Monday, January 16, 2017

278 How could Swami Vivekananda, a person with photographic memory, grasp, intellect, brilliance score so low as 46, 47, 56 in his FA (B.A.)?

Triggers for this particular blog post: 1. Swami Vivekananda Birth day 12th Jan. 2017. 2. News reports about Swami Vivekananda scoring low marks in his Intermediate and B.A. Title: "Do you know Swami Vivekananda scored 46 per cent in English". Click to go to and study the news. This news has also appeared in Indian Express, Deccan Chronicle, ND TV, Economic Times etc. It is based on PTI inputs. 3. A new book titled "The Modern Monk: What Vivekananda Means to Us Today", by author Mr. Hindol Sengupta. A Penguin publication. The book is available for purchase @ Rs. 279 for paperback, and Rs. 399 regular. Link to buy:Click to go to and buy. Note: I have myself not purchased the book, or read the book. By giving this link, I do not get any commission or incentive. Shri Hindol Sengupta, is also author of another book titled "Being a Hindu", also available with the Amazon. The introduction to the book, as per

He loved French cookbooks, invented a new way of making khichdi, was interested in the engineering behind ship-building and the technology that makes ammunition. More than 100 years after his death, do we really know or understand the bewildering, fascinating, complex man Swami Vivekananda was? Vivekananda is one of the most important figures in the modern imagination of India. He is also an utterly modern man, consistently challenging his own views and embracing diverse, even conflicting arguments. It is his modernity that appeals to us today. He is unlike any monk we have known. He is confined neither by history nor by ritual and is constantly questioning everything around him, including himself. It is in Vivekananda’s contradictions, his doubts, his fears and his failings that he recognize his profoundly compelling divinity—he teaches us that to try and understand God, first one must truly comprehend one’s own self. This book is an argument that it is not just because he is close to God but also because he is so tantalizingly immersed in being human that keeps us returning to Vivekananda and his immortal wisdom.

This book was launched on 10th Jan. 2017, at Nehru Memorial Museum, New Delhi, in the presence of Swami Shantatmananda, President, Ramakrishna Mission, Delhi, Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, New Delhi, Shri Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, Prof. Y.S. Rao, Chairman, ICHR, Ddr. Kapil Kapoor- Eminent Indic Scholar, Smt. Tulsi Badrinath- Vivekananda Scholar, and Swami Samarpananda- Best Selling Author and Vivekananda Scholar.

Before going further with the news, we shall have some quotes from the book of Shri Hindol SenGupta:-

"...Born in the family of a rich lawyer, he was able to get pretty much the best available education ? including studying at the famed Metropolitan Institution school in Calcutta. This was perhaps why he spoke and wrote English with the fluency of the British ..."

"...For a man whose erudition and English language skills were impressive enough to captivate thousands, not least the Americans at the Parliament of Religions and afterwards, his marks were dismal. ..."

"...He took three university examinations - the entrance examination, the First Arts Standard (FA, which later became Intermediate Arts or IA) and the Bachelor of Arts (BA). His scores in the English language were 47 per cent at the entrance level, 46 per cent in FA and 56 per cent in BA..."

"...His marks in other subjects like mathematics and Sanskrit were also average. ..."

"...It is Vivekanandas modernity that appeals to us today. He is unlike any monk we have known. He is confined neither by history nor by ritual, and is constantly questioning everything around him, including himself. ..."

ybrao-a-donkey's personal perceptions & views, which are not intended to be imposed on others:-

I am a layman, trying to learn things from this strange world. I may falter. My readers can always correct me.


1. According to his devotees, Swami Vivekananda had photographic memory, extra-orinary super-human brilliance, super-natural grasp an intellect. He could read and comprehend a book, just by seeing it. His biograhies (hagiographies?) quote instances of his returning books to the librarians on the same day, and answering the bewildered librarians who asked him questions about the contents of the books he took. According to his biographies, he has mastered Encyclopaedia Britannica, and answered questions from it instantaneously. Such a genius, how could he score, such a low marks as 46, 47 and 56, in Intermediate and B.A.? Okay, English is a foreign language. Mathematics is a complex subject. How could he score so low in Sanskrit?

