Delivered at the Golden Gate Hall, San Francisco on January 28, 1903
The subject of tonight’s discourse is an appeal to the Americans. I don’t know why so few Americans have come. Well, never mind, even those that have come, in the eyes of Rama, represent not only America, but Europe and the whole universe. If the words that are spoken tonight appeal to the hearts of this small audience, if these words are driven home to a single one of you, if, say, even five, six, or seven of you take up this work or hear this cry in the wilderness, Rama will regard these words as a success.
Rama appeals to the Divinity within, to the Infinity in you, and he is sure that the Infinity within, even in a single body, can work wonders and marvels. You will kindly not put before the real soul or the Infinity any curtain of sectarianism. For one hour at least, you will kindly thrust aside all veils and strike out all differences of colour, caste, and creed, which do not allow people to listen to a stranger willingly.
INDIA’S WORK IN THE PAST
Rama has been talking to you for about two months about the crest jewels of Indian wisdom; he has been bringing to you the nourishing nectar, the invigorating milk of the Indian Scriptures. Today Kama wants to tell you something about the mine that brought forth such jewels, the cow which yielded that milk, the country which first promulgated this truth, the land that gave the world its religions. Yes, the religions were given to the world by India, directly or indirectly. Rama wants to talk to you about the land that is still giving you all the new religions and cults which are springing up in Europe and America every day. All your New thought, Theosophy, Spiritualism, Christian Science, Mental Healing, of which you feel so proud today, all these without exception derive their origin from India, directly or indirectly. Rama is talking to you about the land which gave the world all its systems of Philosophy, in the days gone by or at the present day. Your Grecian philosophers like Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras, your Plotinus owe their inspiration to East India; the history of Philosophy shows it to you. Schopenhauer, Schlegel, Schelling, M. Cousin, etc., all confess that they owe their inspiration to East India, to Vedanta, to Sankhya, to Buddhism, to the Upanishads or the Gita. Your modern Monism of America, England or Germany, derives its light from the East India. Rama is talking to you of the land of Shankara and Krishna, the land which brought forth noble thoughts and high ideas that inspired and filled with enthusiasm your venerable Emerson, Walt Whitman, Sir Edwin Arnold, and Max Muller j the land not only of noble ideas and high thoughts, not only of poetry and philosophy, but also of physical valour and strength. You will be astonished to hear these words – the land of physical valour and strength. Even in these days, who are the people that form the greatest aid and safeguard of the British Government? It is the Sikhs, the Gurkhas, the Mahrattas and Rajputs of East India. It is the Sepoys of India that have to bear the brunt of battle on all occasions where the British encounter their worst foes. Rama is talking to you of India, once the richest country. Nation after nation became prosperous by feeding on India. America was discovered by Columbus in the search for the most coveted India. America was originally named India. Rama is talking to you of the land which was once the head of the world. It was the most lofty and exalted land in the world, with those mighty Himalayas covered with magnificent woods and rich fields. But that is not what Rama means; it was the head of the world, not only physically but intellectually, morally, spiritually. Today that land is the feet of the world. O Americans, you are today the head of the world and India is your antipodes, India is your feet. Rama comes to you with an appeal. O head, if you want to be strong and healthy, you should take care of the feet. If the feet are harmed or injured, the head will also suffer. If the feet are paining, will it not damage the head? 0 head, to you does Rama appeal on behalf of your antipodes. The mother who nourished the whole world with her philosophy and poetry, with her high thoughts und religion, that mother of the world, that ancient nourisher of the world, your mother is sick today. The eldest scion, the eldest sister of the Aryan family, East India, is sick today. Will you not attend to her? The cow of plenty is diseased; she is not dead, she is diseased. You can help her. You can aid in curing her. India has been giving the world milk, nourishing foods, strengthening tonic, inspiring knowledge; that India, like a cow, needs to be nursed. This cow is famishing, starving, dying of hunger and thirst; you have only to feed her with grass and fodder. The world has been taking from her milk, nourishing food; give her cheap grass, give her something to keep the body and soul together.
O England and European powers, you have to take care of her health, if you would have her live at all.
HOPES FROM AMERICA
Rama puts forth this appeal on behalf of India before Americans, the heroes of today; Americans, the men of sacrifice; noble Americans who can produce men who offer their lives in the name of truth for vivisection. It was only the other day that a noble American offered his life for vivisection in order to advance the cause of truth; Americans, the martyrs of Science, Rama appeals to Americans. Say, Americans will you not hear? Say, American press, will you not respond? Leave out Rama’s body, crush down Rama, hack it to pieces, cut it piecemeal, do whatever you please with this body, but take up the cause of India, take up the cause of truth. To the Americans who abolished slavery, to the Americans who are breaking down Caste in this country; to such blessed Americans is India crying for attention.
Supposing India is very bad; supposing India gave to the world nothing; supposing the Hindus today are the worst people in the world, that will be a higher claim on your attention; that will be the strongest reason why you should attend to her.
If one man is sick, he not only injures himself, but he spreads that disease throughout the whole world. One is suffering from cold, others catch the contagion. India is suffering from cold. You will ask how cold can catch a sunny, hot country. They are suffering not from the cold of winter, but from the cold of chill, penury, poverty. India is suffering, shivering from cold. Now you know if one man is suffering from cold, his cold will affect his neighbours. If one man is suffering from cholera, his disease will be transmitted to others; if one man is suffering from smallpox, others will catch the contagion. It is the duty of each and all to help the person who is sick, if not for his own account, for the sake of the whole world. If you allow them to suffer from the malady or disease, you are allowing weakness to spread over the whole world. For the sake of the whole world, Rama asks you, to take up the cause of India. In the name of truth and justice, Rama asks you to take up in right earnest the cause of India.
You will ask what is wrong with India, what is the difficulty with India. The disease is political, social, and religious.
THE POLITICAL STATE OF INDIA
Rama will not dwell long upon the political plight of the benighted land. In a country where thousands of men are dying of famine; where hunger and starvation are harvesting the green, fresh girls and boys; where poverty and plague are nipping promising youths in the bud; where the tender, tiny baby cries with dry, pouting lips because the famishing mother has no milk to nurse it; in a country where there is hardly a man who can make the two ends meet; where a person living from hand to mouth is thought to be very well off; where the Rajas and Princes are not unoften involved in sad pecuniary troubles; in a country which is loyal, patient, and faithful, no matter what its grievances and sufferings; grand or awful fun and show, a thousand lesser forms of extravagant tomfoolery are draining the country. Nearly all the high lucrative offices are in the possession of the British. Out of the teeming three hundred millions of people there is not a single representative in the House of Parliament
All native arts, industries, and manufactures have decayed.
This gives you an idea of the political predicament of India. This tells you something of their outward condition. Now Rama will acquaint you with the internal wrongs from which they are suffering. Now you will be told something about the real, intrinsic cause of their downfall, the inherent or central cause of their difficulties and despondence. Much can be said on the subject, but the people cannot spare time enough to hear the whole matter at length, so Kama will have to condense everything in a nut shell.
