfect 
institution. But they say, when you find us another and 
a better one, we will give it up. They say, what will you 
give us instead? Where is there not caste? In your 
nation you are struggling all the time to make a caste. As 
soon as a man gets a bag of dollars, he says, "I am one 
of the Four Hundred." We alone have succeeded in 
making a permanent caste. Other nations are struggling 
and do not succeed. We have superstitions and evils 
enough. Would taking the superstitions and evils from 
your country mend matters ? It is owing to caste that three 
hundred millions of people can find a piece of bread to 
eat yet. It is an imperfect institution, no doubt. But if 
it had not been for caste, you would have had no Sanskrit 
books to study. This caste made walls, around which 
all sorts of invasions rolled and surged, but found it im- 
possible to break through. That necessity has not gone 
yet, so caste remains. The caste we have now is not that 
of seven hundred years ago. Every blow has riveted it. 


Do you realise that India is the only country that never 
went outside of itself to conquer? The great emperor 
Asoka insisted that none of his descendants should go to 
conquer. If people want to send us teachers, let them 
help, but not injure. Why should all these people come 
to conquer the Hindus? Did they do any injury to any 
nation ? What little good they could do, they did for the 
world. They taught it science, philosophy, religion, and 
civilised the savage hordes of the earth. And this is the 
return, only murder and tyranny, and calling them 
heathen rascals. Look at the books written on 1 India by 
Western people, and at the stories of many travellers who 
go there; in retaliation for what injuries are these hurled 
at them? 

Q. What is the Vedantic idea of civilisation? 

A . You are philosophers, and you do not think that 
a bag of gold makes the difference between man and man. 
What is the value of all these machines and sciences? 
They have only one result : they spread knowledge. You 
have not solved the problem of want, but only made it 
keener. Machines do not solve the poverty question;, they 
simply make men struggle the more. Competition gets 
keener. What value has Nature in itself? Why do you 
go and build a monument to a man who sends electricity 
through a wire ? Does not Nature do that millions of times 
over ? Is not everything already existing in Nature ? What 
is the value of your getting it? It is already there. The 
only value is that it makes this development. This uni- 
verse is simply a gymnasium in which the soul is taking 
exercise; and after these exercises we become gods. So 
the value of everything is to be decided by how far it is 
a manifestation of God. Civilisation is the manifestation 
of that divinity in man. 

Q. Have the Buddhists any caste laws? 

A. The Buddhists never had much Caste, and there 
are very few Buddhists in India. Buddha was a social re- 


former. Yet in Buddhistic countries I find that there have 
been strong attempts to manufacture caste, only they have 
failed. The Buddhists' caste is practically nothing, but 
they take pride in it in their own minds. 

Buddha was one of the Sannyasins of the Vedanta. 
He started a new sect, just as others are started even to- 
day. The ideas which now are called Buddhism were not 
his. They were much more ancient. He was a great man 
who gave the ideas power. The unique element in Bud- 
dhism was its social element. Brahmanas and Kshatriyas 
have always been our teachers, and most of the Upanishads 
were written by Kshatriyas, while the ritualistic portions 
of the Vedas came from the Brahmanas. Most of our 
great teachers throughout India have been Kshatriyas, and 
were always universal in their teachings; whilst the 
Brahmana prophets with two exceptions were very exclu- 
sive. Rama, Krishna, and Buddha, worshipped as 
Incarnations of God, were Kshatriyas. 

Q. Are sects, ceremonies and scriptures helps to 
realisation ? 

A. When a man realises, he gives up everything. 
The various sects and ceremonies and books, so far as 
they are the means of arriving at that point, are all right. 
But when they fail in that, we must change them. "The 
knowing one must not despise the condition of the ignorant, 
nor should the knowing one destroy the faith of the ignorant 
in their own particular method, but by proper action lead 
them, and show them the path to come to where he 

Q. How does the Vedanta explain individuality and 
ethics ? 

A. This real individual is the Absolute; this person- 
alisation is through Maya. It is only apparent; in reality 
it is always the Absolute. In reality there is one, but in 
Maya it is appearing as many. In Maya there is this varia- 
tion. Yet even in this Maya there is always the tendency 


to get back to the One, as expressed in all ethics and all 
morality of every nation, because it is the constitutional 
necessity of the soul. It is finding its oneness; and this 
struggle to find this oneness is what we call ethics and 
morality. Therefore we must always practise them. 

Q. Is not the greater part of ethics taken up with the 
relation between individuals? 

A. That is all it is. The Absolute does not come 
within Maya. 

Q. You say the individual is the Absolute, and I was 
going to ask you whether the individual has knowledge. 

A. The state of manifestation is individuality, and 
the light in that state is what we call knowledge. To use, 
therefore, this term knowledge for the light of the Absolute 
is not precise, as the Absolute state transcends relative 

Q. Does it include it? 

A. Yes; in this sense. Just as a piece of gold can 
be changed into all sorts of coins, so with this. The state 
can be broken up into all sorts of knowledge. It is the 
state of super-consciousness, and includes both conscious- 
ness and unconsciousness. The man who attains that 
state has all that we call knowledge. When he wants to 
realise that consciousness of knowledge, he has to go a 
step lower. Knowledge is a lower state; it is only in 
Maya that we can have knowledge. 

(At the Twentieth Century Club of Boston, V. S. A.) 

Q. Did Vedanta exert any influence over Mahom- 
medanism ? 

A. This Vedantic spirit of religious liberality has 
very much affected Mahommedanism. Mahommedanism 
in India is quite a different thing from that in any other 


country. It is only when Mahommedans come from other 
countries and preach to their co-religionists in India about 
living with men who are not of their faith, that a Mahom- 
medan mob is aroused and fights. 

Q. Does Vedanta recognise caste? 

A . The caste system is opposed to the religion of the 
Vedanta. Caste is a social custom, and all our great 
preachers have tried to break it down. From Buddhism 
downwards, every sect has preached against caste, and 
every time it has only riveted the chains. Caste is simply 
the outgrowth of the political institutions of India; it is an 
hereditary trade guild. Trade competition with Europe 
has broken caste more than any teaching. 

Q. What is the peculiarity of the Vedas? 

A . One peculiarity of the Vedas is, that they are the 
only Scriptures that again and again declare that you must 
go beyond them. The Vedas say, that they were written 
just for the child mind; and when you have grown, you 
must go beyond them. 

Q. Do you hold the individual soul to be eternally 

A. The individual soul consists of a man's thoughts, 
and they are changing every moment. Therefore, it can- 
not be eternally real. It is real only in the phenomenal. 
The individual soul consists of memory and thought; how 
can that be real ? 

Q. Why did Buddhism as a religion decline in India? 

A. Buddhism did not really decline in India; it was 
only a gigantic social movement. Before Buddha, great 
numbers of animals were killed for sacrifice and other 
reasons; and people drank wine and ate meat in large 
quantities. Since Buddha's teaching, drunkenness has 
almost disappeared and the killing of animals has almost 


(At the Brooklyn Ethical Society, Brooklyn, U. S. A.) 

Q. How can you reconcile your optimistic views with 
the existence of evil, with the universal prevalence of 
sorrow and pain? 

A . I can only answer the question if the existence 
of evil be first provedj^but this the~Ve<!antic religion do*es~ 
not admit. Eternal pain unmixed with pleasure would be 
a positive evil; but temporal pain and sorrow, if they have 
contributed an element of tenderness and nobility tending 
towards eternal bliss, are not evils : on the contrary, they 
may be supreme good. We cannot assert that anything 
is evil until we have traced its sequence into the realm of 

Devil worship is not a part of the Hindu religion. The 
human race is in process of development; all have not 
jreached the same altitude. Therefore some are nobler 
and purer in their earthly lives than others. Every one 
has &n opportunity within the limits of the sphere of his 
present development of making himself better. We can- 
not unmake ourselves; we cannot destroy or impair the 
vital force within us, but we have the freedom to give it 
different directions. 

Q. Is not the reality of cosmic matter simply the 
imagining of our own minds ? 

A. In my opinion the external world is certainly an 
entity, and has an existence outside of our mental con- 
ceptions. All creation is moving onwards and upwards, 
obedient to the great law of spirit evolution, which ?s 
different from the evolution of matter. The latter is sym- 
bolical of, but does not explain the process of, the former. 
We are not individuals now, in our present earthly en- 
vironment. We will not have reached individuality, until 
we have ascended to the higher state, when the divine 
spirit within us will have a perfect medium for the expres- 
sion of its attributes. 


Q. What is your explanation of the problem that had 
been presented to Christ, as to whether it was the infant 
itself, or its parents, that had sinned that it was born blind ? 

A. While the question of sin does not enter into the 
problem, I am cbnvinced that the blindness was due to 
some act on the part of the spirit of the child in a previous 
incarnation. In my opinion such problems are only ex- 
plicable on the hypothesis of a prior earthly existence. 

Q. Do our spirits pass at death into a state of happi- 

A . Death is only a change of condition : time and 
space are in you, you are not in time and space. It is 
enough to know, that as we make our lives purer and 
nobler, either in the seen or the unseen world, the nearer 
we approach God, who is the centre of all spiritual beauty 
and eternal joy. 

Q. What is the Hindu theory of the transmigration 
of souls? 

A . It is on the same basis as the theory of conserva- 
tion is to the scientist. This theory was first produced by 
a philosopher of my country. They did not Lelieve in a 
Creation. A Creation implies producing something out of 
nothing. That is impossible. There was no beginning of 
Creation as there was no beginning of time. God and 
Creation are as two lines without end, without beginning, 
and parallel. Our theory of Creation is "It is, it was, 
and is to be.*' All punishment is but reaction. People 
of the West should learn one thing from India and that is, 
toleration. All the religions are good, since the essentials 
are the same. 

Q. Why are the women of India not much elevated ? 

A. It is in a great degree owing to the barbarous 
invaders through different ages; it is partly due to the 
people of India themselves. 


When it was pointed out to Swamiji in America that 
Hinduism is not a proselytising religion, he replied : 

**1 have a message to the West as Buddha had a 
message to the East." 

Q. Do you intend to introduce the practices and 
rituals of the Hindu religion into this country (America)? 

A. I am preaching simply philosophy. 

Q. Do you not think if the fear of future hell-fire 
were taken from man, there would be no controlling him ? 

A . No ! On the contrary, I think he is made far 
better through love and hope than through fear. 

(Selections from the Math Diary) 

Q. Whom can we call a Guru? 

A. He who can tell your past and future, is your Guru. 

Q. How can one have Bhakti? 

A. There is Bhakti within you, only a veil of lust- 
and-wealth covers it, and as soon as that is removed Bhakti 
will manifest by itself. 

Q. What is the true meaning of the assertion that we 
should depend on ourselves ? 

A. Here self means the eternal Self. But even de- 
pendence on the non-eternal self may lead gradually to 
the right goal, as the individual self is really the Eternal 
Self under delusion. 

Q. If unity is the only reality, how could duality which 
is perceived by all every moment, have arisen? 

A. Perception is never dual, it is only the representa- 
tion of perception that involves duality. If perception 
were dual, the known could have existed independently 
of the knower, and vice versa. 

Q. How is harmonious development of character to 
be best effected? 

A. By association with persons whose character has 
been so developed. 


Q. What should be our attitude to the Vedas? 

A. The Vedas, i.e., only tho^e portions of them 
which agree with reason, are to be accepted as the only 
authority. Other Shastras, such as the Puranas &c., are 
only to be accepted so far as they do not go against the 
Vedas. All the religious thoughts that have come subse- 
quent to the Vedas, in the world, in whatever part of it, 
have been derived from the Vedas. 

Q. Is the division of time into four Yugas, astro- 
nomical, or arbitrary calculations? 

A. There is no mention of such divisions in the 
Vedas. They are arbitrary assumptions of Pauranika times. 

Q. Is the relation between concepts and words neces- 
sary and immutable, or accidental and conventional? 

A. The point is exceedingly debatable. It seems 
that there is a necessary relation, but not absolutely so, as 
appears from the diversity of language. There may be 
some subtle relation which we are not yet able to detect. 

Q. What should be the principle to be followed in 
working within India ? 

A. First of all, men should be taught to be practical 
and physically strong. A dozen of such lions will conquei 
the world, and not millions of sheep can do so. Secondly, 
men should not be taught to imitate a personal ideal, how- 
ever great. 

Then Swamiji went on to speak of the corruptions ol 
some of the Hindu symbols. He distinguished between 
the path of knowledge and the path of devotion. The 
former belonged properly to the Aryas, and therefore was 
so strict in the selection of Adhi^aris (qualified aspirants), 
and the latter coming from the South or non-Aryan sources 
made no such distinction. 

Q. What part will the Ramakrishna Mission take ir 
the regenerating work of India ? 

A . From this Math will go out men of character whc 
will deluge the world with spirituality. This will b* 


followed by revivals in other lines. Thus Brahmanas, 
Kshatriyas and Vaishyas will be produced. The Sudra 
caste will exist no longer; their work being done by 
machinery. The present want of India is the Kshatriya 

Q. Is retrograde reincarnation from the human stage 
possible ? 

A. Yes. Reincarnation depends on Karma. If a 
man accumulates Karma akin to the beastly nature, he will 
be drawn thereto. 

In one of the question-classes (1898) Swamiji traced 
Image-worship to Buddhistic sources. First, there was the 
Chaitya; second, the Stupa; and then came the temple of 
Buddha. Along with it arose the temples of the Hindu 

Q. Does the Kundalini really exist in the physical 

A\ Sri Ramakrishna used to say that the so-called 
lotuses of the Yogi do not really exist in the human body, 
but that they are created within oneself by Yoga powers. 

Q. Can a man attain Mukti by Image-worship? 

A. Image- worship cannot directly give Mukti; it may 
be an indirect cause, a help on the way. Image-worship 
should not be condemned, for, with many, it prepares the 
mind for the realisation of the Advaita which alone makes 
man perfect. 

Q. What should be our hightest ideal of character? 

A . Renunciation. 

Q. How did Buddhism leave the legacy of corruption 
in India? 

A. The Bauddhas tried to make everyone in India a 
monk or a nun. We cannot expect that from everyone. 
This led to gradual relaxation among monks and nuns. It 
was also caused by their imitating Thibetan and other 
barbarous customs in the name of religion.. They went 


to preach in those places and assimilated their corrup- 
tions, and then introduced them into India. 

Q. Is Maya without beginning and end? 

A. Maya is eternal both-ways, taken universally, as 
genus; but it is non-eternal individually. 

Q. Brahman and Maya cannot be cognised simul- 
taneously. How could the absolute reality of either be 
proved as arising out of the one or the other ? 

A . It could be proved only by realisation. When one 
realises Brahman, for him Maya exists no longer, just as 
once the identity of the rope is found out, the illusion of 
the serpent comes no more. 

Q. What is Maya ? 

A. There is only one thing, call it by any name 
matter, or spirit. It is difficult or rather impossible to think 
the one independent of the other. This is Maya or 

Q. What is Mukti (liberation)? 

A. Mukti means entire freedom, freedom from the 
bondages of good and evil. A golden chain is as much a 
chain as an iron one. Sri Ramakrishna used to say, that 
to pick out one thorn which has stuck into the foot, another 
thorn is requisitioned, and when the thorn is taken out, both 
are thrown away. So the bad tendencies are to be counter- 
acted by the good ones, but after that, the good tendencies 
have also to be conquered. 

Q. Can salvation (Mukti) be obtained without the 
grace of God? 

A. Salvation has nothing to do with God. Freedom 
already is. 

Q. What is the proof of the self in us not being the 
product of the body, &c. ? 

A. The "ego" like its correlative, "non-ego/* is the 
product of the body, mind, &c. The only proof of the 
existence of the real Self is realisation. 

Q. Who is a true Jnanin, and who is a true Bhakta ? 

V P 


A. The true Jnanin is he who has the deepest love 
within his heart, and <*t the same time is a practical seer 
of Advaita in his outward relations. And the true Bhakta 
(Lover) is he who realising his own soul as identified with 
the universal Soul, and thus possessed of the true Jnana 
within, feels for and loves everyone. Of Jnana and Bhakti, 
he who advocates one and denounces the other, cannot be 
either a Jnanin or *a Bhakta, but he is a thief and a cheat. 

Q. Why should a man serve Ishvara ? 

A. If you once admit that there is such a thing as 
Ishvara (God), you have numberless occasions to serve 
Him. Service of the Lord means, according to all the scrip- 
tural authorities, remembrance (Smarana). If you believe 
in the existence of God, you will be reminded of Him at 
every step of your life. 

Q, Is Mayavada different from* Advaita vada ? 

A. No. They are identical. There is absolutely no 
other explanation of Advaitavada except Mayavada. 

Q. How is it possible for God who is infinite, to be 
limited in the form of a man (as an Avatara)? 

A . It is true that God is infinite, but not in the sense 
in which you comprehend it. You have confounded your 
idea of infinity with the materialistic idea of vastness. 
When you say that God cannot take the form of a man, 
you understand that a very very large substance or form 
(as if material in nature), cannot be compressed into a very 
very small compass. God's infinitude refers to the un- 
limitedness of a purely spiritual entity, and as such, does 
not suffer in the least by expressing itself in a human form. 

Q. Some say, "First of all become a Siddha (one who 
has realised the Truth), and then you have the right to 
Karma, or work for others/* while others say, that one 
should work for others even from the beginning; how can 
both these views be reconciled ? 

A. You are confusing one thing with the other. 
Karma means either service to humanity, or preaching. 


In real preaching, no doubt, none has the right except the 
Siddha Purusha, i.e., one who has realised the Truth. But 
to service every one has the right, and not only so, but 
every one is under obligation to serve others, so long as 
he is accepting service from others. 




[Sri Surendra Nath Das Gupta.] 

One day, with some of my young friends belonging 
to different colleges, I went to the Belur Math to see Swamiji. 
We sat round him; talks on various subjects were going on. 
No sooner was any question put to -him than he gave the 
most conclusive answer to it. Suddenly he exclaimed 
pointing to us, "You are all studying different schools of 
European philosophy and metaphysics, and learning new 
facts about nationalities and countries; can you tell me, 
what is the grandest of all the truths in life?'* 

We began to think, but could not make out what he 
wanted us to say. As none put forth any reply, he ex- 
claimed in his inspiring language : 

4 'See here, we shall all die ! Bear this in mind always, 
and then the spirit within will wake up. Then only, mean- 
ness will vanish from you, practicality in work will come> 
you will get new vigour in mind and body, and those who 
come in contact with you will also feel that they have really 
got something uplifting, from you." 

Then the following conversation took place between 
him and myself : 

"These CONVERSATIONS AND DIALOGUES are translated from the con- 
tributions of Disciples to the Udbodhan, the Bengali organ of thp 
Ramakrishna Mission. 


Myself : But, Swamiji, will not the spirit break down 
at the thought of death, and the heart be overpowered by 

*** Swarnin : Quite so. At first, the heart will break 
down, and despondency and gloomy thoughts will occupy 
your mind. But persist, let days pass like that, and then? 
Then you will see that new strength has come into the heart, 
that the constant thought of death is giving you a new 
life, and is making you more and more thoughtful by bring- 
ing every moment before your mind's eye, the truth of the 
saying, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. "Wait ! Let days, 
months and years pass, and you will feel that the spirit 
within is waking up with the strength <jf a lion, that the 
little power within has transformed itself into a mighty 
power ! Think of death always and you will realise the 
truth of every word I say. What more shall I say in words ! 

One of my friends was praising Swamiji in a low voice. 

Swamiji : Do not praise me. Praise and censure have 
no value in this world of ours. They only rock a man as 
if in a swing. Praise I have had enough of ; showers of 
censure I have also had to bear ; but what avails thinking 
of them ! Let everyone go on doing his own duty, un- 
concerned. When the last moment arrives, praise and 
blame will be the same to you, to me, and to others. We 
are here to work, and will have to leave all when the call 

Myself : How little we are, Swamiji ! 

Swamiji : True ! You have well said ! Think of this 
infinite universe with its millions and millions of solar 
systems, and think with what an infinite, incomprehensible 
power they are impelled, running as if to touch the Feet 
of the One Unknown, and how little we are ! Where 
then is room here to allow ourselves to indulge in yjleness 
and meanmindedness ? What should we gain here by 
fostering mutual enmity and party-spirit? Take my ad- 
vice : Set yourselves wholly to the service of others, when 


you come from your colleges. Believe me, far greater 
happiness would then be yours, than if you had had a 
whole treasury full of money and other valuables at your 
command. As you go on your way serving others you 
will, on a parallel line, advance in the path of knowledge. 

Myself : But we are so very poor, Swamiji 1 

Swamiji : Leave aside your thoughts of poverty ! In 
what respect are you poor? Do you feel regret because 
you have not a coach and pair, or a retinue of servants at 
your beck and call ? What of that ? You little know how 
you can have nothing undone in life if you labour day and 
night for others with your heart's blood ! And lo and 
behold ! the other side of the hallowed river of life stands 
revealed ^before your eyes, the screen of Death has 
vanished, and you are the inheritors of the wondrous realm 
of immortality ! 

Myself : O, how we enjoy sitting before you, Swamiji, 
and hearing your life-giving words ! 

Swamiji : You see, in my travels throughout India all 
these years, 1 have come across many a great soul, many 
a heart overflowing with loving-kindness, sitting at whose 
feet I used to feel a mighty current of strength coursing into 
my heart, and the few words 1 speak to you are only 
through the force of that current gained by coming in con- 
tact with them ! Don't you think, I am myself something 
great ! 

Myself : But we look upon you, Swamiji, as one who 
has realised God ! 

No sooner did 1 say these words than those fascinating 
eyes of his were filled with tears, (O how vividly 1 see that 
scene before my eyes even now), and he with a heart over- 
flowing with love, softly and gently spoke : "At those 
Blessed Feet is the perfection of Knowledge sought by the 
Jnanins! At those Blessed Feet also is the fulfilment of 
Love sought by the Lovers ! O, say, where else will men 
and women go for refuge but to those Blessed Feet !" 


After a while he again said, "Alas ! what folly for men 
in this world, to spend their days fightng and quarrelling 
with one another as they do ! But how long can they go 
on in that way ? In the evening of life* they must all come 
home, to the arms of the Mother/' 



[Sri Surendra Nath Sen, from private diary.] 

SATURDAY, the 22nd. January, 1898. 

Early in the morning I came to Swamiji who was then 
staying in the house of Balaram Babo, at 57 Ramkanta 
Bose's Street, Calcutta. The room was fully packed with 
listeners. Swamiji was saying, **We want Shraddhd, we 
want faith in our own selves. Strength is life, weakness 
is death. 'We are the Atman, deathless and free; pure, 
pure by nature. Can we ever commit any sin? Impos- 
sible!' such a faith is needed. Such a faith makes men 
of us, makes gods of us. It is by losing this idea of, 
Shraddha, that the country has gone to ruin." 

Question : How did we come to lose this Shraddhfi? 

Swamiji : We have had a negative education all along 
from our boyhood. We have only learnt that we are no- 
bodies. Seldom are we given to understand that great 
men were ever born in our country. Nothing positive has 
been taught to us. We do not even know how to use our 
hands and feet ! We master all the facts and figures con- 
cerning the ancestors of the English, but we are sadly 
unmindful about our own ! We have learnt only weakness. 

*At the end of one's whole course of transmigratory existence. 


Being a conquered race, we have brought ourselves to 
believe that we are weak, and have no independence in 
anything. So, how can it be but that the Shraddhd is lost ? 
The idea of true Shraddha must be brought back once 
more to us, the faith in our own selves must be re- 
awakened, and then only, all the problems which face our 
country will gradually be solved by ourselves. 

Q. How can that ever be ? How will Shraddha alone 
remedy the innumerable evils with which our society is 
beset? Besides, there are so many crying evils in the 
country, to remove which the Indian National Congress 
and other patriotic associations are carrying on a strenuous 
agitation and petitioning the British Government. How 
better can their wants be made known? What has 
Shraddha to do in the matter? 

Swamiji : Tell me, whose wants are those, yours or 
the Ruler's? If yours, will they supply them for you, or 
will you have to do that for yourselves ? 

Q. But it is the Ruler's duty to see to the wants of 
the subject people. Whom should we look up to for every- 
thing, if not to the King ? 

Swamiji : Never are the wants of a beggar fulfilled. 
Suppose the Government give you all you need, where are 
the men who are able to keep up the things demanded? 
So, mal^e men first. Men we want, and how can men be 
made unless the Shraddha is there? 

Q. But such is not the view of the majority, sir. 

Swamiji : What you call majority, is mainly composed 
of fools and men of common intellect. Men who have 
brains to think for themselves are few, everywhere. These 
few men with brains are the real leaders in everything and 
in every department of work; the majority are guided by 
them as with a string, and that is good, for everything goes 
all right when they follow in the footsteps of these leaders. 
Those are only fools who think themselves too high to bend 
their heads to anyone, and they bring on their own ruin 


by acting on their own judgment. You* talk of social re- 
form ? But what do you do ? All that you mean by your 
social reform is either widow-remarriage or female- 
emancipation, or something of that sort. Do you not? 
And these again are directed within the confines of a few 
of the castes only. Such a scheme of reform may do good 
to a few no doubt, but of what avail is that to the whole 
nation? Is that reform, or only a form of selfishness? to 
somehow cleanse their own room and keep it tidy and let 
others go from bad to worse ! 

Q. Then, you mean to say, that there is no need of 
social reform at all ? 

Swamiji : Who says so? Of course, there is need of 
it. Most of what you talk of as social reform does not 
touch the poor masses; they have already those things 
the widow-remarriage, female-emancipation, etc., which 
you cry for. For this reason they will not think of those 
things as reforms at all. What I mean to say is, that want 
of Shraddha has brought in all the evils among us, and 
is bringing in more and more. My method of treatment 
is to take out by the roots the very causes of the disease 
and not to keep them merely suppressed. Reforms we 
should have in many ways; who will be so foolish as to 
deny it? There is, for example, a good reason for inter- 
marriage in India, in the absence of which the race is 
becoming physically weaker day by day. 

It being the day of a solar eclipse, the gentleman who 
was asking the above questions, saluted Swamiji and left 
saying, "I must go now for a bath in the Ganges. I shall, 
however, come another day." 






[Sri Surendra Nath Sen, from prioate diary.] 

SUNDAY, the 23rd. January, 1898. 

It was the evening and the occasion of the weekly 
meeting of the Ramakrishna Mission, at the house of 
Balaram Babu of Baghbazar. Swami Turiyananda, Swami 
Yogananda, Swami Premananda and others had come 
from the Math. Swamiji was seated in the verandah to 
the east, which was now full of people, as were the 
northern and the southern section of the verandah. But 
such used to be the case every day when Swamiji stayed 
in Calcutta. 

Many of the people who came to the meeting had 
heard that Swamiji could sing very nicely, and so were 
desirous of hearing him. Knowing this, Master Maha- 
shaya (M.) whispered to a few gentlemen near him to 
request Swamiji to do so; but he being close by saw 
through their intention and playfully asked, * 'Master Maha- 
shaya, what are you talking about among yourselves in 
whispers? Do speak out." At the request of Master 
Mahashaya, Swamiji now began in his charming voice the 
song "Keep with loving care the darling Mother Shyama 

in thy heart " It seemed as if a Vin& was playing. 

At its close, he said to Master Mahashaya, "Well, are you 
now satisfied? But no more singing! Otherwise, being 
in the swing of it, I shall be carried away by its intoxication. 
Moreover, my voice is now spoilt by frequent lecturing in 
the West. My voice shakes very much," * * * 

Swamiji then asked one of his Brahmacharin disciples 
to lecture on "The Real Nature of Mukti." So, the 
Brahmacharin stood up and spoke at some length. A few 


others followed him. Swamiji then invited discussion on 
the subject of the discourse, and called upon one of his 
householder disciples to lead it ; but as the latter tried to 
advocate the Advaita and Jnanam and assign a lower 
place to Dualism and Bhakti, he met with a protest from 
one of the audience. As each of the two opponents tried 
to establish his own view-point, a lively word-fight ensued. 
Swamiji watched them for a while, but seeing that they 
were getting excited, silenced them with the following 
words : 

Swamiji : Why do you get excited in argument and 
spoil everything? Listen! Sri Ramakrishna used to say, 
that pure Knowledge and pure Bhakti are one and the 
same. According to the doctrine of Bhakti, God is held 
to be * All-Love/ One cannot even say, *I love Him/ for 
the reason that He is All-Love. Tl^j^Jsjao-l^^ 
of Himself ; the love that is in the heart with which you 
love Him, is even He Himself. In a similar way, what- 
ever attractions or inclinations one feels drawn by, are all 
He Himself. The thief steals, the harlot sells her body to 
prostitution, the mother loves her child in each of these 
too is He ! One world system attracts another there also 
is Hej_ Everywhere is He. According to the doctrine of 
Jnanam also. He is realised by one everywhere. Here 
lies the reconciliation of Jnanam and Bhakti. When one 
is immersed in the highest ecstasy of Divine Vision 
(Bhdva), or is in the state of Samadhi, then alone the idea 
of duality ceases and the distinction between the devotee 
and his God vanishes. In the scriptures on Bhakti, five 
different paths of relationship are mentioned, by any of 
which one can attain to God ; but another one can very 
well be added to them, viz., the path of meditation on 
the non-separateness, or oneness with God. Thus the 
Bhaktas can call the Advaitins, Bhaktas as well, but of the 
non-differentiating type. As long as one is within the 
region of Maya, so long the idea of duality will no doubt 


remain. Space-time-causation or name-and-form is what 
is called Maya. When one goes beyond this Maya 
then only the Oneness is realised, and then man 
is neither a Dualist nor an Advaitist, to him all 
is One. All this difference that you notice between 
a Bhakta and a Jnanin is in the preparatory stage, 
one sees God outside, and the other sees Him within. 
But there is another point : Sri Ramakrishna used to say, 
that there is another stage of Bhakti which is called the 
Supreme Devotion (Parabhakti), i. e., to love Him after 
becoming established in the consciousness of Advaita, and 
after having attained Mukti. It may seem paradoxical, 
and the question may be raised here, why such a one 
who has already attained Mukti, should be desirous of 
retaining the spirit of Bhakti in him? The answer is, 
the Mukta or the Free is beyond all law ; no law applies 
in his case, and hence no question dan be asked regarding 
him. Even becoming Mukta, some, out of their own free 
will, retain Bhakti to taste of its sweetness. 

Q. God may be in the love of the mother for her 
child, but, Sir, this idea is really perplexing that God is 
even in the thieves and the harlots in the form of their 
natural inclinations to sin ! It follows then, that God is as 
responsible for the sin as for all the virtue in this world. 

Swamiji : That consciousness comes in a stage of 
highest realisation, when one sees that whatever is of the 
nature of love or attraction is God, But one has to reach 
that state to see and realise that idea for himself in actual 

Q. But still one has to admit that God is also in the 
sin ! 

Swamiji : You see, there are, in reality, no such 
different things as good and evil. They are mere con- 
ventional terms. The same thing we call bad, and again 
another time we call good, according to the way we make 
use of it. Take for example this lamp light ; because of 


its burning we are able to see and do various works of 
utility; this is one mode of using the light. Again, if you 
put your fingers in it, they will be burnt; that is another 
mode of using the same light. So we should know that 
a thing becomes good or bad according to the way we 
use it. Similarly with virtue and vice. Broadly speaking, 
the proper use of any of the faculties of our mind and 
body is termed virtue, and its improper application or 
waste is called vice. 

Thus questions after questions were put and answered. 
Someone remarked, "The theory that God is even there, 
where one heavenly body attracts another, may or may 
not be true as a fact, but there is no denying the exceed- 
ing poetry the idea conveys/* 

Swamiji : No, my dear sir, that is not poetry. One 
can see for oneself its truth when one attains Knowledge. 

From what Swamiji further said on this point, I under- 
stood him to mean that matter and spirit, though to all 
appearances they seem to be two distinct things, are really 
two different forms of one substance; and similarly, all 
the different forces that are known to us, whether in the 
material or in the internal world, are but varying forms 
of the manifestation of one Force. We call a thing matter, 
where that spirit force is manifested less; and living, 
where it shows itself more; otherwise there is no such 
thing which is absolutely matter, at all times and in all 
conditions. The same Force which presents itself in the 
material world as attraction or gravitation, is felt in its 
finer and subtler state, as love and the like, in the higher 
spiritual stages of realisation. 

Q. Why should there be even this difference relating 
to individual use? Why should there be at all this ten- 
dency in man to make bad or improper use of any of his 
faculties ? 

Swamiji : That tendency comes as a result of one's 
own past actions (Karma); everything one has, is of his* 


own doing. Hence it follows that it is solely in the hands 
of every individual to control his tendencies and to guide 
them properly. 

Q. Even if everything is the result of our karma, 
still it must have had a beginning, and why should our 
tendencies have been good or bad at the beginning? 

* Swamiji : How do you know that there is a begin- 
ning? The Srishti (Creation) is without beginning this is 
the doctrine of the Vedas. So long as there is God, there 
is Creation as well. 

Q Well, Sir, why is this Maya here and whence has 
it come? 

Swamiji : It is a mistake to ask 'why,' with respect 
to God; we can only do so regarding one who has wants 
or imperfections. How can there be any *why* concern- 
ing Him who has no wants, and who is the One Whole? 
No such question as 'whence has^ Maya come* can be 
asked. ^Time-space-causation is what is called Maya. 
You, I and everyone else are within this Maya, and you 
are asking about what is beyond Maya ! How can you 
do so while living within Maya ? 

Again, many questions followed. The conversation 
turned on the philosophies of Mill, Hamilton, Herbert 
Spencer, etc., and Swamiji dwelt on them to the satisfac- 
tion of all. Everyone wondered at the vastness of his 
Western philosophical scholarship and the promptness of 
his replies. 

The meeting dispersed after a short conversation on 
miscellaneous subjects. 





[Sri Surendra Nath Sen, from private diary.] 

MONDAY, the 24th. January, 1898. 

The same gentleman who was asking questions of 
Swamiji on Saturday last, has come. He raised again the 
topic on intermarriage and enquired, "How should inter- 
marriage be introduced between different nationalities?** 

Swamiji : I do not advise our intermarriage with 
nations professing an alien religion. At least for the pre- 
sent, that will, of a certainty, slacken the ties of society 
and be a cause of manifold mischief. It is tha inter- 
marriage between people of the same religion that I 

Q. Even then, it will involve much perplexity. Sup- 
pose, I have a daughter who is born and brought up in 
Bengal, and I marry her to a Mahratti or a Madrasi. 
Neither will the girl understand her husband's language, 
nor the husband the girl's. Again, the difference in their 
individual habits and customs is so great. Such are a few 
of the troubles in the case of the married couple. Then 
as regards society, it will make confusion worse con- 

Swamiji : The time is yet very long in coming when 
marriages of that kind will be widely possible. Besides, 
k is not judicious now to go in for that all of a sudden. 
One of the secrets of work is to go by the way of the 
least possible resistance. So, first of all, let there be 
marriages within the sphere of one's own caste-people. 
Take for instance, the Kayasthas of Bengal. They have 
several subdivisions amongst them, such as, the Uttar- 
rarhi, Dakshin-rarhi, Bangaja, etc., and they do not inter* 


marry with each other. Now, let there be intermarriages 
between the Uttor-rarhis and. the Dakphin-rarhis, and if 
that is not possible at present, let it be between the 
Bangajas and the Dasfim-rar/us. Thus we are to build 
up that which is already existing, and which is in our hands 
to reduce into practice reform does not mean wholesale 
breaking down. 

Q. Very well, let it be as you say; but what cor- 
responding good can come of it? 

Swamiji : Don't you see, how in our society, mar- 
riage being restricted for several hundreds of years within 
the same subdivisions of each caste, has come to such a 
pass nowadays as to virtually mean marital alliance 
between cousins and near relations; and how for this very 
reason the race is getting Deteriorated physically, and 
consequently all sorts of diseaseancTotfeer evils are finding 
a ready entrance into it? The blood having had to cir- 
culate within the narrow circle of a limited number of 
individuals, has become vitiated; so the new-born children 
inherit from their very birth the constitutional diseases of 
their fathers. Thus, born with a poor blood, their bodies 
have very little power to resist the microbes of any disease, 
which are ever ready to prey upon them. It is only by 
widening the circle of marriage that we can infuse a new 
and a different kind of blood into our progeny, so that 
they may be saved from the clutches of the many of our 
present-day diseases and other consequent evils. 

Q. May I ask you, Sir, what is your opinion about 
early marriage? 

Swamiji : Amongst the educated classes in Bengal, 
the custom of marrying their boys too early is dying out 
gradually. The girls are also given in marriage a year or 
two older than before, but that has been under compul- 
sion, from pecuniary want. Whatever might be the 
reason for it, the age of marrying girls should be raised 
still higher. But what will the poor father do? As soon 


as the girl grows up a little, every one of the female sex 
beginning from the mother down to the relatives and 
neighbours even, will begin to cry out that he must find 
a bridegroom for her, and will not leave him in peace 
until he does so ! And, about your religious hypocrites, 
the less said the better. In these days no one hears them, 
but still they will take up the role of leaders themselves. 
The rulers passed the Age of Consent Bill prohibiting a 
man, under the threat of penalty, to live with a girl of 
twelve years, and at once all these so-called leaders of 
your religion raised a tremendous hue and cry against it, 
sounding the alarm, **Alas, our religion is lost!*' As if 
religion consists in making a girl a mother at the age of 
twelve or thirteen ! So the rulers also naturally think, 
* 'Goodness gracious! What a religion is theirs! And 
these people lead political agitations and demand political 
rights ! * * 

Q. Then, in your opinion, both men and women 
should be married at an advanced age? 

Swamiji : Certainly. But education should be im- 
parted along with it, otherwise, irregularity and corruption 
will ensue. By education I do not mean the present 
system, but something in the line of positive teaching. 
Mere book-learning won't do. We want that education 
byjyvhich character is formed^ strength of mind is increased, 
the intellectjs^expanded and by which^one can stand__on 
fftfit - 

Q. We have to reform our women in many ways. 

Swamiji : With such an education women will solve 
their own problems. They have all the time been trained 
in helplessness, servile dependence on others, and so they 
are good only to weep their eyes out at the slightest ap- 
proach of a mishap or danger. Along with other things 
they should acquire the spirit of valour and heroism. In 
the present day it has become necessary for them also to 

V Q 


learn self-defence. See, how grand was the Queen of 
Jhansi ! 

Q. What you advise is quite a new departure, and 
it will, I am afraid, take a very long time yet to train our 
women in that way. 

Swamiji : Anyhow, we have to try our best. We 
have not only to teach them but to teach ourselves also. 
Mere begetting children does not make a father, a great 
many responsibilities have to be taken upon his shoulders 
as well. To make a beginning in woman's education : 
our Hindu women easily understand what chastity means, 
because it is their heritage. Now, first of all, intensify 
that ideal within them above everything else, so that they 
may develop a strong character by the force of which, 
in every stage of their lives, whether married, or single if 
they prefer to remain so, they will not be in the least afraid 
even to give up their lives rather than flinch an inch from 
their chastity. Is it little heroism to be able to sacrifice 
one's life for the sake of one's ideal, whatever that ideal 
may be ? Studying the present needs of the age, it seems 
imperative to train some of them up in the ideals of re- 
nunciation, SOL that they will take up the vow of lifelong 
virginity, fired with the strength of that virtue of chastity 
which is innate in their life-blood, from hoary antiquity. 
Along with that they should be taught sciences and other 
things which would be of benefit, not only to them but to 
others as well, and knowing this they would easily learn 
these things and feel pleasure in doing so. Our mother- 
land requires for her well-being some of her children to 
become such pure-souled Brahmacharins and Brahma- 

Q. In what way will that conduce to her well-being? 

Swamiji : By their example and through their en- 
deavours to hold the national ideal before the eyes of the 
people, a revolution in thoughts and aspirations will take 
place. How dp matters stand now? Somehow, the 


parents must dispose of a girl in marriage, if she be nine 
or ten years of age ! and what a rejoicing of the whole 
family if a child is born to her at the age of thirteen ! If 
the trend of such ideas is reversed, then there is some 
hope for the ancient Shraddhd to return. And what to 
talk of those who will practise Brahmacharya as defined 
above think how much Shraddha and faith in themselves 
will be theirs ! And what a power for good will they be ! 
The questioner now saluted Swamiji and was ready 
to take leave. Swamiji asked him to come now and then. 
* 'Certainly, Sir,** replied the gentleman. **I feel so much 
benefited, I have heard many new things from you, which 
I have not been told anywhere before." I also went home, 
as it was about time for dinner. 





[Sri Surendra Nath Sen, from private diary.] 

MONDAY, the 24th. January, 1898. 

