Tuesday 30 August 2016

Universal Brotherhood.

The preparations must be on for celebrating the Universal Brotherhood Day befittingly. We celebrate Universal Brotherhood Day on 11 September to commemorate the message of Universal Brotherhood given by Swami Vivekananda to the Western audience in the Parliament of Religions at Chicago. As such, the festivals of organization are for Shaktipradarshan (celebrating festival in such a way that people get insight into the noble objective of the organization), Shaktiparikshan (celebrating the festival by employing our whole organizational strength, thus celebrating it on grand scale) and Shaktisamvardhan (enriching ourselves in the purpose and philosophy of our work). In certain festivals, we focus more on Shaktisamvardhan. However, the function of Universal brotherhood Day includes all three. This year we can focus on this thought during Universal Brotherhood Day celebrations.

The search for strife-less society, was and is going on all over the world. It was felt that the differences lead to clashes, so if there is Oneness then it can bring about brotherhood. Unfortunately, this search for Oneness in the West led to insistence in uniformity of god, declaring one’s own god as the only true god, whereas in India it led to the principle that everything is true and valid, and is called differently as per the evolution, situation or needs of the people.

Swami Vivekananda explains this in detail in his speech “The Mission of Vedanta”. He says, “We observe in the histories of Babylon and among the Jews an interesting religious phenomenon happening. We find that each of these Babylonian and Jewish peoples was divided into so many tribes, each tribe having a god of its own, and that these little tribal gods had often a generic name. The gods among the Babylnians were all called Baals, and among them Baal Merdoch was the chief. In course of time, one of these many tribes would conquer and assimilate the other racially allied tribes, and the natural result would be that the god of the conquering tribe would be placed at the head of all the gods of the other tribes. Thus, the so-called boasted monotheism of the Semites was created. Among the Jews, the gods went by the name of Molochs. Of these, there was one Moloch who belonged to the tribe called Israel, and he was called the Moloch-Yahweh… In time, this tribe of Israel slowly conquered some of the other tribes of the same race, destroyed their Molochs, and declared its own Moloch to be the Supreme Moloch of all the Molochs. And I am sure, most of you know the amount of bloodshed, of tyranny, and of brutal savagery that this religious conquest entailed. Later on, the Babylonians tried to destroy this supremacy of Moloch-Yahweh, but could not succeed in doing so.

It seems to me, that such an attempt at tribal self-assertion in religious matter might have taken place on the frontiers of India also. Here, too, all the various tribes of the Aryans might have come into conflict with one another for declaring the supremacy of their several tribal gods; but India’s history was to be otherwise, was to be different from that of the Jews. India alone was to be, of all lands, the land of toleration and of spirituality; and therefore the fight between tribes and their gods did not long take place here. For one of the greatest sages that was ever born found out here in India even at that distant time, which history cannot reach, and into whose gloom even tradition itself dares not peep – in that distant time the sage arose and declared, Ekam Sad Viprah Bahudha Vadanti – “He who exists is one; the sages call Him variously.” This is one of the most memorable sentences that was ever uttered, one of the grandest truths that was ever discovered. And for us Hindus this truth has been the very backbone of our national existence….Therefore the world is waiting for this grand idea of universal toleration. It will be a great acquisition to civilization. Nay, no civilization can long exist unless this idea enters into it. No civilization can grow unless fanaticism, bloodshed and brutality stop. No civilization can begin to lift up its head until we look charitably upon one another; and the first step towards that much needed charity is to look charitably and kindly upon the religious convictions of others.”

The religions like Christianity and Islam, which are the further developments in Semitic religion of Jews, also followed the same suit. Their search for unity became exclusive saying their religion alone is true. This exclusive approach led them to work vigorously and violently to wipe out any dissenting voice, idea or way of worship. Though it all started with the search for brotherhood or in the name of brotherhood, instead of brotherhood it actually led to more bloodshed. This search for unity based on the person or ideology is such an illusive thought that even the variations in their own religion are not tolerated. Thus the wars between Catholics and Protestants or Shia and Sunni continue. The universal brotherhood is missing even in amongst these particular exclusive religions. The conversion of each other within the religion also goes on. The Protestants want to convert the Catholics and vice versa. Once I had met a foreign catholic Christian father who was working for nearly 50 years in Ranchi area. I asked him, ‘why do you convert?’ He said, ‘if I have something good with me should I not share it with others. When I know that believing in Jesus alone would give salvation, it is my duty to tell that to others.’ I asked him, ‘but then why do you convert the Protestants? They are following the same Jesus’. He said, ‘They have to pray to Jesus as we pray, as our Church tells only then they can go to heaven.’ Swami Vivekananda says, “I have found out by experience that all evil comes, as our scriptures say, relying on differences and that all good comes from faith in equality, in the underlying sameness and Oneness of things. People in the world can be brought together only on the basis of principles.” Insistence for adopting of same prophet or ideology cannot lead to oneness.