The downfall, the decline of India, is explained by the Vedanta philosophy. It is a matter of Karma. Karma means something brought about by our own doings. The literal meaning of the word Karma is action, our own doing. What they are reaping is what they sowed for themselves the other day. As the Hindus ill treated the aborigines of India, so they m their turn are being treated by the conquering nations. As everybody who falls sick is responsible for his sickness, brings about his sickness by ignorance, by over – eating or violating the laws of health, so the Indians are sick, diseased by their own doing or through ignorance.
But no matter how the disease may have been brought about, the Doctor is not to come to the patient and reproach him; the Doctor is to cheer up the sick, to help the invalid. By reprimanding the sick, you make the malady worse, you aggravate his illness. It is not time to find fault with them for their misdeeds and wrongs. Our duty, your duty, is to help them out of their difficulty.
THE ORIGIN OF INDIAN CASTE
Political Economy tells us about division of labour. In a factory or mill, in order that the whole business may prosper, the work ought to be divided up. There is division of labour in your own body; the eyes only see the eyes do not hear; the ears only hear, they do not perform the function of the eyes; the hands do not do the work of the feet, the feet have to do their work and the hands have to do the work peculiar to them, If we want to hear with the eyes and walk with the nose, if we want to smell with the hands, and to eat with the ears, would that be desirable? No, that would throw us back into the primitive stages of the development of protoplasm, that would make us monerons which are all stomach, one stomach performing all the functions of the eyes, ears, nose, and feet. We do not wish that. Division of labour is lawful and necessary, and on this principle of division of labour at one time in India the Caste system was systematized and established. It was simply a division of labour and nothing else, one man taking up the duty of a priest, another taking up the duty of a warrior, because this second fellow was more warlike and full of animal spirits. Being fit only for wielding weapons and for fighting and running down his enemies, he could not take up the mild task of the preacher. Here was division of labour. There were some other people who were more fit for sedentary professions as of a shopkeeper. These were not as capable of doing priestly work as of following the profession of a shop – keeper. There were those, and especially the aborigines who were not cultured in the least, who received no education, who spent their childhood and boyhood in idling away their time, in lazily whiling away their days. These people could not take up the work of a priest; they could not take up the work of a warrior, because they had received no drill, no discipline necessary for wars. They were unable to work even as shop – keepers. Shop – keeping requires some skill and some knowledge. These people were willing to take up the task of a common labourer, of a sweeper, or a labourer who breaks stones on the roadside. Thus were brought about the four divisions transacting business in India. The priestly caste were called Brahmins, the people who did the duty of warriors were called Kshatriyas, the people who worked as shop keepers or merchants were called Vaishyas and the class that pursued common manual labour were called Sudras. There was no prohibition or stringent law to prevent a man from taking up any work he liked. And is riot this division of labour prevalent everywhere, prevalent in America also? In America these classes are present; they exist in England; they are present everywhere else. Has not America its Caste? Have not Americans their Upper Ten and their common plebeians? Everywhere we have this division, natural division. But, then, what is wrong in Indian Caste?
In India there was written a work on Hindu Law called Manu Smriti. That book was a help to all classes in those days. It gave different suggestions, directions, methods and rules for conducting business to each class; it laid down convenient ways and rules as a help to the Brahmins, and it told the Kshatriyas how to do their work, and so this book was meant to serve all the classes of that time. By and by this book was misread and misinterpreted, and somehow or other everything was turned topsy-turvy, everything was upset. All this class system and the system of division of labour was stultified, ossified, mummified, or petrified. They gave it rigidity, they made it crystallized, and the nation’s life was gone. Everything became mechanical and artificial. Instead of serving the people Manu Smriti became a despotic tyrant.
DEGENERATION OF INDIAN CASTE
In a University there are usually four classes, the freshman, the sophomore, the junior, and the senior class. These classes are well and good, but the Professors do not wish that these classes should remain as they are, that the students of the lowest class should not make progress and advance to the next higher class, and the students o£ that class should not advance to the third year class, and the students of the third year class should not be promoted to the fourth year class. Classes are well and good; this division was all right, but the mistake, the terrible blunder made in India, the terrible blunder which has to account for the downfall of India today, was the stultifying, the paralyzing of this division, the crystallizing of this division. Thus arose the present Caste system of India, her greatest bane.
The fleeting rules and regulations of Manu Smriti which dealt with the then state of affairs, that concerned only the temporary matters of the day, by and by usurped and monopolized all the honour and respect which was due to Shruti or to the imperishable Truth preached in the Upanishads or the Vedanta. People began to live for the rules and laws, instead of realizing that all rules and laws are for them. The authority of the dead past was over – rated and placed far higher than the dictates of the living Atma – deva, the God within. Man was practically made only the flesh and blood, the Brahman or Kshatriya; the real Self, the eternal Truth, was ignored entirely to all intents and purposes. Fear of Caste rules and the terrific bugbear of custom would not allow a person to feel for a moment that he is one with the people of the other races. The thought of Brahmanhood or Kshatriyahood is all the time too emphatically pronounced to allow the feeling of manhood to enter the heart.
The face of the Earth has changed many times since Manu’s days, the rivers have shifted their beds, the wild forests have been hewn and burned, the flora and fauna have varied; the Kshatriya or warrior profession has been in a way entirely swept out of India. The language of the country has been washed out of the land and has become to the modern Hindu as strange and unknown as Latin or Greek; and yet the spiritual suicides of India remain up to this day abject slaves to the Caste conventionalities, rites, and rules laid down by Manu for his contemporaries. Independent thinking is looked upon as heresy, nay, the worst crime. Whatever comes through the dead language is sacred. If your reasoning does not slavishly glorify the freaks and fancies and sayings of the dead, damned are you, everybody will turn right against you. You must fit the new wine into the old bottles. All work is noble, all labour is sacred, but through the perversion of the Caste spirit, honour and disgrace have got attached to outside professions. The people who do not utilize their early age in educating themselves have to redeem their past idleness by hard manual labour in youth. They pay by the sweat of their brow for their previous laziness. Who are you or I to call their labour menial or to despise the Sudra work? Is not that kind of labour also just a£ necessary as the priest’s, the warrior’s or the merchant’s work? So low have matters been brought today that the people of the lower castes are not allowed to walk in the same street where higher caste men – Brahmins, Kshatriyas or Vaisyas – pass. They have to live in poor huts outside the respectable villages or towns inhabited by the higher caste men. If the shadow of a man of low caste falls upon a person of high caste, that high caste man will have to wash and bathe in order that he may purify himself. If anything is touched by a person of low caste, is polluted and corrupted, that thing is not worthy of use for a person of high caste. The low caste men have to live upon the crusts and crumbs given to them by the high caste people in reward for the most trying and menial labour that these low class people perform. You will excuse Rama, if in order to lay before you the facts, he is obliged to use words which you are not accustomed to hear. These low caste men, these poor Sudras or Pariahs have to sweep the streets, to rub and scrub with their hands the dirty gutters, yes, not only that, they have to clean the water closets, and as a reward for that labour, they are given stale crumbs and crusts. They cannot be rich; they are exceedingly poor. Rama’s heart aches when thinking of their state. The low caste children cannot enter the schools where higher caste boys receive education; because of their sitting there those high caste boys will be defiled. How can these downtrodden people receive any education? These people live from hand to mouth; they are dying every day, India is a favourite haunt of all kinds of plague and disease, and these poor Sudras, living in unhealthy quarters are the most hospitable host to all sorts of maladies and contagions. They generously invite cholera, plague and famines to feed voluptuously on their bodies. The poor, the low are always the feet, base or support of Society. The over – bearing Society which obstructs and stunts the growth of the lower Castes, the Society that maltreats and denies education to the poor ignorant sinners, cuts down its own feet, must crumble.