In the afternoon I came again to Swamiji and saw 
quite a good gathering round him. The topic was the 
Madhura-Bhaixi or the way of worshipping God as hus- 
band, as in vogue with the followers of Sri Chaitanya. His 
occasional bon-mots were raising laughter, when someone 
remarked, "What is there to make so much fun of about 
the Lord's doings? Do you think that He was not a great 
Saint, and that He did not do everything for the good of 

Swamiji : Who is that ! Should I go to poke fun at 
you then, my dear sir ! You only see the fun of it ! do 


you? And you, sir, do not see the life-long straggle 
through which I have passed to mould this life after His 
burning ideal of renunciation of wealth and lust, and my 
endeavours to infuse that ideal into the people at large ! 
Sri Chaitanya was a man of tremendous renunciation and 
had nothing to do with woman and carnal appetites. But, 
in later times, His disciples admitted women into their 
order, mixed indiscriminately with them in His name, and 
made an awful mess of the whole thing. And the ideal 
of love which the Bh^tg^yan exemplified in His life was 
perfectly selfless and bere^t^of any yestige_pf lust; that sex- 
less love can never be the property of the masses. But 
the subsequent Vaishnava Gurus, instead of laying parti- 
cular stress first on the aspect of renunciation in the 
Master's life, bestowed all their zeal in preaching and in- 
fusing His ideal of love among the - masses, and the conse- 
quence was that the common people could not grasp and 
assimilate that high ideal of divine love, and naturally 
made of it the worst form of love between a man and 

Q. But, Sir, He preached the name of the Lord Hari 
to all, even to the Chandalas; so why should not the com- 
mon masses have a right to it? 

Swamiji : I am talking not of His preaching, but of 
His great ideal of love, the Radha-prema,* with which He 
used to remain intoxicated day and night, losing His in- 
dividuality in Radha. 

Q. Why may not that be made the common property 
of all? 

Swamiji : Look at this nation and see what has been 
the outcome of such an attempt. Through the preaching 
of that love broadcast, the whole nation has become 
effeminate, a race of women ! The whole of Orissa has 

7*The Divine Love which Radha had towards Sri Krishna as the 
Lord of the Universe. 


been turned into a land of cowards; and Bengal, running 
after the making of that Radha-prema common to all, these 
past four hundred years, has almost lost all sense of manli- 
ness ! The people are very good at crying and weeping 
only; that has become their national trait. Look at their 
literature, the sure index of a nation's thoughts and ideas. 
Why, the refrain of the Bengali literature for these four 
hundred years is strung to that same tune of moaning and 
crying. It has failed to give birth to any poetry which 
breathes a true heroic spirit ! 

Q. Who are then truly entitled to possess that Prema 

Swamiji : - There can be no loVe so long as ther6 is lust 
even a speck of it, as it were, in the heart. None but men 
of great renunciation, none but mighty giants among men 
have a right to that Love Divine. If that highest ideal of 
love is held out to be taken up by the common masses, it 
will indirectly tend to stimulate its worldly prototype which 
dominates the heart of man for, meditating on love to 
God by thinking oneself as His wife or inamorata, he 
would very likely be thinking most of the time of his wife, 
the result is too obvious to point out. 

Q. Then is it impossible for householders to realise 
God through that path of love, i. e., worshipping God as 
one's husband or lover and considering oneself as His 
spouse ? 

Swamiji : With a few exceptions; for ordinary house- 
holders it is so, no doubt of that. And why lay so much 
stress on this delicate path, above all others? Are there 
no other relationships by which to worship God, except 
this Madhura idea of love? Why not follow the four 
other paths, and take the name of the Lord with all your 
heart? Let the heart be opened first, and all else will 
follow of itself. But know this for certain, that Prema 
cannot come while there is lust. Why not try first to get 
rid of carnal desires? You will say, "How is that pos- 


sible? I am a householder." Nonsense ! Because one is 
a householder, does it mean that one should be a personi- 
fication of incontinence, or has to live maritalement all 
his life? And, after all, how unbecoming of a man to 
make of himself a woman, so that he may practise this 
Madhura love ! 

Q. True, Sir. Singing God's name in a party 
(Namakirtana) is an excellent help, and so pleasing withal. 
So say our scriptures, and so did Sri Chaitanya Deva also 
preach it to the masses. When the Khole (drum) is played 
upon, it makes the heart leap with such a transport that 
one feels inclined to dance. 

Swamiji : That is all right, but don't you think that 
Kirtana means dancing only. It means singing the glories 
of God, in whatever way that may be. That vehement 
stirring up of feeling and that dancing of the Vaishnavas 
are good and very catching no doubt, but there is also a 
danger in following them, from which you must save your- 
self. The danger lies here, in the reaction. As on the 
one hand, the feelings are at once roused to the highest 
pitch, tears flow from the eyes, the head reels as it were 
under intoxication, so on the other hand, as soon as the 
Sankirtana stops, that mass of feeling sinks down as preci- 
pitately as it rose. The higher the wave rises on the ocean, 
the lower it falls, with equal force. It is very difficult at 
that stage to contain oneself against the shock of reaction ; 
unless one has proper discrimination, one is likely to suc- 
cumb to the lower propensities of lust, etc. I have noticed 
the same thing in America also. Many would go to 
church, pray with much devotion, sing with great feeling, 
and even burst into tears when hearing the sermons; but 
after coming out of church, they would have a great re- 
action, and succumb to carnal tendencies. 

Q. Then, Sir, do instruct us which of the ideas 
preached by Sri Chaitanya we should take up as well-suited 
to us, so that we may not fall into errors ? 


Swamiji : Worship God with Bhakti tempered with 
Jnana. Keep the spirit of discrimination along with Bhakti. 
Besides this, gather from Sri Chaitanya, His heart, His 
loving-kindness to all beings, His burning passion for God, 
and make His renunciation the ideal of your life. 

The questioner now addressed the Swamiji with folded 
hands : "I beg your pardon, Sir. Now I come to see you 
are right. I could not at first understand the drift of your 
remarks, hence I took exception to them, seeing you 
criticise in a playful mood the Madhura love of the 

Swamiji : (Laughing and resuming his playful mood 
again) Well, see here, if we are to criticise at all, it is 
better to criticise God or God-men. If you abuse me 
1 shall very likely get angry with you, and if I abuse you, 
you will try to retaliate. Isn't it so? But God or God- 
men will never return evil for evil. 

The gentleman now left, after bowing down at the 
feet of Swamiji. I have already said, that such a gathering 
was an everyday occurrence when Swamiji used to stay 
in Calcutta. From early in the morning till eight or nine 
at night, men would flock to him at every hour of the day. 
This naturally occasioned much irregularity in the time of 
his taking his meals; so, many desiring to put a stop to 
this state of things, strongly advised Swamiji not to receive 
visitors except at appointed hours. But the loving heart 
of Swamiji, ever ready to go to any length to help others, 
was so melted with compassion at the sight of such a thirst 
for religion in the people, that in spite of ill health he did 
not comply with any request of the kind. His only reply 
was, **They take so much trouble to come walking all the 
way from their homes, and can I, for the consideration of 
risking my health a little, sit here and not speak a few 
words to them?'* 

At about 4 P.M. the general conversation came to a 
close, and the gathering dispersed, except for a few 


gentlemen with whom Swamiji continued his talk on 
different subjects, such as England and America, and so 
on. In the course of conversation he said : 

**I had a curious dream on my retiwm voyage from 
England. While our ship was passing through the Medi- 
terranean Sea, in my sleep, a very old and venerable- 
looking person, Rishi-like in appearance, stood before me 
and said, 'Do ye come and effect ou restoration. I am 
one of that ancient order of Theraputtas which had its 
origin in the teachings of the Indian Rishis. The truths 
and ideals preached by us hava been given out by 
Christians as taught by Jesus; or for the matter of that, 
there was no such personality of the name of Jesus ever 
born. Various eviSfences testifying tb thi fact will be 
brought to light by excavating here/ 'By excavating which 
place can those proofs and relics you speak of be found?* 
I asked. The hoary-headed one, pointing to a locality in 
the vicinity of Turkey, said, 'See here.* Immediately 
after, I woke up, and at once rushed to the upper deck and 
asked the Captain, 'What neighbourhood is the ship in, 
just now?* 'Look yonder,* the Captain replied, 'there is 
Turkey and the Island of Crete/ 

Was it but a dream, or is there anything in the above 
vision ? Who knows ! 











[Sri Priya Nath Sinha.] 

Our house was very close to Swamiji's, and being boys 
of the same section of the town, I and oth^r boys often 
used to play with him. From my boyhood I had a special 
attraction for him, and I had a sincere belief that he would 
become a great man. When he became a Sannyasin we 
thought that the promise of a brilliant career for such a 
man was all in vain. 

Afterwards, when he went to America, I read in news- 
papers reports of his lectures at the Chicago Parliament of 
Religions and of others delivered in various places of 
America, and I thought that fire can never remain hidden 
under a cloth ; the fire that was within Swamiji has now 
burst into a flame; the bud after so many years has 

After a time I came to know that he had returned to 
India, and had been delivering fiery lectures at Madras. 
I read them and wondered that such sublime truths existed 
in the Hindu religion and that they could be explained so 
lucidly* What an extraordinary power he has! Is he a 
man or a god? 

A great enthusiasm prevailed when Swamiji came to 
Calcutta, and we followed him to the Sil's garden-house, 
on the Ganges, at Cossipore. A few days later, at the 
residence of Raja Radhakanta Dev, the 'Calcutta boy* 


delivered an inspiring lecture to a huge concourse of people 
in reply to an address of welcome, and Calcutta heard him 
for the first time and was lost in admiration. But these 
are facts known to all. 

After his coming to Calcutta, I was very anxious to 
see him once alone and be able to talk freely with him as 
in our boyhood. But there was always a gathering of 
eager inquirers about him, and conversations were going 
on without a break; so I did not get an opportunity for 
some time until one day when we went for a walk in the 
garden on the Ganges side. He at once began to talk, 
as of old, to me, the playmate of his boyhood. No sooner 
had a few words passed between us than repeated calls 
came, informing him that many gentlemen had come to 
see him. He became a little impatient at last and told 
the messenger, "Give me a little respite, my son; let me 
speak a few words with this companion of my boyhood; 
let me stay in the open air for a while. Go and give a 
welcome to those who have come, ask them to sit down, 
offer them tobacco and request them to wait a little." 

When we were alone again I asked him, "Well, 
Swamiji, you are a Sadhu. Money was raised by subscrip- 
tion for your reception here, and I thought, in view of the 
famine in this country, that you would wire, before arriving 
in Calcutta, saying, 'Don't spend a single pice on my re- 
ception, rather contribute the whole sum to the famine 
relief fund'; but 1 found that you did nothing of the kind. 
How was that?" 

Swamiji : Why, I wished rather that a great enthu- 
siasm should be stirred up, making me its centre. Don't 
you see, without some such thing how would the 
people be drawn towards Sri Ramakrishna and be fired 
in his name? Was this ovation done for me personally, 
or was not his name glorified by this? See, how much 
thirst has been created in the minds of men to know about 
him! From this time they will come to know of him 


gradually, and will not that be conducive to the good of 
the country? If the people do not know him who came 
for the welfare of the country, how can good befall them ? 
When they know what he really was, then MEN real 
men will be made, and when there be such MEN, how 
long will it take to drive away famines, etc., from the 
land? So I say, that I rather desired that there should be 
some bustle and stir in Calcutta, and a huge meeting be 
convened, making me its centre, so that the public may 
be inclined to believe in the mission of Sri Ramakrishna; 
otherwise what was the use of making so much fuss for 
my sake? What do I care for it? Have I become any 
greater now than when I used to play with you at your 
house? I am the same now as I was before. Tell me, 
do you find any change in me? 

Though I said, "No, I do not find much change to 
speak of/* yet in my mind I thought, **You have now, in- 
deed, become a god." 

Swamiji continued : "Famine has come to be a con- 
stant quantity in our country, and now it is, as it were, 
a sort of blight upon us. Do you find in any other country 
such frequent ravages of famine? No, because there are 
men in other countries, while in ours, men have become 
akin to dead matter, quite inert. Let the people first learn 
to renounce their selfish nature by studying him, by know- 
ing him as he really was, and then will proceed from 
them real efforts trying to stop the frequently recurring 
famines. By and by 1 shall make efforts in that direction 
too, you will see." 

Myself : That will be good. Then you are going to 
deliver many lectures here, I presume; otherwise, how will 
his name be preached ? 

Swamiji : What nonsense ! Nothing of the kind ! 
Has anything been left undone by which his name can 
be known? Enough has been done in that line. Lectures 
won't do any good in this country. Our educated 


countrymen would hear them, and at best, would cheer and 
clap their hands saying 'well-done'; that is all. Then they 
would go home and digest, as we say, everything they 
have heard, with their meal I What good will hammering 
do on a piece of rusty old iron? It will only crumble into 
pieces. First, it should be made red-hot and then it can 
be moulded into any shape by hammering. Nothing will 
avail in our country without setting a glowing and living 
example before them. What we want are some young 
men who will renounce everything and sacrifice their lives 
for their country's sake. We should first form their lives 
and then some real work can be expected. 

Myself : Well, Swamiji, it has always puzzled me 
that, while men of our country, unabfe to understand their 
own religion, were embracing alien religions, such as 
Christianity, Mahommedanism, etc.,. you, instead of doing 
anything for them, went over to England and America to 
preach Hinduism. 

Swamiji : Don't you see, the thing is, that circum- 
stances have changed now. Have the men of our country 
the power left in them to take up and practise true reli- 
gion? What they have is only pride in themselves that 
they are very Sattvika. Time was when they were Sattvika, 
no doubt, but now they have fallen very low. The fall 
from Sattva brings one down headlong into Tamas ! That 
is what has happened to them. Do you think that one 
who does not exert himself at all, who only takes the name 
of Hari, shutting himself up in a room, who remains quiet 
and indifferent even when seeing a huge amount of wrong 
and violence done to others before his very eyes, possesses 
the quality of Sattva? Nothing of the kind, he is only 
enshrouded in dark Tamas. How can the people of a 
country practise religion, who do not get even sufficient 
Food to appease their hunger? How can renunciation 
come to the people of a country, in whose minds the 
desires of Bhoga (enjoyment) have not been in the least 


satisfied? For this reason, find out, first of all, the ways 
and means by which men may get enough to eat, and have 
enough luxuries to enable them enjoy life a little; and then 
gradually, true Vairagyam (dispassion) will come, and they 
will be fit and ready to realise religion in life. The people 
of England and America, how full of Rajas they are! 
They have become satiated with all sorts of worldly 
Bhogas. Moreover, Christianity being a religion of faith, 
and superstitious, occupies the same rank as our religion 
of the Pur anas. With the spread of education and cul- 
ture, the people of the West can no more find peace in 
that. Their present condition is such that, giving them one 
lift will make them reach the Sattva. Then again, in these 
days, would you accept the words of a Sannyasin clad in 
rags, in the same degree as you would the words of a white- 
face (Westerner), who might come and speak to you on 
your own religion? 

Myself : Just so, MahSmj ! Mr. N. N. Ghose* also 
speaks exactly to the same effect. 

Swamiji : Yes, when my Western disciples after 
acquiring proper training and illumination will come in 
numbers here and ask you, "What are you all doing? why 
are you of so little faith? how are your rites and religion, 
manners, customs and morals in any way inferior? and we 
even regard your religion to be the highest," then, you 
will see that lots of our big and influential folks will hear 
them. Thus they will be able to do immense good to this 
country. Do not think for a moment that they will come 
to take up the position of teachers of religion to you. They 
will, no doubt, be your Guru regarding practical sciences, 
etc., for the improvement of material conditions, and the 
people of our country will be their Guru in everything per- 
taining to religion. This relation of Guru and disciple in 

*A celebrated barrister, journalist and educationist of Calcutta,, 
since dead. 


the domain of religion will for ever exist between India 
and the rest of the world. 

Myself : How can that be, Swamiji > Considering the 
feeling of hatred with which they look upon us, it does not 
seem probable that they will ever do good to us, purely 
from an unselfish motive. 

Swamiji : They find many reasons to hate us, and so 
they may justify themselves in doing so. In the first place, 
we -are a conquered race, and moreover there is nowhere 
in the world such a nation of mendicants as we are ! The 
masses which comprise the lowest castes, through ages of 
constant tyranny of the higher castes and by being 
treated by them with blows and kicks at every step they 
took, have totally lost their manliness and become like 
professional beggars; and those who are removed one 
stage higher than these, having read a few pages of English, 
hang about on the thresholds of public offices, with peti- 
tions in their hands. In the case of a post of twenty or 
thirty rupees falling vacant, five hundred B. A.'s and 
M. A/s will apply for it! And, dear me! how curiously 
worded these petitions are ! such as "1 have nothing to 
eat at home, Sir, my wife and children are starving; I mo$t 
humbly implore you, Sir, to give me some means to provide 
for myself and my family, or we shall die of starvation !" 
Even when they enter into service, they cast all self-respect 
to the winds, and servitude in its worst form is what they 
practise. Such is the condition, then, of the masses. The 
highly-educated, prominent men among you, form them- 
selves into societies and clamour at the top of their voices, 
"Alas, India is going to ruin, day by day! O English 
rulers, admit our countrymen to the higher offices of the 
State, relieve us from famines," and so on, thus rending the 
air, day and night, with the eternal cry of "Give" and 
"Give" ! The burden of all their speech is, "Give to us, 
give mpre to us, O Englishmen !" Dear me ! what more 
will they give to you? They have given railways, tele- 


graphs* well-ordered administration to the country have 
almost entirely suppressed robbers, have given education 
in science, what more will they give? What does any- 
one give to others with perfect unselfishness? Well, they 
have given you so much; let me ask, what have you given 
to them in return? 

Myself : What have we to give, Maharaj? We pay 

Swamiji : Do you, really? Do you give taxes to 
them of your own will, or do they exact them by compul- 
sion because they keep peace in the country? Tell me 
plainly, what do you give them in return for all that they 
have done for you ? You also have something to give them 
that they have not. You go to England, but that is also 
in the garb of a beggar, praying for education. Some go 
and what they do there at the most, is, perchance, to ap- 
plaud the Westerner's religion in some speeches and then 
come back; what an achievement, indeed ! Why ! Have 
you nothing to give them? An inestimable treasure you 
have, which you can give, give them your religion, give 
them your philosophy ! Study the history of the whole 
world and you will see, that every high ideal you meet 
with anywhere had its origin in India. From time im- 
memorial India has been the mine of precious ideas to 
human society; giving birth to high ideas herself, she has 
freely distributed them broadcast over the whole world. 
The English are in India to-day, to gather those higher 
ideals, to acquire a knowledge of the Vedanta, to pene- 
trate into the deep mysteries of that eternal religion which 
is yours. Give those invaluable gems in exchange for what 
you receive from them. The Lord took me to their coun- 
try to remove this opprobrium of the beggar that is 
attributed by them to us. It is not right to go to England 
for the purpose of begging only. Why should they always 
give us alms ? Does anyone do so for ever ? It is not the 
law of nature to be always taking gifts with outstretched 


hands like beggars. To give and take is the law of nature. 
Any individual or class or nation that does not obey this 
law, never prospers in life. We also must follow that law. 
That is why I went to America. So great is now the thirst 
for religion in the people there, that there is room enough 
even if thoussands of men like me go. They have been for 
a long time giving you of what wealth they possess, and 
now is the time for you to share your priceless treasure 
with them. And you will see how their feelings of hatred 
will be quickly replaced by those of faith, devotion and 
reverence towards you, and how they will do good to your 
country even unasked. They are a nation of heroes, 
never do they forget any good done to them. 

Myself : Well, Maharaj, in your lectures in the West 
you have frequently and eloquently dwelt on our character- 
istic talents and virtues, and many convincing proofs you 
have put forward to show our whole-souled love of reli- 
gion; but now you say that we have become full of Tamas; 
and at the same time you are accrediting us as the teachers 
of the eternal religion of the Rishis, to the world ! How 
is that? 

Swamiji : Do you mean to say, that I should go about 
from country to country, expatiating on your failings before 
the public? Should I not rather hold up before them the 
characteristic virtues that mark you as a nation? It is 
always good to tell a man his defects in a direct way and 
in a friendly spirit to make him convinced of them, so that 
he may correct himself, but you should trumpet forth his 
virtues before others. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that 
if you repeatedly tell a bad man that he is good, he turns 
in time to be good; similarly, a good man becomes bad 
if he is incessantly called so. There, in the West, I have 
said enough to the people of their shortcomings. Mind, 
up to my time, all who went over to the West from our 
country, have sung paeans to them in praise of their virtues 
and have trumpeted out only our blemishes to their ears. 


Consequently, it is no wonder that they have learnt to hate 
us. For this reason I have laid before them your virtues, 
and pointed out to them their vices, just as I am now 
telling you of your weaknesses and their good points. 
However full of Tamas you might have become, something 
of the nature of the ancient Rishis, however little it may 
be, is undoubtedly in you still at least the framework of 
it. But that does not show that one should be in a hurry 
to take up at once the role of a teacher of religion and go 
over to the West to preach it. First of all, one must com- 
pletely mould his religious life in solitude, must be perfect 
in renunciation and must preserve Brahmacharya without 
a break. The Tamas has entered into you, what of that> 
Cannot the Tamas be destroyed ? It can be done in less 
than no time ! It was for the destruction of this Tamas 
that Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna came to us. 

Myself : But who can aspire to be like you, Swamiji? 

Swamiji : Do you think that there will be no more 
Vivekanandas after I die ! That batch of young men who 
came and played music before me a little while ago, whom 
you all despise for being addicted to intoxicating drugs and 
look upon as worthless fellows, if the Lord wishes, each 
and everyone of them may become a Vivekananda ! 
There will be no lack of Vivekanandas, if the world needs 
them, thousands and millions of Vivekanandas will ap- 
pear from where, who knows ! Know for certain, that 
the work done by me is not the work of Vivekananda, it 
is His work, the Lord's own work! If one Governor- 
General retires, another is sure to be sent in his place by 
the Emperor. Enveloped in Tamas however much you 
may be, know, all that will clear away if you take refuge 
in Him by being sincere to the core of your heart. The 
time is opportune now, as the physician of the world- 
disease has come. Taking His name if you set yourself 
to work, He will accomplish everything Himself through 

V R 


you. Tamas itself will be transformed into the highest 
Sattva ! 

Myself : Whatever you may say, I cannot bring my- 
self to believe in these words. Who can come by that 
oratorical power of expounding philosophy, as you have ? 

Swamiji :-p-You don't know ! That power may come 
to all. That ^ power comes to him who observes unbroken 
Brahmacharya for a period of twelve years, with the sole 
object of realising God. I have practised that kind of 
Brahmacharya myself, and so a screen has been removed, 
as it wei<% from my brain. For that reason, I need not any 
more think over or prepare myself for any lectures on such 
a subtle subject as philosophy. Suppose, I have to lecture 
to-morrow; it so happens, all that I shall speak about will 
pass to-night before my eyes like so many pictures; and 
the next day I put into words during my lecture all those 
things that I saw. So, you will understand now, that it 
is not any power which is exclusively my own. Whoever 
will practise unbroken Brahmacharya for twelve years, will 
surely have it. If you do so, you too will get it. Our 
Shastras do not say that only such and such a person will 
get it and not others I 

Myself : Do you remember, Maharaj, one day, before 

you took Sannyasa, we were sitting in the house of , 

and you were trying to explain the mystery of Samadhi to 
us. And when I called in question the truth of your words, 
saying that Samadhi was not possible in this Kali Yuga, 
you emphatically demanded : "Do you want to see 
Samadhi or to have it yourself? I get Samadhi myself, 
and I can make you have it 1" No sooner had you finished 
saying so than a stranger came up and we did not pursue 
that subject any further. 

Swamiji : Yes, I remember the occasion. 

Later, on my pressing him to make me get Samadhi, 
he said, "You see, having continually lectured and worked 
hard for several years, the quality of Rajas has become too 


predominant in me. Hence, that power is lying covered, 
as it were, in me now. If I leave all work and go to the 
Himalayas and medijtate in solitude for some time, then 
that power will again come out in me/' 




[Sri Priya Nath Sinha.] 

A day or two later, as I was coming out of my house 
intending to pay a visit to Swamiji, I met two of my friends 
who expressed a wish to accompany me, as they wanted 
to ask Swamiji something about Pranayama. As I had 
heard, that one should not visit a temple or a Sannyasin 
without taking something as an offering, we took some 
fruit and sweets with us, and placed them before him. 
Swamiji took them in his hands, raised them to his head, 
and bowed to us before even we made our obeisance to 
him. One of the two friends with me, had been a fellow- 
student of his. Swamiji recognised him at once and asked 
about his health and welfare. Then he made us sit down 
by him. There were many others there who had come to 
see and hear him. After replying to a few questions put 
by some of the gentlemen, Swamiji in the course of his 
conversation, began to speak about Pranayama. First of 
all he explained through modern science the origin of 
matter from the mind, and then went on to show what 
Pranayama is. All three of us had carefully read before- 
hand his book called, " Raja- Yoga." But from what we 
heard from him that day about Pranayama, it seemed to 
me that very little of the knowledge that was in him had 
been recorded in that book. I understood also that what 


he said was not mere book-learning, for who could explain 
so lucidly and elaborately all the intricate problems of reli- 
gion, even with the help of science, without himself realis- 
ing the Truth ? 

His conversation on Pranayama went on from half 
past three o'clock till half past seven in the evening. 
When the meeting dissolved and we came away, my com- 
panions asked me, how Swamiji could have known the 
questions that were in their hearts, and whether 1 had com- 
municated him their desire for asking those questions. 

A few days after this occasion, I saw Swamiji in the 
house of the late Priya Nath Mukherjee, at Baghbazar. 
There were present Sw&mi Brahmananda, Swami Yog- 
ananda, Mr. G. C. Chose, Atul Babu and one or two other 
friends. I said : "Well, Swamiji, the two gentlemen who 
went to see you the other day, wanted to ask you some 
questions about Pranayama, which had been raised in 
their minds by reading your book on Raja-Yoga, some- 
time before you returned to this country, and they had 
then told me of them. But that day, before they asked 
you anything about them you yourself raised those doubts 
that had occurred to them, and solved them ! They were 
very much surprised, and inquired of me if I had let you 
know of their doubts beforehand." Swamiji replied: 
"Similar occurrences having come to pass many times in 
the West, people often used to ask me, 'How could you 
know the questions that were agitating my mind?' This 
knowledge does not happen to me so often, but with Sri 
Ramakrishna it was almost always there." 

In this connection Atul Babu asked him, "You have 
said in 'Raja- Yoga,' that one can come to know all about 
his previous births. Do you know them yourself?" 

Swamiji : Yes, I do. 

Atul Babu : What do you know, have you any objec- 
tion to say? 


Swamiji : I can know them I do know them but 
1 prefer not to say anything in detail. 


[Sri Priya Nath Sinha.] 

It was an evening in July, 1898, at the Math, in 
Nilambar Mukerjee's garden-house, Belur. Swamiji with 
all his disciples had been meditating, and at its close came 
out and sat in one of the rooms. As it was raining hard 
and a cold wind blowing, he shut the door, and began to 
sing to the accompaniment of Tanpixr&. The singing 
being over, a long conversation on music followed. Swami 
Shivananda asked him : ''What is Western music like?" 

Swamiji : Oh, it is very good; there is in it a perfec- 
tion of harmony, which we have not attained. Only, to 
our untrained ears it does not sound well, hence we do not 
like it, and we think that the singers howl like jackals. 
I also had the same sort of impression, but when I began 
to listen to their music with attention and study it minutely, 
I came more and more to understand it and I was lost in 
admiration. Such is the case with every art. In glancing 
at a highly finished painting we cannot understand where 
its beauty lies. Moreover, unless the eye is, to a certain 
extent, trained, one cannot appreciate the subtle touches 
and blendings, the inner genius of a work of art. What 
real music we have, lies in Kirtan and Dhrupad, the rest 
has been spoiled by being modulated according to the 
Islamic methods. Do you think that singing the short and 
light airs of Tappa songs in a nasal voice, and flitting like 
lightning from one note to another by fits and starts, are 
the best things in the world of music? Not so. Unless 


each note is given full play in every scale, all the science 
of music is marred. In painting, by keeping in touch with 
Nature you can make it as artistic as you like; there is no 
harm in doing that, and the result will be nothing but good. 
Similarly, in music, you can display any amount of skill 
by keeping to science and it will be pleasing to the ear. 
The Mahommedans took up the different Rags and 
Raginis f only arter coming into India. But they put such 
a stamp of their own colouring on the art of Tappd songs, 
that all the science in music was destroyed, 

Q.- Why, Maharaj? Who has not a liking for music 
in Tappa? 

Swamiji : The chirping of crickets sounds very good 
to some. The Santals think their music also to be the 
best of all. You do not seem to understand that when one 
note comes upon another in such quick succession, it not 
only robs music of all grace but, on the other hand, creates 
discordance rather. Do not the permutation and combi- 
nation of the seven keynotes form one or other of the 
different melodies of music, known as Rags and R&ginis? 
Now, in Tappet, if one slurs over a whole melody (Rdg) 
and creates a new tune, and over and above that, if the 
voice is raised to the highest pitch by tremulous modula- 
tion, say, how can its own Rag be kept intact? Again, 
the poetry of music is completely destroyed if there be in 
it such profuse use of light and short strains just for effect. 
To sing, by keeping to the idea meant to be conveyed by 
a song, had totally disappeared from our country when 
Tappets came into vogue. Nowadays, it seems, it is re- 
viving a little, with the improvement in theatres, but, on 
the other hand, all regard for R&gs and Raginis is being 
more and more flung to the winds. 

Accordingly, to those who are past-masters in the art 
of singing Dhrupad, it is painful to hear Tapp&s. But in 
our music, the cadence, or a duly regulated rise and fall 
of voice or sound, is very good. The French detected 


and appreciated this trait first, and tried to adapt and 
introduce it in their music. After their doing this, the 
whole of Europe has now thoroughly mastered it. 

Q Maharaj, their music seems to be pre-eminently 
martial, whereas that element appears to be altogether 
absent in ours. 

Swamiji : Oh, no, we have it also. In martial tune, 
harmony is greatly needed. We sadly lack harmony, 
hence it does not show itself so much. Our music was 
improving well and steadily. But when the Mahom- 
medans came, they took possession of it in such a way 
that the tree of music could grow no further. Their 
(Westerners') music is much advanced. They have the 
sentiment of pathos as well as of heroism in their music, 
which is as it should be. But our antique musical instru- 
ment made with the gourd has been no further improved. 

Q. Which of the Rags and Rdginis are martial in 

Swamiji: Every Rag may be made martial, if it is 
set in harmony and the instruments tuned accordingly. 
Some of the Raginis can be done likewise. 

The conversation was then closed, as it was time for 
supper. After supper, Swamiji enquired as to the sleeping 
arrangements for the guests who had come from Calcutta 
to the Math to pass the night, and he then retired to his 














[Sri* Priya Nath Sinha.] 

It was about two years after the new Math had been 
constructed and while all the Swamis were living there, 
that I came one morning to pay a visit to my Guru. Seeing 
me, Swamiji smiled and after inquiring of my welfare, etc., 
said, "You are going to stay to-day, are you not?" 

"Certainly/* 1 said, and after various inquiries I asked, 
"Well, Maharaj, what is your idea of educating our boys ?' * 

Swamiji : ^JWWTO: Living with the Guru. 

Question : How? 

Swamiji : In the same way as of old. But with this 
education has to be combined modern Western science. 
Both these are necessary. 

Q. Why, what is the defect in the present University 
System ? 

Swamiji : It is almost wholly one of defects. Why, 
it is nothing but a perfect machine for turning out clerks. 
I would even thank my stars if that were all. But no I See 
how men are becoming destitute of Shraddha and faith. 


They would assert that the Gita was only an interpolation, 
and that the Vedas were but rustic songs ! They would 
like to master every detail concerning things and nations 
outside of India, but, if you ask them they do not know 
even the names of their own forefathers up to the seventh 
generation, not to speak of the fourteenth ! 

Q. But what does that matter? What if they do not 
know the names of their forefathers? 

Swamiji : Don't think that. A nation that has no 
history of its own has nothing in this world. Do you 
believe that one who has such faith and pride as to feel, 
**I come of such noble descent," can ever turn out to be 
bad? How could that be? That faith in himself would 
curb his actions and feelings, so much so that he would 
rather die than commit wrong. So, a national history 
keeps a nation well-restrained, and does not 
allow it to sink so lo,w. O ! I know you will say, 
but we have not such a history. No, there is not any, 
according to those who think like you. Neither is there 
any, according to your big University scholars ; and so also 
think those, who having travelled in the West in one great 
rush, come back dressed in European style and assert, 
44 We have nothing, we are barbarians." Of course we 
have no history exactly like that of other countries. Sup- 
pose, we take rice and the Englishmen do not. Would you 
for that reason imagine that they all die of starvation, and 
are going to be exterminated? They live quite well on 
what they can easily procure or produce in their own 
country and is suited to them. Similarly, we have our own 
history exactly as it ought to have been for us. Will that 
history be made extinct by shutting your eyes and crying, 
Alas! we have no history!" Those who have eyes to 
see, find a luminous history there, and by the strength of 
that they know, the nation is still alive. But that history 
has to be rewritten. It should be restated and suited to 
the understanding and ways of thinking, which our men 


have acquired in the present age, through Western educa- 

Q.- How has that to be done? 

Swamiji : That is too big a subject for a talk now. 
However, to bring that about, the old institution of 'living 
with the Guru/ and such like systems of imparting educa- 
tion are needed. What we want are, Western science 
coupled with Vedanta, Brahmacharya as the guiding motto, 
and also Shraddha and faith in one's own self. Another 
thing that we want is the abolition of that system which 
aims at educating our boys in the same manner as that of 
the maia who battered his ass, being advised that it could 
thereby be turned into a horse. 

Q. What do you mean by that? 

Swamiji : You see, no one can teach anybody. The 
teacher spoils everything by thinking that he is teaching. 
Thus the Vedanta says, that within man is all knowledge 
even in a boy it is so and it requires only an awakening, 
and that much is the work of a teacher. We have to do 
only so much for the boys, that they may learn to apply 
their own intellect to the proper use of their hands, legs, 
ears, eyes, etc., and finally everything will become easy. 
But the root thing is religion. Religion is as the rice, and 
everything else, like the curries. Taking only curries 
causes indigestion, and so is the case with taking rice alone. 
They are making parrots of them, and ruining their brains 
by cramming a lot of subjects into them. Looking from 
one standpoint, you should rather be grateful to the 
Viceroy* for his proposal of reforming the University 
System, which means practically abolishing the Higher 
Education the country will, at least, feel some relief by 
having breathing time. Goodness gracious ! what a fuss 

* Lord Curzon, who took steps to raise the standard of University 
education so high, as to make it too expensive and almost inaccessible 
to boys of the middle classes. 


and fury about graduating, and after a few days all cooled 
down ! And after all that, what is it they learn, but that 
what religion and customs we have are all bad, and what 
the Westerners have are all good ! At last, they cannot 
keep the wolf from the door I What does it matter if this 
Higher Education remains or goes? It would be better if 
the people got a little Technical education so that ihey 
might find work and earn their bread, instead of dawdling 
about and crying for service. 

Q. Yes, the Marwaris are wiser as they do not accept 
service and most of them engage themselves in some trade. 

Swamiji : Nonsense ! They are on the way to bring 
ruin to the country. They have little understanding 
of their own interests. You are much better, as 
you have more of an eye towards manufactures. 
If the money that they lay out in their business 
and with which they make only a small percentage of 
profit, were utilised in conducting a few factories and 
workshops, instead of filling the pockets of Europeans by 
letting them reap the benefit of most of the transactions, 
then, it will not only conduce to the well-being of the 
country but will bring by far the greater amount of profit 
to them, as well. It is only the Cabulis who do not care 
for service the spirit of independence is in their very bone 
and marrow. Propose to anyone of them to take service, 
and you will see what follows ! 

Q. Well, Maharaj, in case the Higher Education is 
abolished, will not the men become as stupid as cows, as 
they were before ? 

Swamiji : What nonsense ! Can ever a lion become 
a jackal ? What do you mean ? Is it ever possible for the 
sons of the land that has nourished the whole world with 
knowledge from time immemorial, to turn as stupid as 
cows, because of the abolition of Higher Education by 
Lord Curzon ? 


Q. But think, what our people were before the 
advent of the English, and what they are now. 

Swamiji : Does Higher Education mean mere study 
of material sciences and turning out things of everyday 
use by machinery? The use of Higher Education is to 
find out how to solve the problems of life, and this is what 
is engaging the profound thought of the modern civilised 
world, but which was solved in our country thousands of 
years ago. 

Q. But your Vedanta also was about to disappear? 

Swamiji : It might be so. In the efflux of time the 
light of Vedanta now and then seems as if about to be 
extinguished, and when that happens, the Lord has to 
incarnate Himself in this human body; He then infuses 
such life and strength into religion that it goes on again for 
some time with irresistible vigour. That life and strength 
has come into it again. 

Q. What proof is there, Maharaj, that India has 
freely contributed her knowledge to the rest of the world ? 

Swamiji : History itself bears testimony to the fact. 
All the soul-elevating ideas and the different branches of 
knowledge that exist in the world, are found out by proper 
investigation to have their roots in India. 

Aglow with enthusiasm Swamiji dwelt at length on 
this topic. His health was very bad at the time, and more- 
over owing to the intense heat of summer he was feeling 
thirsty and drinking water too often. At last he saidi 
"Dear Singhi, get a glass of iced water for me please, I 
shall explain everything to you clearly.'^ After drinking 
the iced water he began afresh. 

Swamiji : What we need, you know, is to study, in- 
dependent of foreign control, different branches of the 
knowledge that is our own, and with it the English 
language, and Western science ; we need technical educa- 
tion, and all else which may develop the industries, so that 
men, instead of seeking for service, may earn enough to 


provide for themselves, and save something against a rainy 

Q. What were you going to say the other day about 
the Tol (Sanskrit boarding school) system? 

Swamiji : Haven't you read the stories from the 
Upanishads? I will tell you one. Satyakama went to live 
the life of a Brahmacharin with his Guru. The Guru gave 
into his charge some cows and sent him away to the forest 
with them. Many months passed by, and when Satya- 
kama saw that the number of cows were doubled he thought 
of returning to his Guru. On his way back, one of the 
bulls, the fire, and some animals gave him instructions 
about the Highest Brahman. When the disciple came 
back, the Guru at once saw by a mere glance at his face 
that the disciple had learnt the knowledge of the Supreme 
Brahman. Now, the moral this story is meant to teach is, 
that true education is gained by constant living in com- 
munion with Nature. 

Knowledge should be acquired in that way, otherwise 
by educating yourself in the Tol of a Pandit you will be 
only a human ape all your life. One should live from his 
very boyhood with one whose character is like a blazing 
fire, and should have before him a living example of the 
highest teaching. Mere reading that it is a sin to tell a 
lie, will be of no use. Every boy should be trained to 
practise absolute Brahmacharya, and then, and then only, 
faith and Shraddha will come. Otherwise, why will not 
one who has no Shraddha and faith speak an untruth? 
In our country, the imparting of knowledge has always 
been through men of renunciation. Later, the Pandits, 
by monopolisihg all knowledge and restricting it to the 
Tols, have only brought the country to the brink of ruin. 
India had all good prospects so long as Tyagis (men of 
renunciation) used to impart knowledge. 

Q. What do you mean, Maharaj? There are no 


Sannyasins in other countries, but see how by dint of their 
knowledge India is laid prostrate under their feet ! 

Swamiji : Don't talk nonsense, my dear, hear what 
I say. India will have to carry others' shoes for ever on 
her head if the charge of imparting knowledge to her sons 
does not again fall upon the shoulders of Ty&gis. Don't 
you know how an illiterate boy, possessed of renunciation, 
turned the heads of your great old Pandits? Once at the 
Dakshinesvar Temple the Brahman who was in charge of 
the worship of Vishnu broke a leg of the image. Pandits 
were brought together at a meeting to give their opinions, 
and they after consulting old books and manuscripts de- 
clared, that the worship of this broken image could not be 
sanctioned according to the Shastras and a new image 
would have to be consecrated. There was, consequently, 
a great stir. Sri Ramakrishna was called at last. He heard 
and asked, "Does a wife forsake her husband in case he 
becomes lame?" What followed? The Pandits were 
struck dumb, all their Shastric commentaries and learned 
comments could not withstand the force of this simple state- 
ment. If that were true, why should Sri Ramakrishna come 
down to this earth, and why should he discourage mere 
book-learning so much ? That new life-force which he 
brought with him has to be instilled into learning and 
education, and then the real work will be done. 

Q. But that is easier said than done. 

Swamiji : Had it been easy, it would not have been 
necessary for him to come. What you have to do now 
is to establish a Math in every town and in every village. 
Can you do that ? Do something at least. Start a big Math 
in the heart of Calcutta. A well-educated Sddhu should 
be at the head of that centre and under him there should 
be departments for teaching practical science and arts, with 
a specialist Sannyasin in charge of each of these depart- 

Q, Where will you get such Sadhus? 


