[Minneapolis Tribune, December 15, 1893]
Swami Vive Kananda, the Brahmin priest, was greeted by a packed house last evening at the First Unitarian Church, when he appeared before his second Minneapolis audience. Vive Kananda is a bright, quick witted talker, ready at all points to attack or defend, and inserts a humor into his speeches that is not lost upon his auditors. He spoke last evening under the auspices of the Kappa Kappa Gammas of the University, and the audience embraced a large number of earnest thinking men and women, pleased to be enlightened upon the “Manners and Customs of India,” which was his chosen subject.
Robed in his native garb, with his hands for the most part clasped behind his back, Kananda paces back and forth the narrow platform, talking as he paces, with long pauses between his sentences, as if willing that his words should sink into the deepest soil. His talk is not so weighty that the frivolous mind may not appreciate some of his sayings, but he also speaks a philosophy that carries gravest truth. He tells of the manners and customs of India, of the divided life between the male and female, of the reverence for and holiness of women, and again of their degeneracy; of the calm and peaceful life, that yet is not true life because it is not liberty; he speaks of the Mohammedans, who form one – fifth of the Indian population, and that 65,000,000, equal to the entire population of the United States. He describes the magnificence of the temples, the art of the jugglers, who are the gypsies of the Indian race, and he touches upon the superstitions of the people, of how they fill the water jars and stand them in the doorway before starting on a journey; he speaks of the metaphysical knowledge of the plowman, who yet only knows that he “pays taxes to the government”; he admits the reverence of the Hindu for the river Ganges, and his ever lingering wish that he shall die on its banks; he tells all these things in a quiet, half supercilious voice that presently leads to some remark on the American way of doing things, and then his audience is in a ripple of laughter, and a tremor of clapping expresses amused acknowledgement of his sarcasm. . . .
When some one at the close of his lecture asked him “What class of people are reached and converted by the missionaries?” he quickly replied, “You know as much about that, the American sees the reports, we never do”, he has turned the query into a cause for smiling, and while the house regains its composure he paces quietly to and fro. The address was followed with the closest attention and was supplemented by several questions and answers among the audience, from whom he invited interrogation.
[Minneapolis Journal, December 15, 1893]
Swami Vivekananda Entertains Another Large Audience
A large number of people assembled at the Unitarian church last evening for the purpose of listening to Swami Vivekananda of India. The customs and manners of the people of that country were described, and during his lecture the Brahmin took occasion to show up some of the rough points of America. He is of the humorist order and his quick replies and witty sallies rarely failed to evoke applause. He would not admit that his people were wrong in everything, but there were a great many things peculiar to India which the Americans did not approve of and yet which might be all right. He had never seen husband and wife go before a magistrate to tell their troubles. They grew up with the idea that they were to be married and they loved each other as brothers and sisters.
He described the customs of his country, the temples, the art of the juggler and all of the other peculiarities of oriental countries in a manner that was charming. Following the address a number of questions were asked by persons in the audience.