There is no Indian who I respect more than Swami Vivekananda.
Because it is for him that I am able to say that I am Religious without practicing Religion as scripted.
Allow me to present three of my favorite stories from Swamiji’s life. Documented.
1: The Khetri Story
There was a time that Swamizi was staying with a Muslim. In Rajputana.
Munshi Jagmohanlal, PS to Raja of Khetri asked ‘ You are a Hindu Monk. How is it that you live with a Muslim? Your food may now and then be touched by him.’
‘I am a Sannyasi above all social conventions. I can dine with a Bhangi (sweeper) too.
I am not afraid of God. He sanctions it.
I am not afraid of the scriptures. They allow it.
But I am afraid of you. And your society. You know nothing of God and Scriptures.
I see Brahman everywhere. Manifested in the meanest creature.
For me there is nothing high or low.’
(SOURCE: The Life of Swami Vivekananda by his Eastern and Western Disciples 1:280)
- Practical Patriotism:
“Practical patriotism is not a mere sentiment or even emotion of love of the Motherland. It is a passion to serve our fellow countrymen.
I have gone all over India on foot and have seen with my own eyes the ignorance, misery and squalor of our people. My soul is on fire and I am burning with a fierce desire to change such evil conditions.
Let no one talk of their karma (fate) to suffer.
If it was their karma to suffer, it is our karma to relieve to relieve their suffering.
If you want to find God, serve man.”
(Source: Reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda, Advaita Ashram, 100)
You are mistaken. Utterly mistaken, if you think I have a work, as Mrs. Bull thinks. I have no work under or beyond the Sun.
I have a message. And I will give it in my own fashion.
I will neither Hinduize my message, nor Christianize it, nor make it any “ize” in the World. I will only my-ize it and that is all.
Liberty or Mukti, is all my religion. And everything that tries to curb it, I will avoid by fight or flight.
(Letter to Mary hale, February 1, 1895. Complete works of Swami Vivekananda, Advaita Ashram. 5:72)
(My Note: No words in the sentences above have been changed. But as I read these lines, I imagine Swamiji speaking to us. Therefore, I have taken the liberty of pausing with punctuation. I have read twice the above and the original without the liberal use of punctuation. And I have found no where any loss of the essence of what Swamiji was saying to us.)