Swamiji : We have to make and manufacture them. 
So, I always say that some young men with burning 
patriotism and renunciation are needed. None can master 
a thing perfectly in so short a time as the Tyagis will. 

'After a short silence Swamiji said, "Singhi, there are 
so many things left to be done for our country that thou- 
sands like you and me are needed. What will mere talk 
do? See, to what a miserable condition the country is 
reduced; now do something ! We haven't even got a 
single book well suited for the little boys. 

Q. Why, there are so many books of Ishwar Chandra 
Vidyasagar, for the boys? 

No sooner had I said this than he laughed out and 
said : Yes, there you read "Ishvar Nirakar Chaitanya 
Svarup" (God is without form and of the essence of pure 
knowledge); "Dubai ati subodh balak" (Dubai is a very 
good, intelligent boy), and so on, that won't do. We 
must compile some books in Bengali as well as in English 
with short stories from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and 
the Upanishads, etc., in very easy and simple language, 
and these are to be given to our little boys to read. 

It was about eleven o'clock by this time. The sky 
became suddenly overcast and a cold wind began to blow. 
Swamiji was greatly delighted at the prospect of rain. He 
got up and said, "Let us, Singhi, have a stroll by the side 
of the Ganges." We did so and he recited many stanzas 
from Meghaduta of Kalidasa, but the one undercurrent of 
thought that was all the time running through his mind was, 
the good of India. He exclaimed, "Look here, Singhi, 
can you do one thing? Can you put a stop to the marriage 
of our boys for some time?*' 

I said, "Well, Maharaj, how can we think of that, when 
the Babus are trying, on the other hand, all sorts of means 
to make marriage cheaper." 

Swamiji : Don't trouble your head on that score; who 
can stem the tide of time ! All such agitations will end 


in empty sound, that is all. The dearer the marriages 
become, the better for the country. What a hurry-scurry 
of passing examinations and marrying right off ! It seems 
as if no one is to be left a bachelor, but it is just the same 
thing again, next year ! 

After a short silence, Swamiji again said, "If I can get 
some unmarried graduates, I may try to send them over to 
Japan and make arrangements for their technical educa- 
tion there, so that when they come back, they may turn 
their knowledge to the best account for India. What a 
good thing will that be ! 

Q. Why, Maharaj, is it better for us to go to Japan 
than to England ? 

Swamiji : Certainly ! In my opinion, if all our rich 
and educated men once go and see Japan, their eyes will 
be opened. 


Swamiji : There, in Japan, you find a fine assimilation 
of knowledge, and not its indigestion as we have here. 
They have taken everything from the Europeans, but they 
remain Japanese all the same, and have not turned Euro- 
pean; while in our country, the terrible mania of becoming 
Westernised has seized upon us like a plague. 

I said, "Maharaj! I have seen some Japanese paint- 
ings; one cannot but marvel at their art. Its inspiration 
seems to be something which ia their own, and beyond 

Swamiji : Quite so. They are great as a nation 
because of their art. Don't you see they are Asiatics, as 
we are; and though we have lost almost everything, yet 
what we still have is wonderful. The very soul of the 
Asiatic is woven with art. The Asiatic never uses a thing 
unless there be art in it. Don't you know that art is, with 
us, a part of religion? How greatly is a lady admired 
among us, who can nicely paint the floors and walls, on 


auspicious occasions, with the paste of rice-powder I HOW 
great an artist was Sri Ramakrishna himself ! 

Q. The English art is also good, is it not? 

Swamiji : What a stupid fool you are ! But what is 
the use of. blaming you, when that seems to be the pre- 
vailing way of thinking ! Alas, to such a state is our 
country reduced ! The people will look upon their own 
gold as brass, while the brass of the foreigner is gold to 
them 1 This is, indeed, the magic wrought by modern 
education ! Know, that since the time Europeans have 
come into contact with Asia, they are trying to infuse art 
into their own life. 

Myself : If others hear you talk like this, Maharaj, they 
will think that you take a pessimistic view of things. 

Swamiji : Naturally ! What else can they think, who 
move in a rut ! How I wish I could show you everything 
through my eyes ! Look at their buildings, how common- 
place, how meaningless, they are ! Look at those big 
government buildings; can you, just by seeing their out- 
sides, make out any meaning for which each of them 
stands? No, because they are all so unsymbolical. Take 
again their drees : their stiff coats and straight pants, fitting 
almost tightly to the body, are, in our estimation, hardly 
decent, .is it not so? And, O, what beauty, indeed, in 
that! Now, go all over our motherland, and see 'if you 
cannot read aright from their very appearance, the meaning 
for which our buildings stand, and how much art there is 
in them ! The glass is their drinking vessel, and ours is 
the metal ghati (pitcher-shaped); which of the two is artis- 
tic? H^ve you seen the farmers' homes in our villages? 

Myself : Yes, I have, of course. 

Swamiji : What have you seen of them ? 

I did not know what to say. However, I replied, 
"MahSraj, they are faultlessly neat and clean, the yards 
and floors being daily well plastered over." 

Swamiji : Have you seen their granaries for keeping 

V S 


paddy? What an art is there in them! What a variety 
of paintings even on their mud walls. And then, if you go 
and see how the lower classes live in the West, you wo\Jd 
at once mark the difference. The thing is, theirs is utility, 
ours, art. The Westerner looks for utility in everything, 
whereas with us art is everywhere. With the Western 
education, those beautiful ghatis of ours have been dis- 
carded, and enamel glasses have usurped their place in 
our homes ! Thus, the ideal of utility has been imbibed 
by us to such an extent as to make it look little short of 
the ridiculous. Now what we need is, the combination of 
art and utility. Japan has done that very quickly, and so 
she has advanced by giant strides. Now, in their turn, the 
Japanese are going to teach the Westerners. 

Q. Maharaj, which nation in the world dresses best? 

Swamiji : The Aryans do; even the Europeans admit 
that. How picturesquely their dresses hang in folds ! The 
royal costumes of most nations are, to some extent, a sort 
of imitation of the Aryan's the same attempt is made 
there to keep them in folds, and those costumes bear a 
marked difference to their national style. 

By the bye, Singhi, leave off that wretched habit of 
wearing those European shirts. 

Q._Why, Maha^i? 

Swamiji : For the reason that they are used by the 
Westerners only as underwears. They never like to see 
them worn outside. How mistaken of the Bengalees to 
do so ! As if one should wear anything and everything, 
as if there is no unwritten law about dress, as if there is 
no ancestral style to follow ! Our people are outcasted by 
taking the food touched by the lower classes; it would have 
been very well if the same law applied to their wearing 
any irregular style of dress. Why can't you adapt your 
"dress in some way to your own style ? What sense is there 
for your going in for European shirts and coats ? 

It began to rain now, and the dinner-bell also rang. 


So we went in to partake of the Prasddam with others. 
During the meal Swamiji said, addressing me, "Concen- 
trated food should be taken. To fill the stomach with a 
large quantity of rice is the root of laziness/' A little while 
after he said again, "Look at the Japanese, they take rice 
with the soup of split-pulses, twice or thrice a day. But 
even the strongly-built take little at a time, though the 
number of meals may be more. Those who are well-to-do 
among them take meat daily. Twice a day we stuff our- 
selves up to the throat, as it were, and the whole of our 
energy is exhausted in digesting such a quantity of rice !" 

Q. Is it feasible for us, Bengalees, poor as we are, 
to take meat? 

Swamiji: Why not? You can afford to have it in 
small quantities. Half a pound a day is quite enough. 
The real evil is idleness, which is the principal cause of 
our poverty. Suppose, the head of a firm gets displeased 
with someone and decreases his pay; or, out of three or 
four bread-winning sons in a family one suddenly dies; 
what do they do ? Why, they at once curtail the quantity 
of milk for the children, or live on one meal a day, having 
a little popped-rice or so at night ! 

Q. But what else can they do, under the circum- 
stances ? 

Swamiji : Why, can they not exert themselves and 
earn more, to keep up their standard of food ? But no ! 
They must go to their local Addas (rendezvous) and idle 
hours away ! O ! if they did but know how they waste 
their time ! 







[Sri Priya Nath Sinha.] 

Once I went to see Swamiji while he was staying in 

Calcutta at the house of the late Balaram Basu. After a 

long conversation about Japan and America, I asked him, 

Well, Swamiji, how many disciples have you in the 


Swamiji : A good many. 

Q. Two or three thousand? 

Swamiji : May be more than that. 

Q. Are they all initiated by you with Mantrams ? 

Swamiji : Yes. 

Q. Did you give them permission to utter Pranavct 

Swamiji : Yes. 

Q. How did you, Maharaj? They say that the 
Sudras have no right to Pranava, and none have except the 
Brahman as. Moreover, the Westerners are Mlechchhas, 
not even Sudras. 

Swamiji : How do you know, that those whom I have 
initiated are not Brahmanas? 

Myself : Where could you get Brahmanas outside In- 
dia, in the lands of the Yavanas and Mlechchhas ? 

Swamiji : My disciples are all Brahmanas ! I quite 
admit the truth of the words, that none except the Brah- 
manas have the right to Pranaoa. But the son of a Brah- 
mana is not necessarily always a Brahmana ; though there 
is every possibility of his being one, he may not become so. 
Did you not hear that the nephew of Aghore Chakravarti 
of Baghbazar became a sweeper and actually used to do 


all the menial services of his adopted caste ? Was he not 
the son of a Brahmana ? 

The Brahmana caste and the Brahmanya qualities are 
two distinct things. In India, one is held to be a Brahmana 
by his caste, but in the West, one should be known as such 
by his Brahmanya qualities. As there are three Gunas 
Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, so there are Gunas which show 
a man to be a Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya or a Sudra. 
The qualities of being a Brahmana or a Kshatriya are dying 
out from the country, but in the West they have now 
attained to Kshatriyahood, from which the next step is 
Brahmanahood, and many there are who have qualified 
themselves for that. 

Q. Then you call those Brahmanas, who are Sdltoikfl 
by nature? 

Swamiji : Quite so. As there Eire Sattva, Rajas and 
Tamas, one or other of these Gunas more or less, in 
every man, so the qualities which make a Brahmana, 
Kshatriya, Vaishya or a Sudra are inherent in every man, 
more or less. But at times one or other of these qualities 
predominates in him in varying degrees and is manifested 
accordingly. Take a man in his different pursuits, for 
example : when he is engaged in serving another for pay, 
he is in Sudrahood ; when he is busy transacting some 
piece of business for profit, on his own account, he is a 
Vaishya ; when he fights to right wrongs, then the qualities 
of a Kshatriya come out in him ; and when he meditates 
on God, or passes his time in conversation about Him, 
then he is a Brahmana. Naturally, it is quite possible for 
one to be changed from one caste into another. Other- 
wise, how did Visvamitra become a Brahmana and 
Parasurama a Kshatriya? 

Q. What you say seems to be quite right, but why 
then do not our Pandits and family-Gurus teach us the same 
thing ? 


Swamiji : That is one of the great evils of our country. 
But let the matter go now. 

Swamiji here spoke highly of the Westerners' spirit of 
practicality, and how, when they talce up religion, that 
spirit also shows itself. 

Myself : True, Maharaj, I have heard that their 
spiritual and psychic powers are very quickly developed 
when they practise religion. The other day Swami Sarada- 
nanda showed me a letter written by one of his Western 
disciples, describing the spiritual powers highly developed 
in the writer through the Sddhands practised for only four 

Swamiji : So you see ! Now you understand whe- 
ther there are Brahmanas in the West or not. You 
have Brahmanas here also, but they are bringing 
the country down to the verge of ruin by their awful 
tyranny, and consequently what they have naturally, is 
vanishing away by degrees. The Guru initiates his disciple 
with a Mantram, but that has come to be a trade with him. 
And then, how wonderful is the relation nowadays between 
a Guru and his disciple ! Perchance, the Guru has nothing 
to eat at home, and his wife brings the matter to his notice 
and says, **Pray, go once again to your disciples, dear. 
Will your playing at dice all day long, save us from 
hunger?** The Brahmana in reply, says, "Very well, 
remind me of it to-morrow morning. I have come to hear 
that my disciple so-and-so is having a run of luck, and 
moreover, 1 have not been to him for a long time/* This 
is what your Kula-Guru system has come to in Bengal ! 
Priestcraft in the West is not so degenerated, as yet ; it is. 
oix the whole better than yours ! 






(From the Diary of a disciple.*) 

Disciple : How is it, Swamiji, that you do not lecture 
in this country? You have stirred Europe and America 
with your lectures, but coming back here you have kept 

Swamiji : In this country, the ground should be pre- 
pared first ; and then if the seed is sown, the plant will 
come out best. The ground in the West, in Europe and 
America, is very fertile and fit for sowing seeds. There, 
they have reached the climax of Bhoga (enjoyment). 
Being satiated with Bhoga to the full, their minds are not 
getting peace now, even in those enjoyments, and they feel 
as if they wanted some other thing. In this country you 
have not either Bhoga or Yoga (renunciation). When one 
is satisfied with Bhoga, then it is that one shall listen to and 
understand the teachings on Yoga. What good will 
lectures do in a country like India which has become the 
birthplace of disease, sorrow and affliction, and where 
men are emaciated through starvation, and weak in mind ? 

Disciple : How is that ? Do you not say that ours is the 
land of religion, and here, the people understand religion 
as they do nowhere else ? Why then will not this country 
be animated by your inspiring eloquence and yield to the 
full the fruits thereof ? 

Swamiji : Now understand what religion means. The 
first thing needed is the worship of the Karma (tortoise) 

Incarnation and the belly-god is this /Curma, as it were. 

f ' " ' '' 

* The disciple is Sri Sarat Chandra Chakravarti, B.A. 


Until you pacify this, no one will welcome your words 
about religion. India is restless with the thought of how to 
face this spectre of hunger. The drainage of the best re- 
sources of the country by the foreigners, the unrestricted 
pxports of merchandise, and, above all, the abominable 
jealousy natural to slaves, are eating into the c very bones 
and marrow of India. First of all, you must remove this 
evil of hunger and starvation, this constant thought for bare 
existence, from those to whom you want to preach religion, 
otherwise, lectures and such things would be of no benefit. 

Disciple : What should we do then to remove that 

Swamiji : First, some young men full of the spirit 
of renunciation are needed, those who will be ready to 
sacrifice their lives for others, instead of devoting them- 
selves to their own happiness. With this object in view I 
shall establish a Math to train young SannySsins, who will 
go from door to door and make the people realise their 
pitiable condition by means of facts and reasoning, and 
instruct them in the ways and means for their welfare, and 
at the same time will explain to them as clearly as possible, 
in very simple and easy language, the higher truths of 
religion. The mass of people in our country is like the 
sleeping,, Leviathan. The education imparted by the 
present University system reaches to one or two per cent, 
of the masses only. And even those who get that, do not 
succeed in their endeavours of doing any good to their 
country. But it is not their fault, poor fellows ! As soon 
as they come, out of their college, they find themselves the 
fathers of several children ! Somehow or other they 
manage to secure the position of a clerk, or at the most, a 
deputy magistrate. This is the finale of education ! With 
the burden of a family on their backs, they find no time to 
do anything great or think anything high. They do not 
find means enough to fulfil their personal wants and inter- 


ests, so what can be expected of them in the way of doing 
anything for others? 

Disciple : Is there then no way out for us? 

Swamiji : Certainly there is. This is the land of 
Religion Eternal. The country has fallen, no doubt, but 
will as surely rise again, and that upheaval will astound 
the world. The lower the hollows the billows make, the 
higher and with equal force wi|l they rise again. 

Disciple : How would she rise again? 

Swamiji: Do you not see? The dawn has already 
appeared in the eastern sky, and there is little delay in the 
sun's rising. You all set your shoulders to the wheel ! 
What is there in making the world the all in all, and thinking 
of **My Samsara," My Samsdra" ? Your duty at present 
is to go from one part of the country to another, from village 
to village, and make the people understand that mere 
sitting about idly won't do any more. Make them under- 
stand their real condition and say, **O ye brothers, all arise ! 
Awake! How much longer would you remain asleep!" 
Go and advise them how to improve their own condition, 
and make them comprehend the sublime truths of the 
Shastras, by presenting them in a lucid and popular way. 
So long the Brahmanas have monopolised religion, but as 
they could not hold their ground against the strong tide of 
time, go and take steps so that one and all in the land may 
get that religion. Impress upon their minds that they have 
the same right to religion as the Brahmanas. Initiate all, 
even down to the Chandalas, in these fiery Mantras. Also 
instruct them, in simple words, about the necessities of life, 
and in trade, commerce, agriculture, etc* If you cannot do 
this, then fie upon your education and culture, and fie upon 
your studying the Vedas and Vedanta ! 

Disciple : But where is that strength in us? I should 
have felt myself blessed if I had had a hundredth part of 
your powers, Swamiji. 

Swamiji : How foolish ! Power and things like that 


will come by themselves. Put yourself to work and you 
will find such tremendous power coming to you that you 
will feel it hard to bear it. Even the least work done for 
others awakens the power within ; even thinking the 
least good of others gradually instils into the heart 
the strength of a lion. I love you all ever so much, but I 
would wish you all to die working for others, I should be 
rather glad to see you do that ! 

Disciple : What will become of those, then, who 
depend on me ? 

Swamiji : If you are ready to sacrifice your life for 
others, God will certainly provide some means for them. 
Have you not read in the Gita the words of Sri Krishna ? 

r ** Never does a doer 

of good, O My beloved, come to grief." 

Disciple : I see, Sir. 

Swamiji : The essential thing is renunciation, with- 
out renunciation none can pour out his whole heart in 
working for others. The man of renunciation sees all with 
an equal eye, and devotes himself to the service of all. 
Does not our Vedanta also teach us to see all with an equal 
eye why then do you cherish the idea that the wife and 
children are your own, more than others? At your very 
threshold, Narayana Himself in the form of a poor beggar, 
is dying of starvation ! Instead of giving him anything, 
would you only satisfy the appetites of your wife and 
children with delicacies ? Why, that is beastly ! 

Disciple : To work for others requires a good deal 
of money at times, and where shall I get that ? 

Swamiji : Why not do as much as lies within your 
power? Even if you cannot give to others for want of 
money, surely you can at least breathe into their ears some 
good words,, or impart some good instruction, can't you? 
Or does that also require money? 

Disciple : Yes, Sir, that I can do. 

Swamiji : But saying, "I can," won't do. Show me 


through action what you can do, and then only shall I know 
that your coming to me is turned to some good account. 
Get up, and set your shoulder to the wheel, how long is 
this life for ? As you have come into this world, leave some 
mark behind/" Otherwise, where is the difference between 
you and the trees and stones? they, too, come into 
existence, decay and die. If you like to be born and to 
die like them, you are at liberty to do so. Show me by 
your actions that your reading the Vedanta has been 
fruitful of the highest good. Go and tell all, "In every one 
of you lies that Eternal Power/* and try to wake It up. 
What will you do with individual salvation ? That is sheer 
selfishness. Throw aside your meditation, throw away 
your salvation and such things ! Put your whole heart and 
soul in the work to which I have consecrated myself. 

With bated breath the disciple heard these inspiring 
words, and Swamiji went on with his usual fire and 

Swamiji : First of all, make the soil ready, and 
thousands of Vivekanandas will in time be born into this 
world to deliver lectures on religion. You needn't worry 
yourself about that ! Don't you see why I am starting 
orphanages, famine-relief works, etc. ? Don't you see how 
Sister Nivedita, an English lady, has learnt to serve Indians 
so nicely, by doing even menial works for them? And 
can't you, being Indians, similarly serve your own fellow- 
countrymen? Go, all of you, wherever there is an out- 
break of plague or famine, or wherever the people are in 
distress, and mitigate their sufferings. At the most you 
may die in the attempt, what of that ? How many like you 
are taking birth and dying like worms, every day? What 
difference does that make to the world at large. Die you 
must, but have a great ideal to die for, and it is better to 
die with a great ideal in life. Preach this ideal from door 
to door and you will yourselves be benefited as well as, at 
the same time, be doing good to your country. On you lie 


the future hopes of our country. I feel extreme pain to 
see you leading a life of inaction. Set yourselves to work 
to work ! Do not tarry, the time of death is approach- 
ing day by day ! Do not sit idle, thinking that everything 
will be done in time, later ! Mind, nothing will be done 
that way ! 








(From the Diary of a disciple.*) 

Disciple : Pray, Swamiji, how can Jnana and Bhakti 
be reconciled ? We see the followers of the path of devo- 
tion (Bhaktas) shut their ear-holes at the name of 
Sankara, and again, the followers of the path of know- 
ledge (Jnanis) call the Bhaktas fanatics, seeing them weep 
in torrents, or sing and dance in ecstasy, in the name of 
the Lord. 

Swamiji : The thing is, all this conflict is in the preli- 
minary (preparatory) stages of Jnana and Bhakti. Have 
you not heard Sri Ramakrishna's story about Shiva's 
demons and Rama's monkeys? t 

Disciple : Yes, Sir, I have. 

*Sri Sarat Chandra Chakravarti, B.A. 

t There was once a fight between Shiva and Rama. Shiva was 
the Guru of Rama, and Rama was the Guru of Shiva. They fought 
but became friendly again. But there was no end to the quarrels and 
wranglings between the demons of Shiva and the monkeys of Rama I 


Swamiji : But there is no difference between the 
supreme Bhakti and the supreme Jn&na. The supreme 
Bhakti is to realise God as the form of Prema (Love) itself. 
If you see the loving form of God manifested everywhere 
and in everything, how can you hate or injure others? 
That realisation of Love can never come so long as there 
is the least desire in the heart, or what Sri Ramakrishna 
used to say, attachment for 'Kama-K&nchana (sense- 
pleasure and wealth). In the perfect realisation of Love, 
even the consciousness of one's own body does not exist. 
Also, the supreme Jnana is to realise the oneness every- 
where, to see one's own self as the self in everything. 
That too cannot come so long as there is the least con- 
sciousness of the ego (Aham). 

Disciple : Then what you call Love, is the same as 
supreme Knowledge? 

Swamiji : Exactly so. Realisation of Love comes to 
none unless one becomes a perfect Jnani. Does not the 
Vedanta say that the Brahman is Sat-Chit-Anandam the 
Absolute Existence-Knowledge-Bliss ? 

Disciple : Yes, Sir. 

Swamiji : The word Sat-Chit~Ananda means Sat, 
i. e., Existence, Chit, i. e., Consciousness or Knowledge, 
and Ananda, i. e., Bliss, which is the same as Love, There is 
no controversy between the Bhakta and the Jnani regarding 
the 'Sot' aspect of Brahman. Only, the Jnanis lay greater 
stress on His aspect of 'Chit' or Knowledge, while the 
Bhaktas keep the aspect of 'Ananda' or Love more in view. 
But no sooner is the essence of ( Chit' realised, than the 
essence of 'Anandam* is also realised. Because what is 
'Chit 9 is verily the sanr^e as 'A nan dam.* 

Disciple : Why then is so much sectarianism prevalent 
in India ? And why is there so much controversy between 
the scriptures on Bhakti and Jnanam? 

Swamiji: The thing is, all this waging of war and 
controversy is concerning the preliminary ideals, i.e., those 


ideals which men take up to attain the real Jnanam or 
real Bhakti. But which do you think is the higher, the 
end or the means ? Surely, the means can never be higher 
than the end. Because the means to realise the same end 
must be numerous, as they vary according to the tempera- 
ment or mental capacities of individual followers. The 
counting of beads, meditation, worship, offering oblations 
in the sacred fire, all these and such other things are the 
limbs of religion ; they are but the means ; and to attain 
to supreme devotion (Para-Bhakti) or to the highest 
realisation of Brahman, is the pre-eminent end. If you 
look a little deeper you will understand what they are 
fighting about. One says, "If you pray to God facing the 
east, then you will reach Him"; "No," says another, "you 
will have to sit facing the west, and then only you will see 
Him." Perhaps someone realised God in meditation, ages 
ago, by sitting with his face to the east, and his disciples 
at once began to preach this attitude, asserting that none 
can ever see God unless he assumes this position. An- 
other party comes forward and inquires, "How is that? 
Such and sucn a person realised God, while facing the 
west, and we have seen this ourselves." In this way all 
these sects have originated. Someone might have attained 
supreme devotion by repeating the name of the Lord as 
Hari, and at once it entered into the composition of the 
Shastra as : 


"The name of the Lord Hari, the name of the Lord 
Hari, the name of the Lord Hari alone. Verily, there is 
no other, no other, no other path than this, in the age 
of Kali." 

Someone, again, suppose, might have attained perfec- 
tion with the name of Allah, and immediately another creed 
originated by him began to spread, and so on. But we 
have to see, what is the end to which all these worships 


and other religious practices are intended to lead. The 
end is the Shraddhd. We have not any synonym in our 
Bengali language to express the Sanskrit word Shraddhd. 
The Upanishad says, that Shraddhd entered into the heart 
of Nachiketa. Even with the word Ekdgratd (one-pointed- 
ness) we cannot express the whole significance of the word 
Shraddhd. The word Efydgra-nishthd (one-pointed devo- 
tion) conveys, to a certain extent, the meaning of the word 
Shraddhd. If you meditate on any truth with steadfast 
devotion and concentration, you will see that the mind 
is more and more tending onwards to Oneness, i.e., taking 
you towards the realisation of the Absolute Existence- 
Knowledge-Bliss. The scriptures on Bhakti or Jnanam 
give special advice to men to take up in life the one or 
other of such a Nishthd and make it their own. With the 
lapse of ages, these great truths become distorted and 
gradually transform themselves into Deshdchdras, or the 
prevailing customs of a country. It has happened, not 
only in India, but in every nation and every society in the 
world. And the common people, lacking in discrimina- 
tion, make these the bone of contention/lfcjd fight among 
themselves. They have lost sight of the end, and hence 
sectarianism, quarrels and fights continue. 

Disciple : What then is the saving means, Swamiji? 

Swamiji : That true Shraddhd, as of old, has to be 
brought back again. The weeds have to be taken up by 
the roots. In every faith and in every path, there are, 
no doubt, truths which transcend time and space, but a 
good deal of rubbish has accumulated over them. This 
has to be cleared away and the true eternal principles have 
to be held before the people ; and then only, our religion 
and our country will be really benefited. 

Disciple: How will that be effected? 

Swamiji: Why? First of all, we have to introduce 
the worship of the great saints. Those great-souled ones 
who have realised the eternal truths, are to be presented 


before the people as the ideals to be followed ; as in the 
case of India, Sri Ramachandra, Sri Krishna, Mahavira 
and Sri Ramakrishna, among others. Can you bring in 
the worship of Sri Ramachandra and Mahavira in this 
country ? Keep aside for the present the Brindavan aspect 
of Sri Krishna, and spread far and wide the worship of 
Sri Krishna roaring the Gita out, with the voice of a lion. 
And bring into daily use the worship of Sakti, the Divine 
Mother, the source of all power. 

Disciple : Is the divine play of Sri Krishna with the 
Gopis of Brindavan not good, then? 

Swamiji : Under the present circumstances, that wor- 
ship is of no good to you. Playing on the flute and so 
on, will not regenerate the country. We now mostly need 
the ideal of a hero with the tremendous spirit of Rajas 
thrilling through his veins from head to foot, the hero 
who will dare and die to know the Truth, the hero whose 
armour is renunciation, whose sword is wisdom. We want 
now the spirit of the brave warrior in the battle-field of 
life, and not of the wooing lover who looks upon life as 
a pleasure-garden ! 

Disciple : Is then the path of Love, as depicted in 
the ideal of the Gopis, false? 

Swamiji: Who says so? Not I ! That is a very 
'superior form of worship (Sddhand). In this age of 
tremendous attachment to sense-pleasure and wealth, very 
few would be able even to comprehend those higher ideals. 

Disciple : Then are not those who are worshipping 
God as husband or lover frtfO following the proper path? 

Swamiji: I daresay, not. There may be a few 
honourable exceptions among them, but know, that the 
greater part of them are possessed of dark T&maatk<* nature. 
Most of them are full of morbidity and affected with ex- 
ceptional weakness ! The country must be raised ! The 
worship of Mahavira must be introduced ; the Sakii-puj& 
must form a part of our daily practice ; Sri Ramachandra 


mtist bfe worshipped in every home. Therein lies your 
welfare, therein lies the good of the country, there is no 
other way. 

Disciple : But I have heard that Bhagavan Sri Rama- 
krishna used to sing the name of God very much? 

Swamiji : Quite so, but his was a different case. 
What comparison can there be between him and ordinary 
men? He practised in his life all the different ideals of 
religion to show that each of them leads but to the One 
Truth. Can you or I ever be able to do all that he has 
done? None of us has understood him fully^ So, I do 
not venture to speak about him anywhere and everywhere. 
He only knows what he himself really was ; his frame was 
oiily^a human one, but everything else about him was 
entirely different from that of others. 

Disciple : Do you, may I ask, believe him to be an 
Avatdra (Incarnation of God)? 

Swamiji : Tell me first what do you mean by an 
A vatdra ? 

Disciple : Why, I mean one like Sri Ramachandra, 
Sri Krishna, Sri Gauranga, Buddha or Jesus, etc. 

Swamiji : I know the Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna to 
be even greater than those you have just named. What 
to speak of 'believing/ which is a petty thing, I nou? ! 

Let us however drop the subject now ; more of it 
another time. 

After a pause Swamiji continued : To re-establish the 
Dharma there come Mahdpurushae (great teachers of 
humanity), suited to the needs of the times and society. Call 
them what you will, either Mahapurushas or Avatdras, it 
matters little. They reveal, each in his life, the Ideal. 
Then, by and by, shapes are moulded in their matrices 
MEN are made ! Gradually, sects arise and spread. As 
time goes on, these sects degenerate, and similar reformers 
come again, this has been the law, flowing in uninter- 
rupted succession, like a current, down the ages. 

V T 


Disciple : Why do you not preach Sri Ramakrishna 
as an A Datura} You have, indeed, power, eloquence and 
everything else needed to do it. 

Swamiji : Truly, I tell you, I have understood him 
very little. He appears to me to have been so great that, 
whenever I have to speak anything of him, I am afraid lest 
I ignore or explain away the truth, lest my little power does 
not suffice, lest in trying to extol him I present his picture 
by painting him according to my lights and belittle him 
thereby ! 

Disciple : But many are now preaching him as an 

Swamiji : Let them do so if they like. They are 
doing it in the light in which they have understood him. 
You too can go and do the same if you have understood 

Disciple : I cannot even grasp you, what to say of 
Sri Ramakrishna ! I should consider myself blessed in this 
life, if I get a little of your grace. 







(From the diary of a disciple*) 

Disciple : Pray, Swamiji, if the One Brahman is the 
only Reality, why then exists all this differentiation in the 

>vorld ? 

* ' 

*Sri Sarat Chandra Chakravarti, B.A. 


Swamiji : Are you not considering this question from 
the point of view of the phenomenal existence? Looking 
from the phenomenal side of existence, one can, through 
reasoning and discrimination, gradually arrive at the very 
root of Unity. But if you were firmly established in that 
Unity, how from that standpoint, tell me, could you see 
this differentiation? 

Disciple : True, if I had existed in the Unity, how 
should I be able to raise this question of 'why* ? As I put 
this question, it is already taken for granted that I do so 
by seeing this diversity. 

Swamiji : Very well. To enquire the root of Oneness 
through the diversity of phenomenal existence, is said to 
be in the Shastra as Vyatirek,i reasoning, or the process 
by which a proposition is considered in a converted way, 
that is, first taking for granted something that is non- 
existent or unreal as existing or real, and then showing 
through the course of reasoning, that that is not a sub- 
stance existing or real. You are talking of the process 
of arriving at the truth through the means of assuming 
that which is not-true as true, are you not? 

Disciple : To my mind, the state of the existing or 
the seen seems to be self-evident, and hence true, and that 
which is opposite to it seems, on the other hand, to be 

Swamiji: But the Veda says, "One only without a 
second/' And if in reality there is the One only that 
exists the Brahman, then, your differentiation is false. 
You believe in the Vedas, I suppose ? 

Disciple : Oh yes, for myself 1 hold the Veda as the 
highest authority ; but if, in argument, one does not accept 
it to be so, he must, in that case, have to be refuted by 
other means. 

Swamiji : That also can be done. Look here, a time 
comes when what you call differentiation vanishes and ;we 


cannot perceive it at all. I have experienced that state in 
my own life. 

Disciple : When have you done so? 

Swamiji : One day in the temple-garden at Dakshines- 
war Sri Ramakrishna touched me at the heart, and first of 
all 1 began to see that the houses, rooms, doors, windows, 
verandahs, the trees, the suri, the moon, all were flying 
off, shattering to pieces as it were reduced into atoms 
and molecules, and ultimately became merged in the 
Alaska. Gradually again, the Afyasha also vanished, and 
after that, my consciousness of the ego with it ; what hap- 
pened next I did not recollect. I was at first frightened. 
Coming back from that state, again I began to see the 
houses, doors, windows, verandahs and other things. On 
another occasion, I had exactly the same realisation by the 
side of a lake in America, 

The disciple was listening to this with amazement ; 
after a while he enquired : Might not this state as well be 
brought about by a derangement of the brain ? And I do 
not understand what happiness there can be in realising 
such a state. 

Swamiji : A derangement of the brain ! How can 
you call it so, when it comes neither as the result of delirium 
from any disease, nor of intoxication from drinking, nor as 
an illusion produced by various sorts of queer breathing 
exercises, but when it comes to a normal man in full 
possession of his health and wits? Then again, this ex- 
perience is in perfect harmony with the Vedas. It also 
coincides with the words of realisation of the inspired Rishis 
and A chary as of old. "Do you take me, at last," said 
Swamiji with a smile, "to be a crack-brained man?" 

Disciple : Oh no, I did not mean that of course. 
When there are to be found hundreds of illustrations about 
such realisation of Oneness, in the Sh&stras, and when you 
say that it can be as directly realised as a fruit ih the palm 


experience in life, perfectly coinciding with the words of 
the Vedas and other Shastras how dare I say that it is 
false? Sri Sankaracharya also realising that state has 
said : " Where is the universe vanished?" and so on. 

Swamiji : Know, this knowledge of Oneness is what 
the Shastras speak of as realisation of the Brahman, by 
knowing which, one gets rid of fear, and the shackles of 
birth and death break for ever. Having once realised 
that Supreme Bliss, one is no more overwhelmed by 
pleasure and pain of this world. Men being fettered by 
base lust-and-wealth cannot enjoy that Bliss of Brahman. 

Disciple : If it is so, and if we are really of the essence 
of the Supreme Brahman, then why do we not exert our- 
selves to gain that Bliss? Why do we again and again 
run into the jaws of death, being decoyed by this worth- 
less snare of lust-and-wealth? 

Swamiji : You speak as if man does not desire to 
have that Bliss ! Ponder over it and you will see that 
whatever anyone is doing, he is doing it in the hope of 
gaining that Supreme Bliss. Only, not all of them are 
conscious of it and so cannot understand it. That Supreme 
Bliss fully exists in all, from Brahma down to the blade 
of grass. You are also that undivided Brahman. This 
very moment you can realise, if you think yourself truly 
and absolutely to be so. It is all mere want of direct 
perception. That you have taken service and work so 
hard for the sake of your wife, also shows that the aim 
of it is to ultimately attain to that Supreme Bliss of 
Brahman. Being again and again entangled in the intri- 
cate maze of delusion, and hard hit by sorrows and afflic- 
tions, the eye will turn of itself to one's own real nature, 
the Inner Self. It is owing to the presence of this desire 
for bliss in the heart, that man, getting hard shocks, one 
after another, turns his eye inwards, to his own Self. 
A time is sure to come to everyone, without exception, 


when he will do so, to one it may be in this life, to 
another, after thousands of incarnations. 

Disciple : It all depends upon the blessings of the 
Guru and the grace of the Lord ! 

Swamiji : The wind of grace of the Lord is blowing 
on, for ever and ever. Do you spread your sail. When- 
ever you do anything, do it with your whole heart con- 
centrated on it. Think day and night, "I am of the 
essence of that Supreme Existence-Knowledge-Bliss, what 
fear and anxiety have I? This body, mind and intellect 
are all transient, and That which is beyond these, is 

Disciple : Thoughts like these come only for a while 
now and then, but quickly vanish, and 1 think all sorts of 
trash and nonsense. 

Swamiji : It happens like that in the initial stage, but 
gradually it is overcome. But from the beginning, intensity 
of desire in the mind is needed. Think always, "I am 
ever-pure, ever-knowing and ever-free ; how can I do any- 
thing evil? Can I ever be befooled like ordinary men 
with the insignificant charms of lust and wealth?*' 
Strengthen the mind with such thoughts. This will surely 
bring real good. 

Disciple : Once in a while strength of mind comes I 
But then again I think, that I would appear at the Deputy 
Magistrateship examination wealth and name and fame 
would come and I would live well and happy. 

Swamiji : Whenever such thoughts come in the mind, 
-discriminate within yourself between the real and the 
unreal. Have you not read the Vedanta ? Even when you 
sleep, keep the sword of discrimination at the head of 
your bed, so that covetousness cannot approach you even 
in dream. Practising such strength, renunciation will 
gradually come, and then you will see, the portals of 
Heaven are wide open to you. 

Disciple : If it is so, Swamiii, how is it then that the 


texts on Bhakti say that, too much of renunciation kills the 
feelings that make for tenderness? 

Swamiji : Throw away, I say, texts which teach 
things like that! Without renunciation, without burning 
dispassion for sense-objects, without turning away from 
wealth and lust as from filthy abominations f ft^rftr 
T^ft "Never can one attain salvation even in 

hundreds of Brahma's cycles." Repeating the names of 
the Lord, meditation, worship, offering libations in sacred 
fire, penance, all these are for bringing forth renuncia- 
tion. One who has not gained renunciation, know his 
efforts to be like unto the man's, who is pulling at the 
oars all the while that the boat is at anchor ! T TT^nrr >f%*r 
j: "Neither by progeny nor by wealth, 

but by renunciation alone some attained immortality." 

Disciple : Will mere renouncing of wealth and lust 
accomplish everything? 

Swamiji : There are other hindrances on the path 
even after renouncing those two ; then, for example, comes 
name and fame. Very few men, unless of exceptional 
strength, can keep their balance under that. People 
shower honours upon them, and various enjoyments creep 
in by degrees. It is owing to this that three-fourths of the 
Tydgis are debarred from further progress ! For establish- 
ing this Math and other things, who knows but that I may 
have to come back again ! 

Disciple : If you say things like that, then we are 
undone ! 

Swamiji: What fear? ^T^ofhc^t: "Be fearless, be 
fearless, be fearless!" You have seen Nag Mahashaya? 
How even while living the life of a householder, he is 
more than a Sannyasin ! This is very uncommon ; I have 
rarely seen one like him. If anyone wants to be a house- 
holder, let him be like Nag Mahashaya. He shines like 
a brilliant luminary in the spiritual firmament of East 


Bengal. Ask the people of that part of the country to 
visit him often ; that will do much good to them. 

Disciple : Nag Mahashaya, it seems, is the living 
personification of humility in the play of Sri Ramakrishna's 
divine drama on earth. 

Swamiji : Decidedly so, without a shadow of doubt ! 
I have a wish to go and see him once. Will you like to 
go with me? I love to see fields flooded over with water 
in the rains. Will you write to him? 

Disciple : Certainly, I will. He is always mad with 
joy when he hears about you, and says that East Bengal 
will be sanctified into a place of pilgrimage by the dust 
of your feet. 

Swamiji : Do you know, Sri Ramakrishna used to 
speak of Nag Mahashaya as a 'flaming fire* ? 

Disciple : Yes, so I have heard. 

At the request of Swamiji, the disciple partook of some 
Prasada, and left for Calcutta late in the evening ; he was 
deeply thinking over the message of fearlessness that he 
had heard from the lips of the inspired teacher, "I am 
free !" "I am free I" 





(From the Diary of a Disciple*) 

Disciple : Sri Ramakrishna used to say, Swamiji, 
that a man cannot progress far towards religious realisa- 
tion unless he first relinquish K&ma-K&nchana (lust and 

*Sri Sarat Chandra Chakravarti, B.A. 


wealth). If so, what will become of householders? For 
their whole minds are set on these two things. 

Swamiji : It is true that the mind can never turn to 
God until the desire for Just and wealth has gone from it, 
be a man householder or Sannyasin. Know this for a fact, 
that as long as the mind is caught in these, so long true 
devotion, firmness and Shraddhd (faith) can never come. 

Disciple: Where will the householders be then? 
What way are they to follow? 

Swamiji : To satisfy our smaller desires and have 
done with them for ever, and to relinquish the greater by 
discrimination that is the way. Without renunciation God 
can never be realised *jf% ITSIT ^ ^f ^ Even if Brahma 
Himself enjoined otherwise ! 

Disciple : But does renunciation of everything come 
as soon as one becomes a monk? 

Swamiji : Sannyasins are at least struggling to make 
themselves ready for renunciation, whereas householders 
are in this matter like boatmen, who work at their oars 
while the boat lies at anchor. Is the desire for enjoyment 
ever appeased ? ^T wfaWt ' * It increases ever and ever. 