2. Everybody knows that probably worldwide, examinations are memory-centred, memory-oriented. Even if we cannot accept this 'global' nature of examination, as far as examinations of India are concerned, most of us view, that they are memory-centered. It is common in Indian Educational Institutions to make students memorise by rote. In my mother-tongue- Telugu language, it is called 'baTTi', 'bhaTTi', may be a reference to a lime-kiln or something. Corporate Colleges, and Tutorial Colleges in India have minted millions, by making Intermediate Students to study through rote for Medical Entrances, Engineering Entrances, I.I.T. Entrances, M.B.A. Entrance Examinations. Everybody knows that Examinations mean ABILITY TO REPEAT, WHAT IS GIVEN IN BOOKS, WITHOUT SEEING THEM. Or else, there would have been examinations, WITH BOOKS (now with cellphones, internet etc.).

There is also a dubbed Tamil to Telugu film by name 'Sarvar Sundaram' in which its Hero Late Nagesh repeats his rote of Androcles and Lion story "Long long ago,so long ago, how long ago, no one can say, there lived a slave called Androcles...", (or similar lines as far as my poor memory goes.

Question: You seem to be a pessimistic cynic and a dirty fellow. You might have failed in YOUR exams. or scored low. You want to throw your blame on Great persons like Swami Vivekananda?

Ans: I do not claim any photographic memory. Nor did I make librarians to wonder. Nor did I master Encyclopaedia Britannica. Unfortunately, I have not studied in any Day College. All my education is either in Evening Colleges or through Distance Education, that too while working in a Bank or after retirement. In India, our Private Sector Corporate Employers, and even some Govt. Organisations look down upon Evening College Graduates, and Distance Education Students. This bias is a different subject. But, my own personal experience with examinations, is "mixed". That means, there are occasions, when II scored an All-India rank, or a gold-medal. Or sometimes, I scored only 43%. For example, I could not cross the 55% barrier in M.A. English, despite trying twice. I may try again, if I live longer.

Questions: What will you say about the oratorial powers of Swami Vivekananda, which made the Heads of the Chicago Parliament of Religions 1893, gape with wonder and applause?

The audio file in circulation, as the Speech rendered by Swami Vivekananda, at the Chicago Parliament of Religions 1893 may not be the original recording. Swami Vivekananda, prepared and made a fresh speech to a gramophone Company, when he entered into a contract with an American Speech Promotion Company for Stage Performances, in return for Dollars. I have tried to obtain/trace a text of the original speech given by Swami Vivekananda at the 1893 Chicago Parliament of Religions. I am not successful. It appears that they have not preserved it. My readers can try to get it from the Official successors to the Parliament of Religions. Govt. of India can also try. What a present web site of a Parliament of Religions seem to hold on their website, is the text and audio files they received from the Indian Monasteries of Swami Vivekananda. These papers / files the present website of Parliament of Religions might have collected in 1993 on the occasion of their own Centenary, or the Centenary of Swami Vivekananda.

Question: What might have happened for the original speech text/recording of Swami Vivekananda?

ans: Dozens of persons were sitting on the dais of the Parliament. Dozens of persons spoke. Among them Swami Vivekananda was one . He might have made a great speech. But, the organisers cannot foresee that a great speech was going to be made, and ever-readily switch on the gramophone recorder to record it. At that time, he was not a VIP on the stage. For the same reason, they might not have employed English shorthand writers to get a verbatim text of a speech delivered by a representative from a black and un-independent serf-colony country like India. Besides, on the stage there were many other representatives from India, like Chakravarty, Mazoomdar (Brahmo Samaj), Narasimhachari (Shri Vaishnavism), Virchand Gandhi (Jainism), Lakshmi Narayan (kAyastha representative), Dharmapada (Buddhism) et al. It should, therefore, be inconceivable that the Organisers of 1893 Chicago Parliament of Religions got audio-recorded / English shorthand taken-down by stenographers, only for the first speech of Swami Vivekananda, excluding others from India. It is a different thing that they might have made some gramophone recordings/stenographic recordings of their own American/European Christian Speakers, compulsorily, ever-readily. At that particular moment Swami Vivekananda was not a celebrity, to make organisers to arrange recording, unless Swami Vivekananda himself has pre-arranged at his own expense, using private audio-recorders to record his speech LIVE.

The relations between Rev. Barrows, the Second-top organiser of the 1893 Chicago Congress of Religions, and Swami Vivekananda were very cordial initially. It appears that Rev. Barrows wanted to use Vivekananda (and of course Mazoomdar) as a tool for spreading Christianity in India. Hence, they seem to have encouraged Swami Vivekananda, in the early days of Swamiji's stay in U.S.A., by giving him prominence and publicity. Later, the relations seem to have strained, because Vivekananda tried to earn Dollars by contracting with Speech Promotion Companies, later by making independent speech ventures with the help of American rich-aristocratic women, while at the same time trying to maintain cordial relations with Rev. Barrows.

