Monday, December 13, 2010

Swami Vivekananda : Writings | Hinduism and Sri Ramakrishna | On Dr. Paul Deussen | On Professor Max Muller | The Social Conference Address

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Hinduism and Sri Ramakrishna

The following essay has been translated from Bengali and is reproduced from Swami Vivekananda’s Complete Works, 6: 181-86.

For the Hindus, by the word “Shastras” is meant the Vedas which are without beginning or end. In matters of religious duty the Vedas are for them the only capable authority.
The Puranas and other religious scriptures are all denoted by the word "Smriti". And their authority goes so far as they follow the Vedas and do not contradict them.
Truth is of two kinds: (1) that which is known through the five ordinary senses we humans have, and by reasoning based thereon; (2) that which is known through the subtle, supersensuous power of Yoga.
Knowledge acquired by the first means is called science; and knowledge acquired by the second is called the Vedas.
The whole body of supersensuous truths, having no beginning or end, and called by the name of the Vedas, is ever-existent. The Creator Himself is creating, preserving, and destroying the universe with the help of these truths.
The person in whom this supersensuous power is manifested is called a Rishi, and the supersensuous truths that he or she realizes by this power are called the Vedas.

This Rishihood, this power of supersensuous perception of the Vedas, is real religion. And as long as this does not develop in our lives, so long is religion a mere empty word to us, and it is to be understood that we have not taken yet the first step in religion.
The authority of the Vedas extends to all ages, climes and persons; that is to say, their application is not confined to any particular place, time, and persons.
The Vedas are the only exponent of the universal religion.
Although the supersensuous vision of truths is to be met with in some measure in our Puranas and Itihasas and in the religious scriptures of other races, still the fourfold scripture known among the Aryan race as the Vedas being the first, the most complete, and the most undistorted collection of spiritual truths, deserve to occupy the highest place among all scriptures, command the respect of all nations of the earth, and furnish the rationale of all their respective scriptures.
With regard to the whole Vedic collection of truths discovered by the Aryan race, this also has to be understood that those portions alone which do not refer to purely secular matters and which do not merely record tradition or history, or merely provide incentives to duty, form the Vedas in the real sense.
The Vedas are divided into two portions, the Jnana-kanda (knowledge-portion) and the Karma-kanda (ritual-portion). The ceremonies and the fruits of the Karma-kanda are confined within the limits of the world of Maya, and therefore they have been undergoing and will undergo transformation according to the law of change which operates through time, space, and personality.
Social laws and customs likewise, being based on this Karma-kanda, have been changing and will continue to change hereafter. Minor social usages also will be recognized and accepted when they are compatible with the spirit of the true scriptures and the conduct and example of holy sages. But blind allegiance only to usages such as are repugnant to the spirit of the Shastras and the conduct of holy sages has been one of the main causes of the downfall of the Aryan race.
It is only the Jnana-kanda, or Vedanta, that has for all time commanded recognition for leading people across Maya and bestowing salvation on them through the practice of Yoga, Bhakti, Jnana, or selfless work; and as its validity and authority remain unaffected by any limitations of time, place or persons, it is the only exponent of the universal and eternal religion for all humanity.