Most of these low caste men were the aboriginal inhabitants of India. The Aryans, whom you call the Hindus today, conquered the aborigines of India and then they subjected them to this most menial, abject degradation. They reduced them to this state of misery. They committed a crime, and they sowed what they are reaping today. The Hindus or the Aryans sowed, in their treatment of the aboriginal inhabitants of India, what they are reaping at the hands of the Mahomedans, and at the hands of the English who are ruling India today. This is the law of Karma or Compensation.
Rama talks to you not as a Hindu, not as an Indian, not as a person of any nationality or denomination. Rama’s stand is on ” the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Rama’s body belongs to the highest Caste in India, and Rama is appealing to you on behalf of the lowest downtrodden caste in the world. In the name of truth and justice, in the name of the Real Self, which is also the Self of the Pariahs of India, strike out all curtains and veils of sectarianism and difference and take up the cause of the suffering people of India.
How is the Caste distinction or division working and bringing about the whole nation’s downfall? It was originally intended to be the division of labour and the preservation of love. But in Indian Caste things have been turned upside down; the cart has been put before the horse. There is, in these days, division of love and harmony and preservation of ancient tasks and differences; it ought to have been otherwise. The clothes that fitted the member of a family, years ago are still forced upon him now that the muscles and bones tend to outgrow the child’s swaddling clothes. Thus, like the feet of Chinese ladies, the intellect of the Hindus is kept cramped and thwarted by constraining moulds and squeezing and compressing shoes and jackets. The orthodox education of a Hindu is like running between two walls.
There was a man who was suffering from two diseases. He had stomach ache and sore eyes. He laid his grievances before a Doctor, and the Doctor gave him two medicines, one for the eyes, another for the stomach, but this man mixed them up. The medicine which was to be taken for the stomach contained pepper, salt, and some other things as hot, in order to set his stomach aright; and the medicine which was for the eyes contained antimony, zinc, and other things of the same sort. Now we know that i£ antimony is taken, it is poisonous, and the other things, pepper and salt, may be taken, but they are not to be applied to the eyes. This man got the two medicines interchanged, and that which was to be taken he applied to the eyes, and that which was to be applied to the eyes he ate. Thus were the eyes aggravated and the stomach worsted. That is what has been done in India. There was to be division in work, but union and harmony in spirit; but as ill – luck or ignorance would have it, love and spirit is divided and outside duties are attempted to be preserved.
The Gorgon of Custom and Conventionality has, as it were, petrified and fossilized all the vitality and originality of the race. Orthodoxy has come to mean exclusivism, pessimism and dumb conservatism. In practical life the high caste man, forgetting the glory, grandeur, and sanctity of the Real Self, the Heaven within, set his foot right on the Atma, the Vedanta, and began foolishly to pride himself on his worldly position, prestige, and personal achievements. Then there was the anxiety to keep up and preserve his dignity or honour, and there was the caring for and hunting after further personal distinction and selfish aggrandisement. This penny – wise, pound – foolish policy of the high caste man eventually brought about his degradation and fall and also the ruin of the low caste mob that puffed him up and ministered to his vanity and ignorance.
How are we to remedy it? Today shall we start to crush these Hindus and Aryans because they were so cruel to the Sudras? Will this mend matters? No, no! The greatest punishment you can inflict upon a musician is to correct him and set him right. The greatest punishment you can inflict upon a criminal or sinner is to educate him, to kill the ignorance in him. If you want to kill the sinner in him, you need not kill the man; the sinner in him is ignorance. Educate him, remove his ignorance. There you have set matters right. This is the proper way to remedy matters, and to destroy the germ of the disease – ignorance.
The Aryans and Hindus have already suffered enough. You need not go from America or Europe to resent and avenge their cruelty to the aborigines. They have already very dearly paid for it. For centuries and centuries they have been under the foreign yoke, have been living in slavery. People from Afghanistan invaded the country and conquered them; people from Greece came and ruled over them. People from Persia lorded it over them. People from all quarters of the world came and bullied them. They have paid dearly for their faults. Now is the time for you to go and console them, it is time for you to go and cheer them up, to go and destroy that anti – Vedantic ignorance which makes them cling to caste.
How badly and sadly are their energies wasted and their powers frittered by this idea of caste difference! All concerns, – moral, spiritual, political, social, – are corrupted and ruined by the party spirit, antipathy, and race hatred engendered by the Indian caste. Here is, suppose, a man who goes to read Philosophy or to study History or any Science. If his mind is perturbed, he will be unable to continue his studies. In order that we may receive some education, it is necessary that our mind should be at rest. Now what is it that throws men off the balance? What is it that ruffles and – upsets them? It is the feeling of difference. When you are with kindred spirits, there is no difference, there is no rival around you; you can read successfully, but when you are surrounded by antagonistic elements, by hostile factors, you cannot do anything, you cannot read. Just mark. If the members of my family, my brothers, sisters, and other relatives, are around me, I am go on reading, 1 will not be disturbed. I am disturbed only when such element drops in which tells upon my mind, such element which is regarded as foreign, and looked upon as alien. This caste system of India impairs the intellectual powers because of rendering tta environments uncongenial, engenders restlessness in the mind by making the people believe all those around them alien, foreign, different, and breeds a spirit of rivalry, jealousy and discord. There are four big castes and these are subdivided in their turn into hundreds, and the number bids fair to become legion. In addition to that, Mahomedanism is one sect or caste, Christianity another growing sect or caste, Theosophy, Arya Samaj and a thousand other mushroom societies with glowing names and nicknames are newly introduced castes. Now if there comes a Mahomedan, the Hindu student is unbalanced; if there appears on the scene a Christian, the Hindu is unbalanced; if there comes, suppose, a Hindu of a different caste, even his presence overshadows the mind of the orthodox Hindu student.
Do you not see that this caste and this difference, which is carried too far in India, is not allowing their intellectual powers to develop properly? It does not allow them to carry on their education thoroughly. Thus, in order that our educational work in India may prosper, we must try to place the people under circumstances where their minds may be at rest, and the minds will be at rest only when this unnatural difference is done away with, when the caste spirit is dispensed with.
