Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Shri nvineeth said...

Well, dont mistake me, I cannot tolerate anyone raising doubts about truthfulness swami vivekananda, and my reply was only in the heat of the moment, BTW, I feel if you take a broadband connection you can incur below 1K per month. If you dont have a computer, you can easily buy a good lenovo laptop with the savings (assuming you are spending 12K per month now) in 4-5 months.

December 4, 2007 9:43 AM.


Well friend: If you do not tolerate, you will go gradually drift into the way of the Islamic fanatics who will issue fatwas to behead people. I want to save my head. Even Taslima Nasreen had to save her head by deleting some portions from her book. I hope you will not misunderstand me. You can see what is happening to Taslima Nasreen.

It is not the question of tolerating or not tolerating. Will a piece of writing serve the purpose of truth? The real ultimate test is truth. When somebody says something or writes something, readers/listeners have to test it, on the touchstone of truth. Sometimes, the truth may be "unpalatable". There is a Sanskrit proverb. "Priyam bruuyaat, satyam bruuyaat. Na bruuyaat satyam apriyam". This holds good in case of revealing sad news like death of close persons etc. If the sad news is revealed suddenly, the listener may get shocked and die. The Sanskrit proverb might have had its genesis among scholars serving in kings' courts. If a scholar tells an unpleasant truth before a king, the scholar will lose his head. Hence the scholars of the past hid unpleasant truths before kings and wealthy persons or twisted facts to present them in less unpleasant ways. While operating on Net, now we have no such needs, except to the extend the courtesy, civility and etiquette needs. Besides, when we deal with issues of a whole Nation going "gaga" about what a Swamiji said, without going deeply into facts, the person who reads them thoroughly has a duty to bring them to the notice of the Nation, though he will get brickbats in return.

The second important thing about what a person says/writes on public platform, its real test apart from its being true/false, lies in its being put into practice. They are not intended to be for practice for others only.

The third important thing is: a product must generally correspond to its label and description. For a example, if a person says that he is an "Advaita Vedanta monk", his behavior must correspond to that of a standard "Advaita Vedanta monk". Not just by dress. However, if he finds that days are difficult to go by to practise as per the label, the doors are open to him to return to become a householder openly and freely do whatever a householder does. Or alternatively, he can call for reforms. This conformity should not only be in external rituals like turban, ochre robes, dandi (stick) but also of "manasaa, vaacaa, karman`aa" called "trikaran`a suddhi".)

The problem with the story of Swami Vivekananda is, the whole Nation has been fed with his preachings and glories, while his biographers ignored his frailties. There is nothing wrong in praising his personality and work, but then they cannot ignore key issues.

Here is a link to study the extent to which biographers can reach in praising the person of their subject matter:

Some of these great qualities may be true and some others may be exaggerated. For deciding that we can use Vivekananda's own words:

"... From an early age this remarkable youth had no patience with fear or superstition. One of his boyish pranks had been to climb a flowering tree belonging to a neighbour, pluck the flowers, and do other mischief. The owner of the tree, finding his remonstrances unheeded, once solemnly told Naren's friends that the tree was guarded by a white-robed ghost who would certainly wring their necks if they disturbed his peace. The boys were frightened and kept away. But Narendra persuaded them to follow him back, and he climbed the tree, enjoying his usual measure of fun, and broke some branches by way of further mischief. Turning to his friends, he then said: 'What asses you all are! See, my neck is still there. The old man's story is simply not true. Don't believe what others say unless you your-selves know it to be true. ..."

While the above biography mentioned so much about his greatness during childhood, it described the end in the following page:


It contained so much information about everything, but it did not say how many times or when he visited his biological mother (Vivekananda compared himself to Shankaracharya). There was only a mention that he took his mother to a pilgrimate to Dacca. Nothing else, particularly how she lived, whether Vivekananda attended to her needs by going to Calcutta/her village (not clear where she stayed), whether she suffered from any ailments, Whether any conversation took place between him and his biological mother and whether he gave any advice to her (or) she gave any advice to him on health or Ramayana or Maha Bharata. There were stories about his pet animals, his taking permission from the goat Hansi before milking it etc. (He does not take permission from goats before sacrificing them). But there is no mention about his writing to Ms. Christina Greenstidel about sacrificing a goat in Durga Puja. There were extensive quotations from letters addressed to Ms. Hale and Miss Macleod. But there is no mention about remitting $ 480 to Ms. Christina or inviting her to share shad fish. Though biographers are free to fill pages with any information of their choice, there is to be some difference between literary novels/mythological legends and life histories. In South India, we have a mythological tradition called "Hari katha/burra katha/Yaksha Gaanam" where the glories of Lord Vishnu are told using musical accompaniments. Biographies have to restrain from becoming Harikathas.

