POSTED BY Buzz ON Jan 16, 2012 AT 06:14 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 16, 2012 06:14 IST

Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express has a brilliant article on What Vivekananda Valued , arguing that his underlying sensibility was open, self-confident and governed by the belief that humanity needs wider circles of identification to transcend narrow identities::

He directed India towards a liberality by reminding us that it was god’s job to protect us, not ours to protect our gods. The distinction of Indian nationalism was precisely that it never saw the nation as the highest embodiment of value. With the condescension of hindsight it is too easy to dismiss this project as either disembodied idealism, or worse still, an assertion of Indian superiority. But embedded in it was the radical idea that India means nothing if it is not going to be a source of alternative values. There is a recognition of pluralism, but not one that sacrifices truth. “We want to lead mankind to a place where there is neither the Vedas, nor the Bible, nor the Koran, yet this has to be done by harmonising the Vedas, the Bible, the Koran.” Whatever one may think of this project, the idea that each tradition could reach to some place outside itself, by working through all traditions, was a sign of intellectual ambition that is now all but lost.

Again, in hindsight, Vivekananda has been read as progenitor masculinity in politics; and he has certainly been appropriated that way. His claim that “for our motherland, a conjunction of the two great systems, Hinduism and Islam — Vedanta Brain and Islam Body is the only hope” has been tirelessly misinterpreted. This quotation is prefaced by two striking claims “Practical Advaitism, which looks upon and behaves to all mankind as one’s own soul, was never developed amongst the Hindus.” And “if any religion approached equality in any appreciable manner it was Islam and Islam alone.” The reference to Islamic body is not to an ideal of power; it is to the central idea of equality.

POSTED BY Buzz ON Jan 16, 2012 AT 06:14 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 16, 2012 06:14 IST
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Digression
18/D-51
Jan 19, 2012
11:51 AM

This fellow should have read "Complete works of Swami Vivekananda".

It was true that Vivekananda was not fanatic and he was original and daring in his views.

Not with any prejudice to his benevolent views on Islam, I would like to say, he criticized Hadith and Mohammed the prophet. He criticized the concept of heaven as reward as described by all non-vedic religions (including Christianity )  as useless, an imaginative creation of human mind, right in his Chicago lecture,by emphasizing karma,rebirth, and final merger in to  God (moksha or liberation) and strongly defended idol worship, raw and crude Hinduism without adulterating it with so called "modernism".

One should better read it than to expect me to write any thing here. He also described as Islam ( in its practice) much nearer to a cult rather than a full fledged religion and you and I may or may not agree, that is a different issue.

Some of his original and very interesting lectures are about Advaita, Buddhism, conversions by Missionaries, Strength of Hinduism, Bhagavad-Gita, Power of Mind and My Master.

For example speaking about Advaita , he proved through logical argument that Advaitha and Dvaitha  are one and same. But if you read Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's "kathamritha (Gospel)" you would find that Ramakrishna already said this in simple words,without logic but with small stories. It is because of space problems I cannot write here,  all that story but as most western scholars already said, we can again say that, Vivekananda mostly, elucidated what was already told by his Master. He was like St.Peter to Jesus Christ.

Only difference is that whatever his great Master had spoken was recorded by Mahashaya ( "M".Gupta) and others while everything Jesus said was not recorded , instead,they recorded what they liked !!! some of it probably , out of context.

Vivekananda also spoke about reconverting people, dimnishing Hindu populations because of conversions, criticized Brahmins, supported idol worship, criticized untouchability and typical Indian mentality of pulling each others legs(discouraging a new point of view, merit, scholarship etc., ) .

So, giving an impression that he was all praise for Islam and "modern" with secularism etc., is all foolish. I admire Vivekananda , I read his complete works and except last part I read voluminous Kathamritha in detail. I think some one should read Arunshouri's article on Vivekananda's praise as well as criticism of Islam.

bowenpalle venuraja gopal rao.
warangal, india
17/D-94
Jan 18, 2012
11:31 PM

>> "Guess the great Indian nation of Swami Vivekand is handicapped as some parts of body ran away. Of course without brain to Pakistan. " - Jackass

Absolutely brilliant!! LOL

The Irreverent Indian
Online, India
16/D-87
Jan 18, 2012
10:43 PM

Vivekanand's idealism is too tempting but it is anochranistic is contemporary times. His harmonizing and conjuctions might have been read as something new 100 years back but today it seems like a pinko's sob story. The idea of democracy is to give way to secular authority over the religious authority. Though religion still plays its part in a democracy, the secular authority supercedes the traditional authority. 

Vedanta Brain and Islam Body is the only hope.

Guess the great Indian nation of Swami Vivekand is handicapped as some parts of body ran away. Of course without brain to Pakistan. 

jackass
lol, india
15/D-61
Jan 18, 2012
05:12 PM

Normally the body  follows the brain.

agosuke
Bangalore, India
14/D-51
Jan 17, 2012
12:16 PM

"I was somewhat disappointed to see the Times of India carrying tributes to Vivekanand written by two RSS pracharaks, Narendra Modi and Tarun Vijay."

Yeah! Only seculars have the first right to write on Vivekanada...

Kiran Bagachi
mumbai, India
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