In many of the Christian countries, they do not allow the Church of the other countries to work in their own country though the god that they follow is the same! People cannot be brought together in the whole world in the name of one god. Our sages gave the principle to rally the people around, “Ekam Sad Viprah bahudha Vadanti” Once the Arunachali commented, ‘The Christian missionaries have divided us not only as Christians and Non-Christians but also in amongst Christians there are divisions like Catholics, Baptists etc. So they keep on fighting and converting each other, whereas when we were not converted we all used to celebrate our festivals together, we used to even till each other’s’ lands, help each other in building their houses.’ Thus, the forcing of exclusive religion for universality, for brotherhood has led to more bloodshed and hostility than brotherhood. It is this internal strife within exclusive religions, which made Swami Vivekananda, says, “It is in vain we try to gather all the peoples of the world round a single personality. It is difficult to make them gather even round eternal and universal principles. If it ever becomes possible to bring the largest portion of humanity to one way of thinking in regard to religion, mark you, it must be always through principles and not through persons.”

We celebrate the festival of Universal Brotherhood to give this message through the totality of programs which include songs, speeches and other programs, that the brotherhood is possible only if we respect others’ religions, way of life and do not resort to convert them to destroy it. As long as, such actions of deriding other religions as false and converting others by force or fraud continue, there would be clashes and restlessness. Diversity is the rule of nature. However, that need not lead us to differences if we accept everything as legitimate and valid for each other. This respect for all traditions, cultures and religions alone would bring universal brotherhood, would help all the local traditions in the world to survive. It is an admitted position that there is no tradition outside of the Hindu tradition, which is founded on respect for all traditions, cultures and religions. The western and middle-eastern traditions are smeared in blood. Thus, the foundation for Universal Brotherhood is in the Hindu tradition, which respects all the traditions. In convention organized for the Vanvasi communities of North East India, Sri David Frawley, a well-known American Scholar said that ‘Hindu is a common name given to the local traditions in India.’ In a World Congress at Delhi organized by Swami Dayananda Saraswati for the non-converting indigenous traditions of the world, many leaders of indigenous traditions from America, Africa etc. said that their hope is in India, in one billion Hindus, who have protected various traditions over the ages.

The British historian E. P. Thompson wrote, ‘India is perhaps the most important country for the future of the world. All the convergent influences of the world run through this society…There is not a thought that is being thought in the West and East that is not active in some Indian mind.”  Someone had said, ‘If India dies, who lives and if India lives who dies!” How true it is. The survival of strong India, awakened to her purpose of existence is very much the need of the hour as humanity seeks universal brotherhood.

Only when the diversity is recognized, all can follow their traditions unhindered and with respect to each other without denouncing the others. Thus celebrating of Universal Brotherhood day is very important for cultural continuity of indigenous traditions, local traditions all over the world. Thus, our celebration of this festival should serve this purpose. 

                                                                                            Nivedita Raghunath Bhide

Saturday 6 August 2016


In our public life today, we find that any group that feels aggrieved and wants the government to remove the cause of its grievances, resorts to destruction of public property as well as violence to public life by attempting to paralyse it. The idea, that more such disruption and destruction is wrought in support of an agitation, the more will be its efficacy to achieve the desired ends has now become a dictum and a formula for agitators of all categories.
Curiously enough, the above formula has never failed the agita­tors, so far, during the last over twenty five years of our independence. In recent history, the willful destruction of public property to ventilate one’s demands and to pressurise the government into yielding to them, was resorted to by our people, perhaps for the first time, during the Quit India Movement of 1942. But as the country was then under foreign rule, that measure could be justified by treating it as only a variant of what has been known as the ‘ scorched earth ’ policy of destroying one’s own national wealth, such as standing crops, bridges, water-reservoirs and other means of sustenance and supply to deny their use to the invading enemy forces. But its use as a political weapon by various groups of people, to coerce one’s own govern­ment, as is widely prevalent in India today, is totally un-understandable and extremely unfortunate.
How to account for this suicidal technique presently adopted by all political parties as well as other organised groups such as trade unions and student’s fronts in the country ? The following may be the only two valid reasons. Firstly, many people seem to be unaware of the amount of national wealth we are losing by every such orgy of violence and disruption and of the total damage caused to us on account of the destruction of our assets and resources as well as of the dissipation of human energy and time leading to inevitable loss of production, during-the last twenty five years. It will be worthwhile for someone to calculate and work out statistical figures of the total loss suffered by the country over the years and present them to our people. This knowledge may perhaps open their eyes and may, eventually, dissuade them from indulging in these orgies. Had our people not taken to this path of self-liquidation, the resources saved thereby might well have been more than enough to connect every village in the country with an all-weather road, provide every dry field with irrigation water, furnish every needy place with electric power and, perhaps as a result of all this, give every hand some fruitful work to do.
The other reason for this state of affairs is that the spirit of patrio­tism and the sense of national consciousness that were present in the people during our freedom struggle against British rule have, since the advent of freedom, undergone heavy corrosion, contrary to the natural expectation that these higher sentiments would get more and more intensified. In this, the worst affected is the educated class which provides leadership to activities in all spheres of national life. No one can concede that even the educated are ignorant of the heavy price the country has been paying on account of the destruction of public property and the breakdown of public life that accompany all violent agitations in which many of them not only merrily indulge but are also seen to be in the forefront. The only conclusion one can draw from this is that the national good has now ceased to be of the highest value in the minds of at least those among the educated who follow that course. What we witness today in our country is, indeed, the most unfortunate spectacle. On the one hand, the vision of Mother India that remained enthroned in the hearts of her children till recently as their supreme object of devotion is being slowly lost sight of by them. On the other hand, a tendency to regard their own respective group-interests, either regional, linguistic, economic or political as the be-all and end-all of life has been fast growing. In short, the place of higher values is being usurped by unworthy ones.
Some may argue that neither of the explanations given above is correct. They may say that there is no justification for doubting the patriotism of persons simply because they take to violence resulting in the destruction of their own national wealth and that we need not form so poor an opinion also about the illiterate sections of our countrymen that they are unaware of the colossal loss that is being suffered by our country on that account. Their own explanation may be simply this, that the people are compelled to take to these methods only out of righteous indignation and after having exhausted all peaceful means of getting justice and fair play from the government.

