Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Go abroad to broaden your vision

Conversation between Santosh and Natarajan Amirapu.


Dear Nataraj anna,

Could you please explain the meaning of the below paragraph.

"Only I want that numbers of our young men should pay a visit to Japan and China every year. Especially to the Japanese, India is still the dreamland of everything high and good. And you, what are you? … talking twaddle all your lives, vain talkers, what are you? Come, see these people, and then go and hide your faces in shame. A race of dotards, you lose your caste if you come out! Sitting down these hundreds of years with an ever-increasing load of crystallized superstition on your heads, for hundreds of years spending all your energy upon discussing the touchableness or untouchableness of this food or that, with all humanity crushed out of you by the continuous social tyranny of ages – what are you? And what are you doing now? … promenading the sea-shores with books in your hands – repeating undigested stray bits of European brainwork, and the whole soul bent upon getting a thirty rupee clerkship, or at best becoming a lawyer – the height of young India’s ambition – and every student with a whole brood of hungry children cackling at his heels and asking for bread! Is there not water enough in the sea to drown you, books, gowns, university diplomas, and all?"

Thanking you.

Natrajan Amirapu:

Japanese and Chinese see India as the birthplace of Lord Buddha and consider it very holy. They assume that all Indians are imbibed with the qualities of the purity, the rationality and the steadfastness of Buddha. Whereas, we are far from that.

Swami Vivekananda wanted us to go abroad to broaden our vision. Especially in those days when it was blasphemous to visit the outside world it was all the more necessary to see "how the nations are on the march!" People would lose their caste if the travel across the sea and who did would be termed a 'Mleccha'. Especially, the higher castes like Brahmins and Kshatriyas. Why should we not go out? No one knows for sure. That is why he was talking about the "ever-increasing load of crystallized superstition on your heads". It is all mere superstition that one should not cross the ocean. He further chastises our superstitions in not touching this and that or this person or that person. People were not encouraged to do new research and think rationally and were not given proper education. They were just battered to follow the RULE till the whole of the nation became virtual imbeciles. This continued, it seems, for a thousand years. As a result, the very character of a human being - BEING HUMAN - is lost from us. We lost our ability to see our fellow men as human beings. (Now, after hundred years things improved a little, but there is a lot, a lot, to deserve.) So, how to improve the present situation?

What now we are doing is try to by-heart the ideas of westerners and we are only able to digest them partially as they do not belong to us nor suit us. Our country and our culture gives us a goal, just as their culture gives them a goal. What is food for them is poison for us. So instead of trying to ape the western nations, we have to learn from them what is good and try to develop according to our innate nature. As a nation, our greatest ambition in life has degenerated to such a level, all we want is to find a job of clerkship. Our present day computer engineering jobs are not much better than clerk jobs. Instead of hankering after some employment where we get kicked all the time, it is better for us to try to stand on our own legs. Jobs are good alright, but they should not be allowed to raise to the level of a consuming passion of the nation.

Instead, we should visit countries like china and Japan where a lot of self-reliance is seen. The same is true with western nations also. That is what Swami Vivekananda is interested in. Of course, there is a lot of degeneration everywhere. But, we should always try to take the good.

Don't you remember the beautiful example given by Swamiji? A seed put in the soil, imbibes the good elements from earth, water and air to develop into a plant or a huge tree with all the qualities peculiar to it. It does not change itself into the soil, or air, or water. In the same way we have to receive good from all sides and imbibe it. A mango seed does not grow into a apple tree or vice versa.

We have to give up our superstitions and become MEN. "Muscles of iron etc..." We have to become strong - Physically, Mentally and Spiritually. First of all we need physical strength then the other things will follow.

Hope I could make sense. To understand that one paragraph you need quite a good deal of understanding about the history, geography, anthropology and economics of India and the rest of the world. It is a life's work reading Swami Vivekananda. May God give us strength enough to be the fit sons of that great Swami.

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