I have already given a link to Andamans - Portblain Cellular Prison where several Indians were confined in subhuman conditions for several years. Did anybody put a statue for them?

There were thousands of Congress workers who did a slave's work in prisons simply because they demanded freedom for their motherland. Some of them were LIKE BULLOCKS tied to oil rotary expellers and made to produce oil for 10 to 12 hours a day. They were made to cut stones. None of them yet made shouted about their own greatness to foreign women!

"... From Colombo in Ceylon, where I landed, to Ramnad, the nearly southernmost point of the Indian continent where I am just now as the guest of the Raja of Ramnad, my journey has been a huge procession — crowds of people, illuminations, addresses, etc., etc. A monument forty feet high is being built on the spot where I landed. The Raja of Ramnad has presented his address to "His most Holiness" in a huge casket of solid gold beautifully worked. Madras and Calcutta are on the tiptoe of expectation as if the whole nation is rising to honour me. ..."

(There were doubts about the fact of construction of the tower. There is a claim that it was destroyed by fishermen of Tamil Nadu. The tower would have appeared in revenue/panchayat/District records of Ramnathpur District at least for some years. No such thing. When a tower of 40 ft. is destroyed by fishermen, there would have been registered a police case. No records of such police case. Nobody knows about the fate of the gold casket.)

No prisoner (Neither the Andaman prisoners nor the Oil Expeller Bullock prisoners) complained of red patches on chest or dyspepsia just as Vivekananda did:

"... I have not yet found any real benefit from the magnetic healer, except a few red patches on my chest from scratching! ..."

"... The only difficulty is the dyspepsia, and that is the evil. For instance, I am all right in the morning and can walk miles, but in the evening it is impossible to walk after a meal — the gas — that depends entirely up on food, does it not? I ought to try the Battle Creek food. If I come to Detroit, there will be quiet and Battle Creek food for me. ..."

No prisoner begged foreign women for dollars just as Vivekananda did for his personal maintenance:

"...Well, now about me. You must persuade Harriet to give me a few dollars every month, and I will have some other friends do the same. If I succeed, I fly off to India. I am dead tired of the platform work for a living. It does not please me any more. ..."

"... Tell Mr. Woolley he got the sister but has not paid the brother yet. Moreover, it was the fat black queerly dressed apparition smoking in the parlour that frightened many a temptation away, and that was one of the causes which secured Harriet to Mr. Woolley; therefore, I want to be paid for my great share in the work etc., etc. Plead strong, will you? ..."

If you read the Complete Works of Vivekananda, ubiquitous on the Net, particularly his letters (publishers call them "Epistles", you will find that he has not done justice to Hinduism which he professed to represent, though he was representing the Raja of Ramnad, Raja of Khetri, and a few Citizens of Madras. He revolted against the Citizens of Madras when they asked him to return to India after a few months of the World Parliament of Religions.

"... As for me, mind you, I stand at nobody's dictation. I know my mission in life, and no chauvinism 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? ..."

"... On the whole, the Americans are a million times nobler than the Hindus, and I can work more good here than in the country of the ingrate and the heartless. ...". "... I have written to you about the phonograph. Now there is here an electric fan costing $20 and working beautifully. The battery works 100 hours and then can be replenished at any electric plant. Good-bye, I have had enough of the Hindus. ..."

BLOGGER'S VIEW (Why he was referring to a phonograph and electric fan? Does he want the ingrate and the heartless Madras Hindus to pay for them?)

When I first read his letters on the Net I was bewildered and flabbergasted, unable to digest their contents. In my early youth (15 - 25) I read a biography of Swami Vivekananda written by by Swami Chirantanananda, published by Ramakrishna Math, Madras, almost every alternate day and hence could not digest the contents of Epistles, particularly his letters addressed to Ms. Christina Greenstidel, in spite of the fact that many of such letters have been EXCISED (CENSORED) at many places.

I could not imagine a Hindu monk begging a foreign lady to send her photographs, and spending hours looking at them to find out whether she has become plump or not. I could not imagine a monk sending USD 480 towards her passage to India for travel by first class, asking her to spend "do as it pleases you" and expecting to have a "hot time in this old town".