The above explanation amounts to accepting the view that patriotic behaviour is only a conditional obligation and can be waived if those conditions are not fulfilled. In other words, it may mean that people are expected to be patriotic, i.e. devoted to their country and to work for its welfare, only if the government of the day gives good and just administration and that the citizens are duty-bound to act patrioti­cally only to the extent that the above mentioned condition-precedent is fulfilled by the government. But, is this the proper view? According to our traditional way of thinking, to be patriotic is an ABSOLUTE DUTY on the part of every national. It has no corresponding rights whatsoever, as any of the ‘relative duties’ may have. To act patrioti­cally, i.e. to act in the interest of one’s nation and to refrain from any act that may be detrimental to it, is a CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE. If the people are dissatisfied with the performance of their government, they have every right to oust that government, lock, stock and barrel. In fact, patriotism demands of them that they remove from power a bad or a wicked government. But, more than that, it demands that the means employed by the people for such an overthrow of one’s own government, do not cripple the country and defeat the very purpose they propose to serve.

                                                                                                                                 Ma.Eknath Ranade

(This was published as the Editorial of January ’74 issue of Yuva Bharati)


Our life must be meaningful and purposeful. And that purpose is to serve our Motherland and make nation strong and also the Jagadguru. We have discussed this point in this camp of 3 days on the occasion of Mananneeya Eknathji's Janma Shatabdi. Now let us all carry this message to our respective places and work to make this society well organised.

In our life we must instil all the qualities enumerated in Kendra Prarthana. Let each one of us try our level best to do this. So next time when we meet our activities should spread all around our society and Swamiji's message should get actualised.

Tyaga and Seva are the twin ideals Bharat has kept before it from time immemorial. Tyaga is meaningful only if it is connected with Seva. Our ancient scriptures have shown us the way to immortality in the Shloka 'Tyagen Eken Amritatvam Anushu:'. Western culture has thought Bhoga is important and everything is spent for Bhoga. Our culture has taught us, we have right to Bhoga only after Tyaga.

 Worker should be able to utilise his time and energy for the betterment of society. He should not spend his time on activities which are unnecessary or on activities of personal interest.

One must also develop a healthy view towards the society. He should be fully confident that the society will gradually develop into a perfect society. Righteousness in the society keeps the society in perfect balance and that is really Dharma. 

One should develop the habit of helping others to become better and not blame if there is fault in them. Sarthakata can be cultivated by developing various qualities like; Shraddha in Ishvara, Fearlessness ( Nirbhayata), Purity and Truthfulness( Pavitrata and Satya), detachment ( Anasakti), Karuna (Compassion),  Contentment (Santosh), cooperation (sahabhagita), intellectual , Gratefulness (Kritagyata), forgiveness (Kshama), Patience (Dhairya), Acceptance of all situations (Swikaryata), Excellence / Perfection (Utkrishtata), politeness (Vinamrata), courage (sahas), flexibility of mind/ adaptability to changes  (parivartanshil).

Every Worker of the Kendra should try to become an embodiment of all these qualities. This will make his life Sarthak and the Motherland Samarth.  

                                                                       P. Parmeswaran