Disciple: Why? May not world-weariness come, 
after enjoying the objects of the senses over and over for 
a long time? 

Swamiji : To how many does that come? The mind 
becomes tarnished by constant contact with the objects of 
the senses, and receives a permanent moulding and impress 
from them. Renunciation, and renunciation alone, is the 
real secret, the Mulamantram, of all Realisation. 

Disciple : But there are such injunctions of the seers 
in the scriptures as these : *Z^f *F?P$*lflnitfnT: "To 
restrain the five senses while living with one's wife and 
children is Tapas." faiTreFTOf *r JTftft **For him 
whose desires are under control, living in the midst of his 
tfamily is the same as retiring into a forest for Tapasyd." 


Swamiji : Blessed indeed are those who can renounce 
K&ma-Kdnchana, living in their homes with their family ! 
But how many can do that ? 

Disciple : But then, what about the Sannyasins ? Are 
they all able to relinquish lust and love for riches fully ? 

Swamiji : As I said just now, Sannyasins are on the 
path of renunciation, they have taken the field, at least, to 
fight for that goal ; but householders, on the other hand, 
having no knowledge as yet of the danger that comes 
through lust and gold, do not even attempt to realise the 
Self ; that they must struggle to get rid of these, is an idea 
that has not yet entered their minds. 

Disciple : Why? Many of them are struggling for it. 

Swamiji : Oh, yes, and those who are doing so will 
surely renounce by and by ; their inordinate attachment 
for Kama-Kanchana will diminish gradually. But for those 
who procrastinate, saying, "Oh, not so soon! 1 shall do 
it when the time comes/* Self-realisation is very far off. 
"Let me realise the Truth this moment ! in this very life !" 
these are the words of a hero. Such heroes are ever 
ready to renounce the very next moment, and to such the 
scripture says, *KUl4 fa<*H cf^tw *ra%{ "The moment you 
feel digust for the vanities of the world, leave it all and take 
to the life of a monk." 

Disciple : But was not Sri Ramakrishna wont to say, 
'All these attachments vanish through the grace of God 
when one prays to Him" ? 

Swamiji : Yes, it is so, no doubt, through His mercy, 
but one needs to be pure first before he can receive this 
mercy, pure in thought, word and deed, then it is that 
His grace descends on one. 

Disciple : But of what necessity is grace to him who 
can control himself in thought, word and deed ? For then 
one would be able to develop himself in the path of 
spirituality by means of his own exertions ! 

Swamiji : The Lord is very merciful to him whom 


He sees struggling heart and soul for Realisation. But re- 
main idle, without any struggle, and you will see, that His 
grace will never come. 

Disciple : Everyone longs to be good, and yet the mind, 
for some inscrutable reasons, turns to evil ! Say, does n^t 
everyone wish to be good to be perfect to realise God ? 

Swamiji : Know them to be already struggling, who 
desire this. God bestows His mercy when this struggle is 

Disciple : In the history of the Incarnations, we find 
many persons, who, we should say, had led very 
dissipated lives, who were able to realise God without 
much trouble and without performing any Sddhana or 
devotion. How is this accounted for? 

Swamiji : Yes, but a great restlessness must already 
have come upon them ; long enjoyment of the objects of 
the senses must already have created in these deep disgust. 
Want of peace must have been consuming their very hearts. 
So deeply they had already felt this void in their hearts, 
that life even for a moment had seemed unbearable to 
them unless they could gain that peace which follows in 
the train of the Lord's mercy. Sp God was kind to them. 
This development took place in them direct from Tamas to 

Disciple : Then, whatever was the path, they may be 
said to have realised God truly in that way? 

Swamiji : Yes, why not? But is it not better to enter 
into a mansion by the main entrance than by its doorway 
of dishonour? 

Disciple : No doubt that is true. Yet, the point is 
established that through mercy alone one can realise God. 

Swamiji : Oh yes, that one can, but few indeed are 
there who do so ! 

Disciple : It appears to me that those who seek to 
realise God by restraining their senses and renouncing lust 
and wealth, hold to the (free-will) theory of self -exertion 


and self-help ; and that those who take the name of the 
Lord and depend on Him, are made free by the Lord 
Himself of all worldly attachments, and led by Him to the 
supreme stage of Realisation. 

Swamiji : True, those are the two different stand- 
points, the former held by the Jnanis, and the latter by the 
Bhaktas. But the ideal of renunciation is the keynote of 

Disciple : No doubt about that ! But Srijut Giris 
Chandra Ghose* once said to me that there could be no 
condition in God's mercy ; there could be no law for it ! 
If there were, then it could no longer be termed mercy. 
The realm of grace or mercy must transcend all law. 

Swamiji : But there must be some higher law at work 
in the sphere alluded to by G. C., of which we are ignorant. 
Those are words, indeed, for the last, stage of develop- 
ment, which alone is beyond time, space and causation. 
But, when we get there, who will be merciful, and to 
whom, where there is no law of causation? There the 
worshipper and the worshipped, the meditator and the 
object of meditation, the knower and the known, all be- 
come one call that Grace, or Brahman, if you will. It 
is all one uniform homogeneous entity ! 

Disciple : Hearing these words from you, O Swamiji, 
I have come to understand the essence of all philosophy 
and religion (Vedas and Vedanta) ; it seems as if I had 
hitherto been living in the midst of high-sounding words 
without any meaning. 

* The great Bengalee actor-dramatist, a staunch devotee of Sri 






(From the diary of a disciple.*) 

Disciple : Pray, Swamiji, do tell me if there is any 
relation between the discrimination of food taken, and the 
development of spirituality in man. 

Swamiji : Yes, there is, more or less. 

Disciple : Is it proper or necessary to take fish and 

Swamiji : Aye, take them, my boy ! And if there 
be any harm in doing so, I will take care of that. Look 
at the masses of our country ! What a look of sadness on 
their faces, and want of courage and enthusiasm in their 
hearts, with large stomachs and no strength in their hands 
and feet, a set of cowards frightened at every trifle ! 

Disciple : Does the taking of fish and meat give 
strength? Why do Buddhism and Vaishnavism preach 
sff^BT ^FWt W! "Non-killing is the highest virtue"? 

Swamiji : Buddhism and Vaishnavism are not two 
different things. During the decline of Buddhism in India, 
Hinduism took from her a few cardinal tenets of conduct 
and made them her own, and these have now come to be 
known as Vaishnavism. The Buddhist tenet, "Non-killing 
is supreme virtue," is very good, but in trying to enforce 
it upon all by legislation without paying any heed to the 
capacities of the people at large, Buddhism has brought 

*Sri Sarat Chandra Chafcravarti, B.A. 


ruin upon India, I have come across many a 'religious 
heron** in India, who fed ants with sugar, and at the same 
time would not hesitate to bring ruin on his own brother 
for the sake of 'filthy lucre' ! 

Disciple : But in the Vedas as well as in the laws of 
Manu, there are injunctions to take fish and meat. 

Swamiji : Aye, and injunctions to abstain from killing 
as well. For the Vedas enjoin *TT f^^TT^ ^Hhjcflfr * 'Cause 
no injury to any being," and Manu also has said falf^I 
*T5TOS1T "Cessation of desire brings great results." 
Killing and non-killing have both been enjoined, according 
to the individual capacity, or fitness and adaptability, of 
those who will observe the one practice or the other. 

Disciple : It is the fashion here nowadays to give up 
fish and meat as soon as one takes to religion, and to many 
it is more sinful not to do so than to commit such great 
sins as adultery. How, do you think, such notions came 
into existence? 

Swamiji : What's the use of your knowing how they 
came, when you see clearly do you not? that such 
notions are working ruin to our country and our society? 
Just see, the people of East Bengal eat much fish, meat 
and turtle, and they are much healthier than those of this 
part of Bengal. Even the rich men of East Bengal have 
not yet taken to loochis or chapatis at night, and they do 
not suffer from acidity and dyspepsia like us. I have heard 
that in the villages of East Bengal, the people have not 
the slightest idea of what dyspepsia means ! 

Disciple : Quite so, Swamiji. We never complain of 
dyspepsia in our part of the country. I first heard of it 

* Meaning, religious hypocrite. The heron, so the story goes, 
gave it out to the fishes that he had forsaken his old habit of catching 
fish, and turned highly religious. So he took his stand by the brink 
of the water and feigned to be meditating, while in reality he was 
always watching his opportunity to catch the unwary fish. 


after coming to these parts. We take fish with rice, morn- 
ings and evenings. 

Swamiji : Aye, take as much of that as you can, with- 
out fearing criticism. The country has been flooded with 
dyspeptic Babdjis living on vegetables only. That is no 
sign of Sattva, but of deep Tamas the shadow of death. 
Brightness in the face, undaunted enthusiasm in the heart, 
and tremendous activity these result from Sattva ; where- 
as idleness, lethargy, inordinate attachment and sleep are 
the signs of Tamas. 

Disciple : But do not fish and meat increase Rajas in 

Swamiji : That is what I want you to have. Rajas is 
badly needed just now! More than ninety per cent, of 
those whom you now take to be men with the Sattoa 
quality, are only steeped in the deepest Tamas. Enough 
if you find one-sixteenth of them to be really Sattvika 1 
What we want now is, an immense awakening of R&jasifya 
energy, for the whole country is wrapped in the shroud 
of Tamas. The people of this land must be fed and 
clothed, must be awakened, must be made more fully 
active. Otherwise they will become inert, as inert as 
trees and stones. So, I say, eat large quantities of fish and 
meat, my boy ! 

Disciple : Does a liking for fish and meat remain 
when one has fully developed the Sattva quality? 

Swamiji : No, it does not. All liking for fish and 
meat disappears when pure Sattva is highly developed, 
and these are the signs of its manifestation in a soul : 
Sacrifice of everything for others, perfect non-attachment 
to lust and wealth, want of pride and egoism. The desire 
for animal food goes when these things are seen in a man. 
And where such indications are absent, and yet you find 
men siding with the non-killing party, know it for a cer- 
tainty that here there is either hypocrisy or a show of 


religion. When you yourself come to that stage of pure 
Sattva, give up fish and meat, by all means. 

Disciple : But in the Chhandogya Upanishad there is 
this passage <NltKU*t iwyff: * 'Through pure food the 
Sattva quality in a man becomes pure." 

Swamiji : Yes, I know. Sankaracharya has said that 
the word 'Ahdra* there means, 'objects of the senses,' 
whereas Sri Ramanuja has taken the meaning of 'Ah&ra* 
to be 'food.' In my opinion we should take that meaning 
of the word, which reconciles both these points of view. 
Are we to pass our lives discussing all the time about the 
purity and impurity of food only, or are we to practise 
the restraining of our senses? Surely, the restraining of 
the senses is the main object ; and the discrimination of 
good and bad, pure and impure foods, only helps one, to 
a certain extent, in gaining that end. There are, according 
to our scripture, three things which make food impure. 
(1) JAti-dosha, or natural defects of a certain class of foods, 
like onions, garlic, etc. (2) Nimitta-dosha, or defects 
arising from the presence of external impurities in it, such 
as the dead insects, or the dust, etc., that attach to sweet- 
meats bought in shops. (3) Ashraya-dosha, or defects that 
arise by the food coming from evil sources, as when it 
has been touched and handled by wicked persons. Special 
care should be taken to avoid the first and second 
classes of defects. But in this country men pay no regard 
to these very two, and go on fighting for the third alone, 
the very one that none but a Yogi could really discriminate ! 
The country from end to end is being bored to extinction 
by the cries, 'Don't touch/ 'Don't touch,' of the non- 
touchism party. In that exclusive circle of theirs, too, 
there is no discrimination of good and bad men, for their 
food may be taken from the hands of anyone who wears 
a thread round his neck and calls himself a Brahmana! 
Sri Ramakrishna was quite unable to fake food in this in- 
discriminate way from the hands of any and all such. It 


happened many a time that he would not accept food 
touched by a certain person or persons, and on rigorous 
investigation it would turn out that these had some parti- 
cular stain to hide. Your religion seems nowadays to be 
confined to the cooking-pot alone. You put on one side 
the sublime truths of religion, and fight, as they say, for 
the skin of the fruit and not for the fruit itself ! 

Disciple : Do you mean, then, that we should eat the 
food handled by anyone and everyone ? 

Swamiji : Why so ? Now look here you being a 
Brahmana of a certain class, say, of the Bhattacharya class, 
why should you not eat rice cooked by Brahmanas of all 
classes? Why should you, who belong to the R&rhi sec- 
tion, object to take the rice cooked by a Brahmana of the 
Barendra section, and why should not a* Barendra do the 
same ? Again, why should not the other sub-castes in the 
west and south of India, e. g., the Mahratti, Telingi, 
Kanouji, do the same? Do you not see that hundreds of 
Brahmanas and Kayasthas in Bengal now go secretly to 
eat dainties in public restaurants, and when they come out 
of those places pose as leaders of society, and frame rules 
to support non-touchism ! Must our society really be 
guided by laws dictated by such hypocrites? No, I say. 
On the contrary, we must turn them out ! The laws 
laid down by the great Rishis of old must be brought back, 
and be made to rule supreme once more. Then alone can 
national well-being be ours. 

Disciple : Then, do not the laws laid down by the 
Rishis rule and guide our present society? 

Swamiji : Vain delusion ! Where indeed is that the 
case nowadays? Nowhere have I found the laws of the 
Rishis current in India, even when during my travels 
I searched carefully and thoroughly. The blind and not 
unoften meaningless customs sanctioned by the people, 
local prejudices and ideas, and the usages and ceremonials 
prevalent amongst women, are what really govern society 

V U 


everywhere ! How many care to read the Shastras, or to 
lead society according to their ordinances after careful 
study ? 

Disciple : What are we to do, then? 

Swamiji : We must revive the old laws of the Rishis. 
We must initiate the whole people into the codes of our 
old Manu and Yajnavalkya, with a few modifications here 
and there to adjust them to the changed circumstances of 
the time. Do you not see that nowhere in India now are 
the original four castes (Chaturvarnyam) to be found ? We 
have to redivide the whole Hindu population, grouping it 
under the four main castes of Brahma nas, Kshatriyas, 
Vaishyas and Sudras, as of old. The numberless modern 
subdivisions of the Brahmanas that split them up into so 
many castes, as it were, have to be abolished and a single 
Brahmana caste to be made by uniting them all. Each of 
the three remaining castes also, will haVe to be brought 
similarly into single groups, as was the case in Vedic times. 
Without this, will the Motherland be really benefited, by 
your simply crying, as you do nowadays, "We won't touch 
you," "We won't take him back into our caste*' ? Never 
my boy I 


1 . Man is born to conquer nature and not to follow it. 

2. When you think you are a body, you are apart 
from the universe ; when you think you are a soul, you 
are a spark from the great Eternal Fire ; when you think 
you are the "Atman," you are All. 

3. The will is not free it is a phenomenon bound by 
cause and effect but there is something behind the will 
which is free. 

4. Strength is in goodness, in purity. 

5. The universe is objectified God. 

6. You cannot believe in God until you believe in 

7. The root of evil is the illusion that we are bodies. 
This, if any, is the original sin. 

8. One party says, thought is caused by matter, and 
the other says, matter is caused by thought. Both state- 
ments are wrong ; matter and thought are co-existent. 
There is a third something, of which both matter and 
thought are products. ,< 

9. As particles of matter combine in space, so mind- 
waves combine in time. 

10. To define God is grinding the already ground, 
for He is the only being we know. 

,(11. Religion is the idea which is raising the brute unto 
man, and man unto God. 

12. External nature is only internal nature writ large. 

13. The motive is the measure of your work. What 
motive can be higher than that you are God, and that the 
lowest man is also God ? 


14. The observer in the psychic world needs to b< 
very strong and scientifically trained. 

15. To believe that mind is all, that thought is all, is 
only a higher materialism. 

16. This world is the great gymnasium where we conn 
to make ourselves strong. 

17. You cannot teach a child any more than you car 
grow a plant. All you can do is on the negative side 
you can only help. It is a manifestation from within ; il 
develops its own nature, you can only take awaj 

18. As soon as you make a sect you protest againsl 
universal brotherhood. Those who really feel universal 
brotherhood do not talk much, but their very actions speak 

19. Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, 
yet each one can be true. 

20. You have to grow from inside out. None car 
teach you, none can make you spiritual There is no other 
teacher but your own soul. 

21 . If in an infinite chain a few links can be explained, 
by the same method all can be explained. 

22. That man has reached immortality, who is dis- 
turbed by nothing material. 

23. Everything can be sacrificed for truth, but truth 
cannot be sacrificed for anything. 

24. The search for truth is the expression of strength 
not the groping of a weak, blind man. 

25. God has become man ; man will become God 

26. It is child's talk that a man dies and goes to 
heaven. We never come nor go. We are where we are. 
All the souls that have been, are, and will be, are on one 
geometrical point. 

27. He whose book of the heart has been opened 


needs no other books. Their only value is to create a 
desire in us. They are merely the experiences of others. 

28. Have charity towards all beings. Pity those who 
are in distress. Love all creatures. Do not be jealous of 
anyone. Look not to the faults of others. 

29. Man never dies, nor is he ever born ; bodies die, 
but he never dies. 

30. No one is born into a religion, but each one is 
born for a religion. 

31. There is really but one Self in the universe, all 
the rest are but Its manifestations. 

32. All the worshippers are divided into the common 
masses and the brave few. 

33. If itjis ^irofiossible to attain perfection here and 
now, there is no proof that we can attain perf ectionjn any 
other life. 

34. If I know one lump of clay perfectly, I know all 
the clay there is. This is the knowledge of principles, but 
their adaptations are various. When you know yourself 
you know all. 

35. Personally I take as much of the Vedas as agrees 
with reason. Parts of the Vedas are apparently contradic- 
tory. They are not considered as inspired in the Western 
sense of the word, but as the sum-total of the knowledge 
of God, omniscience. This knowledge comes out at the 
beginning of a cycle and manifests itself ; and when the 
cycle ends, it goes down into minute form. When the 
cycle is projected again, that knowledge is projected again 
with it. So far the theojry is all right. But that only these 
books which are called the Vedas are this knowledge is 
mere sophistry. Manu says in one place that that part of 
the Vedas which agrees with reason is the Vedas, and 
nothing else. Many of our philosophers have taken this 


36. Of all the scriptures of the world, it is the Vedas 
alone that declare that even the study of the Vedas is 
secondary. The real study is that "by which we realise 
the Unchangeable." And that is neither reading, nor be- 
lieving, nor reasoning, but super-conscious perception or 

37. We have been low animals once. We think they 
are something different from us. I hear Western people 
say: "The world was created for us/' If tigers could 
write books, they would say man was created for them, 
and that man is a most sinful animal, because he does not 
allow him (the tiger) to catch him easily. The worm that 
crawls under your feet to-day is a God to be. 

38. "I should very nqiuch like our women to have your 
intellectuality, but not if it must be at the cost of purity," 
said Swami Vivekananda in New York, "1 admire 
you for all that you know, but I dislike the way that you 
cover what is bad with roses and call it good. Intellec- 
tuality is not the highest good. Morality and spirituality 
are the things for which we strive. Our women are not 
so learned, but they are more pure. To all women every 
man save her husband should be as her son. 

"To all men every woman save his own wife should 
be a$ his mother. When I look about me and see what 
you call gallantry, my soul is filled with disgust. Not until 
you learn to ignore the question of sex and to meet on a 
ground of common humanity will your women really 
develop. Until then they are playthings, nothing more. 
All this is the cause of divorce. Your men bow low and 
offer a chair, but in another breath they offer compliments. 
They say, *Oh, madam, how beautiful are your eyed ! * 
What right have they to do this ? How dare a man venture 
so far, and how can you women permit it? Such things 


develop the less noble side of humanity. They do not tend 
to nobler ideals. 

'* We should not think that we are men and women, 
but only that we are human beings, born to cherish and to 
help one another. No sooner are a young man and a 
young woman left alone than he pays compliments to her, 
and perhaps before he takes a wife he has courted 200 
women. Bah ! If I belonged to the marrying set I could 
find a woman to love without all that ! 

"When I was in India and saw these things from the 
outside I was told it is all right, it is mere pleasantry, and 
I believed it. But I have travelled since then, and I know 
it is not right. It is wrong, only you of the West shut 
your eyes and call it good. The trouble with the nations 
of the West is that they are young, foolish, fickle and 
wealthy. What mischief can come of one of these quali- 
ties, but when all three, all four, are combined, beware 1" 

But severe as the Swami was upon all, Boston received 
the hardest blow : 

"Of all, Boston is the worst. There the women are 
all faddists, all fickle, merely bent on following something 
new and strange." 

39. "Where is the spirituality one would expect in a 
country,'* he said in America, "which is so boastful of its 

40. 'Here' and 'hereafter' are words to frighten 
children. It is all "here." To live and move in God, 
even here, even in this body ; all self should go out ; all 
superstition sh<^^ be banished. Such persons live in 
India. Where ^tsuch in this country (America)? Your 
preachers speak against dreamers. The people of this 
country will be better off if there were more dreamers. 
There is a good deal of difference between dreaming and 
the brag of the nineteenth century. The whole world is 


full of God and not of sin. Let us help each other, let us 
love each other. 

41. Let me die a true Sannyasin as my Master did, 
heedless of money, of women, and of fame ! And of these 
the most insidious is the love of fame ! 

42. 1 have never spoken of revenge, I have always 
spoken of strength. Do we dream of revenging ourselves 
on this drop of sea-spray? But it is a great thing to a 
mosquito ! 

43. "This is a great land," said Swamiji on one 
occasion in America, "but I would not like to live here. 
Americans think too much of money. They give it pre- 
ference over everything else. Your people have much to 
learn. When your nation is as old as ours, you will be 

44. It may be that I shall find it good to get outside 
of my body to cast it off like a disused garment. But I 
shall not cease to work ! I shall inspire men everywhere, 
until the world shall know that it is one with God. 

45. All that I am, all that the world itself will some- 
day be, is owing to my Master, Sri Ramakrishna, who in- 
carnated and experienced and taught this wonderful unity 
which underlies everything, having discovered it alike in 
Hinduism, in Islam, and in Christianity. 

46. Give the sense of taste (tongue) a free rein, and 
the other organs will also run on unbridled. 

47. Jnanam, Bhakti, Yoga and Karma these are the 
four paths which lead to salvation. One must follow the 
path for which he is best suited ; but in this age special 
stress should be laid on Karma Yoga. 

48. Religion is not a thing of imagination but of direct 
perception. He who has seen even a sii^^spirit, is greater 
than many a book-learned Pandit. 

49. Once Swamiji was praising someone very much ; 
at this, one sitting near by said to him, "But he does not 
believe in you." Hearing this, Swamiji at once replied, "Is 


there any legal affidavit that he should have to do so ? He ia 
doing good work, and so he is worthy of praise/* ' 

50. In the domain of true religion, book-learning has 
no right to enter. 

5 1 . The downfall of a religious sect begins from the 
day that the worship of the rich enters into it. 

52. If you want to do anything evil, do it before the 
eyes of your superiors. 

53. By the grace of the Guru, a disciple becomes a 
Pandit (scholar) even without reading books. 

54. There is no sin or virtue : there is only ignorance. 
By realisation of non-duality this ignorance is dispelled. 

55. Religious movements come in groups. Each one 
of them tries to rear itself above the rest. But as a rule 
only one of them really grows in strength, and this, in the 
long run, swallows up all the contemporary movements. 

56. When Swamiji was at Ramnad, he said in the 
course of a conversation, that Sri Rama was the Paramat- 
man and that Sit a was the Jivatman and each man's or 
woman's body was the Lanka (Ceylon). The Jivatman 
which was enclosed in the body, or captured in the island 
of Lanka, always desired to be in affinity with the Paramat- 
man or Sri Rama. But the Rakshasas would not allow it, 
and Rakshasas represented certain traits of character. For 
instance, Bibhishana represented Sattva Guna ; Ravana, 
Rajas ; and Kumbhakarna, Tamas. Sattva Guna means 
goodness ; Rajas means lust and passions, and Tamas 
darkness, stupor, avarice, malice, and its concomitants. 
These Gunas ke*$?vback Sita or Jivatman which is in the 
body, or Lanka, h- !i joining Paramatman or Rama. Sita, 
thus imprisoned and trying to unite with her Lord, deceives 
a visit from Hanuman, the Guru or divine teacher, who 
shows her the Lord's ring, which is Brahma Jnana, the 
supreme wisdom that destroys all illusions, and thus Sita 


finds the way. to be at one with Sri Rama, or, in other 
words, the Jivatman finds itself one with the Paramatman. 
57. A true Christian is a true Hindu, and a true Hindu 
is a true Christian. 

58. All healthy social changes are the manifestations 
of the spiritual forces working within, and if these are 
strong and well adjusted, society will arrange itself accord- 
ingly. Each individual has to work out his own salvation ; 
there is no other way, and so also nations. Again, the 
great institutions of every nation are the conditions of its 
very existence, and cannot be transformed by the mould 
of any other race. Until higher institutions have been 
evolved, any attempt to break the old ones will be dis- 
astrous. Growth is always gradual. 

It is very easy to point out the defects of institutions, 
all such being more or less imperfect, but he is the real 
benefactor of humanity, who helps the individual to over- 
come his imperfections, under whatever institutions the 
latter may live. The individuals being raised, the nation 
and its institutions are bound to rise. Bad customs and 
laws become ignored by the virtuous, and unwritten but 
mightier laws of love, sympathy and integrity take their 
place. Happy is the nation which can rise to the necessity 
of but few law books, and needs no longer to bother its 
head about this or that institution. Good men rise beyond 
all laws, and will help their fellows to rise under whatever 
conditions they live. 

The salvation of India, thereforju.* depends on the 
strength of the individual, and the reaMiOion by each man 
of the divinity within. 



The following three chapters were discovered among 
Swami Vivekananda's papers. He evidently intended to 
write a book and jotted down some points for the work. 

I Bondage. II The Law. 
Ill The Absolute and the attainment of Freedom. 


1. Desire is infinite, its fulfilment limited. Desire is 
unlimited in everyone, the power of fulfilment varies. 
Thus, some are more successful than others in life. 

2. This limitation is the bondage we are struggling 
against, all our lives. 

3. We desire only the pleasurable, not the painful. 

4. The objects of desire are all complex pleasure- 
giving or pain-bringing mixed up. 

5. We do not or cannot see the painful parts in ob- 
jects, we are charmed with only the pleasurable portion, 
and thus grasping the pleasurable, we unwittingly draw 
in the painful. 

6. At times we vainly hope, that in our case only 
the pleasurable will come leaving the painful aside, which 
never happens. 

7. Our desires also are constantly changing what 
we would prize to-day we would reject to-morrow. The 
pleasure of the present will be the pain of the future, the 
loved hated, and so on. 


8. We vainly hope that in the future life, we shall be 
able to gather in only the pleasurable, to the exclusion of 
the painful. 

9. The future is only the extension of the present. 
Such a thing cannot be ! 

10. Whosoever seeks pleasure in objects, will get it, 
but he must take the pain with it. 

1 1 . All objective pleasure in the long run must bring 
pain, because of the fact of change or death. 

. 12. Death is the goal of all objects, change is the 
nature of all objective things. 

13. As desire increases, so increases the power of 
pleasure, so the power of pain. 

14. The finer the organism, the higher the culture 
the greater is the power to enjoy pleasure, and the sharper 
are the pangs of pain. 

15. Mental pleasures are greatly superior to physical 
joys. Mental pains are more poignant than physical 

16. The power of thought, of looking far away into 
the future, the power of memory, of recalling the past to the 
present, make us live in heaven ; they make us live in 
hell also. 

17. The man who can collect the largest amount of 
pleasurable objects around him, is as a rule too unimagin- 
ative to enjoy them. The man of great imagination is 
thwarted by the intensity of his feeling of loss, or fear of 
loss, or perception of defects. 

18. We are struggling hard to conquer pain, succeed- 
ing in the attempt and yet creating new pains at the same 

19. We achieve success and we are overthrown by 
failure, we pursue pleasure and we are pursued by pain. 

20. We say we do, we are made to do ; we say we 
work, we are made to labour. We say we live, we are 
made to die every moment. We are in the crowd, we 


cannot stop, must go on it needs no cheering. Had it 
not been so, no amount of cheering would make us under- 
take all this pain and misery for a grain of pleasure, 
which alas ! in most cases is only a hope ! 

21. Our pessimism is a dread reality, our optimism 
is a faint cheering, making the best of a bad job. 


1. The law "is never separate from the phenomena, 
the principle from the person. 

2. The law is the method of action or pose of every 
single phenomenon within its scope. 

3. We get our knowledge of law from the massing 
and welding of changes that occur. We never see law 
beyond these changes. The idea of law as something 
separate from phenomena is a mental abstraction, a con- 
venient use of words and nothing more. Law is a part of 
every change within its range, a manner which resides in 
the things governed by the law. The power resides in the 
thing, is a part of our idea of that thing its action upon 
something else is in a certain manner this is our law. 

4. Law is in the actual state of things, it is in how 
they act towards each other and not in how they should. 
It might have been better if fire did not burn, or water wet, 
but that they do and this is the law, and if it is a true law, 
a fire that does not burn, or water that does not wet, is 
neither fire nor water. 

5. Spiritual laws, ethical laws, social laws, national 
laws would be laws if they are parts of existing spiritual 
and human units and the unfailing experience of the action 
of every unit said to be bound by such laws. 


6. We are, by turn, made by law as well as its maker. 
A generalisation of what man does invariably under certain 
circumstances, is a law with regard to man in that particular 
aspect. It is the invariable, universal human action that is 
law for man and which no individual can escape and 
yet the summation of the action of each individual is the 
universal Law. The sum-total, or the universal, or the 
infinite, is fashioning the individual, while the individual 
is keeping by its action, the Law alive. Law in this sense 
is another name for the universal. The universal is de- 
pendent upon the individual, the individual dependent 
upon the universal. It is an infinite made up of finite parts, 
an infinite of number, though involving the difficulty of 
assuming an infinity summed up of finites yet for all 
practical purposes, it is a fact before us. And as the law, 
or whole, or the infinite, cannot be destroyed and the 
destruction of a part of an infinite is an impossibility, as 
we cannot either add or subtract anything from the infinite 
each part persists for ever. 

7. Laws regarding the materials of which the body 
of man is composed have been found out, and also the 
persistence of these materials through time has been shown. 
The elements which composed the body of a man a 
hundred thousand years ago, have been proved to be still 
existing in some place or other. The thoughts which have 
been projected also are living in other minds. 

8. But the difficulty is to find a law about the man 
beyond the body. 

9. The spiritual and ethical laws are not the method 
of action of every human being. The systems of ethics, of 
morality, even of national laws, are honoured more in the 
breach than in the observance. If they were laws how 
could they be broken? 

10. No man is able to go against the laws of nature. 
How is it that we always complain of his breaking the moral 
laws, national laws? 


1 1 . The national laws at best are the embodied will 
of a majority of the nation always a state of things wished 
for, not actually existing. 

12. The ideal law may be that no man should covet 
the belongings of others, but the actual law is that a very 
large number do. ' 

13. Thus the word law used in regard to laws of 
nature, has a very different interpretation when applied to 
ethics and human actions generally, 

14. Analysing the ethical laws of the world and com- 
paring them with the actual state of things, two laws stand 
out supreme. The one, that of repelling everything from 
us separating ourselves from everyone which leads to 
self-aggrandisement even at the cost of everyone else's 
happiness. The other, that of self-sacrifice of taking no 
thought of ourselves only of others. Both spring from 
the search for Happiness one, of finding happiness in in- 
juring others and the ability of feeling that happiness only 
in our own senses. The other, of finding happiness in doing 
good to others the ability of feeling happy, as it were, 
through the senses of others. The great and good of the 
world were those who had the latter power predominating. 
Yet both these are working side by side conj'ointly ; in 
almost everyone they are found in mixture, one or the 
other predominating. The thief steals, perhaps, for some- 
one he loves. 





1 . Om Tat Sat that Being Knowing Bliss, 
(a) The only real Existence, which alone is, every- 
thing else exists in as much as it reflects that real Existence. 


(b) It is the only Knower the only Self-luminous 
the Light of consciousness. Everything else shines by 
light borrowed from It. Everything else knows in as much 
as it reflects Its knowing. 

(c) It is the only Blessedness as in It there is no want. 
It comprehends all, is the essence of all. 


(d) It has no parts, no attributes, neither pleasure nor 
pain, nor is it matter or mind. It is the Supreme, Infinite, 
Impersonal Self in everything, the Infinite Ego of the 

(e) It is the Reality in me, in thee, and in everything 


2. The same Impersonal is conceived by the mind as 
the Creator, the Ruler and the Dissolver of this universe, 
its material as well as its efficient cause, the Supreme 
Ruler the Living, the Loving, the Beautiful, in the highest 

(a) The Absolute Being is manifested in Its Highest 
in Isvara, or the Supreme Ruler, as the Highest and 
Omnipotent Life or Energy. 

(b) The Absolute Knowledge is manifesting Itself in 
Its Highest as Infinite Love, in the Supreme Lord. 

(c) The Absolute Bliss is manifested as the Infinite 
Beautiful, in the Supreme Lord. He is the greatest attrac- 
tion of the soul. 


The Absolute or Brahman, the Sat-Chit-Ananda, is 
Impersonal and the real Infinite. 

v Every existence from the Highest to the lowest, all 
manifest according to their degree as energy (in the 
higher-life), attraction (in the higher-love), and struggle for 


equilibrium (in the higher-happiness). This Highest 
Energy-Love-Beauty is a person, an individual, the Infinite 
Mother of this universe, the God of gods, the Lord of 
lords, Omnipresent yet separate from the universe, the 
Soul of souls, yet separate from every soul, the Mother 
of this universe, because She has produced it, its Ruler as 
She guides it with the greatest love, and in the long run 
brings everything back to Herself. Through Her command 
the sun and moon shine, the clouds rain, and death stalks 
up jn the earth. 

She is the power of all causation. She energises every 
cause unmistakably to produce the effect. Her will is the 
only law, and as She cannot make a mistake, Nature's 
laws Her will can never be changed. She is the life of 
the Law of Karma or causation, She is the fructifier of 
every action. Under Her guidance we are manufacturing 
our lives through our deeds or Karma. 

Freedom is the motive of the universe, Freedom its 
goal. The laws of nature are the methods through which 
we are struggling to reach that freedom, under the guidance 
of Mother. 

This universal struggle for freedom attains its highest 
expression in man in the conscious desire to be free. 

This freedom is attained by the threefold means of 
work, worship and knowledge. 

(a) Work constant unceasing effort to help others 
and loving others. 

(b) Worship consists in prayer, praise and medita- 

(c) Knowledge that follows meditation. 

V V 


The success which attended the labours of the 
disciples of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in diffusing the 
principles of Hindu religion and obtaining some respect 
for our much abused faith in the West, gave rise to the 
hope of training a number of young Sannyasins to carry on 
the propaganda, both in and out of India. And an 
attempt is being made to educate a number of young men 
according to the Vedic principle of students living in touch 
with the Guru. 

A Math has already been started on the Ganges near 
Calcutta, through the kindness of some European and 
American friends. 

The work, to produce any visible results in a short 
time, requires funds and hence this appeal to those who 
are in sympathy with our efforts. 

It is intended to extend the operations of the Math* 
by educating in the Math, as many young men as the funds 
can afford, in both Western science and Indian spirituality, 
so that in addition to the advantages of an University 
education, they will acquire a manly discipline by living 
in contact with their teachers. 

The central Math near Calcutta will gradually start 
branches in other parts of the country as men become 
ready and the means are forthcoming. 

It is a work which will take time to bring forth any 
permanent result and requires a great deal of sacrifice on 
the part of our young men and on those who have the 
means of helping this work. 

We believe the men are ready, and our appeal there- 
fore is to those who really love their religion and their 
country and have the means to show their sympathy 
practically by helping the cause. 




The following lines were sent in a letter, March, 1899, by Swamiji, 
for embodying them in the prospectus of the Advaita Ashrama, 
May avail, Almora, Himalayas. 

In Whom is the Universe, Who is in the Universe, 
Who is the Universe ; in whom is the Soul, Who is in the 
Soul, Who is the Soul of man ; knowing Him and there- 
fore the Universe as our Self, alone extinguishes all fear, 
brings an end to misery and leads to Infinite Freedom. 
Wherever there has been expansion in love or progress in 
well-being, of individuals or numbers, it has been through 
the perception, realisation and the practicalisation of the 
Eternal Truth, THE ONENESS OF ALL BEINGS. "Depen- 
dence is misery. Independence is happiness." The 
Advaita is the only system which gives unto man complete 
possession of himself, takes off all dependence and its 
associated superstitions, thus making us brave to suffer, 
brave to do, and in the long run attain to Absolute 

Hitherto it has not been possible to preach this Noble 
Truth entirely free from the settings of dualistic weakness ; 
this alone, we are convinced, explains why it has not been 
more operative and useful to mankind at large. 

To give this ONE TRUTH a freer and fuller scope in 
elevating the lives of individuals and leavening the mass 
of mankind, we start this Advaita Ashrama on the 
Himalayan heights, the land of its first expiration. 

Here it is hoped to keep Advaita free from all super- 
stitions and weakening contaminations. Here will be 
taught and practised nothing but the Doctrine of Unity, 
pure and simple ; and though in entire sympathy with all 
other systems, this Ashrama is dedicated to Advaita and 
Advaita alone. 




We beg your acceptance of the past year's Report of 
the Ramakrishna Home of Service, Benares, embodying a 
short statement of our humble efforts towards the 
amelioration, however little, of the miserable state into 
which a good many of our fellow-beings, generally old 
men and women, are cast in this city. 

In these days of intellectual awakening and steadily 
asserting public opinion, the holy places of the Hindus, 
their condition, and method of work, have not escaped the 
keen eye of criticism ; and this city, being the holy of 
holies to all Hindus, has not failed to attract its full share 
of censure. 

In other sacred places people go to purify themselves 
from sin, and their connection with these places is casual, 
and of a few days' duration. In this, the most ancient and 
living centre of Aryan religious activity, there come men 
and women, and as a rule, old and decrepit, waiting to 
pass unto Eternal Freedom, through the greatest of all 
sanctifications, death under the shadow of the temple of 
the Lord of the Universe. 

And then there are those who have renounced every- 
thing for the good of the world, and have for ever lost the 
helping hands of their own flesh and blood, and child- 
hood's associations. 

They too are overtaken by the common lot of 
humanity, physical evil in the form of disease. 

It may be true that some blame attaches to the 
management of the place. It may be true that the priests 
deserve a good part of the sweeping criticism generally 

* Letter written by Swamiji, to accompany the First Report of the 
Ramakrishna Home of Service. Benares. February 1902. 


heaped upon them ; yet we must not forget the great truth 
like people like priests. If the people stand by with 
folded hands and watch the swift current of misery rushing 
past their doors, dragging men, women and children, the 
Sannyasin and the householder, into one common whirl- 
pool of helpless suffering, and make not the least effort to 
save any from the current, only waxing eloquent at the 
misdoings of the priests of the holy places, not one particle 
of suffering can ever be lessened, not one ever be helped. 

Do we want to keep up the faith of our forefathers in 
the efficacy of the Eternal City of Shiva towards salvation ? 

If we do, we ought to be glad to see the number of 
those increase from year to year, who come here to die. 

And blessed be the name of the Lord that the poor 
have this eager desire for salvation, the same as ever. 

The poor who come here to die have voluntarily cut 
themselves off from any help they could have received in 
the places of their birth, and when disease overtakes them, 
their condition we leave to your imagination and to your 
conscience as a Hindu, to feel and to rectify. 

Brother, does it not make you pause and think of the 
marvellous attraction of this wonderful place of prepara- 
tion for final rest ? Does it not strike you with a mysterious 
sense of awe this age-old and never-ending stream of 
pilgrims marching to salvation through death? 

If it does, come and lend us a helping hand. 

Never mind if your contribution is only a mite, your 
help only a little ; blades of grass united into a rope will 
hold in confinement the maddest or elephants, says the 
-old proverb. 

Ever yours in the Lord of the Universe, 




Perchance a prophet thou 
Who knows? Who dares touch 
The depths where Mother hides 
Her silent f ailless bolts ! 

Perchance the child had glimpse 
Of shades, behind the scenes, 
With eager eyes and strained, 
Quivering forms ready 
To jump in front and be 
Events, resistless, strong. 
Whp knows but Mother, how, 
And where, and when, they come? 

Perchance the shining sage 
Saw more than he could tell ; 
Who knows, what soul, and when, 
The Mother makes Her throne? 
What law would freedom bind ? 
What merit guide Her will, 
Whose freak is great'st order, 
Whose will resistless law? 

To child may glories ope 
Which father never dreamt ; 
May thousandfold in daughter 
Her powers Mother store. 