The Samhitas of Manu and other sages, following the lines laid down in the Karma-kanda, have mainly ordained rules of conduct conducive to social welfare, according to the exigencies of time, place, and persons. The Puranas etc. have taken up the truths imbedded in the Vedanta and have explained them in detail in the course of describing the exalted life and deeds of Avataras and others. Moreover, in order to teach us, they have each emphasized some out of the infinite aspects of the Divine.
But when by the process of time, fallen from the true ideals and rules of conduct and devoid of the spirit of renunciation, addicted only to blind usages, and degraded in intellect, the descendants of the Aryans failed to appreciate even the spirit of these Puranas etc. which taught people of ordinary intelligence the abstruse truths of Vedanta in concrete form and diffuse language and appeared antagonistic to one another on the surface, because of each inculcating with special emphasis only particular aspects of the spiritual ideal—
And when, as a consequence, they reduced India, the fair land of religion, to a scene of almost infernal confusion by breaking up piecemeal the one Eternal Religion of the Vedas (Sanatana Dharma), the grand synthesis of all the aspects of the spiritual ideal, into conflicting sects and by seeking to sacrifice one another in the flames of sectarian hatred and intolerance—
Then it was that Sri Ramakrishna incarnated himself in India in order to demonstrate what the true religion of the Aryan race is; to show where amidst all its many divisions and offshoots, scattered over the land in the course of its immemorial history, lies the true unity of the Hindu religion, which by its overwhelming number of sects discordant to superficial view, quarrelling constantly with each other and abounding in customs divergent in every way, has constituted itself a misleading enigma for our countrymen and the butt of contempt for foreigners; and above all, to hold up before us, for our lasting welfare, as a living embodiment of the Sanatana Dharma, his own wonderful life into which he infused the universal spirit and character of this Dharma, so long cast into oblivion by the process of time.
In order to show how the Vedic truths--eternally existent as the instrument with the Creator in His work of creation, preservation, and dissolution--reveal themselves spontaneously in the minds of the Rishis purified from all impressions of worldly attachment, and because such verification and confirmation of the scriptural truths will help the revival, reinstatement, and spread of religion--the Divine, though the very embodiment of the Vedas, in this His new incarnation has thoroughly discarded all external forms of learning.
That the Divine incarnates again and again in human form for the protection of the Vedas or the true religion, and of Brahminhood or the ministry of that religion--is a doctrine well established in the Puranas etc.
The waters of a river falling in a cataract acquire greater velocity, the rising wave after a hollow swells higher; so after every spell of decline, the Aryan society recovering from all the evils by the merciful dispensation of Providence has risen the more glorious and powerful--such is the testimony of history.
After rising from every fall, our revived society is expressing more and more its innate eternal perfection, and so also the omnipresent Divine Being in each successive incarnation is manifesting Himself more and more.
Again and again has our country fallen into a swoon, as it were, and again and again has the Divine Being, by the manifestation of Himself, revivified her.

But greater than the present deep dismal night, now almost over, no pall of darkness had ever before enveloped this holy land of ours. And compared with the depth of this fall, all previous falls appear like little hoof-marks.
Therefore, before the effulgence of this new awakening, the glory of all past revivals in her history will pale like stars before the rising sun; and compared with this mighty manifestation of renewed strength, all the many past epochs of such restoration will be as child's play.
The various constituent ideals of the Religion Eternal, during its present state of decline, have been lying scattered here and there for want of competent people to realize them--some being preserved partially among small sects and some completely lost.
But strong in the strength of this new spiritual renaissance, people—after reorganizing these scattered and disconnected spiritual ideals—will be able to comprehend and practice them in their own lives and also to recover from oblivion those that are lost. And as the sure pledge of this glorious future, the all-merciful Divine Being has manifested in the present age, as stated above, an incarnation which in point of completeness in revelation, its synthetic harmonizing of all ideals, and its promoting of every sphere of spiritual culture, surpasses the manifestations of all past ages.
So at the very dawn of this momentous epoch, the reconciliation of all aspects and ideals of religious thought and worship is being proclaimed; this boundless, all-embracing idea had been lying inherent, but so long concealed, in the Religion Eternal and its scriptures, and now rediscovered, it is being declared to humanity in a trumpet voice.
This epochal new dispensation is the harbinger of great good to the whole world, specially to India; and the inspirer of this dispensation, Sri Ramakrishna, is the reformed and remodeled manifestation of all the past great epoch-makers in religion. Have faith in this and lay it to heart.
The dead never return; the past night does not reappear; a spent-up tidal wave does not rise anew; neither does a person inhabit the same body over again. So from the worship of the dead past, we invite you all to the worship of the living present; from the regretful brooding over bygones, we invite you to the activities of the present; from the waste of energy in retracing lost and demolished pathways, we call you back to broad new-laid highways lying very near. Those that are wise, let them understand.
Of that power, which at the very first impulse has roused distant echoes from all the four quarters of the globe, conceive in your mind the manifestation in its fullness; and discarding all idle misgivings, weaknesses, and the jealousies characteristic of enslaved peoples, come and help in the turning of this mighty wheel of the new dispensation!
With the conviction firmly rooted in your heart that you are the servants of the Lord, His children, helpers in the fulfillment of His purpose, enter the arena of work.


On Dr. Paul Deussen

This is an article Swami Vivekananda wrote in 1896 for the Brahmavadin, the Ramakrishna Order's English journal. It is reproduced here from his Complete Works, 4: 272-77.


