The thread starter might want to actually study Indian history and not just pick bits that suit his/her argument.
India has been absolutely no different from any other nation in the way that religion has shaped it's society through violence. Don't forget that
India was a land of tribes, just like many others, and that those tribes were at each others throats for millenia.
Those of you who think that the Hindus have been always confined within the four walls of their country through all ages, are entirely mistaken; you
have not studied the old books, you have not studied the history of the race aright if you think so. Each nation must give in order to live. When you
give life, you will have life; when you receive, you must pay for it by giving to all others; and that we have been living for so many thousands of
years is a fact that stares us in the face, and the solution that remains is that we have been always giving to the outside world, whatever the
ignorant may think. But the gift of India is the gift of religion and philosophy, and wisdom and spirituality. And religion does not want cohorts to
march before its path and clear its way. Wisdom and philosophy do not want to be carried on floods of blood. Wisdom and philosophy do not march upon
bleeding human bodies, do not march with violence but come on the wings of peace and love, and that has always been so. Therefore we had to give. A
young lady in London once asked, "What have you Hindus done? You have never even conquered a single nation."
That is true from the point of
view of the Englishman, the brave, the heroic, the Kshatriya — conquest is the greatest glory that one man can have over another. That is true from
his point of view, but from ours it is quite the opposite. If I ask myself what has been the cause of India's greatness, I answer, because we have
That is our glory. You are hearing every day, and sometimes, I am sorry to say, from men who ought to know better, denunciations
of our religion, because it is not at all a conquering religion
. To my mind that is the argument why our religion is truer than any other
religion, because it never conquered, because it never shed blood, because its mouth always shed on all, words of blessing, of peace, words of love
and sympathy. It is here and here alone that the ideals of toleration were first preached. And it is here and here alone that toleration and sympathy
have become practical it is theoretical in every other country, it is here and here alone, that the Hindu builds mosques for the Mohammedans and
churches for the Christians.
So, you see, our message has gone out to the world many a time, but slowly, silently, unperceived. It is on a par with everything in India. The one
characteristic of Indian thought is its silence, its calmness. At the same time the tremendous power that is behind it is never expressed by violence.
It is always the silent mesmerism of Indian thought. If a foreigner takes up our literature to study, at first it is disgusting to him; there is not
the same stir, perhaps, the same amount of go that rouses him instantly. Compare the tragedies of Europe with our tragedies. The one is full of
action, that rouses you for the moment, but when it is over there comes the reaction, and everything is gone, washed off as it were from your brains.
Indian tragedies are like the mesmerist's power, quiet, silent, but as you go on studying them they fascinate you; you cannot move; you are bound;
and whoever has dared to touch our literature has felt the bondage, and is there bound for ever. Like the gentle dew that falls unseen and unheard,
and yet brings into blossom the fairest of roses, has been the contribution of India to the thought of the world. Silent, unperceived, yet omnipotent
in its effect, it has revolutionised the thought of the world, yet nobody knows when it did so. It was once remarked to me, "How difficult it is to
ascertain the name of any writer in India", to which I replied, "That is the Indian idea." Indian writers are not like modern writers who steal
ninety per cent ot their ideas from other authors, while only ten per cent is their own, and they take care to write a preface in which they say,
"For these ideas I am responsible". Those great master minds producing momentous results in the hearts of mankind were content to write their books
without even putting their names, and to die quietly, leaving the books to posterity. Who knows the writers of our philosophy, who knows the writers
of our Purânas? They all pass under the generic name of Vyâsa, and Kapila, and so on. They have been true children of Shri Krishna. They have been
true followers of the Gita; they practically carried out the great mandate, "To work you have the right, but not to the fruits thereof."
Sure Hinduism sounds fine and dandy. But then so does Islam and Christianity. It's the people who put it into practice who always screw it
There have been great conquering races in the world. We also have been great conquerors. The story of our conquest has been described by that noble
Emperor of India, Asoka, as the conquest of religion and of spirituality. Once more the world must be conquered by India. This is the dream of my
life, and I wish that each one of you who hear me today will have the same dream in your minds, and stop not till you have realised the dream. They
will tell you every day that we had better look to our own homes first and then go to work outside. But I will tell you in plain language that you
work best when you work for others. The best work that you ever did for yourselves was when you worked for others, trying to disseminate your ideas in
foreign languages beyond the seas, and this very meeting is proof how the attempt to enlighten other countries with your thoughts is helping your own
country. This is the great ideal before us, and every one must be ready for it — the Conquest of the whole world by India — nothing less than that,
and we must all get ready for it, strain every nerve for it. Let foreigners come and flood the land with their armies, never mind. Up, India, and
conquer the world with your spirituality! Ay, as has been declared on this soil first, love must conquer hatred, hatred cannot conquer itself.