[It is well known that the Swami Vivekananda's death 
(or resurrection, as some of us would prefer to call it !) took 
place on the 4th of July 1902. On the 4th of July 1898, 
he was travelling, with some American disciples, in 
Kashmir, and as part of a domestic conspiracy for the cele- 
bration of the day the anniversary of the American*, 


Declaration of Independence he prepared the following 
poem, to be read aloud at the early breakfast. The poem 
itself fell to the keeping of Sthird Mdtd.] 

Behold, the dark clouds melt away, 
That gathered thick at night, and hung 
So like a gloomy pall, above the earth ! 
Before thy magic touch, the world 
Awakes. The birds in chorus sing. 
The flowers raise their star-like crowns, 
Dew-set, and wave thee welcome fair. 
The lakes are opening wide in love, 
Their hundred thousand lotus-eyes, 
To welcome thee, with all their depth. 
All hail to thee, thou Lord of Light ! 
A welcome new to thee, to-day, 
Oh Sun ! To-day thou sheddest Liberty I 

Bethink thee how the world did wait, 

And search for thee, through time and clime. 

Some gave up home and love of friends, 

And went in quest of thee, self -banished, 

Through dreary oceans, through primeval forests, 

Each step a struggle for their life or death ; 

Then came the day when work bore fruit, 

And worship, love, and sacrifice, 

Fulfilled, accepted, and complete. 

Then thou, propitious, rose to shed 

The light of Freedom on mankind. 

Move on, Oh Lord, in thy resistless path ! 

Till thy high noon o'erspreads the world, 

Till every land reflect thy light, 

Till men and women, with uplifted head, 

Behold their shackles broken, and 

Know, in springing joy, their life renewed ! 



(Translated from a Bengali contribution by Swamiji to the 


Vast and deep rivers, swelling and impetuous, charm- 
ing pleasure-gardens by the river-banks, putting to shame 
the celestial Nandana-K&nana ; amidst these pleasure- 
gardens rise towering to the sky beautiful marble palaces, 
decorated with the most exquisite workmanship of fine art ; 
on the sides, in front, and behind, clusters of huts, with 
crumbling mud-walls and dilapidated roofs, the bamboos 
of which, forming their skeletons as it were, are exposed to 
view ; moving about here and there emaciated figures of 
young and old in tattered rags, whose faces bear deep-cut 
lines of the despair and poverty of hundreds of years ; 
cows, bullocks, buffaloes common everywhere aye, thfe 
same melancholy look in their eyes, the same feeble 
physique ; on the way-side, refuse and dirt ; this is our 
present-day India ! 

Worn-out huts by the very side of palaces, piles of 
jrefuse in the near proximity of temples, the Sannyasin clad 
with only a little loin-cloth, walking by the gorgeously 
dressed, the pitiful gaze of lustreless eyes of the hunger- 
stricken at the well-fed and the amply-provided ; this is 
our native land ! 

Devastation by violent plague and cholera ; malaria 
eating into the very vitals of the nation ; starvation and 
semi-starvation as second nature ; death-like famine often 
dancing its tragic dance ; the Kurukshetra (battle-field) of 
malady and misery ; the huge cremation-ground, strewn 


with the dead bones of her lost hope, activity, joy and 
courage, and in the midst of that, sitting in august silence 
the Yogin, absorbed in deep communion with the Spirit, 
with no other goal in life than Moksha ; this is what meets 
the eye of the European traveller in India. 

A conglomeration of three hundred million souls, re- 
sembling men only in appearance ; crushed out of life 
by being down-trodden by their own people and foreign 
nations, by people professing their own religion, and by 
others of foreign faiths ; patient in labour and suffering, 
and devoid of an initiative, like the slave ; without any 
hope, without any past, without any future ; desirous 
only of maintaining the present life anyhow, however pre_- 
caripus ; of a malicious nature befitting a slave, to whom 
thejDrosperity of their fellowmen is unbearable ; bereft of 
Shraddha, like one with whom all hope is dead, faithless ; 
whose weapon of defence is base trickery, treachery and 
slyness like that of a fox ; the embodiment of selfishness ; 
licking the dust of the feet of the strong, withal dealing 
a death-blow to those who are comparatively weak ; full 
of ugly, diabolical superstitions which come naturally to 
those who are weak, and hopeless of the future ; without 
any standard of morality as their backbone ; three hun- 
dred millions of souls such as these are swarming on the 
body of India, like so many worms on a rotten, stinking 
carcase, this is the picture concerning us, which naturally 
presents itself to the English official ! 

Maddened with the wine of ever-acquiring powers ; 
devoid of discrimination between right and wrong ; fierce 
like wild beasts, hen-pecked, lustful ; drenched in liquor, 
having no idea of chastity or purity, and of cleanly ways 
and habits ;,! believing in matter only, whose civilisation 
rests on matter and its various applications ; addicted to 
the aggrandisement of self by exploiting others* countries, 
others' wealth, by force, trick and treachery ; having no 
faith in the life hereafter, whose Atman is the body, whose 


whole life is only in the senses and creature comforts ; 
thus, to the Indian, the Westerner is the veriest demon 

These are the views of observers, on both sides, 
views born of mutual indiscrimination, and superficial 
knowledge or ignorance. The foreigners, the Europeans, 
come to India, live in palatial buildings in the perfectly 
clean and healthy quarters of our towns, and compare our 
"native" quarters with their neat and beautifully laid-out 
cities at home ; the Indians with whom they come in con- 
tact are only of one class, those who hold some sort of 
employment under them. And, indeed, distress and 
poverty are nowhere else to be met with as in India ; be- 
sides that, there is no gainsaying that dirt and filth are 
everywhere. To the European mind, at is inconceivable 
that anything good can possibly be amidst such dirt, suph 
slavery and such degradation. 

We, on the other hand, see that the Europeans eat 
without discrimination whatever they get, have no idea of 
cleanliness as we have, do not observe caste distinctions, 
freely mix with women, drink wine and shamelessly dance 
at a ball, men and women held in each other's arms ; and 
we ask ourselves in amazement : What good can there 
be in such a nation ? 

Both these views are derived from without, and do 
not look within, and below the surface. We do not allow 
foreigners to mix in our society, and we call them 
Mlechchhas ; they also in their turn hate us as slaves, and 
call us * 'niggers/' 

In both of these views there must be some truth, though 
neither of the parties has seen the real thing behind each. 

Withjnjgyery man, therejs an idea ; the external man 
is only the outward manifgsla^ language of 

this idea within. Likewise, every nation has a correspond- 
ing naffioTiaHdeir This idea is working for the world and ia 
necessary for its preservation. The day when the necessity 


of an idea as an Clement for the preservation of the world 
is over, that very day the receptacle of that idea, whether 
it be an individual or a nation, will meet destruction. The 
reason that we Indians are still living, in spite of so much 
misery, distress, poverty and oppression from within and 
without is, that we have a national idea, which is yet neces- 
sary for the preservation of the world. The Europeans too 
have a national idea of their own, without which the world 
will not go on ; therefore they are so strong. Does a man 
live a moment, if he loses all his strength ? A nation is the 
sum-total of so many individual men ; will a nation live if 
it has utterly lost all its strength and activity? Why did 
not this Hindu race die out, in the face of so many troubles 
and tumults of a thousand years? If our customs and 
manners are so very bad, how is it that we have not been 
effaced from the face of the earth by this time? Have 
the various foreign conqueror^ spared any pains to crush 
us out? Why, then, were not the Hindus blotted out of 
existence, as happened with men in other countries which 
are uncivilised? Why was not India depopulated and 
turned into a wilderness? Why, then foreigners would 
have lost no time to come and settle in India, and till her 
fertile lands in the same way as they did and are still doing 
in America, Australia and Africa. Well then, my foreigner, 
you are not so strong as you think yourself to be ; it is a vain 
imagination. First understand that India has strength as 
well, has a substantial reality of her own yet. Furthermore, 
understand that India is still living, because she has her 
own quota yet to give to the general store of the world's 
civilisation. And you too understand this full well, I mean 
those of our countrymen who have become thoroughly 
Europeanised both in external habits and in ways of thought 
and ideas, and who are continually crying their eyes out, 
and praying to the Europeans to save them, "We are 
degraded, we have come down to the level of brutes ; oh ye 
European people ! you are our saviours, have pity on us 


and raise us from this fallen state/* And you too under- 
stand this, who are singing Te Deams and raising a hue 
and cry that Jesus is come to India, and are seeing the 
fulfilment of the divine decree in the fulness of time. Oh 
dear ! No ! neither Jesus is come nor Jehovah ; nor \vill 
they come ; they are now busy in saving their own hearths 
and homes and have no time to come to our country. 
Here is the self-same Old Siva seated as before, the 
bloody Mother Kali worshipped with the self-same para- 
phernalia, the pastoral Shepherd of Love, Sri Krishna, 
playing on His flute. Once this Old Siva, riding on His 
bull and taboring on His Damaru travelled from India, on 
the one side, to Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes, Australia, as 
far as the shores of America, and on the other side, the 
Old Siva battened His bull in Thibet, China, Japan and as 
far up as Siberia, and is still doing the same. The Mother 
Kali is still exacting Her worship even in China and Japan ; 
it is She whom the Christians metamorphosed into the Virgin 
Mary, and worship as the mother of Jesus the Christ. 
Behold the Himalayas, there to its north is the Kailas, the 
main abode of the Old Siva ; that throne the ten-headed, 
twenty-armed, mighty Ravana could not shake ; now for 
the Missionaries to attempt the task ? Bless my soul ! ! 
Here in India will ever be the Old Siva taboring on His 
Damaru, the Mother Kali worshipped with animal sacrifice, 
and the lovable Sri Krishna playing on His flute. Firm as 
the Himalayas they are ; and no attempts of anyone, 
Christian and other missionaries, will ever be able to re- 
move them. If you cannot bear them, avaunt 1 For a 
handful of you, shall a whole nation be wearied out of 
all patience an$l bored to death? Why don't you make 
your way somewhere else where you may find fields to 
freely graze upon, the wide world is open to you? But 
no, that they won't do ! Where is that strength to do it? 
They would eat the salt of that Old Siva and play Him 
false, slander Him, and sing the glory of a foreign Saviour 


dear me ! ! To such of our countrymen who go whim- 
pering before foreigners "We are very low, we are mean, 
we are degraded, everything we have is diabolical," to 
them we say, "Yes, that may be the truth, forsooth, be- 
cause you profess to be truthful and we have no reason 
to disbelieve you ; but why do you include the whole 
nation in that "We" ? Pray, Sirs, what sort of good man- 
ners is that?" 

First, we have to understand that there are not any 
good qualities which are the privileged monopoly of one 
nation only. Of course, as with individuals, so with 
nations, there may be a prevalence of certain good qualities, 
more or less in one nation than in another. 

With us, the prominent idea is Mukti ; with the 
Westerners, it is Dharrna. What we desire is Mukti ; 
what they want is Dharma. Here the word "Dharma" 
is used in the sense of the Mimamsa^as. What is Dharma? 
Dharma is that which makes man seek for happiness in 
this world or the next. Dharma is established on work ; 
Dharma is impelling man day and night to run after, and 
work for, happiness. 

What is Mukti? That which teaches that even the 
happiness of this life is slavery, and the same is the happi- 
ness of the life to come, because neither this world nor 
the next is beyond the laws of nature ; only, the slavery of 
this world is to that of the next, as an iron chain is to a 
golden one. Again, happiness, wherever it may be, being 
within the laws of nature, is subject to death and will not 
last ad infinitam. Therefore, man must aspire to become 
Mukta, he must go beyond the bondage of the body ; 
slavery will not do. This Moksha-path is only in India and 
nowhere else. Hence is true the oft-repeated saying that 
Mukta souls are only in India and in no other country. 
But it is equally true that in future they will be in other 
countries as well ; that is well and good, and a thing of 
great pleasure to us. There was a time in India, when 


Dharma was compatible with Mukti. There were wor- 
shippers of Dharma, such as Yudhisthira, Arjuna, Duryo- 
dhana, Bhishma and Kama, side by' side with the aspirants 
of Mukti, such as Vyasa, Suka and Janaka. On the advent 
of Buddhism, Dharma was entirely neglected, and the path 
of Moksha alone became predominant. Hence, we read 
in the Agni Parana, in the language of similes, that the 
demon Gayasura that is, Buddha* tried to destroy the 
world, by showing the path of Moksha to all ; and there- 
fore, the Devas held a council, and by stratagem set him 
at rest for ever. However, the central fact is, that the fall 
of our country, of which we hear so much spoken, is due 
to the utter want of this Dharma. If the whole nation prac- 
tises and follows the path of Moksha, that is well and good; 
but is that possible? Without enjoyment, renunciation 
can never come ; first enjoy and then you can renounce. 
Otherwise, if the whole nation, all of a sudden, takes up 
Sannyasa, it does not gain what it desires, but it loses what 
it had into the bargain, the bird in the hand is fled, nor 
is that in the bush caught. When, in the heyday of Bud- 
dhistic supremacy, thousands of Sannyasins lived in every 
monastery, then it was that the country was just on the 
verge of its ruin ! The Bauddhas, the Christians, the Musal- 
mans and the Jains prescribe, in their folly, the same law 
and the same rule for all. That is a great mistake ; educa- 
tion, habits, customs, laws and rules should be different 
for different men and nations, in conformity with their 
difference of temperament. What will it avail, if it is 
tried to make them all uniform, by compulsion? The 
Bauddhas declared, " Nothing is more desirable in life than 
Mpksha ; whoever you are, come one and all to take it/* 
I ask, **Is that ever possible?'* "You are a householder, 

* Swamiji afterwards changed this view with reference to Buddha, 
as is evident from the letter he wrote from Benares to one of his 
Sannyasin disciples. See page 1 13, **The story in the Agni Parana 
pre-existence of the place/* (Epistle no. LXIX). 


you must not concern yourself much with things of that 
sort, you do your Svadharma" thus say the Hindu scrip- 
tures. Exactly so ! He who cannot leap over one foot, is 
going to jump across the ocean to Lanka in one bound ! 
Is it reason? You cannot feed your own family, or dole 
out food to two of your fellowmen, you cannot do even 
an ordinary piece of work for the common good, in har- 
mony with others, and you are running after Mukti ! ! The 
Hindu scriptures say, "No doubt, Moksha is far superior 
to Dharma ; but, Dharma should be finished first of all." 
The Bauddhas were^ confounded just there and brought 
about all sorts of mischief. Non-injury is right. * Resist 
not evil* is a great thing, these are indeed grand prin- 
ciples ; but the Shastras say, Thou art a householder, if 
anyone smite thee on thy cheek, and thou dost not return 
him an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, thou wilt verily 
be a sinner. Manu says, "When one has come to kill you, 
there is no sin in killing him, even though he is a 
Brahmana." (Manu, VIIL 350.) This is very true, and 
this is a thing which should not be forgotten. Heroes only 
enjoy the world show your heroism, apply, according 
to circumstances, the fourfold political maxims of concilia- 
tion, bribery, sowing dissensions and open war, 
to win over your adversary, and enjoy the world, 
then you will be Dharmika. Otherwise, you live a dis- 
graceful life if you pocket your insults, when you are kicked 
and trodden down by anyone who takes it into his head to 
do so ; your life is a veritable hell here, and so is the life 
hereafter. This is what the Shastras say. Do your 
Soadharma this is truth, the truth of truths. This is my 
advice to you, my beloved co-religionists. Of course, do 
not do any wrong, do not injure or tyrannise over anyone, 
but try to do good to others as much as you can. But to 
passively submit to wrong done by others is a sin, with 
the hbuseholder ; he must try to pay them back in their own 
coin then and there. The householder must earn money 


with great effort and enthusiasm, and by that must support 
and bring comforts to his own family and to others, and 
perform good works as far as possible. If you cannot 
do that, how do you profess to be a man? You are not 
a householder even, what to talk of Moksha for you ! ! 

We have said before that Dharma is based on work. 
The nature of the Dharmika is constant performance of 
action with efficiency. Why, even the opinion of some 
Mimamsakas is, that those parts of the Vedas which do 
not enjoin work are not, properly speaking, Vedas at all. 
One of the aphorisms of Jaimini runs thus, ^rer^T 
*{ "The purpose of the Vedas 

being work, those parts of the Vedas that do not deal with 
work miss the mark." 

"By constant repetition of the letter Om and by medi- 
tating on its meaning, everything can be obtained**; "All 
sins are washed away by uttering the name of the Lord"; 
,"He gets all, who resigns himself to the Will of God"; 
yes, these words of the Shastras and the sages are, no doubt, 
true. But, do you see, thousands of us are, for our whole 
life, meditating on Om, are getting ecstatic in devotion in 
the name of the Lord, and are crying, "Thy Will be done, 
I am fully resigned to Thee," and what are they actually 
getting in return ? absolutely nothing ! How do you ac- 
count for this? The reason lies here, and it must be fully 
understood, Whose meditation is real and effective ? Who 
can really resign himself to the Will of God? Who can 
utter with power irresistible, like that of a thunderbolt, the 
name of the Lord ? It is he who has earned Chittasuddhi, 
that is, whose mind has been purified by work, or in other 
words, he who is the 'Dharmika.' 

Every individual is a centre for the manifestation of 
a certain force. This force has been stored up as the 
resultant of our previous works, and each one of us is born 
with this force at his back. So long as this force has not 
worked itself out, who can possibly remain quiet and give 


up work? Until then, he will have to enjoy or suffer ac- 
cording to the fruition of his good or bad work, and will 
be irresistibly impelled to do work. When enjoyment and 
work cannot be given up till then, is it not better to do 
good rather than bad works, to enjoy happiness rather 
than suffer misery? Sri Ramprasad* used to say, "They 
speak of two words, 'good' and 'bad'; of them it is better 
to do the good." 

Now what is that good which is to be pursued ? The 
good for him who desires Moksha is one, and the good 
for him who wants Dharma is another. This is the great 
truth which the Lord Sri Krishna, the revealer of the Gita, 
has tried therein so much to explain, and upon this great 
truth is established the Varnashrama system and the 
doctrine of Svadharma, &c., of the Hindu religion. 

(Gita XII. 13.) 

"He who has no enemy, and is friendly and compas- 
sionate towards all, who is free from the feelings of 'me 
and mine/ even-minded in pain and pleasure, and for- 
bearing," and other words of like nature, are for him whose 
one goal in life is Moksha. And, 

(Gita II. 3.) 

"Yield not to unmanliness, O son of Pritha I 111 doth 
it befit thee. Cast off this mean faintheartedness and arise, 
O scorcher of thine enemies," as also, 

fr^fT: "35^ fafatwrsf OT ^narerf^ u (Gita XI. 33.) 

* Sri Ramprasad was a native of Bengal and a great sage. He was 
a devotee of the Goddess Kali and an inspired poet. He composed 
many songs in praise of the Deity and, in them, expressed the highest 
truths of religion in the most simple words. His songs are so popular 
and full of life and devotion that, from the lowest peasant to the most 
educated gentleman of Bengal, all find a great religious fervour aroused: 
in singing them. 

V W 


* 'Therefore do thou arise and acquire fame. After con- 
quering thy enemies, enjoy unrivalled dominion ; verily, 
by Myself have they been a heady slain ; be thou merely 
the instrument, O Savyasachin (Arjuna)," and other 
similar words in the Gita are those by which the Lord is 
showing the way to Dharma. Of course, work is always 
mixed with good and evil, and to work, one has to incur 
sin, more or less. But what of that? Let it be so. Is not 
something better than nothing? Is not insufficient food 
better than going without any? Is not doing work, though 
mixed with good and evil, better than doing nothing and 
passing an idle and inactive life, and being like stones? 
The cow never tells a lie, and the stone never steals, but 
nevertheless, the cow remains a cow, and the stone a stone. 
Man steals and man tells lies, and again it is man that 
becomes a god. With the prevalence of the Sattvika 
essence, man becomes inactive and rests always in a state 
of deep Dhyana or contemplation ; with the prevalence 
of the Rajas, he does bad as well as good works ; and, 
with the prevalence of the Tamas again, he becomes in- 
active and inert. Now, tell me, looking from outside, how 
are we to understand, whether you are in a state wherein 
the Sattoa or the Tamas prevails ? Whether we are in the 
state of Sattvika calmness, beyond all pleasure and pain, 
and past all work and activity, or, whether we are in the 
lowest Tdmasikfl state, lifeless, passive, dull as dead mat- 
ter, and doing no work, because there is no power in us 
to do it, and are, thus, silently and by degrees, getting 
rotten and corrupted within, I seriously ask you this ques- 
tion and demand an answer. Ask your own mind and 
you shall know what the reality is. But, what need to 
wait for the answer? The tree is known by its fruit. The 
Sattoa prevailing, the man is inactive, he is calm, to be 
sure ; but, that inactivity is the outcome of the centralisa- 
tion of great powers, that calmness is the mother of 
tremendous energy. That highly Sdttvika man, that great 


soul, has no longer to work as we do with hands and feet, 
by his mere willing only, all his works are immediately 
accomplished to perfection. That man of predominating 
Sattoa is the Brahmana, the worshipped of all. Has he to 
go about from door to door, begging others to worship 
Jiim? The Almighty Mother of the universe writes with 
Her own hand, in golden letters on his forehead, "Worship 
ye all, this great one, this son of Mine/* and the world 
reads and listens to it and humbly bows down its head 
before him in obedience. That man is really 

4 'He who has no enemy, and is friendly and compassionate 
towards all, who is free from the feelings of *me and mine/ 
even-minded in pain and pleasure, and forbearing/' And 
mark you, those things which you see in pusillanimous, 
effeminate folks who speak iri a nasal tone chewing every 
syllable, whose voice is as thin as of one who has been 
starving for a week, who are like a tattered wet-rag, who 
never protest or are moved even if kicked by anybody, 
those are the signs of the lowest Tamos, those are the 
signs of death not of Sattva, all corruption and stench. t 
It is because Arjuna was going to fall into the ranks of 
these men, that the Lord is explaining matters to him so 
elaborately in the Gita. Is that not the fact? Listen to 
the very first words that came out of the mouth of the 
Lord Hi*f' TPBT ff: *rn2r *T*Wwqq<j3 | "Yield not to un- 
manliness, O Partha ! Ill doth it befit thee!" and then 
*rift 3T*W * 'Therefore do thou arise and 

acquire fame." Coming under the influence of the Jains, 
Bauddhas and others, we have joined the lines of those 
Tamasika people; during these last thousand years, the 
whole country is filling the air with the name of the Lord, 
and is sending its prayers to Him ; and the Lord is never 
lending His ears to them. And why should He? When 
even man never hears the cries of the fool, do you think 


God will ? Now the only way out is to listen to the words 
of the Lord in the Gita, tTT *TO *W: tfTO "Yield not to 
unmanliness, O Partha!" flWUgftre ^ft 3W8 "There- 
fore do thou arise and acquire fame/' 

Now let us go on with our subject-matter The East 
and the West. First see the irony of it. Jesus Christ, the 
God of the Europeans has taught : Have no enemy, bless 
them that curse you ; whosoever shall smite thee on thy 
right cheek, turn to him the other also ; stop all your work 
and be ready for the next world, the end of the world is 
near at hand. And our Lord in the Gita is saying : Always 
work with great enthusiasm, destroy your enemies and 
enjoy the world. But, after all, it turned out to be exactly 
the reverse of what Christ or Krishna implied. The Euro- 
peans never took the words of Jesus Christ seriously. 
Always of active habits, being possessed of a tremendous 
Rajasika nature, they are gathering with great enterprise 
and youthful ardour the comforts and luxuries of the 
different countries of the world, and enjoying them to their 
hearts' content. And we are sitting in a corner, with our 
bag and baggage, pondering on death day and night, 
and singing nfa^^w^ffftfT^ ?f^^tin*i(?f^PR^M "Very 
tremulous and unsteady is the water on the lotus-leaf, so 
is the life of man frail and transient," with the result that 
it is making our blood run cold and our flesh creep with 
the fear of Yama, the god of death ; and Yama, too, alas, 
has taken us at our word, as it were, plague and all sorts 
of maladies have entered into our country. Who are fol- 
lowing the teachings of the Gita ? The Europeans ! And 
who are acting according to the will of Jesus Christ ? The 
descendants of Sri Krishna ! ! This must be well under- 
stood. The Vedas were the first to find and proclaim the 
way to Moksha, and from that one source, the Vedas, was 
taken whatever any great Teacher, say, Buddha, or Christ, 
afterwards taught. Now, they were Sannyasins, and there- 
fore they "had no enemy and were friendly and com- 


passionate towards all." That was well and good for 
them. But why this attempt to compel the whole world 
to follow the same path to Mos/uz? "Can beauty be 
manufactured by rubbing and scrubbing? Can anyone be 
made one's own, by entreaties or by force?" What does 
Buddha or Christ prescribe for the man who neither wants 
Mofoha, nor is fit to receive it? Nothing 1 Either you 
must have Mofeha or you are doomed to destruction these 
are the only two ways held forth by them, and there is 
no middle course. You are tied hand and foot in the 
matter of trying for anything other than Moksha, There 
is no way shown how you may enjoy the world a little for 
a time ; not only all openings to that are hermetically sealed 
to you, but, in addition, there are obstructions put at every 
step. It is only the Vedic religion which considers ways 
and means and lays down rules for the fourfold attainment 
of man, comprising Dharma, Ariha, Kama and Moksha. 
Buddha ruined us, and so did Christ ruin Greece and 
Rome ! Then, in due course of time, fortunately, the 
Europeans became Protestants, shook off the teachings of 
Christ as represented by Papal authority, and heaved a sigh 
of relief. In India, Kumarilla again brought into currency 
the Karma-Marga, the way of Karma only, and Sankara 
and Ramanuja firmly re-established the Eternal Vedic reli- 
gion, harmonising and balancing in due proportions 
Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Thus the nation was 
brought to the way of regaining its lost life ; but, India has 
three hundred million souls to awake, and hence the delay. 
To revive three hundred millions, can it be done in a day ? 

The aims of the Buddhistic and the Vedic religions are 
the same, but the means adopted by the Buddhistic are not 
right. If the Buddhistic means were correct, then why have 
we been thus hopelessly lost and ruined ? It will not do to 
say, that the efflux of time has naturally wrought this. Can 
time work, transgressing the laws of cause and effect? 

Therefore, though the aims are the same, the Bauddhas 


for want of right means have degraded India. Perhaps my 
Bauddha brothers will be offended at this remark, and fret 
and fume ; but there's no help for it ; the truth ought to 
be told and 1 do not care for the result. The right and 
correct means is that of the Vedas, the Jati Dharma, that 
is, the Dharma enjoined according to the different castes, 
the Svadharma, that is, one's own Dharma, or set of 
duties prescribed for man according to his capacity and 
position, which is the very basis of Vedic religion and 
Vedic society. Again, perhaps, I am offending many of 
my friends, who are saying, I suppose, that I am flattering 
my own countrymen. Here let me ask them once for all, 
What do I gain by such flattery? Do they support me 
with any money or means? On the contrary, they try 
their best to get possession of the money which 1 secure 
by begging from outside of India for feeding the famine- 
stricken and the orphans, and if they don't get it, they 
abuse and slander ! ! Such then, O my educated country- 
men, are the people of my country. I know them too well 
to expect anything from them by flattery. I know they 
have to be treated like the insane, and anyone who ad- 
ministers medicine to a mad man must be ready to be re- 
warded with kicks and bites ; but he is the true friend who 
forces the medicine down the throats of such and bears 
with them in patience. 

Now, this Jati Dharma, this Soadharma, is the path of 
welfare of all societies in every land, the ladder to ultimate 
freedom. With the decay of this Jdti Dharma, this 
Soadharma t has been the downfall of our land. But the 
Jati Dharma or Soadharma as commonly understood at 
present by the higher castes is rather a new evil, which has 
to be guarded against. They think they know everything 
of J&ti Dharma, but really they know nothing of it. 
Regarding their own village customs as the eternal customs 
laid down by the Vedas, and appropriating to themselves 
all privileges, they are going to their doom! I am not 


talking of caste as determined by qualitative distinction,, 
but of the hereditary caste system. I admit that the quali- 
tative caste system is the primary one ; but the qualities 
become hereditary in two or three generations. That vital 
point of our national life has been touched ; otherwise, 
why should we sink to this degraded state? Read in the 
Gita, tf^PW ^ m?rf ^ng^T^Tftwr; JTOT: 44 I should then be 
the cause of the admixture of races, and I should thus ruin 
these beings." How came this terrible Varna-Shfimkarya 
this confounding mixture of all castes and disappearance 
of all qualitative distinctions? Why has the white com- 
plexion of our forefathers now become black? Why did 
the Sattvaguna give place to the prevailing Tamas with a 
sprinkling, as it were, of Rajas in it? That is a long story 
to tell, and I reserve my answer for some future occasion. 
For the present, try to understand this, that if the J&ti 
Dharma be rightly and truly preserved, the nation shall 
never fall. If this is true, then what was it that brought 
our downfall? That we have fallen is the sure sign that 
the basis of the J&ti Dharma has been tampered with. 
Therefore, what you call the Jaii Dharma is quite contrary 
to what the reality is. First, read your own Shastras 
through and through and you will easily see that what the 
Shastras define as caste- Dharma, has disappeared almost 
everywhere from the land. Now try to bring back the true 
J&ti Dharma and then it will be a real and sure boon to 
the country. What I have learnt and understood, I am 
telling you plainly. I have not been imported from some 
foreign land to come and save you, that I should counte- 
nance all your foolish customs and give scientific explana- 
tions for them ; it does not cost our foreign friends any- 
thing, they can well afford to do so. You cheer them up 
and heap applause upon them, and that is the acme 'of 
their ambition. But do you know, if dirt and dust be flung 
at your faces, it falls on mine too? What of that? 

1 have said elsewhere, that every nation has a national 


purpose of its own. Either in obedience to the Law of 
Nature, or by virtue of the superior genius of the great 
ones, the social manners and customs of every nation are 
being moulded into shape, so as to bring that purpose 
to fruition. In the life of every nation, besides that pur- 
pose and those manners and customs that are essentially 
necessary to effect that purpose, all others are superfluous. 
It does not matter much whether those superfluous customs 
and manners grow or disappear ; but a nation is sure to 
die, when the main purpose of its life is hurt. 

When we were children, we heard the story of a cer- 
tain ogress, who had her soul living in a small bird, and 
unless the bird was killed, the ogress would never die. 
The life of a nation is also like that. Again another thing 
you will observe, that a nation will never greatly grudge 
if it be deprived of those rights which Kave not much to 
do with its national purpose, nay, even if all of such are 
wrested from them ; but when the slightest blow is given 
to that purpose on which rests its national life, that moment 
it reacts with tremendous power. 

Take for instance the case of the three living nations, 
of whose history you know more or less, viz., the French, 
the English and the Hindu. Political independence is the 
backbone of the French character. French subjects bear 
calmly all oppressions. Burden them with heavy taxes, 
they will not raise the least voice against them ; compel 
the whole nation to join the army, they never complain ; 
but the instant anyone meddles with that political independ- 
ence, the whole nation will rise as one man and madly 
react. No one man shall be allowed to usurp authority 
over us ; whether learned or ignorant, rich or poor, of 
noble birth or of the lower classes, we have equal share 
in the government of our country, and in the independent 
control of our society ; this is the root-principle of the 
French character. He must suffer, who will try to inter- 
fere with this freedom. 


In the English character, the "give and take" policy, 
the business principle of the trader t is principally inherent. 
To the English, equity, equal partition of privileges, is of 
essential interest. The Englishman humbly submits to the 
king and to the privileges of the nobility ; only if he has 
to pay a farthing from his pocket, he must demand an 
account of it. There is the king ; that is all right ; he is 
ready to obey and honour him ; but if the king wants 
money, the Englishman says : All right, but first let me 
understand why it is needed, what good it will bring ; 
next, I must have my say in the matter of how it is to be 
spent, and then I shall part with it. The king, once trying 
to exact money from the English people by force, brought 
about a great revolution. They killed the king. 

The Hindu says, that political and social independence 
is well and good, but the real thing is spiritual independ- 
ence, Mukti. This is our national purpose ; whether you 
take the Vaidika, the Jaina or the Bauddha, the Advaita, 
the Visishtadvaita or the Dvaita, there, they are all of 
one mind. Leave that point untouched and do whatever 
you like, the Hindu is quite unconcerned and keeps silence ; 
but if you run foul of him there, beware, you court your 
ruin. Rob him of everything he has, kick him, call him 
a "nigger" or any such name, he does not care much ; 
only keep that one gate of religion free and unmolested. 
Look here, how in the modern period the Pathan 
dynasties were coming and going, but could not get a firm 
hold of their Indian Empire, because they were all along 
attacking the Hindu's religion. And see, how firmly based, 
how tremendously strong was the Mogul Empire. Why> 
because the Moguls left that point untouched. In fact, 
the Hindus were the real prop of the Mogul Empire ; don't 
you know that Jahangir, Shajahan and Dara Sako, were all 
born of Hindu mothers? Now then observe as soon as 
the ill-fated Aurangzeb again touched that point, the va3t 
Mogul Empire vanished in an instant like^a dream. Why 


is it that the English throne is so firmly established in India > 
Because it never touches the religion of the land in any 
way. The sapient Christian missionaries tried to tamper 
a little with this point, and the result was the Mutiny 
of 1857. So long as the English understand this thoroughly 
and act accordingly, their throne in India will remain un- 
sullied and unshaken. The wise and far-seeing among the 
English also comprehend this and admit it, read Lord 
Roberts 's "Forty-one Years in India/'* 

Now you understand clearly where the soul of this 
ogress is ; it is in religion. Because no one was able to 
destroy that, therefore the Hindu nation is still living, having 
survived so many troubles and tribulations. Well, one 
Indian scholar asks, "What is the use of keeping the soul 
of the nation in religion? Why not keep it in social or 
political independence, as is the case with other nations ?" 
It is very easy to talk like that. If it be granted, for the 
sake of argument, that religion and spiritual independence, 
and soul, God and MuJtfi are all false, even then see how 
the matter stands. As the same fire is manifesting itself 
in different forms, so the same one great Force is mani- 
festing itself as political independence with the French, as 
mercantile genius and expansion of the sphere of equity 
with the English, and as the desire for Mukti or spiritual 
independence with the Hindu, Be it noted that by the 
impelling of this great Force, has been moulded the French 
and the English character, through several centuries of 
vicissitudes of fortune ; and also by the inspiration 
of that great Force, with the rolling of thousands of cen- 
turies, has been the present evolution of the Hindu national 
character. I ask in all seriousness, Is it easier to give up 
our national character evolved out of thousands of cen- 
turies, or your grafted foreign character of a few hundred 
years ? Why do not the English forget their warlike habits 

* Vide 30th and 3!st chapters. 


and give up fighting and bloodshed, and sit calm and quiet, 
concentrating their whole energy on making religion the 
sole aim of their life ? 

The fact is, that the river has come down a thousand 
miles from its source in the mountains ; does it f or can it 
go back to its source? If k ever cries to trace back its 
course, it will simply dry up by being dissipated in all 
directions. Anyhow the river is sure to fall into the ocean, 
sooner or later, either by passing through open and beauti- 
ful plains, or struggling through grimy soil. If our national 
life of these ten thousand years has been a mistake, then 
there is no help for it ; and if we try now to form a new 
character, the inevitable result will be, that we shall die. 

But, excuse me if 1 say that it is sheer ignorance and 
want of proper understanding to think like that, namely, 
that our national ideal has been a mistake. First go to 
other countries and study carefully their manners and condi- 
tions with your own eyes not with others*, and reflect 
on them with a thoughtful brain, if you have it ; then read 
your own scriptures, your ancient literature, travel through- 
out India and mark the people of her different parts and 
their ways and habits with the wide-awake eye of an in- 
telligent and keen observer not with a fool's eye, and 
you will see as clear as noonday that the nation is still 
living intact and its life is surely pulsating. You will find 
there also, that hidden under the ashes of apparent death, 
the fire of our national life is yet smouldering and that the 
life of this nation is religion, its language religion and its 
idea religion ; and your politics, society, municipality, 
plague-prevention work and famine-relief work, all these 
things will be done as they have been done all along here, 
viz., only through religion ; otherwise all your frantic yell- 
ing and bewailing will end in nothing, my friend ! 

Besides, in every country, the means is the same after 
all, that is, whatever only a handful of powerful men dic- 
tates, becomes the fait accompli ; the rest of the men only 


follow like a flock of sheep, that's all. I have seen your 
'Parliament,' your 'Senate,' your Vote/ 'majority/ 'ballot'; 
it is the same thing everywhere, my friend. The powerful 
men in every country are moving society whatever way 
tKey like, and the rest are only like a flock of sheep. Now 
the question is this, WAO are these men of power in India? 
they who are giants in religion. It is they who lead our 
society ; and it is they again, who change our social laws 
and usages when necessity demands it ; and we listen to 
them silently and do what they command. The only 
difference with ours is, that we have not that superfluous 
fuss and bustle of 'majority/ Vote/ 'ballot* and similar 
concomitant tugs-of-war as in other countries. That is all. 
Of course we do not get that education which the 
common people in the West do, by the system of vote and 
ballot, &c.; but, on the other hand, we have not also 
amongst us that class of people who, in the name of poli- 
tics, rob others and fatten themselves by sucking the very 
life-blood of the masses in all European countries. If 
you ever saw, my friend, that shocking sight behind 
the scene of acting of these politicians, that 
revelry of bribery, that robbery in broad daylight, that 
dance of the Devil in man, which are practised on such 
occasions, you would be hopeless about man! "Milk 
goes a-begging from door to door, while the grog-shop is 
crowded ; the chaste woman seldom gets the wherewithal 
to hide her modesty, while the woman of the town flutters 
about in all her jewelry!"* They that have money, have 
kept the government of the land under their thumb, are 
robbing and drying up all the sap out of the people, and 
sending them as soldiers to fight and be slain on foreign 
shores, so that, in case of victory, their coffers may be 
Full of gold bought by the blood of the subject-people on 

* Here the poet depicts a picture of the Samsira, which cares not 
For purity or goodness but runs after what tickles the senses. 


the field of battle. And the subject-people? well, theirs 
is only to shed their blood. This is politics! Don't be 
startled, my friend ; don't be lost in its mazes. 

First of all, try to understand this, Does man make 
laws, or laws make man? Does man make money, or 
does money make a man? Does man make name and 
fame, or name and fame make man? 

Be a man first, my friend, and you will see how all 
those things and the rest will follow of themselves after 
you. Give up that hateful malice, that dog-like bickering 
and barking at one another, and take your stand on good 
purpose, right means, righteous courage, and be brave. 
When you are born a man, leave some indelible mark 
behind you. "When you first came to this world, Oh 
Tulsi,* the world rejoiced and you cried ; now live your 
life in doing such acts, that when you will leave this world, 
the world will cry for you and you will leave it laughing.** 
If you can do that, then you are a man ; otherwise, what 
good are you for? 

Next, you must understand this, my friend, that we 
have many things to learn from other nations. The man 
who says he has nothing more to learn, is already at his 
last gasp. The nation that says it knows everything, is 
on the very brink of destruction! **As long as I live, so 
long do I learn." But, one point to note here is, that when 
we shall take anything from others we must mould it after 
our own way. We shall add to our stock what others have 
to teach, but we must always be careful to keep intact what 
is essentially our own. For instance, suppose, I want to 
have my dinner cooked in the European fashion. The 
Europeans sit on chairs, and we are accustomed to squat 
on the floor, when taking our food. To imitate the Euro- 

* Tulsi was a poet and a devotee, the author of Hindi Rama- 
yana. Here the poet is addressing himself, and the verse translated 
is one of the many, full of spiritual thoughts as well as sound advice 
to worldly-minded people. 


peans, if I order my dinner to be served on a table and 
have to sit on the chair more than an hour, my feet will 
be on a fair way of going to Yama's door, as they say, 
and I shall writhe in torture ; what do you say to that? 
So 1 must squat on the floor in our own style, while having 
their dishes. Similarly, whenever we learn anything from 
others, we must mould it after our own fashion, always 
preserving in full our characteristic nationality. Let me 
ask, "Does man wear clothes or do clothes make the man?" 
The man of genius in any dress commands respect ; but 
nobody cares for fools like me, though carrying, like the 
washerman's ass, a load of clothes on my back. 

The foregoing, in the way of an introduction, has come 
to be rather long ; but after all this talk it will be easier 
for us to compare the two nations. They are good, and 
we are also good. "You can neither praise the one nor 
blame the other ; both the scales are equal." Of course, 
there are gradations and varieties of good, that is all. 

According to us, there are three things in the make- 
up of man. There is the body, there is the mind, and 
there is the soul. First let us consider the body, which is 
the most external thing about man. 

First, see how various are the differences with respect 
to the body. How many varieties of nose, face, hair, 
height, complexion, breadth, &c., there are! 

