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Ashish Chandra ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 1 13:17:29 CST 1999

>From: "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at>
>On Wed, 27 Oct 1999, Ashish Chandra wrote:
> > Namaste All,
> >
> > The name of Swami Vivekananda has come up again and it is my personal
> > opinion that we err by calling him 1) what he never claimed for himself
> > 2) dubbing him a "modernist thinker".
> >
>The only reason the subject has come is because of extravagent claims from
>his followers.  If you or other list members have benefited from his
>teachings, then good for you.  Personally, I'm happy when knowledge is
>increased and ignorance is decreased whatever the method.  It's the
>propoganda I find annoying.

I am sure "extravagant claims" is your perception of things so you are
perfectly entitled to your opinion. But to suggest that this is
propagandist(as in dissemination of known falsehoods) in nature would be
quite erroneous.

> > I am sure there are enough here who have read Swamiji's writings and
> > therefore be aware that he never claimed for himself the position of
> > sort of expert on Hindu philosophy.
>Then his would-be shishyas should stop treating him like one then.

Adi Sankaracharya claimed for himself the position of Jagadguru for Kali
Yuga. Is that why you choose to follow his teachings to a tee? It is
probably not the reason as you must have arrived at your own conclusions
based on your shikshan and your Guru's updesas. Similarly, his(Swami
Vivekananda's) Shishyas too have arrived at the conclusion that here was a
giant the likes of which had not been seen in a while. There is no one
goading you to believe that Sw. V was one. That is all that was said. You
can debate all you want whether or not he was one (expert) or not and you
wouldn't convince me. Similarly, I too have no desire of impressing upon you
how great he (Sw. V) was.

> > Instead, he attributed his fame to his
> > Guru and his knoweldge to the knowledge in our ancient scriptures.
> >
>The same ones which were dead and gone?  If the quote presented was
>incorrect, I take back everything i've said.  If it is true then it
>deserves to be criticised.

Yes he did say that. And what you are indulging in is text-torturing
yourself. Instead of taking an exhortation to become tall confident men
(which is what is meant by saying that you should rise and endeavour to be
Rshis), why should you consider that he is *dismissing* what the Rshis have
said or preached ? Where there are words, there would be interpretations
galore (Brahma Sutra for example). Our endeavour should be to concern
ourselves with the message and not how the words are structured. I know that
structure of words is important but sometimes a sentence or two here or
there does not give an adequate picture. Maybe what Devendra has percieved
is erroneous in your point of view as far as the Rshi statement is
concerned. However, the inadequacies of the reader should not be propagated
back up to the very source. If so, we can sit in judgement over Adi Sankara
himself, going by what some of the "pseudo-advaitins" say!

> > He came and his fame spread. That is beyond doubt. He appealed not to
> > experts of philosophy, but rather to a slave and moribund nation crying
> > for the release of its ancient spirit.
>The only slave and moribund nation was the colonial babu class and they
>sold themselves into slavery so they don't deserve a lot of sympathy from

Who is this us ? One who doesn't have a clue about India ? One who only goes
there for family visists? Sorry to make this personal but you just want to
swipe your hand and fell everything on the table. Verily it must have been
the colonial babu class that rose up to the chant of Vande Mataram. The same
class whose soul was stirred by the writings of Tilak and Aurobindo. Surely
the simpleton village folks had nothing to do with the struggle for
independence. The same simpletons who rose against the Brits in 1857 and
those simpletons who died by the millions in the famine of Bengal. Surely
they were not crying out for release! Why do you bother to comment on things
that you just don't understand?

> >  He appealed to the common man,
> > telling him about the greatness of his culture and religion. A thousand
> > years of slavery dented our spirits. In him, India saw something to
> > celebrate about.
> >
>The common man never gave (and doesn't give) a damn about foreigners and
>what they thought.  The common man didn't need rescuing, a tiny
>westernized elite did.

The previous paragraph should apply here too.

> >
> > Jaladhar, RK Mission is not a cult that seeks to increase its numbers.
> > are still welded to the idea of service as Swami Vivekananda has
> > We hear all about Christian missionaries setting up schools and
>hospitals in
> > remote parts of India but never hear of other "Hindu" organisations that
> > doing stellar work.
> >
>Then perhaps we are not listening very hard?  In Gujarat, the Akshar
>Purushottam Swaminarayana Sanstha, one of the leading Vaishnava sects is
>at the forefront of drought relief, medical care, etc..  They help
>thousands of people without compromising the least bit in strict obsevence
>of Dharma.  They know Naraseva is a complement to Narayanaseva not a
>replacement for it.  That's why I regularly donate to their campaigns even
>though I don't believe in all aspects of their religion.  On the other
>hand, the RK mission don't appear to be doing anything.  But I'll take
>your word for it.  If they are doing good things for people then they
>deserve that much praise but let's keep things in proportion shall we?

Thanks for taking me at my word. But exactly what made you reach the
conclusion that RK Mission is not doing anything ? What is this thing about
proportion that you talk of? Surely you are not saying that it is my
contention that RK Mission is the No. 1 relief organisation. All I said, in
fact, is that one only gets to hear about Chrtistian organisations doing
relief work in India. The Hindu orgs like APSS, RK Mission, VKA, VYK are
never even mentioned.

Have you read Swami Vivekanand's biography? May I suggest it to you so you
can clear some of your own doubts about him. And I can assure you that it is
not propaganda.


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