I am grateful to the lands of the West for the many warm hearts that received me with all the love that pure and disinterested souls alone could give; but my life’s allegiance is to this my motherland, if I had a thousand lives, every moment of the whole series would be con-secreted to your service, my countrymen, my friends!
For, to this land I owe whatever I possess, physical, mental and spiritual, and if I have been successful in anything, the glory is yours, not mine. Mine alone are my weaknesses and failures, as they come through my inability of profiting by the mighty lessons with which this land surrounds one, even from one’s very birth.
I am thoroughly convinced that no individual or nation can live by holding itself apart from the community of others, and whenever such an attempt has been made under false ideas of greatness, policy or holiness—the result has always been disastrous to the seceding one.
To my mind, the one great cause of the downfall and the degeneration of India was the building of a wall of custom—whose foundation was hatred of others—round the nation, and the real aim of which in ancient times was to prevent the Hindus from coming in contact with the surrounding Buddhistic nations.
A bit of public demonstration was necessary for Guru Maharaja’s work. It is done and so far so good.
I do not believe in a God or religion which cannot wipe the widow’s tears or bring a piece of bread to the orphan’s mouth.
I believe in God and I believe in man. I believe in helping the miserable; I believe in going to hell to save others.
India has suffered long, the religion eternal has suffered long. But the Lord is merciful. Once more He has come to help His children, once more the opportunity is given to fallen India to rise. India can only rise by sitting at the feet of Sri Ramakrishna. His life and his teachings are to be spread far and wide, are to be made to penetrate every pore of Hindu society.
My master used to say that these names, Hindu, Christian, etc. stand as great bars to all brotherly feelings between man and man. We must try to break them down first. Well, we will have to work hard and must succeed.
That is why I desire so much to have a centre. Organisation has its faults, no doubt, but without that nothing can be done.
Sankaracharya had caught the rhythm of the Vedas, the national cadence. Indeed I always imagine that he had some vision such as mine when he was young, and recovered the ancient music that way.
But finally the Parliament of Religions opened and I met kind friends who helped me right along. I worked a little, collected funds, started two papers, and so on After that I went over to England and worked there. At the same time, I carried on the work for India in America, too.
My plan for India, as it has been developed and centralised, is this; I have told you of our lives as monks there, (in India) how we go from door to door, so that religion is brought to everybody without charge, except, perhaps, a broken piece of bread. That is why you see the lowest of the low in India holding the most exalted religious ideas…But ask a man, “Who are the English?” — he does not know. “Who governs you?” “We do not know”. “What is the Government?” They don’t know. But they know philosophy. It is a practical want of intellectual education about life on this earth they suffer from. These millions and millions of people are ready for life beyond this w7orld—is not that enough for them? Certainly not. They must have a better piece of bread and a better of rag on their bodies. The. great, question is how to get that better bread and better piece of frag for these sunken millions.
First I must tell you, there is great hope for them, because you see, they are the gentlest people on earth, not that they are timid. When they want to ‘fight, they fight like demons. The best soldiers the English have, are recruited from the peasantry of India. Death is a thing of no importance to them. Their attitude is, “Twenty times I have died before, and I shall die many times after this; what of that”? They never turn back. They are not given to much emotion, but they make very good fighters.
Their instinct, however, is to plough. If you rob them, murder them, tax them, do anything to them, they will be quiet and^gentle, so long as you leave them free to practise the^ religion. They never interfere with the r