Rama does not say that you Americans are entirely free from caste. You are not. If you are a Christian and you cannot bear the sight of a Hindu or Buddhist, what is that? That is caste. If you are an American and you cannot bear the sight of a Spaniard or an Englishman, you are suffering from political caste. “You are a white man and you cannot work in the same room with a Negro, you are possessed by the demon of social caste. You are not entirely free from caste, if you are jealous of your neighbour or rival. To what is jealousy due? Jealousy is due to caste, nothing but caste. If you cannot bear your colleague to be praised in your presence, you are suffering from caste.
American caste is mostly determined by the almighty Dollar. There are many social evils in America. America needs to take out the beam from her own eye. America needs reform. American constitution of society is by no means perfect. America sorely needs the spirit of the Vedanta. But the state of India is wretchedly worse. The caste of America is flexible, soft, pliable, as every – thing living in the world should be. But the Indian society is like a clock run out, fixed, ossified, straight-faced, straight-laced, like the wax images in the dry goods stores of American cities.
Life evolves on the principles of heredity and adaptation or education. The law of heredity reigns supreme in the lower kingdoms..Man also owes his physical powers and organs to the principle of heredity. But man advances and rises to his most refined, full blown and perfect state more especially through adaptation and education. Chickens when hatched out of eggs are found possessed of all the intelligence their parents have. Some birds on the very instant of their birth begin to peck at flies like their ancestors. They inherit almost all their powers from the parents and in that, practically, their development and progress ends. On the other hand, man is marked for his rise, chiefly through education and adaptation. The pretty little baby is just as unintelligent and silly as the infant puppy; nay, the puppy or polly is in some respects cleverer than the little Adam. But the great difference in man and animals lies in this, that whereas the puppy or polly has by the law of heredity got almost all it requires for its perfection, the child will or can by education and adaptation so develop and evolve his inherited powers as to bring the whole world under his sway. The blunder made by the Hindus consists in practically denying the virtue of education and the law of adaptation for man, and enforcing the principle of heredity on Hindu Society to such an extent as to reduce human beings to the level of trees and animals. They practically believe not in the infinite possibilities of the soul. They believe not that a Sudra can be educated up to Brahmanhood; they would keep the son of a Sudra, Sudra, and the son of a Vaishya, Vaishya, because, as they say, a fig – tree produces fig seeds, and a dog gives birth to a dog only. This they plead and uphold in the teeth of every day facts which give them the lie plain and simple. The sons of the once most cultured thinkers or venerable Rishis and marvellous philosophers and sages, as no doubt all the Brahmans are, have not most of them fallen back into the state of stupidity, if not idiocy, through lack of culture and education? And the descendants of comparative savages and wild uncultured people, as modern Englishmen and most other Europeans are, have they not by dint of education and hard, free work risen to the heights of physical, intellectual, and political power? God is no respecter of persons, prestige, or caste. He who works carries the day. He who educates himself and acquires knowledge has the field, Rama does not say that, you are entirely free from caste, but Indians are suffering more from caste than you are. You can more easily free yourselves than most Indians can. You are in some respects nearer to Rama than Indians are, Rama wishes you to strengthen this spirit of freedom in you, to fan it on, to increase it and enlarge it, develop it more and more and evoke this spirit of freedom among the Indians, and to make them also share your felicity and happiness. In this way we can strike at the root of the evil. It is through duality, through this difference, which is antagonistic to the Vedanta, which is the opposite pole of the Vedanta, that people commit bodily, mental, or spiritual suicide.
A few more words about the disease. The Brahman class, the higher class, think it beneath their dignity to take up any manual labour. The higher class people will not reach their hands to any work which is not sanctioned by usage or custom as worthy of their dignity; for instance, a Brahman, a Kshatriya, or a Vaishya, the three higher castes will never, never take up the work of a shoemaker or the work of a barber, sailor, painter, blacksmith, dyer, tailor, mason, carpenter, weaver, potter, or a common labourer, to say nothing of the sweeper’s work. These people will die rather than touch work of this kind. They will never trade in hides or leather. Now if these professions are not to be taken up by the higher castes who have a little capital, but are to be left entirely to the lowest caste people who have no money, how are the industries and manufactures of India to prosper? How can they make any advance in the useful arts? America is rich today on account of its industries; England and other European powers are rich today on account of their industries, which are taken up by the people who have capital in their hands. What hope can there be for a people if more than three – fourths of them disdain industries and despise noble work, and call it religion to cling like creepers to the dead stock of custom and past professions?
As a natural consequence of slavish adherence to the past, and observing solely through the eyes of the dead, many other social evils which need not be described just now, are ruling rampant in India. What can be expected of them with such a dead weight of cumbersome customs of the past on their head? Help them, Americans, to stand on the shoulders of their forefathers, instead of being weighed down under their heels, nay, under their mere names. Help them to possess and own their noble heritage, instead of being possessed and owned by it. Let their heritance belong to them and not they belong to the heritance. Their social customs and domestic ways have, no doubt, some commendable aspects and redeeming features too; but ignorant, blind obedience of those ways and customs makes them insipid and lifeless.
Out of one hundred and fifty millions of women in India, which is double the whole population of the United States, hardly one per cent can write their own name. What arrant superstition and timidity will not such a state of affairs tend to transmit to posterity?
The sublime teachings of the Upanishads and the glorious Vedanta have been replaced by a sort of kitchen religion, that is, eccentric regard for diet and the ways of eating. The scope of knowledge of some of the best orthodox scholars (Pandits) does not extend – beyond a mechanical mastery of grammatical rules of old Sanskrit, which is no more spoken anywhere. Memorising and quoting ancient texts gives you superiority over all original thinkers and free reasoners. You are a grand’ savant if you can twist and torture Vedic texts to tickle] the wild humour of your fellows. The mental energies of many a young man are being lavished or wasted upon discussing and debating knotty questions like ” How many times should a man gurgle at the time of ablutions?”