More than a decade has passed since a young German student, one of eight children of a not very well-to-do clergyman, heard on a certain day Professor Lassen lecturing on a language and literature new--very new even at that time--to European scholars, namely, Sanskrit. The lectures were of course free; for even now it is impossible for any one in any European University to make a living by teaching Sanskrit, unless indeed the University backs him.
Lassen was almost the last of that heroic band of German scholars, the pioneers of Sanskrit scholarship in Germany. Heroic certainly they were--what interest except their pure and unselfish love of knowledge could German scholars have had at that time in Indian literature? The veteran Professor was expounding a chapter of Shakuntala; and on that day there was no one present more eagerly and attentively listening to Lassen's exposition than our young student. The subject-matter of the exposition was of course interesting and wonderful, but more wonderful was the strange language, the strange sounds of which, although uttered with all those difficult peculiarities that Sanskrit consonants are subjected to in the mouths of unaccustomed Europeans, had strange fascination for him. He returned to his lodgings, but that night sleep could not make him oblivious of what he had heard. A glimpse of a hitherto unknown land had been given to him, a land far more gorgeous in its colors than any he had yet seen, and having a power of fascination never yet experienced by his young and ardent soul.
Naturally his friends were anxiously looking forward to the ripening of his brilliant parts, and expected that he would soon enter a learned profession that might bring him respect, fame and, above all, a good salary and a high position. But then there was this Sanskrit! The vast majority of European scholars had not even heard of it then; as for making it pay--I have already said that such a thing is impossible even now. Yet his desire to learn it was strong.
It has unfortunately become hard for us modern Indians to understand how it could be like that; nevertheless, there are to be met with in Varanasi and Nadia and other places even now, some old as well as young persons among our Pundits, and mostly among the Sannyasins, who are mad with this kind of thirst for knowledge for its own sake. Students, not placed in the midst of the luxurious surroundings and materials of the modern Europeanized Hindu, and with a thousand times less facilities for study, poring over manuscripts in the flickering light of an oil lamp, night after night, which alone would have been enough to completely destroy the eyesight of the students of any other nation; traveling on foot hundreds of miles, begging their way all along, in search of a rare manuscript or a noted teacher; and wonderfully concentrating all the energy of their body and mind upon their one object of study, year in and year out, till the hair turns grey and the infirmity of age overtakes them--such students have not, through God's mercy, as yet disappeared altogether from our country. Whatever India now holds as a proud possession, has been undeniably the result of such labor on the part of her worthy sons in days gone by; and the truth of this remark will become at once evident on comparing the depth and solidity as well as the unselfishness and the earnestness of purpose of India's ancient scholarship with the results attained by our modern Indian Universities. Unselfish and genuine zeal for real scholarship and honest earnest thought must again become dominant in the life of our countrymen if they are ever to rise to occupy among nations a rank worthy of their own historic past. It is this kind of desire for knowledge that has made Germany what she is now--one of the foremost, if not the foremost, among the nations of the world.