The modern ethnologists hold, that variety of com- 
plexion is due to intermixture of blood. Though the hot 
or cold climate of the place to a certain extent affects the 
complexion, no doubt, yet the main cause of its change is 
hereditary. Even in the coldest parts of the world, people 
with dark complexions are seen, and again in the hottest 
countries white men are seen to live. The complexion of 
the aboriginal tribes of Canada, in America, and of the 
Eskimos of the Northern Polar regions, is not white, while 
Islands, such as Borneo, Celebes, &c., situated in the equa- 
torial regions are peopled by white aborigines. 


According to the Hindu Shastras, the three Hindu 
castes, Brahmana, Kshatriya, and Vaishya, and the several 
nations outside India, to wit, Cheen, Hun, Darad, Pahlava, 
Yavana and Khash are all Aryas. This Cheen of our 
Shdstras is not the modern Chinaman. Besides, in those 
days, the Chinamen did not call themselves Cheen at all. 
There was a distinct, powerful nation, called Cheen, living 
in the north-eastern parts of Kashmir, and the Darads 
lived where are now seen the hill-tribes between India and 
Afghanistan. Some remnants of the ancient Cheen are 
yet to be found in very small numbers, and Daradisthan 
is yet in existence. In the Rajatarangini, the history of Kash- 
mir, references are often made to the supremacy of the 
powerful Darad-Ra}. The ancient tribe of Hans reigned 
for a long period in the north-western parts of India. The 
Thibetans now call themselves Hun, but this Hun is per- 
haps "Hune." The fact is, that the Huns referred to in 
Manu are not the modern Thibetans, but it may be quite 
probable that the modern Thibetans are the product of a 
mixture of the ancient Aryan Huns and some other Mogul 
tribes that came to Thibet from Central Asia. According 
to Prjevalski and the Due d* Orleans, the Russian and 
French travellers, there are still found in some parts of 
Thibet, tribes with faces and eyes of the Aryan type. 
Yavana was the name given to the Greeks. There has 
been much dispute about the origin of this name. Some 
say that the name Yavana was first used to designate a 
tribe of the Greeks inhabiting the place, called "Ionia," 
and hence, in the Pali writs of the Emperor Asoka, the 
Greeks are named as "Vonas," and afterwards from this 
"Yona," the Sanskrit word, Yavana, was derived. Again, 
according to some of our Indian antiquarians, the word 
Yavana does not stand for the Greeks. But all these views 
are wrong. The original word is Yavana itself, for not 
only the Hindus but the ancient Egyptians and the Baby- 
lonians as well, called the Greeks by that name. By the 


word Pahlava is meant the ancient Parsees, speaking the 
Pahlavi tongue. Even now, Khash denotes the semi- 
civilised Aryan tribes living in mountainous regions and in 
the Himalayas, and the word is still used in this sense. In 
that sense, the present Europeans are the descendants of 
the Khash ; in other words, those Aryan tribes that were 
uncivilised in ancient days are all Khash. 

In the opinion of modern Savants, the Aryans had 
reddish-white complexions, black or red hair, and straight 
noses and well-drawn eyes, &c.; and the formation of the 
skull varied a little according to the colour of the hair. 
Where the complexion is dark, there, the change has come 
to pass owing to the mixture of the pure Aryan blood with 
black races. They hold that there are still some tribes to 
the west of the Himalayan borders, who are of pure Aryan 
blood, and that the rest are all of mixed blood, otherwise, 
how could they be dark ? But the European Pandits ought 
to know by this time that, in the southern parts of India, 
many children are born with red hair, which after two or 
three years changes into black, and that in the Himalayas 
many have red hair and blue or gray eyes. * 

Let the Pandits fight among themselves ; it is the 
Hindus who have all along called themselves Aryas. 
Whether of pure or mixed blood, the Hindus are Aryas ; 
there it rests. If the Europeans do not like us, Aryas, 
because we are dark, let them take another name for 
themselves ; what is that to us? 

Whether black or white, it does not matter ; but of 
all the nations of the world, the Hindus are the handsomest 
and finest in feature. I am not bragging or saying anything 
in exaggeration because they belong to my own nationality, 
but this fact is known all over the world. Where else can 
one find a higher percentage of fine-featured men and 
women than in India? Besides, it has to be taken into 
consideration, how much more is required in our country 
to make us look handsome, than in other countries, because 


our bodies are so much more exposed. In other countries, 
the attempt is always to make ugly persons appear beautiful 
under cover of elaborate dresses and clothes. 

Of course, in point of health, the Westerners are far 
superior to us. In the West, men of forty years old and 
women of fifty years, are still young. This is, no doubt, 
because they take good food, dress well, and live in a good 
climate, and, above all, the secret is, they do not marry 
at an early age. Ask those few strong tribes among our- 
selves and see what their marriageable age is. Ask the 
hilly tribes, such as, the Goorkhas, the Punjabees, the Jats 
and the Afridis, what thieir marriageable age is. Then read 
your own Shastras, thirty is the age fixed for the 
Brahmana, twenty-five for the Kshatriya, and twenty for 
the Vaishya. In point of longevity and physical and mental 
strength, there is a great difference between the Westerners 
and ourselves. As soon as we attain to forty, our hope and 
physical and mental strength are on the decline, while, at 
that age, full of youthful vigour and hope, they have only 
made a start. 

We are vegetarians, most of our diseases are of the 
stomach ; our old men and women generally die of 
stomach complaints. They of the West take meat, most 
of their diseases are of the heart ; their old men and women 
generally die of heart, or lung, diseases. A learned doctor 
of the West observes, that the people who have chronic 
stomach complaints generally tend to a melancholy and 
renouncing nature, and the people suffering from com- 
plaints of the heart and the upper parts of the body, have 
always hope and faith to the last ; the cholera patient 
is from the very beginning afraid of death, while the 
consumptive patient hopes to the last moment that he will 
recover ; is it owing to this, my doctor friend may with 
good reasoning ask, that the Indians always talk and think 
of death and renunciation? As yet, I have not been able 
to find a satisfactory answer to this ; but the question seems 

V X 


to have an air of truth about it, and demands serious 

In our country, people suffer little from diseases of the 
teeth and hair ; in the West, few people have natural, 
healthy teeth, and baldness is met with everywhere. Our 
women bore their noses and ears for wearing ornaments ; 
in the West, among the higher classes, the women do not 
do those things much, nowadays ; but by squeezing their 
waist, making their spine crooked, and thus displacing their 
liver and spleen and disfiguring their form, they suffer the 
torment of death to make themselves shapely in appearance, 
and added to that is the burden of dress, over which they 
have to show their features to the best advantage. Their 
Western dress is, however, more suited for work. With 
the exception of the dress worn in society by the ladies of 
the wealthy classes, the dress of the women in general is 
ugly. The sari of our women, and the choga, chapman and 
turban of our men defy comparison as regards beauty in 
dress. The tight dresses cannot approach in beauty the 
loose ones that fall in natural folds. But all our dresses 
being flowing, and in folds, are not suited for doing work ; 
in doing work, they are spoiled and done for. There is 
such a thing as fashion, in the West. Their fashion is in 
dress, ours in ornaments, though nowadays it is entering 
a little into clothes also. Paris is the centre of fashion for 
ladies* dress, and London for men's. The actresses of 
Paris often set the fashions. What new fashion of dress 
a distinguished actress of the time would wear, the 
fashionable world would greedily imitate. The big firms 
of dressmakers set the fashions, nowadays. We can form 
no idea of the millions of pounds that are spent every year 
in the making of dress, in the West. The dress-making 
business has become a regular science, what colour of 
drese will suit with the complexion of the girl and the 
colour of her hair, what special feature of her body should 
be disguised, and what displayed fo the best advantage. 


these and many other like important points, the dress- 
makers have to seriously consider. Again, the dress that 
ladies of very high position wear, others have to wear also, 
otherwise they lose their caste ! ! This is FASHION. Then 
again, this fashion is changing every day, so to say ; it is 
sure to change four times with the four seasons of the year, 
and besides, many other times as well. The rich people 
have their dresses made, after the latest fashion, by expert 
firms ; those who belong to the middle classes, have them 
often done at home by women-tailors, or do them them- 
selves. If the new fashion approaches very near to their 
latest one, then they just change or adjust them accord- 
ingly ; otherwise, they buy new ones. The wealthy classes 
give away their dresses which have gone out of fashion, 
to their dependants and servants. The ladies'-maids and 
valets sell them, and those are exported to the various 
colonies established by the Europeans in Africa, Asia and 
Australia, and there they are used again. The dresses of 
those who are immensely rich are all ordered from Paris ; 
the less wealthy have them copied in their own country 
by their own dressmakers. But the ladies* hats must be of 
French make. As a matter of fact, the dress of the 
English, and the German, women is not good ; they do 
not generally follow the Paris fashions except, of course, 
a few of the rich and the higher classes. So, the women 
of other countries indulge in jokes at their expense. But 
men in England mostly dress very well. The American 
men and women, without distinction, wear very fashionable 
dress. Though the American Government imposes heavy 
duties on all dresses imported from London or Paris to 
keep out foreign goods from the country, yet, all the 
same, the women order their dress from Paris, and men, 
from London. Thousands of men and women are 
employed in daily introducing into the market woollen 
and silk fabrics of various kinds and colours, and 
thousands, again, are manufacturing all sorts of dresses out 


of them. Unless the dress is exactly up to date, ladies and 
gentlemen cannot walk in the street without being remarked 
upon by the fashionable. Though we have not all this 
botheration of the fashion in dress in our country, we have, 
instead, a fashion in ornaments, to a certain extent. The 
merchants dealing in silk, woollen and other materials in 
those countries, have their watchful eyes always fixed on 
the way the fashion changes, and what sort of things people 
have begun to like ; or, they hit upon a new fashion out 
of their own brain, and try to draw the attention of the 
people thereto. When once a merchant succeeds in gain- 
ing the eyes of the people to the fashion brought into the 
market by him, he is a made man for life. At the time 
of the Emperor Napoleon III, of France, his wife, the 
Empress Eugenie, was the universally-recognised Avatar 
of fashion of the West. The shawls of Cashmere were her 
special favourites, and therefore shawls worth millions of 
rupees, used to be exported every year, in her time, from 
Cashmere to Europe. With the fall of Napoleon III, the 
fashion has changed, and Cashmere shawls no longer sell. 
And as for the merchants of our country, they always walk 
in the old rut. They could not opportunely hit upon any 
new style to catch the fancy of the West, under the altered 
circumstances, and so the market was lost to them. 
Cashmere received a severe shock and her big and rich 
merchants all of a sudden failed. This world, if you have 
the eyes to see, is yours, if not, it is mine ; do you think 
that anyone waits for another? The Westerners are 
devising new means and methods to attract the luxuries 
and the comforts of different parts of the world. They 
watch the situation with ten eyes, and work with two 
hundred hands, as it were ; while we will never do what 
the authors of Shastras have not written in books, and thus 
we are moving in. the same old groove and there is no 
attempt to seek anything original and new, and the 
capacity to do that is lost to us now. The whole nation 


is rending the skies with the cry for food, and dying of 
starvation. Whose fault is it? Ours. What means are we 
taking in hand to find a way out of the pitiable situation ? 
zero ! Only making great noise by our big and empty 
talk ! That is all that we are doing. Why not come out 
of your narrow corner and see with your eyes open, how 
the world is moving onwards? Then the mind will open 
and the power of thinking and of timely action will come 
of itself. You certainly know the story of the Devas and 
the Asuras. The Devas have faith in their soul, in God, 
and in the after-life, while the Asuras give importance to 
this life, and devote themselves to enjoying this world and 
trying to have bodily comforts in every possible way. We 
do not mean to discuss here whether the Devas are better 
than the Asuras, or the Asuras than the Devas, but, reading 
their descriptions in the Puranas, the Asuras seem to be, 
truth to tell, more like MEN, and far more manly than the 
Devas ; the Devas are inferior, without doubt, to the 
A suras, in many respects. Now, to understand the East 
and the West, we cannot do better than interpret the Hindus 
as the sons of the Devas and the Westerners as the sons 
of the Asuras. 

First, let us see about their respective ideas of cleanli- 
ness of the body. Purity means cleanliness of mind and 
body ; the latter is effected by the use of water, &c. No 
nation in the world is as cleanly in the body as the Hindu, 
who uses water very freely. Taking a plunge bath is well 
nigh scarce in other nations, with a few exceptions. The 
English have introduced it into their country after coming 
in contact with India. Even now, ask those of our students 
who have resided in England for education, and they will 
tell you how insufficient the arrangements for bathing are 
there. When the Westerners bathe and that is once a 
week they change their inner clothing. Of course, now- 
adays, among those who have means, many bathe daily, 
-and among Americans the number is larger ; the Germans 


once in a vvay, the French and others very rarely ! Spain 
and Italy are warm countries, but there it is still less f 
Imagine their eating of garlic in abundance, profuse per- 
spiration day and night, and yet no bath ! Ghosts musf 
surely run away from them, what to say of men ! What 
is meant by bath in the West? *'Why, the washing of 
face, head and hands, i.e., only those parts which are 
exposed. A millionaire friend of mine once invited me to 
come over to Paris : Paris, which is the capital of modern 
civilisation, Paris, the heaven of luxury, fashion and 
merriment on earth, the centre of arts and sciences. My 
friend accommodated me in a huge palatial hotel, where 
arrangements for meals were in a right royal style, but, 
for bath well, no name of it. Two days I suffered silently 
till at last I could bear it no longer, and had to address 
my friend thus : Dear brother, let this royal luxury be with 
you and yours ! I am panting to get out of this situa- 
tion. Such a hot weather, and no facility of bathing ; 
if it continues like this, I shall be in the imminent danger 
of turning mad like a rabid dog. Hearing this, my friend 
became very sorry for me and annoyed with the hotel 
authorities, and said : I won't let you stay here anymore, 
let us go and find out a better place. Twelve of the chief 
hotels were seen, but no place for bathing was there in 
any of them. There are independent bathing-houses, 
where one can go and have a bath for four or five rupees. 
Good heavens 1 That very afternoon I read in a paper, 
that an old lady entered into the bath-tub and died then 
and there ! ! Whatever the doctors may say, I am inclined 
to think that perhaps that was the first occasion in her 
life to come into contact with so much water, and the 
frame collapsed by the sudden shock ! ! This is no 
exaggeration. Then, the Russians and some others are 
awfully unclean in that line. Starting from Thibet, it is 
about the same all over those regions. In every boarding- 


house in America, of course, there is a bath-room, and an 
arrangement of pipe-water. 

See, however, the difference here. Why do we 
Hindus bathe ? because of the fear of incurring sin ; the 
Westerners wash their hands and face for cleanliness* 
sake. Bathing with us means pouring water over the body, 
though the oil and the dirt may stick on and show them- 
selves. Again, our Southern Indian brothers decorate 
themselves with such long and wide caste-marks, that it 
requires, perchance, the use of a pumice-stone to rub them 
off. Our bath, on the other hand, is an easy matter to 
have a plunge in, anywhere ; but not so, in the West. 
There they have to put off a load of clothes, and how many 
buttons and hooks and eyes are there ! We do not feel 
any delicacy to show our body ; to them it is awful, but 
among men, say, between father and son, there is no 
impropriety ; only before women you have to cover 
yourself cap-a-pie. 

This custom of external cleanliness, like all other 
customs, sometimes turns out to be, in the long run, rather 
a tyranny or the very reverse of Ach&ra (cleanliness). The 
European says that all bodily matters have to be attended 
to in private. Well and good. "It is vulgar to spit before 
other people. To rinse your mouth before others is 
disgraceful." So, for fear of censure, they do not wash 
their mouth after meals, and the result is that the teeth 
gradually decay. Here is non-observance of cleanliness 
for fear of society or civilisation. With us, it is the other 
extreme, to rinse and wash the mouth before all men, o* 
sitting in the street, making a noise as if you were sick 
this is rather tyranny. Those things should,, no doubt, be 
done privately and silently, but, not to do them for fear 
of society is also equally wrong. 

Again, society patiently bears and accommodates itself 
to those customs which are unavoidable in particular 
climates. In a warm country like ours, we drink glass after 


glass of water ; now, how can we help eructating ; but in 
the West, that habit is very ungentlemanly. But there, if 
you blow the nose and use your pocket handkerchief at 
the time of eating that is not objectionable, but with us 
it is disgusting. In a cold country like theirs, one cannot 
avoid doing it now and then. 

We Hindus hold dirt in abomination very much, but, 
all the same, we are, in point of fact, frequently dirty 
ourselves. Dirt is so repugnant to us that if we touch it 
we bathe ; and so to keep ourselves away from it we leave 
a heap of it to rot near the house, the only thing to be 
careful about is not to touch it ; but, on the other hand, 
do we ever think that we are living virtually in hell? 
To avoid one uncleanliness, we court another and a greater 
uncleanliness ; to escape from one evil, we follow on the 
heels of another and a greater evil. He who keeps dirt 
heaped in his house is a sinner, no doubt about that. And 
for his retribution he has not to wait for the next life, it 
recoils on his head betimes in this very life. 

The grace of both Lakshmi (goddess of fortune) and 
Sarasvati (goddess of learning) now shines on the peoples 
of the Western countries. They do not stop at the mere 
acquisition of the objects of enjoyment, but in all their 
actions they seek for a sort of beauty and grace. In eating 
and drinking in their homes and surroundings, in every- 
thing, they want to see an all-round elegance. We also 
had that trait once, when there was wealth and prosperity 
in the land. We have now too much poverty but to make 
matters worse, we are courting our ruin in two ways, 
namely, we are throwing away what we have as our own, 
and labouring in vain to make others' ideals and habits 
ours. Those national virtues that we had are gradually 
disappearing, and we are not acquiring any of the Western 
ones either 1 In sitting, walking, talking, etc., there was in 
the olden days a traditional, specific trait of our own, that 
is now gone, and withal we have not the ability to take in 


the Western modes of etiquette. Those ancient religious 
rites, practices, studies, etc., that were left to us, you are 
consigning to the tide-waters to be swept away, and yet 
something new and suitable to the exigencies of the time, 
to make up for them, is not striking its roots and becoming 
stable with us still. In oscillating between these two lines, 
all our present distress lies. The Bengal that is to be 
has not as yet got a stable footing. It is our arts that 
have fared the worst of all. In the days gone by, our old 
women used to paint the floors, doors and walls of their 
houses with a paste of rice-powder, drawing various beauti- 
ful figures ; they used to cut plantain leaves in an artistic 
manner, to serve the food on ; they used to lavish their 
art in nicely arranging the different comestibles on t! e 
plates. Those arts, in these days, have gradually dis- 
appeared, or are doing so. 

Of course new things have to be learnt, have to be 
introduced and worked out ; but is that to be done by 
sweeping away all that are old, just because they are old? 
What new ones have you learnt? not any, save and 
except a jumble of words ! ! What really useful science 
or art have you acquired ? Go and see, even now, in the 
distant villages, the old woodwork and brickwork. The 
carpenters of your towns cannot even turn out a decent 
pair of doors. Whether they are made for a hut or a 
mansion, is hard to make out ! ! They are only good at 
buying foreign tools, as if that is all of carpentry ! ! Alas ! 
That state of things has come upon all matters in our 
country. What we possessed as our own are all 
passing away, and yet, all that we have learnt from 
freigners is the art of speechifying. Merely reading 
and talking, eh ! ! Bengalees, and the Irish in Europe, 
are races cast in the same mould, only talking and 
talking, and bandying words. These two nations are 
adepts in making grandiloquent speeches. They are 
nowhere, when a jot of real practical work is required, 


over and above tlmt, they are barking at each other and 
fighting among themselves all the days of their life ! 

In the West, they havq a habit of keeping everything 
about themselves neat and clean, and., even the poorest 

have an eye towards it. And this regard for cleanliness 


has to be observed, for, unless the people have clean 
suits of clothes, none wilj employ them in their service. 
Their servants, maids, cooks, etc., are all dressed in 
spotlessly clean clothes. Trreir houses are kept trim and 
tidy by being daily brushed, washed and dusted. A part 
of good breeding consists in not throwing things about, 
but keeping them in their proper places. Their kitchens 
look clean and bright, vegetable peelings and such other 
refuse are placed, for the time being, in a separate re- 
ceptacle, and taken, later on, by a scavenger to a distance 
and thrown away in a proper place set apart for the 
purpose. They do not throw such things about in their 
yards or on the roads. 

The houses and other buildings of those who are 
wealthy are really a sight worth seeing, these are, night 
and day, a marvel of orderliness and cleanliness ! Over 
and above that, they are in the habit of collecting art- 
treasures from various countries, and adorning their rooms 
with them. As regards ourselves, we need not, of course, 
at any rate for the present, go in for collecting works of 
art as they do ; but should we, or should we not at least 
preserve those which we possess from going to ruin? 
It will take us a long time yet to become as good and 
efficient as they are in the arts of painting and sculpture. 
We were never very skilful in those two departments of 
art. By imitating the Europeans we at the utmost can 
only produce one or two Ravi Varmas among us ! ! But 
far better than such artists are our Pataas (painters) who 
do the Chdlchitras* of our Goddesses, in Bengal. They 

* The Chalchitra is an arch-sHaped frame put over the Images 


display in their work at least a boldness in the brilliancy 
of their colours. The paintings of Ravi Varma and others, 
make one hide one's face from shame ! ! Far better are 
those gilded pictures of Jeypur, and the Ch&lchitra of the 
Goddess Durga, that we have had from old times. I shall 
reserve my reflections on the European arts of sculpture 
and painting, for some future occasion. That is too vast 
a subject to enter upon here. 

Now hear something about the Western art of cooking. 
There is greater purity observed in our cooking than in 
any other country ; on the other hand, we have not that 
perfect regularity, method and cleanliness of the English 
table. Every day our cook first bathes and changes his 
clothes before entering the kitchen ; he neatly cleanses 
all the utensils and the hearth with water and earth, and if 
he chances to touch his face, nose or any other part of his 
body, he washes his hands before he touches again any 
food. The Western cook scarcely bathes ; moreover, he 
tastes with a spoon the cooking he is engaged in, and does 
not think much of redipping the spoon into it. Taking 
out his handkerchief he blows his nose vigorously, and 
again with the same hand he, perchance, kneads the 
dough. He never thinks of washing his hands when he 
comes from outside, and begins his cooking at once. But 
all the same, he has snow-white clothes and cap. May be, 
he is dancing on the dough, why, because he may knead 
it thoroughly well with the whole pressure of his body, no 
matter if the sweat of his brow gets mixed with it. 
(Fortunately nowadays, machines are widely in use for 
the task.) After all this sacrilege, when the bread is 
finished, it is placed on a porcelain dish covered with a 
snow-white napkin and is carried by the servant dressed 
in a spotless suit of clothes with the white gloves on ; 

of Gods and Goddesses, in which are painted various pictures of 
Pauranika legends bordered with* ornamental workmanship. 


then it is laid on the table spread over with a clean table- 
cloth. Mark here, the *gloves lest the man touches any- 
thing with his bare fingers ! 

Observe ours on the other hand. Our Brahmana 
cook has first purified himself with bath, and then cooked 
the dinner in thoroughly cleansed utensils, but he serves 
it to you on a plate on the bare floor which has been 
pasted over with earth and cow-dung ; and his cloth, 
albeit daily washed, is so dirty that it looks as if it were 
never washed. And if the plantain-leaf, which sometimes 
serves the purpose of a plate, is broken, there is a good 
chance of the soup being mixed up with the moist floor 
and cow-dung paste and giving rise to a wonderful taste ! ! 

After taking a nice bath we put on a dirty-looking 
cloth, almost sticky with oil ; and in the West, they put on 
a perfectly clean suit, on a dirty body, without having had 
a proper bath. Now, this is to be understood thoroughly 
for here is the point of essential difference between the 
orient and the Occident. That inward vision of the Hindu 
and the outward vision of the West, are manifest in all 
their respective manners and customs. The Hindu always 
looks inside, and the Westerner outside. The Hindu keeps 
diamonds wrapped in a rag, as it were ; the Westerner pre- 
serves a lump of earth in a golden casket ! The Hindu 
bathes to keep his body clean, he does not care how 
dirty his cloth may be ; the Westerner takes care to wear 
clean clothes, what matters it if dirt remains on his body ! 
The Hindu keeps neat and clean the rooms, doors, floors, 
and everything inside his house, what matters it if a heap 
of dirt and refuse lies outside his entrance door ! The 
Westerner looks to covering his floors with bright and 
beautiful carpets, the dirt and dust under them is all right 
if concealed from view ! ! The Hindu letS his drains run 
open over the road,, the bad smell does not count much ! 
The drains in the West are underground the hot-bed 


of typhoid fever ! ! The Hindu cleanses the inside, the 
Westerner cleanses the outside. 

What is wanted is, a clean body with clean clothes. 
Rinsing the mouth, cleansing the teeth and all that must 
be done, but in private. The ^dwelling-houses must be 
kept clean, as well as the streets and thoroughfares and 
all outlying places. The cook must keep his clothes clean 
as well as his body. Moreover, the meals must be par- 
taken of in spotless cups and plates, sitting in a neat and 
tidy place. Achara or observance of the established rules 
of conduct in life, is the first step to religion, and of that 
again, cleanliness of body and mind, cleanliness in every- 
thing, is the most important factor. Will one devoid of 
Achara ever attain to religion? Don't you see before 
your very eyes the miseries of those who are devoid of 
Achdra? Shouldn't we, thus paying dearly for it, learn 
the lesson ? Cholera, malaria and plague have made their 
permanent home in India, and are carrying away their 
victims by millions. Whose fault is it? Ours, to be sure. 
We are sadly devoid of A char a \ \ 

All our different sects of Hinduism admit the truth of 
the celebrated saying of the Srutis WfTOJ^ ^F^of%! 
^iTOift tf3T ^$fa;, i.e., *'When the food is pure, then the 
inner-sense gets purified ; on the purification of the inner- 
sense, memory (of the soul's perfection) becomes steady.'* 
Only, according to Sankaracharya, the word Ahdra means 
the Indriyas (senses), and Ramanuja takes the word to 
mean food. But what is the solution? All sects agree 
that both are necessary, and both ought to be taken into 
account. Without pure food, how can the Indriyas 
perform their respective functions properly? Everyone 
knows by experience that impure food weakens the power 
of receptivity * of the Indriyas, or makes them act in 
opposition to his will. It is a well-known fact that 
indigestion distorts the vision of things and makes one 
thing appear as another, and that want of food makes the 


eye-sight and other powers of the senses dim and weak. 
Similarly, it is often seen that some particular kind of food 
brings on some particular state of the body and the mind, 
This principle is at the root of those many rules which are 
so strictly enjoined in Hindu society, that we should take 
this sort, and avoid that sort, of food, though, in many 
cases, forgetting their essential substance, the kernel, we 
are now busy only with quarrelling about the shell and 
keeping watch and ward over it. 

Ramanujacharya asks us to avoid three sorts of defects 
which, according to him, make food impure. The first 
defect is that of the Jdti, i.e., the very nature, or the 
species to which the food belongs, as onion, garlic, and 
so on. These have an exciting tendency and, when taken, 
produce restlessness of the mind, or in other words, 
perturb the intellect. The next is that of Ashraya, i.e., 
the nature of the person from whom the food comes. The 
food coming from a wicked person will make one impure 
and think wicked thoughts, while the food coming from a 
good man will elevate one's thoughts. Then the other is 
Nimitta-dosha, i.e., impurity in food due to such agents in 
it as dirt and dust, worms or hair ; taking such food also 
makes the mind impure. Of these three defects, anyone 
can eschew the Jdti and the Nimittd, but it is not easy for 
all to avoid the Ashraya. It is only to avoid this Ashraya- 
dosha, that we have so much of "Don't-touchism" 
amongst us nowadays. "Don't touch me!" "Don't 
touch me !" But in most cases, the cart is put before the 
horse, and the real meaning of the principle being mis- 
understood, it becomes in time a queer and hideous 
superstition. In these cases, the dcharas of the great 
Acharyas, the teachers of mankind, should be followed 
instead of the Lok&ch&ras, i.e., the customs followed by 
the people in general. One ought to read the lives of 
such great Masters as Sri Chaitanya Deva and other similar- 
ly great religious teachers, and see how they behaved 


themselves with their fellowmen in this respect. As re- 
gards the Jdti-dosha in food, no other country in the world 
furnishes a better field for its observation than India. The 
Indians, of all nations, take the purest of foods and, all 
over the world, there is no other country where the purity 
as regards the Jdti is so well observed as in India. We 
had better attend to the Nimitta-dosha a little more now in 
India, as it is becoming a source of serious evil with us. 
It has become too common with us to buy food from the 
sweets-vendor's shop in the Bazaar, and you can judge for 
yourselves how impure these confections are from the 
point of view of the Nimitta-dosha, for, being kept ex- 
posed, the dirt and dust of the roads as well as dead 
insects adhere to them, and how stale and polluted they 
must sometimes be. All this dyspepsia that you notice in 
every home, and the prevalence of diabetes from which 
the towns-people suffer so much nowadays, are due to 
the taking of impure food from the Bazaars ; and that 
the village-people are not as a rule so subject to these 
complaints, is principally due to the fact that they have 
not these Bazaars near them, where they can buy at their 
will such poisonous food as /oocfif, ^ac/ioon, &c. I shall 
dwell on this in detail later on. 

This is, in short, the old general rule about food. 
But there were, and still are, many differences of opinion 
about it.' Again, as in the old, so in the present day, 
there is a great controversy, whether it is good or bad to 
take animal food or live only on a vegetable diet, whether 
we are benefited or otherwise by taking meat. Besides, the 
question whether it is right or wrong to kill animals, has 
always been a matter of great dispute. One party says, 
that to take away life is a sin, and on no account should 
it be done. The other party replies, "A fig for your 
opinion! It is simply impossible to live without killing.*' 
The Shastras also differ, and rather confuse one, on this 
point. In one place the Shastra dictates, "Kill animals in 


Yajnas/' and again, in another place it says, "Never take 
aw~y life." The Hindus hold that it is a sin to kill animals 
except in Yajnas, but one can with impunity enjoy the 
pleasure of eating meat after the animal is sacrificed in a 
Yajna. Indeed, there are certain rules prescribed for the 
householder, in which he is required to kill animals on 
certain occasions, such as Shraddha and so on, and if he 
omits to kill animals at those times, he is condemned as 
a sinner. Manu says that if those that are invited to 
Shraddha and certain other ceremonies, do not partake of 
the animal food offered there, they take birth in an animal 
body in their next life. On the other hand, the Jains, the 
Buddhists and the Vaishnavas protest, saying, "We do not 
believe in the dictates of such Hindu Shastras ; on no 
account should the taking away of life be tolerated." 
Asoka, the Buddhist emperor, we read, punished those 
who would perform Yajnas, or offer meat to the invited 
at any ceremony. The position in which the modern 
Vaishnavas find themselves is rather one of difficulty. 
Instances are found in the Ramayana* and the Maha- 
bharataf of the drinking of wine and the taking of meat 


Embracing Sita with both his arms, Kakutstha (Rama) made her 
drink pure Maireya wine, even as Indra makes Sachi partake of nectar. 

Servants quickly served flesh-meat variously dressed, and fruits 
of various kinds for the use of Rama. 


Be merciful to us, O Goddess, and I shall, on my return home, 
worship Thee with a thousand jars of arrack (spirituous liquor) and 
rice well-dressed with flesh-meat. 




by Rama and Krishna, whom they worship as God, Sita 
Devi vows meat, rice and a thousand jars of wine to the 
river-goddess, Ganga I 

In the West, the contention is whether animal food is 
injurious to health or not, whether it is more strengthening 
than vegetable diet or not, and so on. One party says, 
that those that take animal food suffer from all sorts of 
bodily complaints. The other contradicts this and says, 
"That is all fiction. If that were true, then the Hindus 
would have been the healthiest race, and the powerful 
nations, such as the English, the Americans and others, 
whose principal food is meat, would have succumbed to 
all sorts of maladies and ceased to exist by this time. One 
says, that the flesh of the goat makes the intellect like that 
of the goat, the flesh of the swine like that of the swine, 
and fish like that of the fish. The other declares, that it 
can as well be argued then, that the potato makes a potato- 
like brain, that vegetables make a vegetable-like brain, 
resembling dull and dead matter. Is it not better to have 
the intelligence of a living animal than to have the brain 
dull and inert like dead matter? One party says, that 
those things which are in the chemical composition of 
vegetable food, are also equally present in the animal. 
The other ridicules it and exclaims, "Why, they are in the 
air too. Go then and live on air only/' One argues that 
the vegetarians are very painstaking and can go through 
hard and long-sustained labour. The other says, "If that 
were true, then, the; vegetarian nations would occupy the 
foremost rank, which is not the case, the strongest and 
foremost nations being always those that take animal 
food." Those who advocate animal food contend, "Look 

(I saw) both of them (Krishna and Arjuna) drunk with Madhvasava 
(sweet spirituous liquor made from honey), both adorned with sandal 
paste, garlanded, and wearing costly garments and beautiful orna- 

Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva, chap. 58, 5. 

V Y 


at the Hindus and the Chinamen, how poor they are. 
They do not take meat, but like somehow on the scanty 
diet or rice and all sorts of vegetables. Look at their 
miserable condition. And the Japanese were also in the 
same plight, but since they commenced taking meat, they 
have turned over a new leaf. In the Indian regiments 
there are about a lac and a half of native sepoys ; see 
how many of them are vegetarians. The best parts of 
them, such as the Sikhs and the Goorkhas, are never 
vegetarians." One party says, *' Indigestion is due to 
animal food/' The other says, "That is all stuff and 
nonsense. It is mostly the vegetarians who suffer from 
stomach complaints/' Again, "It may be that vegetable 
food acts as an effective purgative to the system. But 
is that any reason that you should induce the whole world 
to take to it?" 

Whatever one or the other may say, the real fact, how- 
ever, is that the nations who take animal food are always, 
as a rule, notably brave, heroic and thoughtful. The 
nations who take animal food also assert, that in those 
days when the smoke from Yajnas used to rise in the In- 
dian sky, and the Hindus used to take the meat of animals 
sacrificed, then only great religious geniuses and intellectual 
giants were born among them ; but since the drifting 
of the Hindus into the Bdbaji's vegetarianism, not one 
great, original man arose from amidst them. Taking this 
view into account, the meat-eaters in our country are 
afraid to give up their habitual diet. The Arya Samajists 
are divided amongst themselves on this point, and a con 
troversy is raging within their fold, one party holding 
that animal food is absolutely necessary, and the opposite 
party denouncing it as extremely wrong and unjust. 

In this way, discussions of a conflicting character, 
giving rise to mutual abuses, quarrels and fights, are going 
on. After carefully scrutinising all sides of the question, 
and setting aside all fanaticism that is rampant on this 


delicate question of food, 1 must say that my conviction 
tends to confirm this view, that the Hindus are, after 
all right ; I mean, that injunction of the Hindu 
Shastras, which lays down the rule that food, like many 
other things, must be different according to the difference 
of birth and profession ; this is the sound conclusion. But 
the Hindus of the present day will neither follow their 
Shastras, nor listen to what their great Acharyas taught. 

To eat meat is surely barbarous and vegetable food 
is certainly purer, who can deny that? For him surely 
is a strict vegetarian diet, whose one end is to lead solely 
a spiritual life. But he who has to steer the boat of his 
life with strenuous labour through the constant life-and- 
death struggles and the competition of this world, must of 
necessity take meat. So long as there will be in human 
society such a thing as 'the triumph of the strong over the 
weak/ animal food is required, or some other suitable 
substitute for it has to be discovered ; otherwise, the weak 
will naturally be crushed under the feet of the strong. It 
will not do to quote solitary instances of the good effect of 
vegetable food on some particular person or persons ; 
compare one nation with another and then draw conclu- 

The vegetarians, again, are also divided amongst 
themselves. Some say that rice, potatoes, wheat, barley, 
maize and other starchy foods are of no use ; these have 
been produced by man, and are the source of all maladies. 
Starchy food which generates sugar in the system is most 
injurious to health. Even horses and cows become sickly 
and diseased, if kept within doors and fed on wheat and 
rice ; but they get well again if allowed to graze freely on 
the tender and growing herbage in the meadows. There is 
very little starchy substance in grass and other green edible 
herbs. The orang-outang eats grass and nuts, and does 
not usually eat potato and wheat, but if he ever does so, 
he eats them before they are ripe, i. e., when there is not 


much starch in them. Others say, that taking roast meat,, 
plenty of fruit and milk is best suited to the attainment of 
longevity. More especially, they who take much fruit 
regularly, do not so soon lose their youth, as the acid of 
fruit dissolves the foul crust formed on the bones which is 
mainly the cause of bringing on old age. 

All these contentions have no end ; they are going on 
unceasingly. Now, the judicious view admitted by all in 
regard to this vexed question is, to take such food as is 
substantial and nutritious, and at the same time, easily 
digested. The food should be such as contains the great- 
est nutriment in the smallest compass, and be at the same 
time quickly assimilable ; otherwise, it has necessarily to 
be taken in large quantity, and consequently the whole 
day is required only to digest it. If all the energy is spent 
only in digesting food, what will there be left to do other 
works ? 

All fried things are really poisonous. The sweets- 
vendor's shop is Death's door. In hot countries, the less 
oil and clarified butter (ghee) are taken, the better. Butter 
is more easily digested than ghee. There is very little sub- 
stance in snow-white flour ; whole-wheat flour is good as 
food. For Bengal, the style and preparation of food that 
are still in vogue in our distant villages are commendable. 
What ancient Bengali poet do you find singing the praise 
of loochi and ^ac/ioori? These loochis and fyachooris 
have been introduced into Bengal from the North- Western 
Provinces ; but even there, people take them only occa- 
sionally. I have never seen even there anyone who lives 
mainly on things fried in ghee t day after day. The Chaube 
wrestlers of Muttra are, no doubt, fond of loochis and 
sweetmeats, but in a few years, the Chaubejis power of 
digestion is ruined, and he then has to drug himself with 
the appetising preparations, called Churans. 

The poor die of starvation because they can get noth- 
ing to eat, and the rich die of starvation because what they 


take is not food. Any and every stuff eaten is not food ; 
that is real food which, when eaten, is well assimilated. 
It is better to fast rather than stuff oneself with anything 
and everything. In the delicacies of the sweetmeat shops, 
there is hardly anything nourishing ; on the other hand, 
there is poison ! Of old, people used to take those in- 
jurious things only occasionally ; but now, the towns- 
people, especially those who come from villages to live 
in towns, are the greatest sinners in this respect, as 
they take them every day. What wonder is there that 
they die prematurely of dyspepsia I If you are hungry, 
throw away all sweets and things fried in ghee into the 
ditch, and buy a pice worth of moorhi (popped rice), that 
will be cheaper and more nutritious food. It is sufficient 
food to have rice, d&l (lentils), whole-wheat chdpdtis (un- 
fermented bread), fish vegetables and milk. But dal has 
to be taken prepared as the Southern Indians do, that is 
the soup of it only, the rest of the preparation give to the 
cattle. He may take meat who can afford it, but not 
making it too rich with heating spices, as the North-West- 
ern people do. The spices are no food at all ; to take 
them in abundance is only due to a bad habit. D&l is a 
very substantial food but hard to digest. Pea-soup pre- 
pared of tender peas is easily digested and pleasant to 
the taste. In Paris this pea-soup is a favourite dish. First, 
boil the peas well, then make a paste of them and mix 
them with water. Now strain the soup through a wire- 
strainer, like that in which milk is strained and all the outer 
skin will be separated. Then add some spices, such as 
turmeric, black pepper, &c. f according to taste, and broil 
it with a little ghee in the pan and you get a pleasant and 
wholesome d&l. The meat-eaters can make it delicious 
by cooking it with the head of a goat or fish. 

That we have so many cases of diabetes in India, is 
chiefly due to indigestion ; of course there are solitary in- 
.stances in which excessive brain work is the cause, but 


with the majority it is indigestion. Pot-belly^ is the fore 
most sign of indigestion. Does eating mean stuffing one- 
self ? That much which one can assimilate is proper food 
for him. Growing thin or fat is equally due to indiges- 
tion. Don't give yourself up as lost because, some 
symptoms of diabetes are noticeable in you ; those are 
nothing in our country and should not be taken seriously 
into account. Only, pay more attention to your diet so 
that you may avoid indigestion. Be in the open air as 
much as possible, and take /good long walks and work 
hard./ The muscles of the. Teg should ,be as hard as iron. 
If you are in service take, leave, whepr possible, and make 
a pilgrimage ^jiie^il^arikasl^iwA in the Himalayas. If 
the journey is accomplished 01* foot through the ascent and 
descent of two hundred miles jn the hills, you will see that 
this ghost of ffiabete^ 'jfrill depart from you. Don't let 
the doctors c&me near you ; most of them will harm you 
more than do any good ; and so fat as possible, never 
take medicines, whifch in most cases kill the patient sooner 
than the illness itself. If you can, walk all the way from 
town to your native village every year during the Puja 
vacation. To be rich in our country has come to be syno- 
nymous with being the embodiment of laziness and depen- 
dence. One who has to walk being supported by another, 
or one who has to be fed by another, is doomed to be 
miserable, is a veritable invalid. He who eats cautiously 
only the finer coating of the loochi, for fear that the 
whole will not agree with him, is already dead in life. Is 
he a man or a worm, who cannot walk twenty miles at a 
stretch ? Who can save one who invites illness and pre- 
mature death of his own will? 