Close confinement within narrow sectarian circles and extreme trust on authority has sunk there to such depths of ignorant bias that merest trifles and meaningless symbols have become the centres of deep – rooted feeling. The most solemn and extremely serious point in the popular religion of India today is extreme reverence for the cow. Some of the sects of Hinduism diverge from each other as widely as the poles, but extravagant regard for the cow is shared by each and all of the sects. The pet eccentricity, the feeling dearest and nearest to the Hindu in general is the sanctity of the cow’s body. Touch this point and you immediately excite the deepest emotions and hottest temper of the Hindu. Innumerable factions and strives are being caused every day by this touchy question. The Great Mutiny of 1857 was brought about in the name of the cow. It is related that the first Mahomedan Conquest of India was effected by taking advantage of this favourite superstition of the Hindu. Muhammad Ghori was repulsed by the brave Hindu Rajputs when he first attacked India. But he returned and invaded India again, this time with a more extensive knowledge of the whims and hobbies that lay nearest to the Hindu heart. It is said he fenced his armies by keeping rows of cows all around. What a curious bulwark! The Hindus could not attack. How could they raise their arms against the sacred cow? The merciful Hindu shrank at the sight of the mild, sacred cows, spared them, but lost the country; and for centuries and centuries, even up to the present day suffered and is suffering thousands, nay, millions and millions of cows to be slaughtered and eaten up by the merciless conquerors. This story may not be true, but a phenomenon of this kind is possible even today. Such rank ignorance prevails in the name of Ancient Religion. Now mark the anomaly. The most sacred Scriptures, the revered Vedas, instead of prohibiting the use of beef, enjoin Cow – sacrifice time and again. Here is an illustration, a passage from Yiijur Veda, Satpath Brahmana, Brihat Aranyaka Upanishad, Adhyaya VI, 4th Brahmana, 18th verse:
“And it a man wishes that a learned son should born to him, famous, a public man, a popular speaker, that he should know all the Vedas, and that he should live to his full age, then after having prepared boiled rice, with meat and butter, they, man and woman, should both eat, being fit to have offspring. The meat should be of a young or an old bull (Ukshana of Rishabha).”
Oh, where is that unflinching intrepidity of the Vedanta Nonce preached by Krishna, which, instead of wasting our holy feelings on the bodies of cows, ants, and fig trees, sets us free of all timid regard, not only of the little body which we call “my own,” but exempts us from all weakening illusion that makes us attach undue importance to the bodies of father, uncles, grandfather, teachers, and all relatives. Needed is the happy Vedanta which brings home the Imperishable Reality, the true Atma, to such a degree that the knower is not moved even if all the Suns are hurled into annihilation and millions of worlds are melted into nothingness.
They are strong intellectually, they are strong physically, spiritually also they are strong, but you may have read in Hydrostatics about what is called resultant pressure and whole pressure or total pressure. The total pressure upon a body may be enormous, immense, wonderful, but the resultant pressure may be nil, the resultant pressure may be nothing. In India, the gigantic forces of teeming millions do not co – work, do not co – operate, one force nullifies the other, one force counterbalances the other, and consequently the resultant national force is nothing. The superstitious centring of love in outward ritual and forms, the blind focussing of feelings in ceremonies and external bodies, and ignorant implicit faith reposed in the reality of appearances and rigidity of circumstances, has brought race hatred, sectarianism, party spirit, and caste feelings to such a pass that the people cannot put their wills together, and cannot produce the marvellous dynamic force which always accrues to a nation from a practical realization of underlying Unity and Oneness despite all phenomenal differences. And this lack of Applied Vedanta among the masses makes India a house divided against itself. The relations between the numerous parties are strained.
This is the bane of India, and Rama makes it*no secret that this spirit of division is encouraged by the British Government. The “Divide and Conquer” policy of the rulers widens the gulf between the Hindus and Mahomedans, and again between the different sects of the Hindus. If India is to be saved, whether spiritually, politically, socially, or in any way, it is to be saved through that kind of culture which removes discord and difference, which knocks at the head of caste division, which deals a death – blow to jealousy and laziness. These are to be eradicated from India if we wish that she should stand up, live again, hold its own against other nations and be a source of blessing to England, to America, and to the whole world* If a man is sick, we can cure him only by giving medicines which will aid and help the inner nature; it is the inner nature that cures us, the medicines are simply outside helps. They help nature and nature does the curing. Similarly, if India is to be restored, you will have to give her something which will strengthen her inner life – principle, which will invigorate and inspire her inner nature.
The diseases and difficulties of India have been laid before you. We shall consider next the different remedies suggested.
The world thinks, most religions believe, and many moralists practically advocate that precepts and rules will cure matters. Never! Never I! Never! 11 Precepts, binding principles, artificial rules of conduct, and unnatural morality will never cure matters. Remember that. ‘Thou shalt not do this’ and ‘Thou shalt do that’ will never bring about any reform. If these rules and these wise counsels could mend matters, the promised Kingdom of God would have been established long ago, the world would have been a heaven and not the kind of world it is today. These will not cure matters. Your punishment, your jails and prisons will not improve matters. The world will have to realize, today or tomorrow, that it is a great blunder to believe in the efficacy or virtue of jails and prison houses. Threats and punishment never prevented sin. In order effectually to mend matters, you will have to instil knowledge, culture, living knowledge, that is what is necessary. People say, bother us not with subtleties or fine theories. Bring us no more mere ideas.
O men, what is it that rules you? What is it that governs the world? It is ideas, ideas, ideas only. It is your inner light, your inner knowledge and nothing else that really leads you. Instead of keeping jails and prisons, you will have to teach the criminals, instruct them and acquaint them with the divine laws that govern the world. It is said, “Knowledge is virtue.” How true! Here is a child. The child burns his finger by touching fire. Why? Because the child does not know that fire burns. Acquaint the child with the truth that fire burns, the child will never touch fire again. Acquaint the people with the spiritual laws, bring light to mankind. This is the remedy. The process may be slow, snail slow, but it is sure, it may be very slow, sluggish, but it is the only remedy, the only effective cure.
There is no other way. Thus, by Christian ethics, punishments and rules or regulations, India can never be raised. Living knowledge of the truth is the one thing needful.
Americans and the English have very beautiful houses. The Indians have very poor houses, it is true; but to build good, beautiful, magnificent palaces in India, and try to make Indians mere hot house plants like Europeans, will not improve matters. In many cases where the houses are palatial and mansion – like, the people are not happy; worms, insects, crawling snakes often live in beautiful tombs. It may not be the rule, but there are evidences enough to show that outside splendour and grandeur brings no happiness. That is a fact. If the world does not realize it, the world is to blame for it. Riches will not improve matters. Rama brings in Vedanta, says something which does not humour everybody’s desire, does not fall in with everybody’s expectations; but it is a fact that riches will bring no happiness. If Europe and America are following riches and are taking them to be a source of happiness, Europe and America are making a blunder. Rama does not recommend that Indians should advance by imitating the errors of America and Europe. Material prosperity pursued for its own sake was never achieved by anybody. What nation or person is there that does not wish to accumulate all the wealth of the earth, and yet how very few realize this end? Prosperity always follows in the wake of labour and love or labour of love. Those nations advance that consciously or unconsciously possess more of this master – key to success – the spirit of practical Vedanta. Ignorant fools do not cultivate the tree, but are eager to eat the fruit thereof. Pseudo politicians think of bringing about national rise without striking the keynote of power, i.e. the spirit of freedom and love. Now the life principle of every nation unconsciously, and of India consciously, is practical Vedanta, the spirit of freedom, justice and love. This inner nature of India should be strengthened. Domestic, social, political, or religious salvation of every country lies in Vedanta carried into effect.