Yes, the desire to learn Sanskrit was strong in the heart of this German student. It was long, uphill work--this learning of Sanskrit; with him too it was the same world-old story of successful scholars and their hard work, their privations and their indomitable energy--and also the same glorious conclusion of a really heroic achievement. He thus achieved success; and now--not only Europe, but all India knows this man, Paul Deussen, who is the Professor of Philosophy in the University of Kiel. I have seen professors of Sanskrit in America and in Europe. Some of them are very sympathetic towards Vedantic thought. I admire their intellectual acumen and their lives of unselfish labor. But Paul Deussen--or as he prefers to be called in Sanskrit, Deva-Sena--and the veteran Max Muller have impressed me as being the truest friends of India and Indian thought. It will always be among the most pleasing episodes in my life--my first visit to this ardent Vedantist at Kiel, his gentle wife who traveled with him in India, and his little daughter, the darling of his heart--and our traveling together through Germany and Holland to London, and the pleasant meetings we had in and about London.
The earliest schools of Sanskritists in Europe entered into the study of Sanskrit with more imagination than critical ability. They knew a little, expected much from that little, and often tried to make too much of what little they knew. Then, in those days even, such vagaries as the estimation of Shakuntala as forming the high watermark of Indian philosophy were not altogether unknown! These were naturally followed by a reactionary band of superficial critics, more than real scholars of any kind, who knew little or nothing of Sanskrit, expected nothing from Sanskrit studies, and ridiculed everything from the East. While criticizing the unsound imaginativeness of the early school to whom everything in Indian literature was rose and musk, these, in their turn, went into speculations which, to say the least, were equally highly unsound and indeed very venturesome. And their boldness was very naturally helped by the fact that these over-hasty and unsympathetic scholars and critics were addressing an audience whose entire qualification for pronouncing any judgment in the matter was their absolute ignorance of Sanskrit. What a medley of results from such critical scholarship! Suddenly, on one fine morning, the poor Hindus woke up to find that everything that was theirs was gone; one strange race had snatched away from them their arts, another their architecture, and a third, whatever there was of their ancient sciences; why, even their religion was not their own! Yes--that too had migrated into India in the wake of a Pehlevi cross of stone! After a feverish period of such treading-on-each-other's-toes of original research, a better state of things has dawned. It has now been found out that mere adventure without some amount of the capital of real and ripe scholarship produces nothing but ridiculous failure even in the business of Oriental research, and that the traditions in India are not to be rejected with supercilious contempt, as there is really more in them than most people ever dream of.
There is now happily coming into existence in Europe a new type of Sanskrit scholars, reverential, sympathetic, and learned--reverential because they are a better stamp of men, and sympathetic because they are learned. And the link that connects the new portion of the chain with the old one is, of course, our Max Muller. We Hindus certainly owe more to him than to any other Sanskrit scholar in the West, and I am simply astonished when I think of the gigantic task that he, in his enthusiasm, undertook as a young man and brought to a successful conclusion in his old age. Think of this man without any help, poring over old manuscripts, hardly legible to the Hindus themselves, and in a language to acquire which takes a lifetime even in India--without even the help of any needy Pundit whose "brains could be picked," as the Americans say, for ten shillings a month, and a mere mention of his name in the introduction to some book of "very new researches"--think of this man, spending days and sometimes months in elucidating the correct reading and meaning of a word or a sentence in the commentary of Sayana (as he has himself told me), and in the end succeeding in making an easy road through the forest of Vedic literature for all others to go along; think of him and his work, and then say what he really is to us! Of course we need not all agree with him in all that he says in his many writings; certainly such an agreement is impossible. But agreement or no agreement, the fact remains that this one man has done a thousand times more for the preservation, spreading, and appreciation of the literature of our forefathers than any of us can ever hope to do, and he has done it all with a heart which is full of the sweet balm of love and veneration.
If Max Muller is thus the old pioneer of the new movement, Deussen is certainly one of its younger advance-guard. Philological interest had hidden long from view the gems of thought and spirituality to be found in the mine of our ancient scriptures. Max Muller brought out a few of them and exhibited them to the public gaze, compelling attention to them by means of his authority as the foremost philologist. Deussen, unhampered by any philological leanings and possessing the training of a philosopher singularly well versed in the speculations of ancient Greece and modern Germany, took up the cue and plunged boldly into the metaphysical depths of the Upanishads, found them to be fully safe and satisfying, and then--equally boldly declared that fact before the whole world. Deussen is certainly the freest among scholars in the expression of his opinion about the Vedanta. He never stops to think about the "What they would say" of the vast majority of scholars.
We indeed require bold men in this world to tell us bold words about truth; and nowhere is this more true now than in Europe where, through the fear of social opinion and such other causes, there has been enough in all conscience of the whitewashing and apologizing attitude among scholars towards creeds and customs which, in all probability, not many among them really believe in. The greater is the glory, therefore, to Max Muller and to Deussen for their bold and open advocacy of truth! May they be as bold in showing to us our defects, the later corruptions in our thought-systems in India, especially in their application to our social needs! Just now we very much require the help of such genuine friends as these to check the growing virulence of the disease, very prevalent in India, of running either to the one extreme of slavish panegyrists who cling to every village superstition as the innermost essence of the Shastras, or to the other extreme of demoniacal denouncers who see no good in us and in our history, and will, if they can, at once dynamite all the social and spiritual organizations of our ancient land of religion and philosophy.

On Professor Max Muller

This is an article Swami Vivekananda wrote in 1896 for the Brahmavadin, the Ramakrishna Order's English journal. It is reproduced here from his Complete Works, 4: 278-82.