" ... Herewith I send you four hundred and eighty dollars by cheque drawn on Thomas Cook & Son, Broadway, New York. ... Second-class passage across the Atlantic is all right, but the second class from Italy to Bombay is rather bad. There are always a few rough men and fast women. There is money enough for travelling first class all through, if you so like. . You will find many persons to receive you — and me too, most probably.. ... In case, however, things take another turn and you cannot come, no matter. Do with the money just as it pleases you ."

His sending some documents to her to countersign indicating that he wrote her name "miss",

"... Herewith [words excised] to countersign it and put it [words excised]. I am afraid I have made a mistake in writing Miss to your name. In that case you will have to sign also as Miss etc. ..."

gave me a great shock. This is especially shocking to me because he asked Brahmananda to minimise Bhogam to God and restrict it to only to "tulasi leaves" and water. This is shocking to me because he wrote to Mrs. Bull that he, his mother and brother would live with monthly income of Rs. 20/- in India.

"... Worship with water and Tulasi leaves alone, and let the allowance for His Bhoga (food offerings) be spent in offering food to the Living God who dwells in the persons of the poor ..."
(This is at a time when he was eating three times a day with his foreign guests at Almora and Darjeeling).

"... Write to Gangadhar that if he finds it difficult to get alms etc. there, he should feed himself by spending from his own pocket ...".

The greatest shock to me came when he invited foreign women to taste turtles and shad fish, his comparing Indian turtles and American turtles.

"... This is our best season for eating turtles, but they are all black. The green [ones] can only be found in America. Alas! I am prevented from the taste of meat. ... ".

"...How I wish you were here to taste our SHADS — one of the most delicate fish in the world. ... I would not take any supper tonight, as I ate rather heartily of the aforesaid shad! ... "

He called Indians and Hindus, "Jelly fish", "rotten corpse", "lazy rogues", "Hindu beggars", "grass eaters" etc.

" ... I have had two classes already — they will go on for four or five months and after that to India I go. But it is to Amerique — there where the heart is. I love the Yankee land. I like to see new things. I do not care a fig to loaf about old ruins and mope a life out about old histories and keep sighing about the ancients. I have too much vigour in my blood for that. In America is the place, the people, the opportunity for everything. I have become horribly radical. I am just going to India to see what I can do in that awful mass of conservative jelly-fish, ... "

But he reversed his slogan and said he would not vegetate in America.
"...If I cannot collect that — it is better to struggle and die for it than vegetate here in America. My mistakes have been great; ..."

"...India is a rotten corpse inside and outside. We shall revive it by the blessings of Shri Maharaj. ..."

"... Do not go about begging from the Hindu beggars. I 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 Ramakrishna Avataara ... "

"...India is full of lazy rogues, and curious, they never die of hunger, they always get something..."

He could not find at least one great woman in India:

"...India cannot yet produce great women, she must borrow them from other nations..."

How many Indian women he met / addressed to, to join his movement? Did any of them refuse? Could not he trace at least one great Indian woman like Jhansi Lakshmi Bai for her valor or Mira Bai for her devotion or the maid servant of Durga Das who saved the life of Jasvant Singh's son from Muslim invaders by offering her own son to them and carrying the Prince in a basket of sweets? If Vivekananda could not get great Indian women for his movement, how Gandhiji could get piles of jewellers including "Mangala Suutram" they wear in their neck, from the same women, for financing the freedom movement.?

He blamed his own hosts:
"...I remember your place at Reading, where I was fed with boiled cabbage and potatoes and boiled rice and boiled lentils, three times a day, with your wife's curses for sauce all the time ... Whosoever of you have given me a coat? Whosoever a cigar? Whosoever a bit of fish or flesh? ... "

"... It was the fault of the Vrooman brothers. Why should they take me to a low hotel? ..."

"... I seldom live in hotels, but am mostly the guest of big people here. ... "

". . Let him publish the account of my travels, and thoroughly advertise it beforehand — he will have subscribers rushing in. Do people like a magazine if three-fourths of it are filled with pious stuff?..."

These are some of the golden quotes of Swami Vivekananda which Indians have to place on the Internet along with his "udbodhans".

I am nearing the conclusion of these Vivekananda blogs. Maximum, I may have one or two further. At some places, I might have been two harsh on Vivekananda. One reason for it is, Vivekananda himself claimed that he was not a hypocrite and that he hated hypocrites. Vivekananda was a monk. He must conform to his label of a "Hindu Monk". His departures from some customs and practices of monks is understandable in an alien land, thousands of km. away. Then Virchand Gandhi, the Jain orator also toured USA at the same time. He mobilised USD 50,000 approx. and sent a shipload of wheat for famine relief. But he struck to his Jain diet and did not want a cook to be sent from India. NOw a quote from Vivekananda:

"...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 ..."