Materialism and all its miseries can never be conquered by materialism. Armies when they attempt to conquer armies only multiply and make brutes of
humanity. Spirituality must conquer the West.
Slowly they are finding out that what they want is spirituality to preserve them as nations. They
are waiting for it, they are eager for it. Where is the supply to come from? Where are the men ready to go out to every country in the world with the
messages of the great sages of India? Where are the men who are ready to sacrifice everything, so that this message shall reach every corner of the
world? Such heroic spurs are wanted to help the spread of truth. Such heroic workers are wanted to go abroad and help to disseminate the great truths
of the Vedanta. The world wants it; without it the world will be destroyed. The whole of the Western world is on a volcano which may burst tomorrow,
go to pieces tomorrow. They have searched every corner of the world and have found no respite. They have drunk deep of the cup of pleasure and found
it vanity. Now is the time to work so that India's spiritual ideas may penetrate deep into the West. We must go out, we must conquer the world
through our spirituality and philosophy. There is no other alternative, we must do it or die. The only condition of national life, of awakened and
vigorous national life, is the conquest of the world by Indian thought.
At the same time we must not forget that what I mean by the conquest of the world by spiritual thought is the sending out of the life-giving
principles, not the hundreds of superstitions that we have been hugging to our breasts for centuries. These have to be weeded out even on this soil,
and thrown aside, so that they may die for ever. These are the causes of the degradation of the race and will lead to softening of the brain. That
brain which cannot think high and noble thoughts, which has lost all power of originality, which has lost all vigour, that brain which is always
poisoning itself with all sorts of little superstitions passing under the name of religion, we must beware of. In our sight, here in India, there are
several dangers. Of these, the two, Scylla and Charybdis, rank materialism and its opposite arrant superstition, must be avoided. There is the man
today who after drinking the cup of Western wisdom, thinks that he knows everything. He laughs at the ancient sages. All Hindu thought to him is
arrant trash — philosophy mere child's prattle, and religion the superstition of fools. On the other hand, there is the man educated, but a sort of
monomaniac, who runs to the other extreme and wants to explain the omen of this and that. He has philosophical and metaphysical, and Lord knows what
other puerile explanations for every superstition that belongs to his peculiar race, or his peculiar gods, or his peculiar village. Every little
village superstition is to him a mandate of the Vedas, and upon the carrying out of it, according to him, depends the national life. You must beware
of this. I would rather see every one of you rank atheists than superstitious fools, for the atheist is alive and you can make something out of him.
But if superstition enters, the brain is gone, the brain is softening, degradation has seized upon the life. Avoid these two. Brave, bold men, these
are what we want. What we want is vigour in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel, not softening namby-pamby ideas.
Avoid all these. Avoid all mystery. There is no mystery in religion. Is there any mystery in the Vedanta, or in the Vedas, or in the Samhitâs, or in
the Puranas? What secret societies did the sages of yore establish to preach their religion? What sleight-of-hand tricks are there recorded as used by
them to bring their grand truths to humanity? Mystery mongering and superstition are always signs of weakness. These are always signs of degradation
and of death. Therefore beware of them; be strong, and stand on your own feet. Great things are there, most marvellous things. We may call them
supernatural things so far as our ideas of nature go, but not one of these things is a mystery.
Buddhism, I can get along with. At least they're not trying to kill anyone in the name of a god.
Thoughts like merchandise can only run through channels made by somebody. Roads have to be made before even thought can travel from one place to
another, and whenever in the history of the world a great conquering nation has arisen, linking the different parts of the world together, then has
poured through these channels the thought of India and thus entered into the veins of every race. Before even the Buddhists were born, there are
evidences accumulating every day that Indian thought penetrated the world. Before Buddhism, Vedanta had penetrated into China, into Persia, and the
Islands of the Eastern Archipelago. Again when the mighty mind of the Greek had linked the different parts of the Eastern world together there came
Indian thought; and Christianity with all its boasted civilisation is but a collection of little bits of Indian thought. Ours is the religion of which
Buddhism with all its greatness is a rebel child, and of which Christianity is a very patchy imitation.