Though the ideal of work of our Brahmavadin should always be "To work thou hast the right, but never to the fruits thereof" (Gita 2:47), yet no sincere worker passes out of the field of activity without making himself known and catching at least a few rays of light.
The beginning of our work has been splendid, and the steady earnestness shown by our friends is beyond all praise. Sincerity of conviction and purity of motive will surely gain the day; and even a small minority, armed with these, is surely destined to prevail against all odds.
Keep away from all insincere claimants to supernatural illumination. Not that such illumination is impossible but, my friends, in this world of ours, "Lust, or gold, or fame" is the hidden motive behind ninety per cent of all such claims, and of the remaining ten per cent, nine per cent are cases which require the tender care of physicians more than the attention of metaphysicians.
The first great thing to accomplish is to establish a character, or to obtain-as we say-"steady wisdom" (Gita, 2:55) . This applies equally to individuals and to organized bodies of individuals. Do not fret because the world looks with suspicion at every new attempt, even though it be in the path of spirituality. The poor world, how often has it been cheated! The more the worldly aspect of life (samsara) looks at any growing movement with eyes of suspicion or, even better still, presents to it a semi-hostile front, so much the better is it for the movement. If there is any truth this movement has to disseminate, any need it is born to supply, soon will condemnation be changed into praise, and contempt converted into love. People in these days are apt to take up religion as a means to some social or political end. Beware of this. Religion is its own end. That religion which is only a means to worldly well-being is not religion, whatever else it may be; and it is sheer blasphemy against God and fellow human beings to hold that we have no other end than the free and full enjoyment of all the pleasure of our senses.

Truth, purity, and unselfishness--wherever these are present, there is no power below or above the sun to crush the possessor thereof. Equipped with these, one individual is able to face the whole universe in opposition.
Above all, beware of compromises. I do not mean that you are to get into antagonism with anybody, but you have to hold on to your own principles in weal or woe and never adjust them to others' "fads" through the greed of getting supporters. Your Atman is the support of the universe--whose support do you stand in need of? Wait with patience and love and strength; if helpers are not ready now, they will come in time. Why should we be in a hurry? The real working force of all great work is in its almost unperceived beginnings.
Whoever could have thought that the life and teachings of a boy born of poor Brahmin parents in a wayside Bengal village would, in a few years, reach such distant lands as our ancestors never even dreamed of? I refer to Sri Ramakrishna. Do you know that Prof. Max Muller has already written an article on Sri Ramakrishna for the Nineteenth Century, and will be very glad to write a larger and fuller account of his life and teachings if sufficient materials are forthcoming? What an extraordinary man is Prof. Max Muller! I paid a visit to him a few days ago. I should say that I went to pay my respects to him, for whosoever loves Sri Ramakrishna, whatever be his or her sect, or creed, or nationality, my visit to that person I hold as a pilgrimage. "They who are devoted to those who love Me--they are My best devotees." Is that not true?
The Professor was first induced to inquire about the power behind Keshab Chandra Sen, the great Brahmo leader, which led to the sudden and momentous changes in his life; and since then, he has been an earnest student and admirer of the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna. "Ramakrishna is worshipped by thousands today, Professor", I said. "To whom else shall worship be accorded, if not to such", was his response. The Professor was kindness itself, and asked Mr. Sturdy and myself to lunch with him. He showed us several colleges in Oxford and the Bodleian library. He also accompanied us to the railway station; and all this he did because, as he said, "It is not every day one meets a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa."
The visit was really a revelation to me. That nice little house in its setting of a beautiful garden, the silver-headed sage, with a face calm and benign, and forehead smooth as a child's in spite of seventy winters, and every line in that face speaking of a deep-seated mine of spirituality somewhere behind; that noble wife, the helpmate of his life through his long and arduous task of exciting interest, overriding opposition and contempt, and at last creating a respect for the thoughts of the sages of ancient India--the trees, the flowers, the calmness, and the clear sky--all these sent me back in imagination to the glorious days of Ancient India, the days of our Brahmarshis and Rajarshis, the days of the great Vanaprasthas, the days of Arundhatis and Vasishthas.
It was neither the philologist nor the scholar that I saw but a soul that is every day realizing its oneness with the Brahman, a heart that is every moment expanding to reach oneness with the Universal. Where others lose themselves in the desert of dry details, he has struck the well-spring of life. Indeed his heartbeats have caught the rhythm of the Upanishads "Know the Atman alone and give up all other talk" (Mundaka Upanishad, 2.2.5)