There is a special peculiarity of India. Although the Hindus are not over-religious in the true sense of the word, their regard or zeal for religion is so overwhelming that you cannot popularize and spread anything among them, be it social, political, or of any character, except in the name of religion. The Indian National Congress or any body and organization aiming at social or political reform cannot touch the masses, and appeal to their souls, because of not coming through the channel of religion. That being the case, there can be no methods more effective to introduce all kinds of reform in India than the preaching of practical Vedanta, which embraces political, social, domestic, intellectual, and moral liberty and love; which marvellously harmonises freedom and peace, energy and tranquillity, bravery and love; and all this in the name of religion: all this in the name of the Scriptures (Shruti, Upanishads) which lie nearest to the heart of every Hindu; in the name of the Vedas than which there is nothing more revered to a Hindu, for which every Hindu would most readily lay down his life. Again, this spirit of freedom and love is not to be derived from Upanishads, the Hindu Bible, by the torturing of texts; it is there as plain as anything. Vedanta appeals to the masses simply because it is the teaching of their Bible, and it appeals to the educated Hindu because there is no philosophy worth the name under the Sun which does not support the Vedantic Monism, and no Science which does not uphold and advance the cause of Vedanta or Truth.
Strange to say, Indians, who have the perennial springs of Vedanta in their Scriptures, are suffering like Tantalus; they are not drinking of those springs. Just as for a long time, the Roman Catholics suffered from dreadful ignorance of the Bible which was the most beloved thing of all to them in the world, there are some in India, though not very many, who possess a thorough knowledge of Vedanta. But their knowledge is merely theoretical. They are like a student who knows the rules of multiplication and division by heart, but has not applied those rules to work out a single sum of multiplication or division. Most of the Pandits read Vedanta like a supposed student of Chemistry, who does not perform a single experiment. Most of the Sannyasis are no more than dasas or slaves of Caste and form themselves, instead of being real Swamis or Masters. No doubt, Professors of Vedanta you will find plentiful in India, but most of them are like a University Professor of Hydrodynamics, who teaches about the ascent of balloons, the sailing of ships, the principles of swimming, but has never waded across a ford. You people of America may not be Professors of Hydrostatics, but you are like the practical boatman who does not presume or pretend to possess a theoretical knowledge of the principles of hydrostatics, but unconsciously wields those principles in practice, far more than the Professor does. Thus, O Americans, can you serve the cause of India, and, consequently, of the whole world, by combining your practical energies with the spiritual vigour of Vedanta and carrying this complete culture to India. As it is today, the Swamis and Pandits in India are singing lullabies to prolong the lethargic sleep of their race.
It is suggested that the starting of industrial Colleges and Institutions will mend matters. Will it? No; such institutions may bring about a temporary relief to some extent, but the real difficulty, the chief trouble and great pain cannot be removed by mere industrial Colleges in India. At present, what do the labourers in India get for their work? Take a potter, for instance, he makes twenty pots, plates; he labours over them for a long time, and he gets one cent for twenty pots! One cent for twenty pots!! Some other workers get about five cents for their long day’s labour. There are some high caste men, who read in the Colleges and Universities, get Degrees and come out with flying colours, Masters of Arts. What do they receive as their monthly pay? Usually not more than 60 rupees, i.e. twenty dollars for one month, which is two thirds of a dollar in one day, about sixty – six cents, but even this is not what an ordinary Master of Arts gets; an ordinary Master of Arts will get about forty five cents in one day This is the state of affairs in India. In America, what does your common labourer get? Two dollars for one day. Now, how is it that Indians are so poorly paid? They clothe very poorly, eat very poorly, their houses are very poor, their standard of comfort is extremely low. Why is it? Because there is little capital in the country. Don’t you see? The capital is being drained away. If we start Industrial Colleges in India like the Carlisle Institute for American Indians and Tuskegee Institute for Negroes in this country, that will do some good undoubtedly, it will teach the people to labour and work; but to whose glory, to whose advancement, for whose benefit shall we take up this labour? Please tell. To glorify principally the capitalists of England. All the big concerns of India are in the hands of English merchants. The Indian merchants are nominal capitalists; the capitalists from Europe and America make a cat’s paw of them. In spits of industrial Colleges and training, what will Indians get? Will the people be benefited? They will be suffering ail the same; their starvation and their famine cannot be cured by that. The lasting remedy is not to come from Industrial Colleges. Then, what do we need? We need a great many things, but at present the most immediate need is to educate the higher castes, as well as lower castes, train them, instil and drill into them the spirit of freedom, and fill them with unselfish power of Truth. That is the need. This perfect culture will embrace technical education, also, but industries alone will not do. Industries are a secondary matter; something higher is more urgently wanted.
There are forces already working in India, more or less, on the desirable lines. Let us consider their work. Christian missionaries go from America and strenuously work there and try to break down caste, so they claim. They are trying to educate the people, they are trying to help the Pariahs, the lowest caste. But let us examine how far their claims are right. India is grateful to them for doing something for the lowest caste. They are to some extent educating the lowest caste people who could never be taught reading and writing under any other circumstances. That is noble work indeed. Mission Colleges and Schools are imparting higher education to higher caste people also. We are thankful to American Missions for having already done a great deal in the cause of educating the Indians, but we ought not to neglect the dark side of the question. These Christian Missionaries who go to India draw a salary of 300 rupees a month at least, three hundred Indian dollars each month. They live in right royal style, like nabobs; they domineer over the people, bring about strife and discord in the Hindu families, and add another caste to the already existing numerous castes of India. The Indians that are converted to Christianity become usually bitter towards the other Hindus, they do not mix with Hindus, the Hindus do not mix with them, the relations are strained, the gulf becomes very wide, and there is worse and worse schism wrought every day. Girls are separated from their parents, and wives from their husbands. The Christians want to replace the dogmas of Hindu uneducated masses by the far worse dogmas of the Church. Christian charity transforms itself into the act of smarting criticism or that of bribing small children to leave their parents, and place their tender necks under the yoke of Churchian superstitions. Under such circumstances your well – meaning Christianity tends to drive away and parch up any drop of fellow – feeling, sympathy or love that may have survived the ravages of bitter sectarianism and party spirit in the Hindu heart. This* is the dark side. Thus we see that this will not mend matters. Whereas we are thankful to the Americans for spending millions and millions of dollars with the very best of intentions, Rama wants to draw your attention to the fact that the proposed remedy is not to the point, it only aggravates matters.