For this reason only, Vivekananda apparently advised his disciples in India, to welcome Rev. Barrows when he visited India. Unfortunately, this visit of Rev. Barrows resulted in souring of relations between Vivekananda, probably because Rev. Barrows used the visit to spread Christianity and convert Indians. Finally, Rev. Barrows, called Vivekananda a 'bubble'. According to Vivekananda, Christian Missionaries, and Mazoomdar, out of their jealousy tried to tarnish image by spreading false stories. It is difficult to say who is right or wrong.

In those days, telecommunications were poor. There was no airmail. Letters exchanged through Sea Mail take some months to reach. The Indians who sent Swami Vivekananda to United States, particularly the South Indians from Chennai, had great expectations from him. Raja of Khetri, Raja of Ramnad (Tamil Nadu), Alasinga (Chennai) et al. bore his expenses. Hence, they expected "success" letters from him, of the following type. Swami Vivekananda wrote from Chicago to Alasinga, on 2nd Nov. 1893:-

"... From that day I became 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 packing every place — filling every corner, they patiently waited and waited while the papers that separated them from Vivekananda were read", etc. 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 I 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", etc., etc. Sufficient for you to know that never before did an Oriental make such an impression on American society. ..."

The ORATORIAL SUCCESS STORIES of Swami Vivekananda were profusely fed to his disciples, by Swami Vivekananda himself, who did it with gusto, obtaining the help of Speech Promotion Companies, who arranged Media Publicity for him. Aristocratic Elite American Women, who were elated by the praises which Vivekananda showered on them, also helped him in getting accommodation, money, publicity, and new disciples.


We should not ENLARGE A PERSON LARGER THAN LIFE SIZE, simply because we blindly love him. Similarly, we should not BELITTLE A PERSON, simply because we hate him. Every action, analysis and deduction, should be supported by reason.

To continue. सशेष. ఇంకా ఉంది.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

277 Replies to comments of Shri Nilanjana

This is in continuation of our blogpost No. 239 Click here to go to post No. 239 at this blog . Our present blog post is in reply to comment dated 28th May 2016, made by Shri Nilanjana at blog post No. 239. Shri Nilanjana commented as under:--

Nilanjana said...

"... Your article is wrong on so many levels there is no point argueing with you. I just want to tell one thing.... one does not need to drink/ eat beef/ smoke to have fun. A lot of us Indians do not do either of these three and I can assure we are a hell lot happier than you are. Thank you.

May 28, 2016 at 9:40 PM


My dear friend: Pl. do not misunderstand me. Whatever we are arguing about is, to find out truth. I shall take it as my sacred duty to answer all your questions. Kindly do not think that there is no point in arguing with me.

Your sentence: I just want to tell one thing.... one does not need to drink/ eat beef/ smoke to have fun. A lot of us Indians do not do either of these three and I can assure we are a hell lot happier than you are.

You and I may not drink / eat beef / smoke to have fun. But at least 80% of Indians are non-vegetarians. They are consuming less non-vegetarian foods, NOT because they want to abstain from themselves, but BECAUSE they cannot afford to buy them daily. 80% of Indian males consume alcohol. Of course all of them may not be addicts, and some of them may be doing it for fun or to relax themselves after a day's hard work. They do not have ample money to buy alcohol. Else, Indians would have bought all the alcohol produced in this world (Already Global Multi Nationals have started dumping alcohol into India. One MNC purchased controlling share in Vijay Mallyas Breweries. Every foreign Company wants to produce and sell liquors in India).

In the 19th Century England forced its colony China to buy more opium, when they started to wean themselves away from the habit, and Opium Wars were held to compel Chinese people to revert to Opium. A day will come, when Euro-American Multi Nationals will also bring great pressure on Indian Government, (if necessary wage war) to compel Indians drink more and more alcohol (French Wines, Scotch Whiskies, Ales, Rum, VOdkas etc.). Increasing pub culture in INdia is the proof.

About fun from tobacco: You may be fully aware that Indians have already become slaves of tobacco, both chewing and smoking, notwithstanding warnings on packing, and stiff excise duties levied. Thus, you will see that there is lot of fun for and in India, in the next few decades, which I may not live to see because of my old age, but you will see.