Although a world-moving scholar and philosopher, his learning and philosophy have only led him higher and higher to the realization of the Spirit, his "lower knowledge" (apara vidya) has indeed helped him to reach the "higher knowledge" (para vidya). This is real learning. "Knowledge gives humility." Of what use is knowledge if it does not show us the way to the Highest?
And what love he bears towards India! I wish I had a hundredth part of that love for my own motherland. Endued with an extraordinary and-at the same time-intensely active mind, he has lived and moved in the world of Indian thought for fifty years or more, and watched the sharp interchange of light and shade in the interminable forest of Sanskrit literature with deep interest and heartfelt love, till they have all sunk into his very soul and colored his whole being.
Max Muller is a Vedantist of Vedantists. He has, indeed, caught the real soul of the melody of the Vedanta, in the midst of all its settings of harmonies and discords--the one light that lightens the sects and creeds of the world, the Vedanta, the one principle of which all religions are only applications. And what was Ramakrishna Paramahamsa? The practical demonstration of this ancient principle, the embodiment of India that is past, and a foreshadowing of the India that is to be, the bearer of spiritual light unto nations. The jeweler alone can understand the worth of jewels-this is an old proverb. Is it a wonder that this Western sage does study and appreciate every new star in the firmament of Indian thought, before even the Indians themselves realize its magnitude?
"When are you coming to India? Every heart there would welcome one who has done so much to place the thoughts of their ancestors in the true light," I said. The face of the aged sage brightened up--there was almost tears in his eyes, a gentle nodding of the head, and slowly the words come out: "I would not return then; you would have to cremate me there." Further questions seemed an unwarrantable intrusion into realms wherein are stored the holy secrets of man's heart. Who knows but that it was what the poet has said, "He remembers with his mind the friendships of former births, firmly rooted in his heart."
His life has been a blessing to the world; and may it be many, many years more, before he changes the present plane of his existence!


The Social Conference Address

This is Swami Vivekananda’s written response to the inaugural address of Justice Ranade at the Indian Social Conference. Reproduced from the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, 4: 303-307


"God created the native, God created the European, but somebody else created the mixed breed"--we heard a horribly blasphemous Englishman say.
Before us lies the inaugural address of Mr. Justice Ranade, voicing the reformatory zeal of the Indian Social Conference. In it there is a huge array of instances of inter-caste marriages of yore, a good deal about the liberal spirit of the ancient Kshatriyas, good sober advice to students, all expressed with an earnestness of goodwill and gentleness of language that is truly admirable.
The last part, however, which offers advice as to the creation of a body of teachers for the new movement strong in the Punjab, which we take for granted is the Arya Samaj, founded by a Sannyasin, leaves us wondering and asking ourselves the question:
It seems God created the Brahmin, God created the Kshatriya, but who created the Sannyasin?
There have been and are Sannyasins or monks in every known religion. There are Hindu monks, Buddhist monks, Christian monks, and even Islam had to yield its rigorous denial and take in whole orders of mendicant monks.

There are the wholly shaved, the partly shaved, the long hair, short hair, matted hair, and various other hirsute types.
There are the sky-clad, the rag-clad, the ochre-clad, the yellow-clad (monks), the black-clad Christian, and the blue-clad Muslims. Then there have been those that tortured their flesh in various ways, and others who believed in keeping their bodies well and healthy. There was also, in old days in every country, the monk militant. The same spirit and similar manifestations have run in parallel lines with women too--the nuns.
Mr. Ranade is not only the President of the Indian Social Conference but a chivalrous gentleman also: the nuns of the Shrutis and Smritis seem to have been to his entire satisfaction. The ancient celibate Brahmavadinis, who traveled from court to court challenging great philosophers, do not seem to him to thwart the central plan of the Creator--the propagation of the species; nor did they seem to have lacked in the variety and completeness of human experience, in Mr. Ranade's opinion, as the stronger sex following the same line of conduct seem to have done.
We therefore dismiss the ancient nuns and their modern spiritual descendants as having passed muster.
The arch-offender, man alone, has to bear the brunt of Mr. Ranade's criticism, and let us see whether he survives it or not.
It seems to be the consensus of opinion amongst savants that this worldwide monastic institution had its first inception in this curious land of ours, which appears to stand so much in need of "social reform."