And as for fermer^d,^^ it is also poison, don't 
touch it at all ! Flour mixed with yeast becomes injurious. 
Never take any fermented thing ; in this respect the pro- 
hibition in our Shistras of partaking of any such article of 
food is a fact of great importance. Any sweet thing which 


has turned sour is called in the Shastras "Shukt<*>" and 
that is prohibited to be taken, excepting curd, which is 
good and beneficial. If you have to take bread, toast it 
well over the fire. 

Impure water and impure food are the cause of all 
maladies. In America, nowadays, it has become a craze 
to purify the drinking water. The filter has had its day 
and is now discredited, because it only strains the water 
through, while all the finer germs of diseases, such 
as cholera, plague, etc., remain intact in it ; moreover, 
the filter itself gradually becomes the hotbed of these 
germs. When the filter was first introduced in Calcutta, 
for five years, it is said, there was no outbreak 
of cholera ; since then it has become as bad as ever, 
for the reason that the huge filter itself has now come 
to be the vehicle of cholera germs. Of all kinds, the 
simple method that we have of placing three earthen 
jars one over another on a three-footed bamboo frame, 
is the best ; but every second or third day the sand and 
charcoal should be changed, or used again after heating 
them. The method of straining water through a cloth 
containing a lump of alum in it, that we find in vogue in 
the villages along the banks of the Ganges in the vicinity 
of Calcutta, is the best of all. The particles of alum 
taking with them all earth and impurities and the disease 
germs, gradually settle at the bottom of the deep jar as 
sediment ; this simple system brings into disrepute pipe- 
water, and excels all your foreign filters. Moreover, if 
the water is boiled it becomes perfectly safe. Boil the 
water when the impurities are settled down by the alum, 
and then drink it, and throw away filters and such other 
things into the ditch. Now in America, the drinking 
water is first turned into vapour by means of huge 
machines, then, the vapour is cooled down into water 
again, and through another machine pure air is pressed 
into it, to substitute that air which goes out during the 


process of vaporization. This water is very pure and 
is used in every home. 

In our country, he who has some means, feeds his 
children with all sorts of sweets and ghee-fried things, 
because, perchance, it is a shame just think what the 
people will say ! to let them have only rice and 
ch&patis \ What can you expect children fed like that 
to be, but disproportionate in figure, lazy, worthless idiots, 
with no backbone of their own? The English people, 
who are so strong a race, who work so hard day and 
night, and whose native-place is a cold country, even 
they hold in dread the very name of sweetmeats and 
food fried in butter ! And we, who live in the zone of 
fire as it were, who do not like to move from one place 
to another, what do we eat? loochis, kachooris, sweets, 
and other things, all fried in ghee or oil I Formerly, our 
village zemindars in Bengal would think nothing of 
walking twenty or thirty miles, and would eat twice- 
twenty fCoi'-fish, bones and all and they lived to a 
hundred years. Now their sons and grandsons come to 
Calcutta and put on airs, wear spectacles, eat the sweets 
from the Bazaars, hire a carriage to go from one street 
to another, and then coniplain of diabetes and their 
life is cut short ; this is the result of their being "civilised, 
Calcutta-ised" people. And doctors and Vaidyas hasten 
their ruin too. They are all-knowing, they think they 
can cure anything with medicine. If there is a little 
flatulence, immediately some medicine is prescribed. 
Alas, it never enters into the heads of these Vaidyas 
to advise them to keep away from medicine, and go and 
have a good walk of four or five miles, or so. 

I am seeing many countries, and many ways and 
preparations of food ; but none of them approach the 
admirable cooking of our various dishes of Bengal, and 
it is not too much to say that one would like to take re- 
birth for the sake of again enjoying their excellence. 


It is a great pity that one does not appreciate the value 
of teeth when one has them I Why should we imitate 
the West as regards food, and how many can afford 
to do so? The food which is suitable in our part of 
the country is pure Bengali food, cheap, wholesome, and 
nourishing, like that of the people of Eastern Bengal. 
Imitate their food as much as you can ; the more you 
lean westwards to copy the modes of food, the worse 
you are, and the more uncivilised you become. You are 
Calcutta-ites, civilised, forsooth ; carried away by the 
charm of that destructive net which is of your own 
creation, the Bazaar sweets, Bankura has consigned its 
popped-rice to the river Damodar, its Kalai dal has been 
cast into the ditch, and Dacca and Vikrampur have 
thrown to the dogs their old dishes, or in other words, 
they have become * "civilised" ! You have gone to wrack 
and ruin, and are leading others in the same path, you 
townspeople, and you pride yourselves on your being 
"civilised" 1 And these provincial people are so foolish 
that they will eat all the refuse of Calcutta and suffer 
from dyspepsia and dysentery, but will not admit that 
it is not suiting^ thefifi, and will defend themselves by 
saying, that the air of Calcutta is damp and 'saline* ! 
They must by all means be townspeople in every 
respect ! ! 

So far, in brief, about the merits of food and other 
customs. Now I shall say something in the matter of 
what the Westerners generally eat, and how by degrees 
it has changed. 

The food of the poor in all countries is some species 
of corn ; herbs, vegetables, and fish and meat fall within 
the category of luxuries and are used in the shape of 
chtrtney. The crop which grows in abundance and is 
the chief produce of a country, is the staple food of its 
poorer classes ; as in Bengal, Oris&a, Madras, and the 
Malabar coasts, the prime food is rice, pulse and vege- 


tables, and sometimes, fish and meat are used for chutneys 
only. The fbod of the well-to-do class in other parts of 
India is chdpdtis (unfermented bread) of wheat, and rice, 
and of the people in general is mainly chapaiis of bazrd, 
mar hud, janar, jhingord and other corns. 

All over India, herbs, vegetables, jE>uls, fish and 
meat are used only to make tasteful the roti (unfermented 
bread), or the rice, as the case may be, and hence they 
are called in Sanskrit, vyanjana, i. e., which seasons 
food. In the Punjab, Rajputana and the Deccan, though 
the rich people and the princes take many kinds of meat 
every day, yet with them even, the principal food is roti 
or rice. He who takes daily one pound of meat, surely 
takes two pounds of chdpdtis along with it. 

Similarly in the West, the chief foods of the people 
in poor countries, and especially of the poor class in the 
rich parts, are bread and potatoes ;,..meat, is , rarely taken, 
and, if taken, is considered as a chutney. In Spain, 
Portugal, Italy, and in other comparatively warm 
countries, grapes grow profusely and the wine made of 
grapes is very cheap. These wines are not intoxicating 
(i.e., unless one drinks a great quantity, one will not get 
intoxicated), and are very nutritious. The poor of those 
countries, therefore, use grape juice as a nourishment 
instead of fish and meat. But in the northern parts of 
Europe, such as Russia, Sweden and Norway, bread 
made of rye, potatoes and a little dried fish form the 
food of the poor classes. 

The food of the wealthy classes of Europe, and of 
all the classes of America is quite different, that is to 
say, their chief food is fish and meat, and bread, rice 
and other things are taken as chutney. In America, 
bread is taken very little. When fish is served, it is 
served by itself, or when meat is served, it is served by 
itself, and is often taken without bread or rice. There- 
fore, the plate has to be changed frequently ; if there 


are ten sorts of food, the plate has to be changed as 
many times. If we were to take our food in this way, 
we shall have to serve like this, suppose the su^ta 
(bitter curry) is first brought, and, changing that plate, 
dal is served on another ; in the same way the soup 
arrives ; and again a little rice by itself, or a few loochis, 
and so on. One benefit of this way of serving is, that 
a little only of many varieties is taken, and it saves one 
from eating too much of anything. The French take 
coffee, and one or two slices of bread and butter in the 
morning, fish and meat, &c., in a moderate way about 
midday, and the principal meal comes at night. With 
the Italians and Spaniards, the custom is the same as 
that of the French. The Germans eat a good deal, five 
or six times a day, with more or less meat every time ; 
the English, three times, the breakfast being rather small, 
but tea or coffee between ; and the Americans also three 
times, but the meal is rather big every time, with plenty 
of meat. In all these countries, the principal meal is, 
however, dinner ; the rich have French cooks and have 
it cooked after the French fashion : To begin with, a 
little salted fish or roe, or some sort of chutney or vege- 
table, this is by way of stimulating the appetite ; soup 
follows ; then, according to the present-day fashion, 
fruit ; next comes fish ; then, a meat-curry ; after which 
a joint of roast meat, and with it some vegetables ; after- 
wards, game, birds, or venison, &c.; then sweets ; and 
finally, delicious ice-cream. At the table bf the rich, 
the wine is changed every time the dish changes, and 
hock, claret and iced champagne are served with the 
different courses* The spoon and knife and fork are 
also changed each time with the plate. After dinner, 
coffee without milk, and liqueurs in very tiny glasses, 
are brought in, and smoking comes last. The greater 
the variety of wines served with the various dishes, the 
greater will the host be regarded as a rich and wealthy 


man of fashion. So much money is spent over there in 
giving a dinner, as would ruin a moderately rich man 
of our country. 

Sitting cross-legged on a wooden seat on the ground, 
with a similar one to lean his back against, the Arya 
used to take his food on a single metal plate, placed on 
a slightly-raised wooden stool. The same custom is still 
in vogue in the Punjab, Rajputana, Maharashtra and 
Gujerat. The people of Bengal, Orissa, Telinga and 
Malabar, &c., do not use wooden stools to put the plates 
on, but take their food on a plate or a plantain-leaf 
placed on the ground. Even the Maharajah of Mysore 
does the same. The Musalmans sit on a large, white 
sheet, when taking their food. The Burmese and the 
Japanese place their plates on the ground and sit sup- 
porting themselves on their knees and Jeet only, and not 
flat on their haunches like the Indians. The Chinamen 
sit on chairs, with their dishes placed on a table, and 
use spoons and wooden chopsticks in taking their food. 
In the olden times, the Romans and Greeks had a table 
before them, and reclining on a couch, used to eat their 
food with their fingers. The Europeans, sitting on chairs, 
used to take their food with their fingers also, from the 
table ; now they have spoons and forks. The Chinese 
mode of eating is really an exercise requiring skill. As 
our pan (betel)-vendors make, by dexterity of hand, two 
separate pieces of thin iron-sheets work like scissors in 
the trimming of pan leaves, so the Chinese manipulate 
two sticks between two fingers and the palm of the right 
hand, in such a way as to make them act like tongs to 
carry the vegetables up to their mouths. Again, putting 
the two together, and holding a bowl of rice near the 
mouth, they push the rice in with the help of those sticks 
formed like a little shovel. 

The primitive ancestors of every nation used to eat, 
it is said, whatever they could get. When they killed 


a big animal, they would make it last for a month, and 
would not reject it even after it got rotten. Then 
gradually they became civilised and learnt cultivation. 
Formerly, they could not get their food every day by 
hunting and would, like the wild animals, gorge them- 
selves one day and then starve four or five days in the 
week. Now they escaped that, for they could get their 
food every day, by cultivation ; but it remained a stand- 
ing custom to take with food something like rotten meat 
or other things, of the old days. Primarily, rotten meat 
was an indispensable article of food ; now that or some- 
thing else in its place became, like the sauce, a favourite 
relish. The Eskimos live in the snowy regions, where 
no kind of corn can be produced ; their daily food is 
fish and flesh. Once in a way when they lose their 
appetite, they take just a piece of rotten flesh to recover 
their lost appetite. Even now, Europeans do not im- 
mediately cook wild birds, game and venison, while fresh, 
but they keep them hanging till they begin to 3me!l a 
little. In Calcutta the rotten meat of a deer is sold out 
as soon as brought to the market, and people prefer some 
fish when slightly rotten. In some parts of Europe, the 
cheese which smells a little is regarded as very tasty. 
Even the vegetarians like to have a little onion and 
garlic ; the Southern Indian Brahmana must have them in 
his cooking. But the Hindu Shastras prohibited that too ; 
the taking of onions, garlic, domestic fowl and pork is 
a sin, to one casteTthe BraHmana) ; they that would take 
them would lose their caste. So the orthodox Hindus 
gave up onions and garlic, and substituted in their place, 
asafoetyja* a thing which is more strikingly offensive in 
smell than either of the other two ! The orthodox 
Brahmanas of the Himalayas similarly took to a kind of 
dried grass smelling just like garlic ! And what harm 
in that? the Scriptures do not say anything against 
taking them 1 


Every religion contains some rules regarding the 
taking of certain foods, and the avoiding of others ; only 
Christianity is an exception. The Jains and the Bauddhas 
will by no means take fish or meat. The Jains, again, 
will not even eat potatoes, radishes, or other vegetable 
roots, which grow underground, lest in digging them up 
worms are killed. They will not eat at night lest some 
insect get into their mouths in the dark. The Jews do 
not eat fish that have no scales, do not eat pork, nor the 
animals that are not cloven-hoofed and do not ruminate. 
Again, if milk or any preparation of milk be brought 
into the kitchen where fish or flesh is being cooked, the 
Jews will throw away everything cooked there. For this 
reason, the orthodox Jews do not eat the food cooked 
by other nations. Like the Hindus, too, they do not 
take flesh which is simply slaughtered and not offered 
to God. In Bengal and the Punjab/ another name of 
flesh that is offered to the Goddess is, Mahaprasada, lit., 
the "great offering/* The Jews do not eat flesh, unless it 
is Mahaprasada, i. e., unless it is properly offered to God. 
Hence, they, like the Hindus, are not permitted to buy 
flesh at any and every shop. The Musalmans obey many 
rules similar to the Jews, but do not, like them, go to 
extremes ; they do not take milk and fish or flesh at the 
same meal, and do not consider it so much harm if they 
are in the same kitchen, or if one touches another. 
There is much similarity respecting food between the 
Hindus and the Jews. The Jews, however, do not take 
wild boar, which the Hindus do. In the Punjab, on 
account of the deadly animosity between the Hindus 
and the Musalmans, the former do what the latter will 
not, and the wild boar has come to be one of the very 
essential articles of food with the Hindus there. With 
the Rajputs, hunting the wild.Jbpju; and partaking of its 
flesh is ratKer an act of Dharma. The taking of the 
flesh of even the domesticated pig prevails to a great 


extent, in the Deccan, among all castes except the 
Brahmanas. The Hindus eat the wild fowl (cock or hen), 
but not domesticated fowls. 

The people of India from Bengal to Nepal and in 
the Himalayas as far as the borders of Kashmir, follow 
the same usages regarding food. In these parts, the 
customs of Manu are in force to a large extent even up 
to this day. But they obtain more especially in the parts 
from Kumaon to Kashmir than in Bengal, Behar, 
Allahabad or Nepal. For example, the Bengalees do not 
eat fowl or fowl's eggs, but they eat duck/s eggs ; so 
do the Nepalese ; but from Kumaon upwards, even that 
is not allowed. The Kashmiris eat with pleasure eggs of 
the wild duck, but not of the domesticated bird. Of the 
people of India, beginning from Allahabad, excepting in 
the Himalayas, they who take the flesh of goat take 
fowl as well. 

All these rules and prohibitions with respect to food 
are for the most part meant, no doubt, in the interests 
of good health ; of course, in each and every instance, 
it is difficult to accurately determine which particular 
food is conducive to health and which is not. Again, 
swine and fowls eat anything and everything and are 
very unclean ; so they are forbidden. No one sees what 
the wild animals eat in the forest ; so they are not dis- 
allowed. Besides, the wild animals are healthier and less 
sickly than the domesticated ones. Milk is very difficult 
of digestion, especially when one is suffering from acidity, 
and cases have happened when even by gulping down 
a glass of milk in haste, life has been jeopardised- Milk 
should be taken as a child does from its mother's breast ; 
if it is sucked or sipped by degrees, it is easily digestible, 
otherwise not. Being itself hard of digestion, it becomes 
the more so when taken with flesh ; so the Jews are prohi- 
bited from taking flesh and milk at the same meal. 

The foolish and ignorant mother who forces her baby 


to swallow too much milk, beats her breast in despair 
within a few months, on seeing that there is little hope 
of her darling's life 1 The modern medical authorities 
prescribe only a pint of milk even for an adult, and that 
is to be taken as slowly as possible ; and for babies a 
* "feeding-bottle" is the best means* Our mothers are too 
busy with household duties, so the maid-servant puts the 
crying baby in her lap, and not unfrequently holds it 
down with her knee, and by means of a spoon makes 
it gulp down as much milk as she can I And the result 
is, that generally it is afflicted with liver complaint and 
seldom grows up, that milk proves to be its doom ; only 
those that have sufficient vitality to survive this sort of 
dangerous feeding, attain a strong and healthy manhood. 
And think of our old-fashioned confinement rooms, of 
the hot fomentations given to the baby, and treatments 
of like nature. It was indeed a wonder and must have 
been a matter of special divine grace, that the mother 
and the baby survived these severe trials and could 
become strong and healthy ! 

Civilisation in Dress. 

In every country, the respectability of a person is 
determined to a certain extent, by the nature of the dress 
he wears. As our village-folk in Bengal say in their 
patois, *'How can a gentleman be distinguished from one 
of low birth unless his income is known?" And not only 
income, * 'Unless it is seen how one dresses oneself, 
how can it be known if one is a gentleman?" this is the 
same all over the world, more or less. In Bengal, no 
gentleman can walk in the streets with only a loin-cloth 
on; while in other parts of India, no one goes out-of-doors 
but with a turban on his head. In the West, the French 
have all along taken the lead in everything, their food 
and their dress are imitated by others. Even now, 
though different parts of Europe have got different modes 


of clothes and dress of their own, yet when one earns 
a good deal of money and becomes a "gentleman/ he 
straightway rejects his former native dress and substitutes 
the French mode in its place. The Dutch farmer who%e 
native dress somewhat resembles the paijam&s of the 
Kabulis, the Greek clothed in full skirts, the Rusa 
dressed somewhat after the Thibetan fashion, as soon 
as they become "genteel/' they wear French coats and 
pantaloons. Needless to speak of women, no sooner 
do they get rich than they must by any means have their 
dresses made in Paris. America, England, France and 
Germany are now the rich countries in the West, and 
the dress of the people of these countries, one and all, 
is made after the French fashion, which is slowly and 
surely making its way into every part of Europe. The 
whole of Europe seems to be an imitation of France. 
However, men's clothes are better made nowadays in 
London than Paris, so men have them "London-made," 
and women in the Parisian style. Those who are very 
rich have their dresses sent from those two places. 
America enforces an. exorbitant tax upon the importation 
of foreign dresses ; notwithstanding that, the American 
women must have them from Paris and London. This, 
only the Americans can afford to do, for America is now 
the chief home of Kuvera, the god of wealth. 

The ancient Aryans used to put on the Dhooti and 
C/iddar.* The Kshatriyas used to wear trousers and 
long coats, when fighting. At other times they would 
use only the Dhooti and Ch&dar ; and they wore the 
turban. The same custom i$ still in vogue among the 
people in all parts of India except Bengal ; they are not 
so particular about the dress for the rest of the body, 

* Dhooti is a Bengali name for a piece of cloth about four or 

five yards long, worn by the Indiana round the loins instead of 

breeches, and Chddar is a piece of cloth three yards long, used as 
a loose upper garment. 

V Z 


but they must have a turban for the head. In former 
times, the same was also the custom both for the man 
and the woman. In the sculptured figures of the Bud- 
dhistic period, the men and the women are seen to wear 
only a piece of Kaupin. Even Lord Buddha's father, 
though a king, is seen in some sculptures, sitting on a 
throne, dressed in the same way ; so also the mother, 
only she has, in addition, ornaments on her feet and 
arms ; but they all have turbans ! The Buddhist 
Emperor, Dharmashoka, is seen sitting on a drum-shaped 
seat, with only a Dhooti on, and a Ch&dar round his 
neck, and looking on damsels performing a dance before 
him ; the dancing girls are very little clothed, having only 
short pieces of loose material hanging from the waist ; 
but the glory is that the turban is there, and it makes 
the principal feature of their dress. The high officials of 
the State who attended the royal court, are, however, 
dressed in excellent trousers and Chogas or long coats. 
When the King Nala was disguised as a charioteer in 
the service of the King Rituparna, he drove the chariot 
at such a tremendous speed that the Chadar of the King 
Rituparna was blown away to such a distance that it 
could not be recovered ; and as he had set out to marry, 
or join a Svayamixira, he had to do so, perchance, without 
a Ch&dar. The Dhooti and the Chadar are the time- 
honoured dress of the Aryans. Hence, at the time of 
the performance of any religious ceremony, the rule 
among the Hindus even now is to put on the Dhooti and 
the Ch&dar only. 

The dress of the ancient Greeks and Romans was 
Dhooti and Chcidar, one broad piece of cloth and an- 
other smaller one made in the form of the Toga, from 
which the word Chogd is derived. Sometimes they used 
also a shirt, and at the time of fighting, trousers and coats. 
The dress of the women was a long and sufficiently broad, 
square-shaped garment, similar to that formed by sewing 


two sheets lengthwise, which they slipped over them and 
tied round, once under the breast and again round the 
waist. Then they fastened the upper parts which were 
open, over both the arms by means of large pins, in 
much the same way as the hill-tribes of the northern 
Himalayas still wear their blankets. There was a Chddar 
over this long garment. This dress was very simple and 

From the very old days, only the Iranians used shaped 
dresses. Perhaps they learnt it from the Chinese. The 
Chinese were the primeval teachers of civilisation in dress 
and other things pertaining to various comforts ' and 
luxuries. From time immemorial, the Chinese took their 
meals at a table, sitting on chairs, with many elaborate 
auxiliaries, and wore shaped dresses of many varieties, 
coat, cap, trousers, and so on. 

On conquering Iran, Alexander gave up the old Greek 
Dhooti and Chddar and began using trousers. At this, his 
Greek soldiers became so disaffected towards him, that 
they were on the point of mutiny. But Alexander was 
not the man to yield, and by the sheer force of his 
authority he introduced trousers and coats as a fashion in 

In a hot climate, the necessity of clothes is not so 
much felt. A mere Kaupin is enough for the purpose of 
decency ; other clothes serve more as embellishments. 
In cold countries, as a matter of unavoidable necessity, 
the people when uncivilised, clothe themselves with the 
skins of animals, and when they gradually become 
civilised, they learn the use of blankets, and by degrees, 
shaped dresses, such as, pantaloons, coats, and so on. 
Of course it is impossible in cold countries to display the 
beauty of ornaments, which have to be worn on the bare 
body, for if they did so they would suffer severely from 
cold. So the fondness for ornaments is transferred to, 
and is satisfied by, the niceties of dress. As in India, the 


fashion in ornaments changes very often, so in the West, 
the fashions in dress change every moment. 

In cold countries, therefore, it is the rule that one 
should not appear before others without covering oneself 
from head to foot. In London, a gentleman or a lady 
cannot go out without conforming himself or herself ex- 
actly to what society demands. In the West, it is im- 
modest for a woman to show her feet in society, but at 
a dance it is not improper to expose the face, shoulders, 
and upper part of the body to view. In our country, on 
the other hand, for a woman to show her face is a great 
shame, (hence that rigorous drawing of the veil), but not 
so the feet. Again, in Rajputana and the Himalayas they 
cover the whole body except the waist ! 

In the West, actresses and dancing-girls are very 
thinly covered, to attract men. Their dancing often means 
exposing their limbs in harmonious movements accom- 
panied by music. In our country, the women of gentle 
birth are not so particular in covering themselves 
thoroughly, but the dancing-girls are entirely covered. In 
the West, women are always completely clothed, in the 
day-time ; so attraction is greater in their being thinly 
covered. Our women remain in the house most of the 
time, and much dressing themselves is unusual ; so with 
us, attraction is greater in their fully covering themselves. 
In Malabar, men and women have only a piece of cloth 
round their loins. With the Bengalees it is about the same, 
and before men, the women scrupulously draw their veils, 
and cover their bodies. 

In all countries except China, 1 notice many queer and 
mysterious ideas of propriety in some matters they are 
carried too far, in others again, what strikes one as being 
very incorrect, I see that no such idea is felt. 

The Chinese of both sexes are always fully covered 
from head to foot. The Chinese are the disciples of Con- 
fucius, are the disciples of Buddha, and their morality is 


quite strict and refined. Obscene language, obscene 
books or pictures, any conduct the least obscene, and 
the offender is punished then and there. The Christian 
missionaries translated the Bible into the Chinese tongue. 
Now, in the Bible there are some passages so obscene as 
to put to shame some of the Puranas of the Hindus. 
Reading those indecorous passages, the Chinamen were 
so exasperated against Christianity that they made a point 
of never allowing the Bible to be circulated in their coun- 
try. Over and above that, Missionary women wearing 
evening dress, and mixing freely with men, issued invita- 
tions to the Chinese. The simple-minded Chinese were 
disgusted, and raised a cry, saying : O, horror ! This 
reliction is come to us to ruin our young boys, by giving 
them this Bible to read, and making them fall an easy 
prey to the charms of these half-clothed wily women ! 
This is why the Chinese are so very indignant with the 
Christians. Otherwise, the Chinese are very tolerant to- 
wards other religions. I hear that the Missionaries have 
now printed an edition, leaving out the objectionable 
parts ; but this step has made the Chinese more suspicious 
than before. 

Again, in the West, ideas of decency and etiquette 
vary in accordance with the different countries. With the 
English and Americans they are of one type, with the 
French it is of another, with the Germans it is again differ- 
ent. The Russians and the Thibetans have much in com- 
mon ; and the Turks have their own quite distinct customs, 
and so on. 

Etiquettes and Manners. 

In Europe and America, they are extremely particular 
in observing privacy, much more than we are. We are 
vegetarians, and so eat a quantity of vegetables, &c., and 
living in a hot country we frequently drink one or two 
glasses of water at a time. The peasant of the Upper 


Provinces eats two pounds of powdered barley, and then 
sets to drawing and drinking water from the well every 
now and again, as he feels so thirsty. In summer we keep 
open places in our house for distributing water to the 
thirsty, through a hollowed bamboo stem. These ways 
make the people not so very particular about privacy ; 
they cannot help it. Compare cowsheds and horses* 
stables with lions' and tigers' cages. Compare the dog 
with the goat. The food of the Westerners is chiefly meat, 
and in cold countries they hardly drink any water. Gentle- 
men take a little wine in small glasses. The French detest 
water ; only Americans drink it in great quantities, for 
their country is very warm in summer. New York is even 
hotter than Calcutta. The Germans drink a good deal of 
beer, but not with their meals. 

In cold countries, men are always susceptible to catch- 
ing cold, so they cannot help sneezing ; in warm countries 
people have to drink much water at meals, consequently 
we cannot help eructating. Now note the etiquette : if you 
do that in a Western society, your sin is unpardonable ; 
but if you bring out your pocket-handkerchief and blow 
your nose vigorously, it will see nothing objectionable in 
that. With us, the host will not feel satisfied, so to say, 
unless he sees you doing the former, as that is taken as a 
sign of full meal ; but what would you think of doing the 
latter when having a meal in the company of others? 

In England and America, no mention of indigestion 
or any stomach complaints you may be suffering from, 
should be made before women ; it is a different matter, 
of course, if your friend is an old woman, or if she is 
quite well known to you. They are not so sensitive about 
these things in France. The Germans are even less 

English and American men are very guarded in their 
conversation before women ; you cannot even speak of a 
'leg/ The French, like us, are very free in conversation ; 


the Germans and the Russians will use vulgar terms in the 
presence of anybody. 

But conversations on being in love are freely carried 
on, between mother and son, between brothers and sisters 
and between them and their fathers. The father asks the 
daughter many questions about her lover (the future bride- 
groom) and cuts all sorts of jokes about her engagement. 
On such occasions, the French maiden modestly hangs 
down her head, the English maiden is bashful, and the 
American maiden gives him sharp replies to his face. 
Kissing and even embrace are not so very objectionable ; 
these things can be talked of in society. But in our country, 
no talk, nor even an indirect hint of love affairs is per- 
missible before superior relations. 

The Westerners are now rich people. Unless one's 
dress is very clean and in conformity with strict etiquette, 
one will not be considered as a gentleman and cannot 
mix in society. A gentleman must change his collar and 
shirt twice or thrice every day ; the poor people, of course, 
cannot do this. In the outer garment there must not be 
stains or even a crease. However much you may suffer 
from heat you must go out with gloves, for fear of getting 
your hands dirty in the streets, and to shake hands with 
a lady with hands that are not clean, is very ungentleman- 
like. In polite society, if the act of spitting, or rinsing the 
mouth, or picking the teeth, be ever indulged in, the 
offender will be marked as a Chandala, a man of low caste, 
and shunned ! 

The Dharma of the Westerners is worship of Satyi, 
the Creative Power regarded as the Female Principle, 
It is with them somewhat like the V&machans worship 
of woman. As the Tantrika says : "On the left side the 

woman ; on the right, the cup full of wine ; in front, 

warm meat with ingredients ; the T&ntrika religion is 

very mysterious, inscrutable even to the Yogis." It is 
this worship of Sdt^ti that is openly and universally prac- 


tised ; the idea of motherhood, i.e., the relation of a son 
to his mother, is also noticed in a great measure. Protes- 
tantism as a force is not very significant in Europe, where 
the religion is, in fact, Roman Catholic. In that religion, 
Jehovah, or Jesus, or the Trinity is secondary ; there, the 
worship is for the Mother, She, the Mother, with the 
Child Jesus in Her arms. The emperor cries "Mother," 
the field-marshal cries "Mother," the soldier with the flag 
in his hand cries Mother, the seaman at the helm cries 
"Mother," the fisherman in his rags cries "Mother, * the 
beggar in the street cries "Mother" ! A million voices, 
in a million ways, from a million places, from the palace, 
from the cottage, from the church, cry "Mother," 
"Mother," "Mother"! Everywhere is the cry "Ave 
Maria"; day and night, "Ave Maria," "Ave Maria" ! 

Next is the worship of the woman. This worship of 
Sakti is not lust, but is that Safcfi-Pu;a, that worship of 
the Kamari (Virgin) and the Sadhaua (the married woman 
whose husband is living), which is done in Benares, Kali- 
ghat and other holy places. It is the worship of the Sakti* 
not in mere thought, not in imagination, but in actual, 
visible form. Our SafeW-worship is only in the holy places, 
and at certain times only is it performed ; but theirs it is 
in every place and always, for days, weeks, months and 
years. Foremost is the woman's state, foremost is her 
dress, her seat, her food, her wants and her comforts ; 
the first honours in all respects are accorded to her. Not 
to speak of the noble-born, not to speak of the young and 
the fair, it is the worship of any and every woman, be 
she an acquaintance or a stranger. This Sa^f-worship 
the Moors, the mixed Arab race, Mahommedan in religion, 
first introduced into Europe, when they conquered Spain 
and ruled her for eight centuries. It was the Moors who 
first sowed in Europe the seeds of Western civilisation and 
Sn^i-worship. In the course of time, the Moors forgot 
this Safeti- worship and fell from their position of strength, 


culture and glory, to live scattered and unrecognised in 
an unnoticed corner of Africa, and their power and 
civilisation passed over to Europe- The Mother, leaving 
the Moors, smiled Her loving blessings on the Christians 
and illumined their homes. 

France Paris. 

What is this Europe? Why are the black, the bronze, 
the yellow, the red inhabitants of Asia, Africa and America 
bent low at the feet of the Europeans ? Why are they the 
sole rulers in this Kali-Yuga ? To understand this Europe, 
one has to understand her through France, the fountain- 
head of everything that is highest in the West. The 
supreme power that rules the world is Europe, and of this 
Europe the great centre is Paris. Paris is the centre of 
Western civilisation. Here, in Paris, matures and ripens 
every idea of Western ethics, manners and customs, light 
or darkness, good or evil. This Paris is like a vast ocean, 
in which there is many a precious gem, coral and pearl, 
and in which, again, there are sharks and other rapacious 
sea-animals, as well. Of Europe, the central field of work, 
the Karma-kshetra, is France. A picturesque country, 
neither very cold nor very warm, very fertile, weather 
neither excessively wet nor extremely dry, sky clear, sun 
sweet, Chennaars (elms) and oaks in abundance, grass- 
lands charming, hills and rivers small, springs delightful. 
Excepting some parts of China, no other country in the 
world have I seen that is so beautiful as France. That 
play of beauty in water, and fascination in land, that 
madness in the air, that ecstasy in the sky ! Nature so 
lovely the men so fond of beauty ! The rich and the 
poor, the young and the old, keep their houses, their rooms, 
the streets, the fields, the gardens, the walks, so artistically 
neat and clean the whole country looks like a picture. 
Such love of Nature and art have I seen nowhere else, 
except in Japan. The palatial structures, the gardens 


resembling the Nandan-feanan of Indra, the groves, even 
the farmer's fields, everywhere and in everything an 
attempt at beauty, an attempt at art, is remarkable, and 
effected with success too. 

From ancient times, France has been the scene of 
conflict between the Gaulois, the Romans, the Franks and 
other nations. After the destruction of the Roman Empire, 
the Franks obtained absolute dominion over Europe. 
Their King, Charlemagne, forced Christianity into Europe, 
by the power of the sword. Europe was made known in 
Asia by these Franks. Hence we still call the Europeans 
Frankj, Feringi, Planki or Filinga, and so on. 

Ancient Greece, the fountain-head of Western civilisa- 
tion sank into oblivion from the pinnacle of her glory, 
the vast empire of Rome was broken into pieces by the 
dashing waves of the barbarian invaders, the light of 
Europe went out ; it was at this time that another bar- 
barous race rose out of obscurity in Asia the Arabs. 
With extraordinary rapidity, that Arab tide began to spread 
over the different parts of the world. Powerful Persia had 
to kiss the ground before the Arabs and adopt the Mahorn- 
medan religion, with the result that the Musalman religion 
took quite a new shape ; the religion of the Arabs and 
the civilisation of Persia became intermingled. 

With the sword of the Arabs, the Persian civilisation 
began to disseminate in all directions. That Persian 
civilisation had been borrowed from ancient Greece and 
India. From the East and from the West, the waves of 
Musalman invaders dashed violently on Europe, and along. 
with them also, the light of wisdom and civilisation began 
dispersing the darkness of blind and barbarous Europe. 
The wisdom, learning and arts of ancient Greece entered 
into Italy, overpowered the barbarians, and with their 
quickening impulse life began to pulsate in the dead body 
of the world-capital of Rome. The pulsation of this new 
life took a strong and formidable shape in the city of 


Florence, old Italy began showing signs of new life. This 
is called The Renaissance, the new birth. But this new 
birth was for Italy only a rebirth ; while for the rest of 
Europe, it was only the first birth. Europe was born in 
the sixteenth century A. D., i. e. t about the time when 
Akbar, Jehangir, Shahjahan and other Mogul Emperors 
firmly established their mighty empire in India. 

Italy was an old nation. At the call of the Renais- 
sance, she woke up and gave her response, but only to 
turn over on her side in bed, as it were, and fell fast asleep 
again. For various reasons, India also stirred up a little 
at this time. For three ruling generations from Akbar, 
learning, wisdom and arts came to be much esteemed in 
India. But India was also a very old nation ; and for 
some reason or other, she also did the same as Italy and 
slept on again. 

In Europe, the tide of revival in Italy struck the power- 
ful, young and new nation, the Franks. The torrent of 
civilisation flowing from all quarters into Florence and 
there uniting, assumed a new form ; but Italy had not the 
power within herself to hold that stupendous mass of 
fresh energy. The revival would have, as in India, ended 
there, had it not been for the good fortune of Europe that 
the new nation of the Franks gladly took up that energy, 
and they in the vigour of their youthful blood, boldly 
floated their national ship on the tide ; and the current 
of that progress gradually gathered in volume and strength, 
from one it swelled into a thousand courses. The othojr 
nations of Europe greedily took the water of that tide 
into their own countries by cutting new channels, and 
increased its volume and speed by pouring their own life- 
blood into it. That tidal wave broke, in the fulness of 
time, on the shores of India. It reached as far as the coast 
of Japan, and she became revitalised by bathing in its 
water. Japan is the new nation of Asia. 

Paris is the fountain-head of European civilisation, as 


Gomookhi is of the Ganges. This huge metropolis is a 
vision of heaven on earth, the city of constant rejoicing, 
the Sadanandanagari. Such luxury, such enjoyments, such 
mirthfulness are neither in London, nor in Berlin, nor any- 
where else. True, there is wealth in London and in New 
York, in Berlin there is learning and wisdom ; but nowhere 
is that French soil, and above all, nowhere is that genius 
of the Frenchman. Let there be wealth in plenty, let 
there be learning and wisdom, let there be beauty of 
Nature also, elsewhere, but where is the MAN? This 
remarkable French character is the incarnation of the 
ancient Greek, as it were, that had died to be born again, 
always joyful, always full of enthusiasm, very light and 
silly, yet again exceedingly grave, prompt and resolute to 
do every work, and again despondent at the least resist- 
ance. But that despondency is only for a moment with 
the Frenchman, his face soon after glowing again with 
fresh hope and trust. 

The Paris university is the model of European univer- 
sities. All the Academies of Science that are in the world 
are imitations of the French Academy. Paris is the first 
teacher of the founding of colonial empires. The terms 
used in military art in all languages are still mostly French. 
The style and diction of French writings are copied into 
all the European languages. Of science, philosophy and 
art, this Paris is the mine. Everywhere, in every respect, 
there is imitation of the French. As if the French are the 
townspeople and the other nations are only villagers com- 
pared with them. What the French initiate, the Germans,, 
the English and other nations imitate, may be fifty or 
twenty-five years later, whether it be in learning, or in 
art, or in social matters. This French civilisation reached 
Scotland, and when the Scottish King became the King of 
England, it awoke and roused England ; it was during 
the reign of the Stuart Dynasty of Scotland, that the Royal 
Society and other institutions were established in England. 


Again, France is the home of liberty. From here, the 
city of Paris, travelled with tremendous energy the power 
of the People, and shook the very foundations of Europe. 
From that time, the face of Europe has completely changed 
and a new Europe has come into existence. Liberte, 
Egalite, Fraternite, is no more heard in France ; she is now 
imitating other ideas and other purposes, while the spirit 
of the French Revolution is still working among the other 
nations of Europe. 

One distinguished scientist of England told me the 
other day, that Paris was the centre of the world, and that 
the more a nation would succeed in establishing its con- 
nection with the city of Paris, the more would that nation's 
progress in national life be achieved. Though such asser- 
tion is a partial exaggeration of fact, yet it is certainly 
true that if anyone has to give to the world any new idea, 
this Paris is the place for its dissemination. If one can 
gain the approbation of the people of Paris, that voice 
the whole of Europe is sure to echo back. The sculptor, 
the painter, the musician, the dancer, or any artist, if he 
can first obtain celebrity in Paris, acquires very easily the 
esteem and high appreciation of other countries. 

We hear only of the darker side of this Paris, in our 
country, that it is a horrible place, a hell on earth. Some 
of the English hold this view ; and the wealthy people of 
other countries, in whose eyes no other enjoyment is possi- 
ble in life than the gratification of the senses, naturally see 
Paris as the home of immorality and enjoyments. 

But it is the same in all the big cities of the West, such 
as, London, Berlin, Vienna, New York. The only differ- 
ence is, in other countries the means of enjoyment are 
commonplace and vulgar, but the very dirt of civilised 
Paris is coated over with gold leaf. To compare the 
refined enjoyments of Paris with the barbarity in this 
respect of other cities is to compare the wild boar's 


wallowing in the mire with the peacock's dance when 
spreading its feathers out into a fan. 

What nation in the world has not the longing to enjoy 
and live a life of pleasure? Otherwise why should those 
who get rich hasten to Paris of all places ? Why do kings 
and emperors assuming another name come to Paris and 
live incognito and feel themselves happy by bathing in 
this whirlpool of sense- enjoyment? The longing is in all 
countries, and no pains are spared to satisfy it ; the only 
difference is, the French have perfected it as a science, 
they know how to enjoy, they have risen to the highest 
rung of the ladder of enjoyment. 

Even then, most of the vulgar dances and amusements 
are for the foreigner ; the French people are very cautious, 
they never waste money for nothing. All those luxuries, 
those expensive hotels, and Cafes, at which the cost of a 
dinner is enough to ruin one, are for the rich foolish 
foreigner. The French are highly refined, profuse in 
etiquette, polished and suave in their manners, clever in 
drawing money from one's pocket, and when they do they 
laugh in their sleeve. 

Besides, there is another thing to note. Society, as it is 
among the Americans, Germans and the English, is open to 
all nations, so the foreigner can quickly see the ins and 
outs of it. Aftet the acquaintance of a few days, the 
American will invite one to live in his house for a while ; 
the Germans also do the same ; and the English do so 
after a longer acquaintance. But it is very different with 
the French ; a Frenchman will never invite one to live 
with his family unless he is very intimately acquainted 
with him. But when a foreigner gqts such an opportunity, 
and has occasion and time enough to see and know the 
family, he forms quite a different opinion from what he 
generally hears of them. Is it not equally foolish of 
foreigners to venture an opinion of our national character, 
as they do, by seeing only the low quarters of Calcutta? 