We are thankful to the English Government for many reasons. The British Government has done a great deal in breaking down the original caste in India; the British Government did encourage education in India; the British Government did start Universities and Colleges there. It was owing to the British rule that Hindus were able to systematically read their own ancient Scriptures. This much for the bright side. Now for the dark side. The British Government has drained India of everything. The British Government has given Indians some smattering of superficial education, but it has in every way impoverished India and reduced her to such a scale that if the measures of the Government are not changed or checked within a very short time, the Hindus will be devoured by poverty and wiped off from the face of the earth. The Indian Princes and the Indian nobles having lost all their precious jewels and power, are left mere carpet-knights with hollow rattling titles and vain empty names. Again, as to the education imparted in India. In these days the British Government has commenced to grudge the intellectual elevation of the people; when Rama was in India, there were measures being taken to stop all higher education among the masses. Now, what is taught in these Universities? Dead languages, speculative philosophy, mathematics, past history, unapplied chemistry, and similar studies. In no University, in no College, is taught any living useful language excepting English. The people are taught English because they have to work under the English officers. The English do not want to take the trouble of learning the language of the people; they want the people to learn their language in order to serve them. Mathematics is taught and the standard of Mathematics m these Universities is much higher than in America. They are taught metaphysics, speculative philosophy and other abstract Sciences, but even in the so – called Arts Colleges, no practical Science or useful art is taught. Applied Chemistry is not taught, weaving and mining are not taught in the Universities. Painting, pottery, mechanical engineering are not taught. Even these useful arts are withheld from the people, to say nothing of armoury. The people are not allowed to keep any arms in their houses; nobody can keep a big knife, even in his house; a man who keeps a big knife is put into jail, no armoury, no discipline is allowed. From this you know about the unsubstantial nature of education received by those few wealthy Hindus or Mahomedam who can spare money to pay the exorbitant tuition fees of Indian Colleges.
There are some newly started noble sects in India that are doing splendid work of reform, but the deep ingrained spirit of hero worship and submission to authority makes them averse to anything that comes not in the name of their leaders. Every sect or movement fences itself with names and personalities. Instead of making the deeds and sayings of their dead leaders as starting points for further progress, they make them the bounding lines or unsurpassable barriers and hedges. Thus do the indigenous bodies of reform in India begin to Stagnate.
Now having laid before you the disease of India, and also having told you by what methods this disease can be removed, Rama asks you to feel, feel for India. That is the primary thing needful. If you feel for India and take up the matter in right earnest, everything can be accomplished “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Have a will to do something for India. Are you willing to do anything for India to advance the good of humanity? Will you love India with all your heart? Are you willing to sacrifice your life for the cause of a down – trodden race? Are you willing | to devote your time and life for her cause? Three hundred millions of people form a large proportion of the entire population of the world. Three hundred millions of people! We can train them, educate them, put their energies at their best. If these three hundred million men begin to work with you, if they begin to think on the same lines as you do, if they begin to exercise their brains on the same points as you do, will you not be aided and helped? If the energies and brains of Indians be spared from being dissipated in petty chafings and worries, and be employed in high thoughts and noble feelings, the vast population of India will produce more Franklins and Edisons than America. Thus by utilizing Indian energies, would not the world be enriched? To enrich the world, to help your fellow – men, to help yourselves, feel for India and try to bring them on the same level with you. That is to be effected.
SUGGESTIONS FOR ELEVATING INDIA
Now, how can this be done? Rama has two suggestions to make. One thing, of course, is to send Americans, right earnest Americans, Americans, the martyrs to Truth, to India. Do not send to us the refuse of America. Do not hoist on India the people who cannot get any job in America. Send to India the cream of society, the cream of America, that is what is needed there. We want there people who will go and work among the Pariahs, the lowest caste – ungrateful labour. These Sudras will not reward you, they will not even be thankful for your work, because these people are very poor, illiterate, ignorant; they will not even give you clothing, and food in reward for what you do for them. Why? Because they themselves have no food and clothing. Needed are men who will go and work among these people, who will starve themselves and help those poor men. Will not men from America take up this work? They must come from noble America, from sacrificing America. Rama expects to get a good lot of people, a happy band of men who will take up this work. Rama wants not missionaries of the type who go to India, live in rich bungalows and lord it over the people, who keep lolling in carriage and two, and rolling in worldly honour and plenty. These people cannot effect the salvation or the rise of India. We want martyrs in the name of Truth, real workers, sacrificing men who will be willing and ready to he down with the Pariahs upon the floor and who are content to be clothed in rags with them, who are content to starve with them, who are content to share with them the tough and hard crusts of half cooked bread. People of that type we want, who can forego their sensuous comforts and love to renounce selfish pleasures. Now you will say, “This is hard work,” and “That is a most difficult thing to execute.” No, call it not a trying, thankless task. There is enough reward for it. Personal experience shows that if we try to raise another man, the other man may or may not be elevated, but we are surely uplifted. Action and reaction are equal and opposite. It is a fallacy, it is a nonsensical idea for people to undertake anything with the thought of benefiting others. Americans, you may or may not have been benefited from Rama’s lectures; Rama has been benefited by them, and that is reward enough. Everybody’s experience shows it. Take up this cause with no eye upon reward. Your work will be its own reward. Unselfish work lays God under debt, and God is bound to pay back with interest. Americans, go to India and preach broadcast Self – Knowledge, Self – Reliance and Self – Respect or Vedanta. You heard Rama’s lecture the other night on the “Secret of Success,” and it was proved that the only secret of success is practical Vedanta, and nothing else on the face of the earth. That is the only secret of success. Realize that Vedanta, realize that yourselves, live it and go there; you may not open your lips; your very conduct, your deportment, your behaviour will educate them.
The most important duty which it is worthwhile to impress on the attention of those who visit India is to evoke in the Indians an adventurous spirit. The poor fellows live not in the broad universe; they live in poor, little private worlds of their own creation (Jiva Srishti). The hampering caste system forbids a Hindu to step outside India. Visiting foreign lands and even embarking on board ships is not in keeping with stringent orthodoxy. At present the wealthy Hindus who pluck courage and heresy enough to put orthodoxy out of countenance and visit other countries, especially England, for receiving education, spend thousands upon thousands of Indian dollars abroad and usually return to India as full-fledged barristers or lawyers, and, directly or indirectly, encourage litigation and spend the money tortured out of poor peasants, their clients, in buying brittle glassware, cutlery, tapestry, pictures of English make in addition to some ruinous English spirits and drinks. What a terribly unproductive consumption of the capital robbed from poor starving labourers whose irritability and litigancy grows worse and worse according; as their poverty and hunger increases.
There is a sore necessity of introducing in Indian poor castes the adventurous spirit of the Japanese, Japanese boys come to America with just enough to pay their steerage passage. They work in the houses of American gentlemen and also manage to attend different kinds of schools. After spending a few years this way in America, they return to Japan with their pockets brimful of money and their brains full of knowledge.
It is worth while teaching Indiana to give up then. Superstitions, clinging to the soil; serfs of the soil they have made themselves through caste. They regard it somewhat sacrilegious to quit their forefathers’ land and thus make themselves serfs of the soil. In order to make them abreast of time, we should teach them that they ought to emigrate. People emigrated from Europe* came here to America, and they raised America to such a height that Europe is cast into the shade. If Indiana emigrate, come out to America, come out to other places; India will have fewer mouths to feed, and the people who are left behind will be better off for that* and those who emigrate will also fare better. For the health of our physical system the blood must keep circulating, so for the preservation of world’s health, or any country’s health, the people must keep moving, circulating and mixing with each other frequently, otherwise stagnation or death will ensue. If we go from England and America and try to educate Hindus, however much we may try, we cannot evoke the spirit of real freedom, because the common surroundings, the ordinary environments of the people are paralyzing, the suggestions from all sides keep these people hypnotized into weakness. In order that the hypnotism may be shaken off, the^ should leave the country; and when they will visit America and other countries, even if they learn no books or trade there, by simply mixing with the foreign civilized people they will unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, get the spirit of freedom, their horizon will be enlarged, their sphere will expand, their thoughts will be extended. This is education by itself. To see other lands is education by itself.