The married teacher and the celibate are both as old as the Vedas. Whether the Soma-sipping married Rishi with his "all-rounded" experience was the first in order of appearance, or the lack-human-experience celibate Rishi was the primeval form, is hard to decide just now. Possibly Mr. Ranade will solve the problem for us independently of the hearsay of the so-called Western Sanskrit scholars; till then the question stands a riddle like the hen and egg problem of yore.
But whatever be the order of genesis, the celibate teachers of the Shrutis and Smritis stand on an entirely different platform from the married ones, which is perfect chastity, Brahmacharya.
If the performance of Yajnas is the cornerstone of the work-portion of the Vedas, as surely is Brahmacharya the foundation of the knowledge-portion.
Why could not the blood-shedding sacrificers be the exponents of the Upanishads--why?
On the one side was the married Rishi, with his meaningless, bizarre, nay, terrible ceremonials, his misty sense of ethics, to say the least; on the other hand, the celibate monks tapping, in spite of their want of human experience, springs of spirituality and ethics at which the monastic Jinas, the Buddhas, down to Shankara, Ramanuja, Kabir, and Chaitanya, drank deep and acquired energy to propagate their marvelous spiritual and social reforms, and which, reflected third-hand, fourth-hand from the West, is giving our social reformers the power even to criticize the Sannyasins.

At the present day, what support, what pay, do the mendicants receive in India, compared to the pay and privilege of our social reformers? And what work does the social reformer do, compared to the Sannyasin's silent selfless labor of love?
But they have not learnt the modern method of self-advertisement.

The Hindu drank in with his mother's milk that this life is as nothing--a dream. In this he is at one with the Westerners; but the Westerner sees no further and his conclusion is that of the Charvaka--to "make hay while the sun shines." "This world being a miserable hole, let us enjoy to the utmost what morsels of pleasure are left to us." To the Hindu, on the other hand, God and soul are the only realities, infinitely more real than this world, and he is therefore ever ready to let this go for the other.
So long as this attitude of the national mind continues, and we pray it will continue forever, what hope is there in our anglicized compatriots to check the impulse in Indian men and women to renounce all "for the good of the universe and for one's own freedom"?
And that rotten corpse of an argument against the monk--used first by the Protestants in Europe, borrowed by the Bengali reformers, and now embraced by our Bombay brethren--the monk on account of his celibacy must lack the realization of life "in all its fullness and in all its varied experiences”! We hope this time the corpse will go for good into the Arabian Sea, especially in these days of plague, and notwithstanding the filial love one may suppose the foremost clan of Brahmins there may have for ancestors of great perfume, if the Pauranika accounts are of any value in tracing their ancestry.
By the bye, In Europe, between the monks and nuns, they have brought up and educated most of the children, whose parents, though married people, were utterly unwilling to taste of the "varied experiences of life."

Then, of course, every faculty has been given to us by God for some use. Therefore the monk is wrong in not propagating the race--a sinner! Well, so also have been given us the faculties of anger, lust, cruelty, theft, robbery, cheating, etc., every one of these being absolutely necessary for the maintenance of social life, reformed or unreformed. What about these? Ought they also to be maintained at full steam, following the varied-experience-theory or not? Of course the social reformers, being in intimate acquaintance with God Almighty and His purposes, must answer the query in the positive. Are we to follow Vishvamitra, Atri, and others in their ferocity and the Vasishtha family in particular in their "full and varied experience" with womankind? For the majority of married Rishis are as celebrated for their liberality in begetting children wherever and whenever they could, as for their hymn-singing and Soma-bibbing; or are we to follow the celibate Rishis who upheld Brahmacharya as the sine qua non of spirituality?
Then there are the usual backsliders, who ought to come in for a load of abuse--monks who could not keep up to their idea--weak, wicked.
But if the ideal is straight and sound, a backsliding monk is head and shoulders above any householder in the land, on the principle, "It is better to have loved and lost."
Compared to the coward that never made the attempt, he is a hero.
If the searchlight of scrutiny were turned on the inner workings of our social reform conclave, angels would have to take note of the percentage of backsliders as between the monk and the householder; and the recording angel is in our own heart.

But then, what about this marvelous experience of standing alone, discarding all help, breasting the storms of life, of working without any sense of recompense, without any sense of putrid duty? Working a whole life, joyful, free--not goaded on to work like slaves by false human love or ambition?
This the monk alone can have. What about religion? Has it to remain or vanish? If it remains, it requires its experts, its soldiers. The monk is the religious expert, having made religion his one m├ętier of life. He is the soldier of God. What religion dies so long as it has a band of devoted monks?
Why are Protestant England and America shaking before the onrush of the Catholic monk?
Vive Ranade and the Social Reformers!--but, O India! Anglicized India! Do not forget, child, that there are in this society problems that neither you nor your Western Guru can yet grasp the meaning of--much less solve!

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