Swami Vivekananda on Conversions

Brief quote from a biography of Swami Vivekananda.

There were on the boat, among other passengers, two Christian missionaries who, in the course of a heated discussion with the Swami, lost their tempers and savagely criticized the Hindu religion. The Swami walked to one of them, seized him by the collar, and said menacingly, ‘If you abuse my religion again, I will throw you overboard.’

‘Let me go, sir,’ the frightened missionary apologized; ‘I’ll never do it again.’

Later, in the course of a conversation with a disciple in Calcutta, he asked, ‘What would you do if someone insulted your mother?’ The disciple answered, ‘I would fall upon him, sir, and teach him a good lesson.’

‘Bravo!’ said the Swami. ‘Now, if you had the same positive feeling for your religion, your true mother, you could never see any Hindu brother converted to Christianity. Yet you see this occurring every day, and you are quite indifferent. Where is your faith? Where is your patriotism? Every day Christian missionaries abuse Hinduism to your face, and yet how many are there amongst you whose blood boils with righteous indignation and who will stand up in its defense?’

Swami Vivekananda’s love for Bharath and its people should not be under dispute from any patriotic person regardless of current religious affiliation. It would serve us well to think why he thought conversions were bad and how he advocated holding our faith.

Read the biography. Perhaps our dormant faith and energy would wake up.

Sri Aurobindo Speaks of Scriptures actually Relevant for Future

Sri Aurobindo speaks about which religion, philosophy will be relevant, survive and actually help the spiritual path.

Only those Scriptures, religions, philosophies which can be thus constantly renewed, relived, their stuff of permanent truth constantly reshaped and developed in the inner thought and spiritual experience of a developing humanity, continue to be of living importance to mankind. The rest remain as monuments of the past, but have no actual force or vital impulse for the future.

The recent episode where priests refused entry to a so-called low-caste in Orissa. I f**cking rage in fury when I hear the term low-caste. What the f**k is low caste anyway?! Don’t the idiotic priests in Orissa know “Sarvam Kalvidham Brahmam”, “All that exists is the Divine”? Every thing, every damn thing is the Divine..to discriminate against fellow men in the name of caste is effin horrible. Of course, I don’t want you to let the marauding barbarian who wants your wealth, land and women inside your house. Discriminate men on the basis of their intent and deal with them, but bloody caste..destroy that crap.

Hinduism is said to live in its traditions and some would argue that this untouchability thing is a tradition. But honestly how many of thousands understand what a tradition is? How many have realized any truths within themselves? Traditions handed down by posterity is immediately treated with veneration..without once questioning what the truth is, whether the truth has come to us undiluted, or whether we actually realized the truth of a tradition ourselves. Bottom line test and know for yourself before accepting a tradition.

Of course Hinduism is infinitely better than other major religious systems, you know which, because it enables an infinite variety of form and practice. But for a few hundred years, the so called upper caste priests have lost the plot. A Brahmin was supposed to be a man of knowledge, a knower of Brahman. We all know the majority are no longer knowers of Brahman. Which means they cannot be arbiters of tradition, as in the Orissa temple case, nor should we give them the veneration deserving to a knower of Brahman. Conversely we should also not pour spite on them as the Christian Missionaries, Marxists and Pseudo-Atheists like the Tamil Nadu, India based politicians do.

Sorry, back to tradition. Some people talk of tradition as if it has been forever. But that is not the case, every tradition..the most hallowed and mundane tradition had been seen within by a Seer/Rishi and shared with common people. Remember, every damned tradition was founded that way. What mattered was the spiritual realization of the person who founded the tradition. Remember no committee sat and discussed what followers will read from then on, no council of descendants argued stuff..just one guy had the realization and shared with followers. If it worked for the followers, the tradition got handed down or else it died naturally. Nothing could be more beautiful or ideal than this arrangement. But we have not had major realized souls like Swami Vivekananda or Chaitanya or Meera lately to drive home truths with the force of their realizations. Now we have media savvy folks, semi-realized folks and so on. Infinitely better than the Abrahamic systems of course, but not good enough for Hinduism.

So what am I getting at? Nothing, just that spiritual realization alone matters. Tradition if it helps us get there sooner then fine, else create a new tradition. We Hindus are not fanatics, we have no perverse need to convert people compulsively like the missionaries do to barely known spiritual truths. Or to enforce semi-moral strictures with the sword. We are descendants of Rishi Vishwamitra, Vyasa, Valmiki and the numberless realized souls of Sanatana Dharma. Let us live and act that way. Hare Krishna!

How do I learn more about Hinduism?

Temple in Angkor Vat

That was the question asked by someone few days back. “Aspire”, was my response. For that is the key element, without which the Shastra[1. Veda, Upanishads etc] and Guru will be in vain with regard to understanding Hinduism and living its tenets meaningfully.

Aspiration is a subtle seeking, not the hankering of crude ambition, but a prayerful poise. The pride of external accomplishment left behind, we unmoor our little selves from familiar shores.

It is fine that we have nothing yet, not even a Guru. What matters is that in the depths of our being the gong has been struck and the time has arrived for the journey to begin.

Based on the intensity of this seeking, external events will be moved with an infinite precision by the all pervading Divine.

The stranger who guides you away from harm, the scrap of paper that latches onto your leg that magically clarifies your pressing doubt, a song of aspiration you hear when half-asleep and flying over a foreign ocean, the priest-less nameless temple in which you shudder in awe at an unexplained presence, the beggar at the traffic signal who provides an opportunity to practice generosity, the almost bare farmer sheltering his child from rain on a remote highway, the laborer who watches his toddler though slaving in sweltering heat..everything, everything becomes a book that you can and should learn from.

The Shastra and Guru will arrive when necessary, but know it is enough to depend on the Purushottama[2. The Divine, Perfect Being, Brahman] within.

For when not constrained by your personal preferences of institution, form and method, the Divine is perfectly free to engineer serendipity. And there is nothing more pleasing to Sri Krishna than a soul that not only “knows” of his omniscience but also acts with perfect obedience and strength upon the knowledge of that omniscience.

Yet, do not trust every stranger and charlatan who comes your way. Judge what you see, then think and decide. The one who carries the Divine light within carries it in silence. Many would tout their exclusive truths, ride rough with the strength of their swords or haggle for the allegiance of your soul. About these we shall not concern ourselves now.

Once you have begun to aspire, as Swami Vivekananda says and I paraphrase, “The quest for God is like canker, whether in this life time or next it is sure to lead you to the Divine”.

This and this alone makes one a Hindu, everything else is mere preparation and not the actual understanding or living the tenets of Hinduism.

Trey Ratcliff via Compfight