"... 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, find who did everything he could for them! Such is the ungrateful world! ..."

These two quotes are from his letter dt. 9.9.1895 to Alasinga, a Madras devotee. Vivekananda is writing as if the Madras sent him to USA empty handed! From his own admission, they gave him Pounds 170/-. They also gave him a Thomas Cook Letter of Credit.

"... The expense I am bound to run into here is awful. you remember, you gave me £170 in notes and £9 in cash. It has come down to £130 in all!! ... "

FACTS : Alasinga, Nanjunda Rao, Bilagiri et al (many others I could not name here) did a splendid work in Madras. It was they who started the magazine Brahmavadin. Raja of Ramnad gave Rs. 100/- every month to Ramakrishna Math, Madras. I am unable to trace any amount sent by Vivekananda to Madras except US Dollars 100/- sent to Alasinga once. (Promises were there, which is a different matter).

"... Herewith I send a hundred dollars or £20-8-7 in English money. Hope this will go just a little in starting your paper. Hoping to do more by and by. ..."
(May 1895)

I am nearing the conclusion of these Vivekananda blogs. Maximum, I may have few more. Not because, my information is exhausted, but because, I feel that I should not drag it beyond limits like TV Serials, though true and reasonable. At some places, I might have been two harsh on Vivekananda and I shall re-read all my posts and correct them. If you (or other readers) wish to help me, you/they are welcome with frank criticism, backed by logical arguments and quotations whereever possible. I shall not shun you or hate you, as long as you stick to courtesies of communication.

Whatever we have written and analysed here is on the basis of inadequate documents and information and that too duly censored by those who possessed them. I hope someday, more documents and information will come out so that we can get a truer picture of history. I wish that Government of India appoints an Enquiry Commission headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge to study the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda and his biographies, so that people can know truth. The Commission will have powers to call for documents who are holding them, and will be aided by research staff. Alternatively, the Indian Council of Historical Research or the Archaeological Survey of India should take possession of all the buildings, documents, furniture, antiques and other historical objects and they must build history. It is their Constiutional function.

There are also doubts about the genuinenes of the speech given by Swami Vivekananda at the Parliament of Religions, Chicago 1893 - both the text and the audio in circulation. It seems to have been edited from original. Since Shri Jairam Ramesh promised (I wrote a blog post about his promise) to trace out Swamiji's gramaphone recordings in the archives of Maharaja, the Minister will do a great service to the Nation if he appoints a task force to trace out all missing/concealed/hidden documents. For example, Vivekananda asked his Guru Bhais to maintain accounts for every pise. He himself might have maintaine some accounts of his receipts and payments, at least those effected in India. If they are traced and published, missing links may be joined.

I checked up my post #112 and found that I wrote Rs. 12,000 per annum and not 12K per month. On that day as far as I could remember, after I published the post, verified the contents. As "per annum" was not mentioned, I felt that there was an ambiguity and corrected it immediately before further editing it. One observation I made about E mail subscriptions is, whenever we make a new post, E mails are going to subscribers. When we edit and update them, revised E mails are NOT going to subscribers.

I do not spend 12K per month on Net. I spend 12K Rupees per annum or Rs. 1,000 per month, sometimes extending to Rs. 1,200/1,500 per month. I have examined the question of buying a Computer and taking a broad band connection. First: I cannot afford the Capital expenditure, with no return. Second: Rent of Rs. 500- for the broad-band, Rs. 250/- for landline of BSNL, electricity bill of Rs. 120- for the 120W per hr. consumtion, the wear and tear of the computer, etc., I find the Internet Cafe is not too bad. Besides, when we work extensively on Net, there is a danger of viruses attacking and frequent formating may be needed. The Computer Engineers/technicians do not easily come to home. Laptops, there is no local talent to repair.

Besides, one of my close relatives observed: "Why do you waste 4/5 hours everyday on blogs? Nobody will read them anyway! What use is there to the Society of your writing them?" He frankly said "You are writing nonsense." I am, hence examining the question of stopping the blogs altogether. Decision has not yet been taken.

Thank you for bearing with me. Without malice to anybody.

1 comment:

balaji said...

Why dont u dare to talk about Quran and Bible why do u talk only about Hinduism..U cannot read bible when it crosses 100 pages do u know read it if u can.. why dont u speak about that If u have the real guts my friend..dont jus speak about one religion if ur idealogy is common then apply to all religions if u are speaking only about hinduism then ur idealogy is not common its only a Anti-Hindu idealogy do u understand..