In India a Hindu or Mahomedan, or an ordinary native cannot dare to approach an Englishman or American. He is afraid of a white man, stands at a respectful distance of twenty or thirty feet; he shivers and quivers at the sight of pants and hat. In a railway carriage if a European is sitting, very seldom will a native be allowed to sit with him. On railway stations. Rama saw natives ticked out and driven out by Englishmen. If a European sees a native coming towards his house, the European asks his servant to go and drive him off, kick him out of the grounds. Thus by foreigners the Indians are hypnotized into weakness. And again by their own caste fellows, by their own country – men, they are hypnotized into jealousy, fretting, worry and differences: – he is somebody, I am somebody else, he is my rival, that is my enemy. Again in all the Government offices, the Government, through disposing of the coveted posts on caste or race considerations, encourages party spirit, and manages matters in such a way that each fellow should become inimical to his brother, and regard him a bitter enemy. The present political and social condition of India will not allow the spirit of freedom to take root in the people. What is education? The goal of education is freedom and nothing else. If education does not bring me freedom and independence (Moksha), fie upon it, away with it, I do not want it. If education keeps me bound, I have no use for it. Thus, in order to evoke in them true education or freedom, they should be helped to change their surroundings. How to effect this? One way to effect this is to go there and teach them.
THE URGENT NEED AND IMMEDIATE RELIEF
There is a more immediate way. O Americans, could you not raise, in the name of truth and justice, in the name of religion and philosophy, in the name of Science and Art, could you not raise enough money to call Some Graduates of Indian Universities to come over to America, and here to receive education in your industrial, mechanical and other useful concerns, in your Colleges of Arts, in your armouries and other places, educate them and teach them weaving and mining and other useful arts. This is the most direct way of elevating India. Raise funds here and bring the Indians to this country. Those Indians who receive education in America, could return to India and start Industrial Universities. They know the ways of the poorer classes, they know the language, habits and customs of the Indians, and they can do better work among the Indians as Professors than your Americans can. American Professors can only teach the higher castes, they can only teach the rich men who know English already; the poorer classes do not know English. In order to teach the poor we require people who know their language and their ways. This is the most efficient way and the right method to uplift Indians.
Indians, when they step upon the free American coast and find white ladies and gentlemen ready to warmly shake hands with them and receive them as equals, their fears are fled, the white man remains no longer a bugbear, faith in self is restored, the veil of Maya is rent and the spirit of freedom is practically secured. Let the Indian Graduates, trained in America, return as Missionaries of work and freedom in their motherland. Let the Gospel of Science and Art be preached by them in India. Let the people of India be helped to spread practical Vedanta in their country. This way when the wound gets healed, the scab will fall off of itself. When the people get the right kind of education, the other difficulties will disappear of themselves. If you could bring some Indian Graduates over here and educate them and instruct them for two or three years, suppose, these people on their return to India can immediately start work, can start business, work useful for themselves as well as for the poorest classes.
Even one capitalist of America could take up this noble work, could stand up and say, that he is going to layout, say, $1,000,000, to educate the Graduates of Indian Universities in America; if one of you today take up that task, take up that work and deposit even $100,000, we can establish respectable scholarships for poor Indians to be educated in America. Rama appeals to the American Press, Rama appeals to each and all of the Americans. If any one of you can step forward and take up this duty, you are helping the cause of the whole world. Supposing there is no one among those present here who is so rich, could you not lay this matter before your rich friends, before your rich neighbours? Could you not ask your rich friends to have an interview with Rama? If you can’t pay thousands, could you not contribute your mite? You can do that at least, Rama does not want you to give him anything to eat. Rama does not ask you to give him any clothing. Perish these lips if they beg anything for personal interest. This cause is yours just as much as Rama’s. Rama is just as much an American as an Indian, The wide world is my home and to do good my religion. To Rama, Christ is just as near and dear to the heart as Krishna; to Rama Buddha is just as much his as Shankara. Kama belongs not to this sect or that. Rama is yours, truth is yours. In the name of truth, in the name of justice, in the name of humanity and American freedom, you are requested to step forward, feel for India. What are you willing to do? Some can serve with pen, some help with speech, talk to their friends about it and make speeches on the subject. Some can help with manual labour, some can aid with purse. Now say, Americans, each and all of you, say, in what way you are willing to take up this cause. How will you help? The rich should give money, the heroes should step forward as teachers to go to India and work among the people, among even the low caste Pariahs. Gifted talkers should speak to their rich friends about this cause. The Press must take up this matter with the pen. All those who are willing to help and are in right earnest about the truth, those who love their own self, are asked to come to Rama and give their names and addresses, writing out with their own hand in what way they are willing to help. If they want to deposit any money, the money will be placed in the hands of trustees, Americans, your own Americans will keep that money. If you want to come and offer your services in other ways, do so right away that we may make definite arrangement to commence the work systematically. What are you willing to do? This is Rama’s appeal to Americans in behalf of India.
Rama makes this appeal impersonally; Rama is not personally concerned with it, Rama is free wherever he be; Rama is not bound in any way. All the worlds are Rama’s, Rama can live everywhere. But, see, India is your own feet, and you are the head. Neglect not the feet; if the feet are sore and paining, you will totter down. God comes to you hungry in the bodies of Indians, feed Him; God comes to you naked in the bodies of Hindus, clothe Him; God comes to you needy and troubled in the shape of those people, attend to him. Those people are benighted and suffering in order that you may be blessed with the noble virtues of charity and love. They are fallen in order that you may be saved. Thank your stars that you have got an occasion for exercising your higher feelings and noble endeavours. Avail yourselves of the opportunity, gladly, cheerfully, lend them a helping hand. America is educating Chinamen, Japanese, Red Indians, and Negroes. America is sparing no pains even to prevent cruelty to animals. 0 America, here are the Hindus, your own flesh and blood, Aryans, most grateful, affectionate, faithful; neglect them not.
N. B. – All those who wish to know more on these lines can correspond with
RAMA SWAMI. c/o D. Albert Hiller,
M.D., 10/11 Sutter Street,
San Francisco, Cal., U.S.A.
This Lecture was originally printed in America. Then about the end of 1903 it was published in an issue of Indian Mirror (Calcutta), Again it was issued in a pamphlet form by the Edward Press, Sukkur, in April, 1905. The political condition of India has since changed in certain respects and some of the Swamiji’s statements are no longer correct.