So with Paris. The unmarried women in France are as 
well guarded as in our country, they cannot even mix free- 
ly in society ; only after marriage can they do so in com- 
pany with their husbands. Like us, their negotiations for 
marriage are carried on by their parents. Being a jolly 
people, none of their big social functions will be com- 
plete without professional dancers, as with us perfor- 
mances of dancing-girls are given on the occasions of mar- 
riage and Pu/'a. Living in a dark foggy country, the 
English are gloomy, make long faces and remark that such 
dances at one's home are very improper, but at a theatre 
they are all right. It should be noted here, that their 
dances may appear improper to our eyes, but not so with 
them, they being accustomed to them. The girl may, at 
a dance, appear in a dress showing the neck and shoulders, 
and that is not taken as improper ; and the English and 
Americans would not object to attending such dances, but 
on going home, might not refrain from condemning the 
French customs ! 

Again, the idea is the same everywhere regarding the- 
chastity of women, whose deviation from it is fraught with 
danger, but in the case of men it does not matter so much. 
The Frenchman is, no doubt, a little freer in this respect, 
and like the rich men of other countries cares not for 
criticism. Generally speaking, in Europe, the majority of 
men do not regard a little lax conduct as so very bad, and 
in the West, the same is the case with bachelors. The 
parents of young students consider it rather a drawback 
if the latter fight shy of women, lest they become effemi- 
nate. The one excellence which a man must have, in 
the West, is courage. TTieir word "Virtue" and our 
word ^tx^ "Viratva" (heroism) are one and the same. 
Look to the derivation of the word "Virtue" and see what 
they call goodness in man. For women, they hold chastity 
as the most important virtue, no doubt. One man marry- 
ing more than one wife, is not so injurious to society as 


a woman having more than one husband at the same time, 
for the latter leads to the gradual decay of the race. 
Therefore, in all countries good care is taken to preserve 
the chastity of women. Behind this attempt of every 
society to preserve the chastity of women is seen the hand 
of Nature. The tendency of Nature is to multiply the 
population, and the chastity of women helps that tendency. 
Therefore, in being more anxious about the purity of 
women than of men, every society is only assisting Nature 
in the fulfilment of her purpose. 

The object of my speaking of these things is to im- 
press upon you the fact, that the life of each nation has 
a moral purpose of its own, and the manners and customs 
of a nation must be judged from the standpoint of that 
purpose. The Westerners should be seen through their 
eyes ; to see them through our eyes, and for them to see 
us with theirs, both these are mistakes. The purpose of 
our life is quite the opposite of theirs. The Sanskrit name 
for a student, Brahmachdri, is synonymous with the 
Sanskrit word, Kdmajit.* Our goal of life is Moksha; how 
can that be ever attained without Brahmacharyam, or 
absolute continence ? Hence it is imposed upon our boys 
and youth as an indispensable condition, during their 
studentship. The purpose of life in the West is Bhoga, 
enjoyment ; hence much attention to strict Brahmacharya 
is not so indispensably necessary with them as it is with us. 

Now, to return to Paris. There is no city in the world 
that can compare with modem Paris, Formerly it was 
quite different from what it is now, it was somewhat like 
the Bengali quarters of Benares, with zigzag lanes and 
streets, two houses joined together by an arch over the 
lane here and there, wells by the side of walls, and so on. 
In the last Exhibition they showed a model of old Paris, 
but that Paris has completely disappeared, by gradual 

* One who has full control over his passions. 


changes ; the warfare and revolutions through which the 
city has passed have, each time, caused ravages on one 
part or another, razing everything to the ground, and again, 
new Paris has risen in its place, cleaner and more extensive. 
Modern Paris is, to a great extent, the creation of 
Napoleon HI. He completed that material transformation 
of the city which had already been begun at the fall of 
the ancient monarchy. The student of the history of 
France need not be reminded how its people were op- 
pressed by the absolute monarchs of France prior to the 
French Revolution. Napoleon III caused himself to be 
proclaimed Emperor by sheer force of arms, wading 
through blood. Since the first French Revolution, the 
French people were always fickle and thus a source of 
alarm to the Empire. Hence the Emperor, in order to 
keep his subjects contented, and to please the ever- 
unstable masses of Paris by giving them work, went on 
continually making new and magnificent public roads and 
embankments, and building gateways, theatres and many 
other architectural structures, leaving the monuments of 
old Paris as before. Not only was the city traversed in 
all directions by new thoroughfares, straight and wide, 
with sumptuous houses raised or restored, but a line of 
fortification was built doubling the area of the city. Thus 
arose the boulevards, and the fine quarters of d'Antin 
and other neighbourhoods, and the avenue of the Champa 
Elysees, which is unique in the world, was reconstructed. 
This avenue is so broad that down the middle and on 
both sides of it run gardens all along, and in one place it 
has taken a circular shape which comprises the city front, 
towards the west, called Place de la Concorde. Round 
this Place de la Concorde are statues in the form of women 
representing the eight chief towns of France. One of these 
statues represents the district of Strasburg. This district 
was wrested from the hands of the French by the Germans 
after the battle of 1872. The pain of this loss, the French 


have not yet been able to get over, and that statue is still 
covered with flowers and garlands offered in memory of 
its dead spirit, as it were. As men place garlands over 
the tombs of their dead relations, so garlands are placed 
on that statue, at one time or another. 

It seems to me that the Chandni Chauk of Delhi might 
have been at one time somewhat like this Place de la 
Concorde. Here and there columns of victory, triumphal 
arches and sculptural art in the form of huge statues of 
men and women, lions, etc., adorn the square. 

A very big triumphal column in imitation of Trajan's 
Column, made of gun metal (procured by melting 1,200 
guns), is erected in Place Vendome in memory of the great 
hero, Napoleon I ; on the sides are engraved the victories 
of his reign, and on the top is the figure of Napoleon 
Bonaparte. In the Place de la Bastille stands the Column 
of July (in memory of the Revolution of July 1830) on the 
site of the old fortress, "The Bastille/' afterwards used 
as a State prison. Here were imprisoned those who in- 
curred the king's displeasure. In those old days, without 
any trial or anything of the kind, the king would issue a 
warrant bearing the royal seal, called "Lettre de Cachet." 
Then, without any enquiry as to what good acts the victim 
had done for his country, or whether he was really guilty 
or not, without even any question as to what he actually 
did to incur the king's wrath, he would be at once thrown 
into the Bastille. If the fair favourites of the kings were 
displeased with anyone, they could obtain by request a 
"Lejtre de Cachet"* from the king against that man, and 
the poor man would at once be sent to the Bastille. Of the 
unfortunate who were imprisoned there, very few ever 
came out. When, afterwards, the whole country rose as 
one man in revolt against such oppression and tyranny, 
and raised the cry of * 'Individual liberty. All are equal, 

* A royal warrant. 


No one is high or low," the people of Paris in their mad 
excitement attacked the king and queen. The very first 
thing the mob did was to pull down the Bastille, the sym- 
bol of extreme tyranny of man over man, and passed the 
night in dancing, singing and feasting on the spot. The 
king tried to escape, but the people managed to catch 
him, and hearing that the father-in-law of the king, the 
Emperor of Austria, was sending soldiers to aid his son- 
in-law, became blind with rage and killed the king and 
the queen. The whole French nation became mad in the 
name of liberty and equality, France became a republic, 

they killed all the nobility whom they could get hold of, 
and many of the nobility gave up their titles and rank 
and made common cause with the subject people. Not 
only so, tfcey called all the nations of the world to rise, 

"Awake, kill the kings who are all tyrants, let all be 
free and have equal rights." Then all the kings of Europe 
began to tremble in fear lest this fire might spread into 
their countries, lest it might burn their throne, and hence 
determined to put it down, attacked France from all 
directions. On the other side, the leaders of the French 
Republic proclaimed, La patrie a danger "Our native 
land is in peril, come one and all," and the proclamation 
soon spread like the flames of a conflagration throughout 
the length and breadth of France. The young, the old, 
the men, the women, the rich, the poor, the high, the low, 
singing their martial song, La Marseillaise, the inspiring 
national song of France, came out, crowds of the poor 
French people, in rags, barefooted, in that severe cold, 
and half-starved, came out with guns on their shoulders, 

[ for the destruction of 

the wicked and the salvation of their homes, and boldly 
faced the vast united force of Europe. The whole of 
Europe could not stand the onrush of that French army. 
At the head and front of the French army, stood a hero 
at the movement of whose finger the whole world trembled. 


He was Napoleon. With the edge of the sword and at 
the point of the bayonet, he thrust " Liberty, Equality and 
Fraternity" into the very bone and marrow of Europe, 
and thus the victory of the tri-coloured Cocarde was 
achieved. Later, Napoleon became the Emperor of 
France and successfully accomplished the consolidation of 
the French Empire. 

Subsequently, not being favoured with an heir to the 
throne, he divorced the partner of his life in weal and 
woe, the guiding angel of his good fortune, the Empress 
Josephine, and married the daughter of the Emperor of 
Austria. But the wheel of his luck turned with his deser- 
tion of Josephine, his army died in the snow and ice 
during his expedition against Russia. Europe, getting this 
opportunity, forced him to abdicate his throne, sent him 
as an exile to an island and put on the throne one of the 
old royal dynasty. The wounded lion escaped from the 
island and presented himself again in France ; the whole 
of France welcomed him and rallied under his banner, and 
the reigning king fled. But his luck was broken once for 
all and it never returned. Again the whole of Europe 
united against him and defeated him at the battle of 
Waterloo. Napoleon boarded an English man-of-war and 
surrendered himself ; the English exiled him and kept him 
as a lifelong prisoner in the distant island of St. Helena. 
Again a member of the old royal family of France was 
reinstated as king. Later on, the French people became 
restless under the old monarchy, rose in rebellion, drove 
away the king and his family and re-established the Re- 
public. In the course of time a nephew of the great 
Napoleon became a favourite with the people, and by 
means of intrigues he proclaimed himself Emperor. He 
was Napoleon III. For some time his reign was very 
powerful ; but being defeated in conflict with the Ger- 
mans he lost his throne, and France became once more 


a republic ; and since then down to the present day she 
has continued to be republican. 

The theory of Evolution, which is the foundation of 
almost all the Indian schools of thought, has now made 
its way into the physical science of Europe. It has been 
held by the religions of all other countries except India, 
that the universe in its entirety is composed of parts dis- 
tinctly separate from each other. God, Nature, man, 
each stands by itself, isolated from one another ; likewise, 
beasts, birds, insects, trees, the earth, stones, metals, etc., 
are all distinct from each other ; God created them se- 
parate from the beginning. 

Knowledge is to find unity in the midst of diversity, 
to establish unity among things which appear to us to be 
different from one another. That particular relation by 
which man finds this sameness is called Law. This is what 
is known as Natural Law. 

I have said before, that our education, intelligence 
and thought are all spiritual, all find expression in religion. 
In the West, their manifestation is in the external, in the 
physical and social planes. Thinkers in ancient India 
gradually came to understand that that idea of separate- 
ness was erroneous, that there was a connection among 
all those distinct objects, there was a unity which pervad- 
ed the whole universe, trees, shrubs, animals, men, 
Devas, even God Himself ; the Advaitin reaching the 
climax in this line of thought declared all to be but the 
manifestations of the One. In reality, the metaphysical 
and the physical universe are one, and the name of this 
One is Brahman ; and the perception of separateness is 
an error, they called it Maya, Avidya or nescience. This 
is the end of knowledge. 

If this matter is not comprehended at the present day 
by anyone outside India for, India we leave out of 
consideration how is one to be regarded as a Pandit? 
However, most of the erudite men in the West are coming 


to understand this, in their own way through physical 
science But how that One has become the many, neither 
do we understand, nor do they. We, too, have offered 
the solution of this question by saying, that it is beyond 
our understanding which is limited. They, too, have done 
the same. But the variations that the One has undergone, 
the different sorts of species and individuality It is assum- 
ing, that can be understood, and the enquiry into this is 
called Science. 

So, almost all are now Evolutionists in the West. As 
small animals through gradual steps change into bigger 
ones, and big animals sometimes deteriorate aud become 
smaller and weaker, and in the course of time die out, 
so also, man is not born into a civilised state all on a sud- 
den ; in these days an assertion to the contrary is no longer 
believed in by anybody among the thoughtful in the West, 
especially because of the evidence that their ancestors 
were in a savage state only a few centuries ago, and from 
that state such a great transformation has taken place in 
so short a time. So they say that all men must have gra- 
dually evolved, and are evolving from the uncivilised state. 

Primitive men used to manage their work with im- 
plements of wood and stone ; they wore skins and leaves, 
and lived in mountain-caves or in huts thatched with leaves 
made somewhat after the fashion of birds' nests, and thus 
somehow passed their days. Evidence in proof of this is 
being obtained in all countries by excavating the earth, and 
also in some few places, men at that same primitive stage 
are still living. Gradually men learnt to use metal soft 
metals such as tin and copper, and found out how to make 
tools and weapons by fusing them. The ancient Greeks, 
the Babylonians and the Egyptians did not know the use 
of iron for a long time, even when they became com- 
paratively civilised and wrote books and used gold and 
silver. At that time, the Mexicans, the Peruvians, the 
Mayas and other races among the aborigines of the New 


World were comparatively civilised and used to build large 
temples ; the use of gold and silver was quite common 
amongst them ; (in fact the greed for their gold and silver 
led the Spaniards to destroy them). But they managed 
to make all these things, toiling very hard with flint imple- 
ments, they did not know iron even by name. 

In the primitive stage, man used to kill animals and 
fish by means of bows and arrows, or by the use of a net, 
and live upon them. Gradually, he learnt to till the ground 
and tend the cattle. Taming wild animals, he made them 
work for him, or reared them for his own eating, when 
necessary ; the cow, horse, hog, elephant, camel, goat, 
sheep, fowls, birds, and other animals becaipe domestica- 
ted ; of all these, the dog is the first friend of man. 

So, in the course of time, the tilling of the soil came 
into existence. The fruits, roots, herbs, vegetables and 
the various cereals eaten by man are quite different now 
from what they were when they grew in a wild state. 
Through human exertion and cultivation wild fruits gained 
in size and acquired toothsomeness, and wild grass was 
transformed into delicious rice. Constant changes are go- 
ing on, no doubt, in Nature, by its own processes. New 
species of trees and plants, birds and beasts, are being 
always created in Nature through changes brought about 
by time, environment and other causes. Thus, before the 
creation of man, Nature was changing the trees, plants 
and other animals by slow and gentle degrees, but when 
man came on the scene, he began to effect changes with 
rapid strides. He continually transported the native 
fauna and flora of one country to another, and by crossing 
them various new species of plants and animals were 
brought into existence. 

In the primitive stage there was no marriage, but gra- 
dually matrimonial relations sprang up. At first, the ma- 
trimonial relation depended, amongst all communities, on 


the mother. There was not much fixity about the father, 
the children were named after the mother ; all the wealth 
was in the hands of the women, for they were to bring up 
the children. In the course of time, wealth, the women 
included, passed into the hands of the male members. 
The male said, "All this wealth and grain are mine ; I have 
grown these in the fields, or got them by plunder and other 
means ; and if anyone dispute my claims, and want to 
have a share of them, I will fight him." In the same way 
he said, **A11 these women are exclusively mine ; if any- 
one encroach upon my right in them, I will fight him/* 
Thus, there originated the modern marriage system. Wo- 
men became as much the property of man as his slaves 
and chattels. The ancient marriage custom was, that the 
males of one tribe married the women of another ; and 
even then the women were snatched away by force. In 
the course of time, this business of taking away the bride 
by violence dropped away, and marriage was contracted 
with the mutual consent of both parties. But every custom 
leaves a faint trace of it behind, and even now we find 
in every country a mock attack is made on such occasions 
upon the bridegroom. In Bengal and Europe, handfuls of 
rice are thrown at the bridegroom, and in Northern India 
the bride's women friends abuse the bridegroom's party 
calling them names, and so on. 

Society began to be formed and it varied according to 
different countries. Those who lived on the seashore 
mostly earned their livelihood by fishing in the sea, those 
on the plains by agriculture. The mountaineers kept 
large flocks of sheep, and the dwellers in the desert tended 
goats and camels. Others lived in the forests and main- 
tained themselves by hunting. The dwellers on the plains 
learned agriculture ; their struggle for existence became 
less keen ; they had time for thought and culture, and thus 
became more and more civilised. But with the advance 
of civilisation their bodies grew weaker and weaker. The 


difference in physique between those who always lived in 
the open air and whose principal article of food was animal 
diet, and others who dwelt in houses and lived mostly on 
grains and vegetables, became greater and greater. The 
hunter, the shepherd, the fisherman, turned robbers or 
pirates whenever food became scarce, and plundered the 
dwellers in the plains. These, in their turn, united them- 
selves in bands of large numbers for the common interest 
of self-preservation ; and thus little kingdoms began to be 

The Devas lived on grains and vegetables, were civili- 
sed, dwelt in villages, towns and gardens, and wore woven 
clothing. The Asuras dwelt in the hills and mountains, 
deserts or on the seashores, lived on wild animals, and the 
roots and fruits of the forests, and on what cereals they 
could get from the Devas in exchange for these or for 
their cows and sheep, and wore the hides of wild animals. 
The Devas* were weak in body and could not endure 
hardships ; the Asuras,* on the other hand, were hardy 
with frequent fasting and were quite capable of suffering all 
sorts of hardships. 

Whenever food was scarce among the Asuras, they 
set out from their hills and seashores, to plunder towns and 
villages. At times they attacked the Devas for wealth and 
grains, and whenever the Devas failed to unite themselves 
in large numbers against them, they were sure to die at 
the hands of the Asuras. But the Devas being stronger 
in intelligence commenced inventing all sorts of machines 
for warfare. The Brahmastra, Garudastra, VaishnaoAstra, 
Saioastra all these weapons of miraculous power belong- 
ed to the Devas. The Asuras fought with ordinary 
weapons, but they were enormously strong. They defeated 

* The terms * Devas ' and ' Asuras * are used throughout here 
in the sense of the Gita, i. e.. races in which the jQoi i)i (divine), or the 
Asuri (non-divine), qualities preponderate. Vide Srimad-Bhagavad- 
Gita, chapter XVI. 


the Devas repeatedly, but they never cared to become 
civilised, or learn agriculture, or cultivate their intellect. 
If the victorious Asuras tried to reign over the vanquished 
Devas in Svarga, they were sure to be outwitted by the 
Devas' superior intellect and skill, and, before long, turned 
into their slaves. At other times, the Asuras returned to 
their own places, after plundering. The Devas, whenever 
they were united, forced them to retire, mark you, either 
into the hills or forests, or to the seashore. Gradually each 
party gained in numbers and became stronger and strong- 
er ; millions of Devas were united, and so were millions 
of Asuras. Violent conflicts and fighting went on, and 
along with them, the intermingling of these two forces. 
From the fusion of these different types and races our 
modern societies, manners and customs began to be 
evolved. New ideas sprang up and new sciences began 
to be cultivated. One class of men went on manufacturing 
articles of utility and comfort, either by manual or intel- 
lectual labour. A second class took upon themselves the 
charge of protecting them, and all proceeded to exchange 
these things. And it so happened that a band of fellows 
who were very clever, undertook to take these things from 
one place to another and, on the plea of remuneration for 
this, appropriated the major portion of their profit as their 
due. One tilled the ground, a second guarded the produce 
from being robbed, a third took it to another place, and 
a fourth bought it. The cultivator got almost nothing ; he 
who guarded the produce took away as much of it as he 
could, by force ; the merchant who brought it to the mar- 
ket took the lion's share ; and the buyer had to pay out of 
all proportion for the things, and smarted under the burden ! 
The protector came to be known as the king ; he who took 
the commodities from one place to another was the mer- 
chant. These two did not produce anything, but still 
snatched away the best part of things, and made them- 
selves fat by virtually reaping most of the fruits of the 


cultivator's toil and labour. The poor fellow who pro- 
duced all these things had often to go without his meals and 
cry to God for help ! 

Now, with the march of events, all these matters grew 
more and more involved, knots upon knots multiplied, and 
out of this tangled network has evolved our modern com- 
plex society. But the marks of a bygone character persist 
and do not die out completely. Those who in their former 
births tended sheep or lived by fishing or the like, took to 
habits of piracy, robbery and similar occupations, in their 
civilised incarnation also. With no forests to hunt in, no 
hills or mountains in the neighbourhood on which to tend 
the flocks, by the accident of birth in a civilised society, 
he cannot get enough opportunity for either hunting, fish- 
ing or grazing cattle, he is obliged therefore to rob or 
steal, impelled by his own nature ; what else could he do? 
And the worthy daugfters of those far-famed ladies* of 
the Pauranika age, whose names we are to repeat every 
morning, they could no longer marry more than one hus- 
band at a time, if they wanted to, and so they turned un- 
chaste. In these and other ways, men of different types and 
dispositions, civilised and savage, born with the nature of 
the Devas and the Asuras, have become fused together and 
form modern society. And that is why we see, in every 
society, God playing in these various forms, the SaJhu 
Narayana, the robber Nar&yana, and so on. Again, the 
character of any particular society came to be determined 
as of Daivi (divine), or Asuri (non-divine) quality in 
proportion as one or the other of these two different types 
of persons preponderated within it. 

| The whole of the Asiatic civilisation was first evolved 
on the plains, near large rivers and on fertile soils, on the 
banks of the Ganges, the Yangtse-Kiang and the Euphrates. 
The original foundation of all these civilisations is agricul- 

* Ahalya, Tara, Mandodari, Kunti and Draupadi. 


ture, and in all of them the Daivi nature predominates. 
Most of the European civilisation, on the other hand, 
originated either in hilly countries or on the seacoasts, 
piracy and robbery form the basis of this civilisation ; there 
the Asttri nature is preponderant. 

So far as can be inferred in modern times, Central Asia 
and the deserts of Arabia seem to have been the home of 
the Asuras. Issuing from their fastnesses, these shepherds 
and hunters, the descendants of the Asuras, being united 
in hordes after hordes, chased the civilised Devas, and 
scattered them all over the world. 

Of course there was a primitive race of aborigines in 
the continent of Europe, They lived in mountain-caves, 
and the more intelligent among them erected platforms by 
planting sticks in the comparatively shallow parts of the 
water and built houses thereon. They used arrows, spear- 
heads, knives and axes, all made of flint, and managed 
every kind of work with them. 

Gradually the current of the Asiatic races began to 
break forth upon Europe, and as its effects some parts be- 
came comparatively civilised ; the language of a certain 
people in Russia resembles the languages of Southern In- 

But for the most part these barbarians remained as 
barbarous as ever, till a civilised race from Asia Minor con- 
quered the adjacent parts of Europe and founded a high 
order of new civilisation ; to us they are known as Yavanas, 
to the Europeans as Greeks. 

Afterwards, in Italy, a barbarous tribe kmn n as the 
Romans conquered the civilised Etruscans, assimilated 
their culture and learning, and established a civilisation of 
their own on the ruins of that of the conquered race. Gra- 
dually, the Romans carried their victorious arms on all 
sides ; all the barbarous tribes in the South-west of Europe 
came under the suzerainty of Rome ; only the barbarians 
of the forests living in the Northern regions retained their 


independence. In the efflux of time, however, the Romans 
became enervated by being slaves to wealth and luxury, 
and at that time Asia again let loose her armies of Asuras 
on Europe. Driven from their homes by the onslaught of 
these Asuras, the barbarians of Northern Europe fell upon 
the Roman Empire, and Rome was destroyed. Encoun- 
tered by the force of this Asiatic invasion, a new race 
sprang up through the fusion of the European barbarians 
with the remnants of the Romans and Greeks. At that 
time, the Jews being conquered and driven away from their 
homes by the Romans, scattered themselves throughout 
Europe, and with them their new religion, Christianity, also 
spread all over Europe. All these different races, and 
their creeds and ideas, all these different hordes of Asuras, 
heated by the fire of constant struggle and warfare, began 
to melt and fuse in Mahamayas crucible ; and from that 
fusion the modern European race has sprung up. 

Thus, a barbarous, very barbarous European race 
came into existence, with all shades of complexion from 
the swarthy colour of the Hindus to the milk-white colour 
of the North, with black, brown, red, or white hair, black, 
grey or blue eyes, resembling the fine features of face, the 
nose and eyes of the Hindu, or the flat faces of the Chinese. 
For some time they continued to fight among themselves ; 
those of the North leading the life of pirates harassed and 
killed the comparatively civilised races. In the meantime, 
however, the two heads of the Christian Churches, the 
Pope (in French and Italian, Paf>e*) of Italy and the 
Patriarch of Constantinople, insinuating themselves, began 
to exercise their authority over these brutal barbarian 
hordes, over their kings, queens, and peoples. 

On the other side, again, Mahommedanism arose in 
the deserts of Arabia. The wild Arabs, inspired by the 
teachings of a great sage, bore down upon the earth with 

* Pronounced as P6f>. The Bengali word P6p means sin. 


an irresistible force and vigour. That torrent, carrying 
everything before it, entered Europe from both the east 
and the west, and along with this tide the learning and 
culture of India and ancient Greece was carried into 

A tribe of Asuras from Central Asia known as the 
Selmul Tartars, accepted Mahommedanism and conquered 
Asia Minor and other countries of Asia. The various at- 
tempts of the Arabs to conquer India proved unsuccessful. 
The wave of Mahommedan conquest, which had swallow- 
ed the whole earth, had to fall back before India. They 
attacked Sindh once, but could not hold it ; and they did 
not make any other attempt after that. 

But a few centuries afterwards, when the Turks and 
other Tartar races were converted from Buddhism to Ma- 
Kommedanism, at that time they conquered the Hindus, 
Persians and Arabs, and brought all of them alike under 
their subjection. Of all the Mahommedan conquerors of 
India, none was an Arab or a Persian ; they were all 
Turks and Tartars. In Rajputana, all the Mahommedan 
invaders were called Turks, and that is a true and historical 
Fact. The Charans of Rajputana sang TaruganJ^o badhi 
jore "The Turks are very powerful" and that was true. 
From Kutubuddin down to the Mogul Emperors all of 
them are Tartars. They are the same race to which the 
Thibetans belong ; only they have become Mahommedans 
and changed their flat round faces by intermarrying with 
the Hindus and Persians. They are the same ancient races 
of Asuras. Even to-day they ere reigning on the thrones 
of Kabul, Persia, Arabia and Constantinople, and the Gan- 
dharis (natives of Kandahar) and Persians are still the slaves 
of the Turks. The vast Empire of China too, is lying at 
the feet of the Manchurian Tartars ; only these Manchus 
have not given up their religion, have not become Mahom- 
medans, they are disciples of the Grand Lama. These 
Aauras never care for learning and cultivation of the intel- 


lect ; the only thing they understand is fighting. Very 
little of the warlike spirit is possible without a mixture of 
that blood ; and it is that Tartar blood which is seen in 
the vigorous, martial spirit of Northern Europe, especially 
in the Russians, who have three-fourths of Tartar blood in 
their veins. The fight between the Devas and the Asuras 
will continue yet for a long time to come. The Devas 
marry the Asura girls and the Asuras snatch away Deva 
brides, it is this that leads to the formation of powerful 
mongrel races. 

The Tartars seized and occupied the throne of the 
Arabian Caliph, took possession of Jerusalem, the great 
Christian place of pilgrimage, and other places, would not 
allow them to visit the holy sepulchure, and killed many 
Christians. The heads of the Christian churches grew mad 
with rage and roused their barbarian disciples throughout 
Europe, who in their turn inflamed the kings and their sub- 
jects alike. Hordes of European barbarians rushed to- 
wards Asia Minor to deliver Jerusalem from the hands of 
the infidels. A good portion of them cut one another's 
throats, others died of disease, while the rest were killed 
by the Mahommedans. However, the blood was up of 
the wild barbarians, and no sooner had the Mahommedans 
killed them than they arrived in fresh numbers, with that 
dogged obstinacy of a wild savage. They thought nothing 
even of plundering their own men, and making meals of 
Mahommedans when they found nothing better. It is 
well-known that the English king Richard had a liking for 
Mahommedan flesh. 

Here the result was the same, as usually happens in a 
war between barbarians and civilised men. Jerusalem and 
other places could not be conquered. But Europe began 
to be civilised. The English, French, German and other 
savage nations who dressed themselves in hides and ate 
raw flesh, came In contact, with Asiatic civilisation. An 
order of Christian soldiers of Italy and other countries, 


corresponding to our Ndgds, began to learn philosophy ; 
and one of their sects, the Knights Templars, became con- 
firmed Advaita Vedantists, and ended by holding 
Christianity up to ridicule. Moreover, as they had amass- 
ed enormous riches, the kings of Europe, at the orders of 
the Pope, and under the pretext of saving religion, robbed 
and exterminated them. 

On the other side, a tribe of Mahommedans, called the 
Moors, established a civilised kingdom in Spain, cultivated 
various branches of knowledge and founded the first uni- 
versity in Europe. Students flocked from all parts, from 
Italy, France, and even from far-off England. The 
sons of royal families came to learn manners, etiquette, 
civilisation and the art of war. Houses, temples, edifices 
and other architectural buildings began to be built after 
a new style. 

But the whole of Europe was gradually transformed 
into a vast military camp, and this is even now the case. 
When the Mahommedans conquered any kingdom, their 
king kept a large part for himself, and the rest he distributed 
among his generals. These men did not pay any rent but 
had to supply the king with a certain number of soldiers 
in time of need. Thus the trouble of keeping a standing 
army always ready was avoided, and a powerful army was 
created, which served only in time of war. This same idea 
still exists to a certain extent in Rajputana, and it was 
brought into the West by the Mahommedans. The 
Europeans took this system from the Mahommedans. But 
whereas with the Mahommedans there were the king and 
his groups of feudatory chiefs and their armies, and the rest, 
the body of the people, were ordinary subjects who were 
left unmolested in time of war, in Europe, on the other 
hand, the king and his groups of feudatory chiefs were on 
one side, and they turned all the subject-people into their 
slaves. Everyone had to live under the shelter of a military 
feudatory chief, as his man, and then only was he allowed 


to live, he had to be always ready to fight at any time, 
at the word of command. 

What is the meaning of the "Progress of Civilisation," 
which the Europeans boast so much about ? The meaning 
of it is, the successful accomplishment of the desired object 
by the justification of wrong means, i. e,, by making the 
end justify the means. It makes acts of theft, falsehood, 
and hanging, appear proper under certain circumstances ; 
it vindicates Stanley's whipping of the hungry Mahom- 
medan guards who accompanied him, for stealing a few 
mouthfuls of bread ; it guides and justifies the well-known 
European ethics which says, "Get out from this place, I 
want to. come in and possess it/* the truth of which is 
borne out by the evidence of history, that wherever the 
Europeans have gone, there has followed the extinction 
of the aboriginal races. In London, this 'progress of 
civilisation* regards the unfaithfulness in conjugal life, 
and, in Paris, the running away of a man leaving his wife 
and children helpless and committing suicide, as a mistake 
and not a crime. 

Now compare the first three centuries of the quick spread 
of the civilisation of Islam with the corresponding period 
of Christianity. Christianity, during its first three cen- 
turies, was not even successful in making itself known to 
the world ; and since the day when the sword of Con- 
stantine made a place for it in his kingdom, what support 
has Christianity ever lent to the spread of civilisation, 
either spiritual or secular ? What reward did the Christian 
religion offer to that European Pandit who sought to prove 
for the first time that the Earth is a revolving planet? 
^5hat scientist has ever been hailed with approval and 
enthusiasm by the Christian Church? Can the literature 
of the Christian flock consistently meet the requirements 
of legal jurisprudence, civil or criminal, or of arts and trade 
policies? Even now the "Church" does not sanction the 
diffusion of profane literature. Is it possible, still, for a 



man who has penetrated deep into modern learning and 
science, to be an absolutely sincere Christian ? In the New 
Testament there is no covert or overt praise of any arts and 
sciences. But there is scarcely any science or branch of 
art that is not sanctioned and held up for encouragement, 
directly or indirectly, in the Koran, or in the many pass- 
ages of Hadis, the traditional Sayings of Mahommed. The 
greatest thinkers of Europe, Voltaire, Darwin, Biichner, 
Rammarion, Victor Hugo, and a host of others like them, 
are, in the present times, denounced by Christianity, 
and are victims of vituperative tongues of its orthodox 
community. On the other hand, Islam regards such peo- 
ple to be believers in the existence of God, but only want- 
ing in faith in the Prophet. Let there be a searching in- 
vestigation into the respective merits of the two religions 
as regards their helpfulness, or the throwing of obstacles 
in the path of progress, and it will be seen that wherever 
Islam has gone, there it has preserved the aboriginal in- 
habitants, there those races still exist, their language and 
their nationality abide even to the present day. 

Where can Christianity show such an achievement? 
Where are, to-day, the Arabs of Spain, and the aboriginal 
races of America? What treatment are the Christians 
according to the European Jews ? With the single excep- 
tion of charitable organisations no other line of work 
in Europe is in harmony with the teachings of the 
Gospel. Whatever heights of progress Europe has attain- 
ed, every one of them has been gained by its revolt 
against Christianity, by its rising against the Gospel. If 
Christianity had its old paramount sway in Europe 
to-day, it would have lighted the fire of the Inquisition 
against such modern scientists as Pasteur and Koch, and 
burnt Darwin and others of his school at the stake. In 
modern Europe, Christianity and civilisation are two 
different things. Civilisation has now girded up her loins 
to destroy her old enemy, Christianity, to overthrow the 


Clergy, and to wring educational and charitable institu- 
tions from their hands. But for the ignorance-ridden rustic 
masses, Christianity would never have been able for a 
moment to support its present despised existence, and 
would have been pulled out by its roots ; for, the urban 
poor are, even now, enemies of the Christian Church ! 
Now compare this with Islam. In the Mahommedan 
countries, all the ordinances are firmly established upon 
the Islam religion, and its own preachers are greatly 
venerated by all the officials of the State, and teachers of 
other religions also are respected. 

The European civilisation may be likened to a piece 
of cloth, of which these are the materials : Its loom is 
a vast temperate hilly country on the seashore ; its cotton, 
a strong warlike mongrel race formed by the intermixture 
of various races ; its warp is warfare, in defence of one's 
self and one's religion. The one who wields the sword 
is great, and the one who cannot, gives up his independ- 
ence and lives under the protection of some warrior's 
sword. Its woof is commerce. The means to this civilisa- 
tion is the sword, its auxiliary courage and strength, its 
aim enjoyment here and hereafter. 

And how is it with us? The Aryans are lovers of 
peace, cultivators of the soil, and are quite happy and 
contented if they can only rear their families undisturbed. 
In such a life they have ample leisure, and therefore greater 
opportunity of being thoughtful and civilised. Our King 
Janaka tilled the soil with his own hands, and he was also 
the greatest of the knowers of Truth, of his time. With us, 
Rishis, Munis and Yogis have been born from the very 
beginning ; they have known from the first that the world 
is a chimera. Plunder and fight as you may, the enjoy- 
ment that you are seeking is only in peace, and peace, in 
the renunciation of physical pleasures. Enjoyment lies not 
in physical development, but in the culture of the mind 


and the intellect. It was they who reclaimed the jungles 
for cultivation. 

Then, over that cleared plot of land was built the 
Vedic altar ; in that pure sky of Bharata, up rose the sacred 
smoke of Yajnas ; in that air breathing peace, the Veda 
Mantras echoed and re-echoed, and cattle and other 
beasts grazed without any fear of danger. The place of 
the sword was assigned at the feet of learning and Dharma. 
Its only work was to protect Dharma and save the lives 
of men and cattle. The hero was the protector of the 
weak in danger, the Kshatriya. Ruling over the plough 
and the sword was Dharma, the protector of all. He is 
the King of kings ; he is ever-awake even while the world 
sleeps. Everyone was free under the protection of Dharma. 

And what your European Pandits say about the 
Aryan's swooping down from some foreign land, snatching 
away the lands of the aborigines, and settling in India by 
exterminating them, are all pure nonsense, foolish talk ! 
Strange, that our Indian scholars, too, say amen to them ; 
and all these monstrous lies are being taught to our boys ! 
This is very bad, indeed. 

I am an ignoramus myself ; I do not pretend to any 
scholarship ; but with the little that I understand, I strongly 
protested against these ideas at the Paris Congress. I have 
been talking with the Indian and European Savants on the 
subject, and hope to raise many objections to this theory 
in detail, when time permits. And this I say to you, to 
our Pandits, also, you are learned men, hunt up your old 
books and scriptures, please, and draw your own 

Wherever the Europeans find an opportunity, tha^i 
exterminate the aborigines and settle down in ease and 
comfort on their lands ; and therefore they think, the 
Aryans must have done the same ! ! The Westerners 
would be considered wretched vagabonds if they lived in 
their native homes depending wholly on their own internal 


resources, and so they have to run wildly about the world 
seeking how they can feed upon the fat of the land of 
others, by spoliation and slaughter ; and therefore they 
conclude, the Aryans must have done the same 1 ! But 
where is your proof? Guess-work? Then keep your 
fanciful guesses to yourselves ! 

In what Veda, in what Sukfa do you find that the 
Aryans came into India from a foreign country? Where 
do you get the idea that they slaughtered the wild abori- 
gines? What do you gain by talking such nonsense? 
Vain has been your study of the Ramayana ; why manu- 
facture a big fine story out of it? 

Well, what is Ramayana ? the conquest of the savage 
aborigines of Southern India by the Aryans ! Indeed ! ! 
Ramachandra is a civilised Aryan king, and with whom is 
he fighting? With King Ravana of Lanka. Just read the 
Ramayana and you will find that Ravana was rather more 
and not less civilised than Ramachandra. The civilisation 
of Lanka was rather higher, and surely not lower, than 
that of Ayodhya. And then, when were these Vdnaras 
('monkeys') and other Southern Indians conquered? They 
were all, on the other hand, Ramachandra's friends and 
allies. Say, which Vali's, which Guhaka's kingdoms were 
annexed by Ramachandra? 

It was quite possible, however, that in a few places, 
there were occasional fights between the Aryans and the 
aborigines ; quite possible, that one or two cunning Mtmis 
pretended to meditate with closed eyes before their sacri- 
ficial fires, in the jungles of the JRdfcshasas, waiting, 
however, all the time to see when the Rfifyshasas would 
throw stones and pieces of bone at them. No sooner had 
this been done then they would go, whining, to the kings. 
The mail-clad kings armed with swords and weapons of 
steel, would come on fiery steeds. But how long could 
the aborigines fight with their sticks and stones? So they 
were killed or chased away, and the kings returned to 


their capital. Well, all this may have been, but how does 
this prove that their lands were taken away by the Aryans ? 
Where in the Ramayana do you find that? 

The loom of the fabric of Aryan civilisation is a vast, 
warm, level country, interspersed with broad, navigable 
rivers. The cotton of this cloth is composed of highly 
civilised, semi-civilised and barbarian tribes, mostly Aryan. 
Its warp is Varndshramachdra* and its woof, the conquest 
of strife and competition in Nature. 

And may I ask you, Europeans, what country you 
have ever raised to better conditions? Wherever you 
have found weaker races, you have exterminated them 
by the roots, as it were. You have settled on their lands, 
and they are gone for ever. What is the history of your 
America, your Australia and New Zealand, your Pacific 
Islands and South Africa? Where are those aboriginal 
races there to-day? They are all exterminated, you have 
killed them outright, as if they were wild beasts. It is 
only where you have not the power to do so t and there 
only, that other nations are still alive. 

But India has never done that. The Aryans were 
kind and generous ; and in their hearts which were large 
and unbounded as the ocean, and in their brains gifted 
with superhuman genius, all these ephemeral, and ap- 
parently pleasant but virtually beastly processes never 
found a place. And I ask you, fools of my own country, 
would there have been this institution of Varndshrama, 
if the Aryans had exterminated the aborigines in order to 
settle on their lands? 

The object of Europe is to exterminate all, in order 
to live themselves. The aim of the Aryans is to raise all 
up to their own level, nay, even to a higher level than 

* The old Aryan Institution of the four castes and stages of life. 
The former comprise the Br&hmana, Kahatriya, Vaitya and Sudra, 
and the latter, Brahmacharya (student life), Gdrhasthya (householder's 
life), Vdnapraitha (hermit life), and Sanny&ta (life of renunciation). 


themselves. The means of European civilisation is the 
sword ; of the Aryans, the division into different Varnas. 
This system of division into different Varnas is the step- 
ping-stone to civilisation, making one rise higher and higher 
in proportion to one's learning and culture. In Europe, 
it is everywhere victory to the strong, and death to 
the weak. In the land of Bharata, every social rule is for 
the protection of the weak. 
















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