It was raised at our blog on 18th Jan. 2008, by one Shri Somdatta Bhattacharya, at our blog post No. 131 Click here if you wish to go to post No. 131 at this blog . I shall quote his comment at 131, here:

Shri Somdatta Bhattacharya said... on Jan. 18, 2008:
Dear multisubj yb,

Thanks a lot for pointing out this letter of Swamiji. Now we can be certain that he was a normal human being after all and not the heartless monster that some people make him out to be. Don't you think after all he did for the benefit of mankind that he was entitled to his share of fun? And mind you, despite all this he lost none of his powers, for it was possibly around the same time that he demonstrated the incredible feat of memorizing the first 11 volumes of the Britannica. So go on digging up all the sleaze, its only going to add to his glory, for how many people do you find accomplishing such tremendous feats without forsaking their sense of fun? Yeah, he had taken the vows of a Sanyasin and that you are going to say precluded him from such indulgements, but for me, after what he had done, Swamiji had transcended those vows, for he had achieved whatever those vows are meant for. So keep up the good work.

ybrao-a-donkey's humble comments. वैबीराव एक गधे के विनम्र राय . వైబీరావ్ గాడిద వినమ్ర వాణి. You have every right to differ with me. I respect your right. आपको मेरे मत से भिन्न राय रखने के संपूर्ण हक है। मै उस अधिकार को परिपूर्ण रूप से गौरव देता हुँ. మీకు, మీ భిన్నమైన అభిప్రాయాన్ని కలిగిఉండే సంపూర్ణ హక్కు ఉంది. దానిని ఎంతో నేను గౌరవిస్తాను. However, pl. examine this donkey's views also. परन्तु एस गधे के दृष्टिकोण को भी अनुशीलन कीजिये. కానీ ఈ గాడిద దృష్టికోణాన్ని కూడ ఓర చూపుతో కంటజూడుమీ, క్రీగంట జూడమీ.

India is a country of hero-worship and idol-worship (raising statues as high as 500 ft.). Before we raise statues, build temples for the Heroes, won't we have a duty to exercise minimum diligence to verify facts?

What I am more shocked to find that the entire Indian Nation of 1300 million has not bothered to verify facts about what Swamiji has done in United States, and whether he has really uplifted the Nation or not? Presidents, Prime Ministers, University Vice Chancellors, I.A.S.-I.P.S. Officials, Judges. Hundreds of Crores have been spent on building memorials for him. $1.5 million have been donated to Chicago University to establish a Chair to research on Swami Vivekananda's Works. I do not know what they have done.

Recently one IPS Officer of Additional DGP rank has taken for himself as one of his life's ambitions to produce hundreds of Vivekanandas from Indian Youth (while on service or after retirement or either, not clear). In one of his lectures, the IPS Officer advised Indian youth to stay away from tobacco, alcohol. He has also ridiculed Indian youth standing near wineshops (probably to taste wine). I do not know, why that I.P.S. Officer has taken Swami Vivekananda as a role model for Indian Youth when Swamiji himself was addicted to cigars, and was not averse to alcohol.

I expected I.P.S. Officers, particularly those who work in CBI, to be more deep-studying to unravel hitherto unknown things. I have no right to claim that the particular IPS Officer who wanted to produce Vivekanandas from youth(s), has not read Swami Vivekananda's Complete Works thoroughly, before deciding to produce modern Vivekananda's on a larger scale. I wish that he reads the Epistles again.

I appeal to all the admirers / fans / devotees of Swami Vivekananda, to study his Epistles, his Life thoroughly. Preachings, anybody can make. But what is more important is: There should not be conflicts between preachings and practice. Since he claimed to represent Hinduism (later for sometime he denied it saying that he does not belong to Hindus alone), there is an expectation that he will adhere to the tenets of Hindu Monks and Hindu Vedanta. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Instead, he seemed to be confused when he reached his last days. For that reason only, he boasted in sacrificing a goat in Durga Pooja, and in lighting fireworks, instead of concentrating his mind on the advaita philosophy which he claimed to have preached abroad.

Last but not least: Hinduism is not a proseylitizing religion. There is no need to spread it abroad. If any citizen(s) of any country care to undertake a comparative study of the major religions of the World, particularly Christianity, Islam and Hindu Theories (Hinduism is not a Religion), and if they find that Hindu Culture and Hindu style of living has some merits over the Semitic Religions, and if they want to adopt the life style of a Hindu samsAri (householder) or a Hindu sanyAsi (monk), we can help them in their endeavours, without converting them. We can tell them frankly that there is no need for them to convert.

I welcome more specific questions. I shall try to answer with proof.

Subject to corrections and deletions. A lot more is to be added. To continue. सशेष. ఇంకా ఉంది.