Thursday, February 10, 2011
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Not even with a pair of tongs
Facing the brute
More than just a rebuttal
Hijacked by the Freudians
The homoerotic hypothesis
Three M's and an S
No demonizing, please—we're Vedantists
A landmark in Ramakrishna scholarship
Saturday, November 27, 2010
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 7/Inspired Talks/Sunday, June 30
From Mrs. Alice Hansbrough's reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda's conversation with Miss Bell at Camp Taylor, California, in May 1900:
MISS BELL: This world is an old schoolhouse where we come to learn our lessons.
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: Who told you that? [Miss Bell could not remember.] Well, I don't think so. I think this world is a circus ring in which we are the clowns tumbling.
MISS BELL: Why do we tumble, Swami?
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: Because we like to tumble. When we get tired, we will quit.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Swami Vivekananda on Guru Nanak and Guru Govind Singh
This [Punjab] is the land which, after all its sufferings, has not yet entirely lost its glory and its strength. Here it was that in later times the gentle Nanak preached his marvellous love for the world. Here it was that his broad heart was opened and his arms outstretched to embrace the whole world, not only of Hindus, but of Mohammedans too. Here it was that one of the last and one of the most glorious heroes of our race, Guru Govinda Singh, after shedding his blood and that of his dearest and nearest for the cause of religion, even when deserted by those for whom this blood was shed, retired into the South to die like a wounded lion struck to the heart, without a word against his country, without a single word of murmur. [Complete Works, 3.366]
Guru Nanak was like that, you know, looking for the one disciple to whom he would give his power. And he passed over all his own family—his children were as nothing to him—till he came upon the boy to whom he gave it; and then he could die. [Complete Works 8.264]
There was a great prophet in India, Guru Nânak, born [some] four hundred years ago. Some of you have heard of the Sikhs—the fighting people. Guru Nanak was [the founder and also] a follower of the Sikh religion.
One day he went to the Mohammedans' mosque. These Mohammedans are feared in their own country, just as in a Christian country no one dare say anything against their religion. . . . So Guru Nanak went in and there was a big mosque, and the Mohammedans were standing in prayer. They stand in lines: they kneel down, stand up, and repeat certain words at the same times, and one fellow leads. So Guru Nanak went there. And when the mullah was saying "In the name of the most merciful and kind God, Teacher of all teachers", Guru Nanak began to smile. He says, "Look at that hypocrite". The mullah got into a passion. "Why do you smile?"
"Because you are not praying, my friend. That is why I am smiling."
"Certainly not. There is no prayer in you."
The mullah was very angry, and he went and laid a complaint before a magistrate and said, "This heathen rascal dares to come to our mosque and smiles at us when we are praying. The only punishment is instant death. Kill him".
Guru Nanak was brought before the magistrate and asked why he smiled.
"Because he was not praying."
"What was he doing?" the magistrate asked.
"I will tell you what he was doing if you will bring him before me."
The magistrate ordered the mullah to be brought. And when he came, the magistrate said, "Here is the mullah. [Now] explain why you laughed when he was praying".
Guru Nanak said, "Give the mullah a piece of the Koran [to swear on]. [In the mosque] when he was saying 'Allah, Allah', he was thinking of some chicken he had left at home".
The poor mullah was confounded. He was a little more sincere than the others, and he confessed he was thinking of the chicken, and so they let the Sikh go. "And", said the magistrate [to the mullah], "don't go to the mosque again. It is better not to go at all than to commit blasphemy there and hypocrisy. Do not go when you do not feel like praying. Do not be like a hypocrite, and do not think of the chicken and say the name of the Most Merciful and Blissful God". [Complete Works 9.233]
Guru Govind Singh
One great prophet, however, arose in the north, Govind Singh, the last Guru of the Sikhs, with creative genius; and the result of his spiritual work was followed by the well - known political organisation of the Sikhs. We have seen throughout the history of India, a spiritual upheaval is almost always succeeded by a political unity extending over more or less area of the continent, which in its turn helps to strengthen the spiritual aspiration that brings it to being. [CW, 6.66]
Then and then alone you are a Hindu when you will be ready to bear everything for them, like the great example I have quoted at the beginning of this lecture, of your great Guru Govind Singh. Driven out from this country, fighting against its oppressors, after having shed his own blood for the defence of the Hindu religion, after having seen his children killed on the battlefield—ay, this example of the great Guru, left even by those for whose sake he was shedding his blood and the blood of his own nearest and dearest—he, the wounded lion, retired from the field calmly to die in the South, but not a word of curse escaped his lips against those who had ungratefully forsaken him! Mark me, every one of you will have to be a Govind Singh, if you want to do good to your country. You may see thousands of defects in your countrymen, but mark their Hindu blood. They are the first Gods you will have to worship even if they do everything to hurt you, even if everyone of them send out a curse to you, you send out to them words of love. If they drive you out, retire to die in silence like that mighty lion, Govind Singh. Such a man is worthy of the name of Hindu; such an ideal ought to be before us always. All our hatchets let us bury; send out this grand current of love all round. [Complete Works, 3.379]
While walking to and fro, Swamiji took up the story of Guru Govind Singh and with his great eloquence touched upon the various points in his life—how the revival of the Sikh sect was brought about by his great renunciation, austerities, fortitude, and life - consecrating labours—how by his initiation he re-Hinduised Mohammedan converts and took them back into the Sikh community—and how on the banks of the Narmada he brought his wonderful life to a close. Speaking of the great power that used to be infused in those days into the initiates of Guru Govind, Swamiji recited a popular doha (couplet) of the Sikhs:
sava lakh ka ek chadauo
jab guru gobinda naam sunuo
The meaning is: 'When Guru Govind gives the Name, i.e. the initiation, a single man becomes strong enough to triumph over a lakh and a quarter of his foes." Each disciple, deriving from his inspiration a real spiritual devotion, had his soul filled with such wonderful heroism! While holding forth thus on the glories of religion, Swamiji's eyes dilating with enthusiasm seemed to be emitting fire, and his hearers, dumb - stricken and looking at his face, kept watching the wonderful sight.
After a while the disciple said: 'Sir, it was very remarkable that Guru Govind could unite both Hindus and Mussulmans within the fold of his religion and lead them both towards the same end. In Indian history, no other example of this can be found."
Swamiji: Men can never be united unless there is a bond of common interest. You can never unite people merely by getting up meetings, societies, and lectures if their interests be not one and the same. Guru Govind made it understood everywhere that the men of his age, be they Hindus or Mussulmans, were living under a regime of profound injustice and oppression. He did not create any common interest, he only pointed it out to the masses. And so both Hindus and Mussulmans followed him. He was a great worshipper of Shakti. Yet, in Indian history, such an example is indeed very rare. [Complete Works 6.515]
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it
should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and
quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. -- Peter 3:3-4