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Myths about the Vivekanand on ISLAM - Part I by Arun Shourie

Myths about the Vivekanand on ISLAM - Part I by Arun Shourie

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Published by Neon Singh
Myths about the Vivekanand on ISLAM - Part I by Arun Shourie
Myths about the Vivekanand on ISLAM - Part I by Arun Shourie

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Published by: Neon Singh on Oct 30, 2012
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Myths about the Swami – Part I
Arun Shourie
 
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Myths about the Swami - Part I by Arun Shouriehttp://arunshourie.voiceofdharma.com/articles/19930131.ht1 of 68/15/2012 10:28 PM
 
This is the first of a two part article by Sri Arun Shourie (former editor of theIndian Express, Magsaysay award winner and presently Minister for Disinvestment) published in the Sunday on 31st Jan 1993.
Of course, he said, Hindus who became Muslims must be taken back into theHindu fold. Otherwise our numbers will keep dwindling -- we used to be around600 million by the reckoning of Ferishta, the oldest Muslim historian, now we are just 200 million. "And then", he continued, "every man going out of the Hindupale is not only a man less, but an enemy the more."That is the new darling of the communists and secularists, Swami Vivekananda,answering questions put to him by the editor of Prabuddha Bharat. Not only whathe goes on to say but the word he uses for the converts is bound to stick in thesecularists’ throat. "Again," says Swami Vivekananda continuing his reasons foraccepting them back as Hindus, "the vast majority of Hindu perverts to Islam andChristianity are perverts by the sword, or the descendants of these. It would beobviously unfair to subject these to disabilities of any kind. As to the case of bornaliens, did you say? Why, born aliens have been converted in the past by crowds,and the process is still going on..." (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda,Volume V, pages 233-4. In all subsequent references to these books, the numberof the volume is given first followed by the page number.)That is the trouble with rushing into the charge with a quotation or two, withoutimmersing oneself in the thought and world view of the person. Not just the CPIand CPI(M), but a host of fellow-travellers, too, have suddenly alighted uponSwami Vivekananda as if he can be a handy instrument. They forget -- or at leastwould have us forget -- what they used to say about Ramakrishna andVivekananda till the other day. If one were to just reproduce today what theyused to allege about the relationship between the two, that would be enough tostart a riot in Bengal. There are two other ways to weigh their sudden fondnessfor him.The central premise of Swami Vivekananda’s entire life was that the essence of India lay in religion; that the religion of our people was the Hindu dharma; thatthis was not the just the lever by which India was to be reawakened, the truthsthe Hindu seers had uncovered were the goals to which that reawakened Indiahad to be turned, and that these truths were that pearl of inestimable valuewhich it was India’s mission to give to the world. Which red-blooded communistor secularist will own up to this credo? The other way to assess their quotationmongering is equally telling: before you launch on your hunt for serviceablequotation from the Swami, consider what he said on Islam. Considering that yousuddenly find him to have been a man of such insight will you accept his views onthat too?
The Swami on the Prophet
There is the embarrassment to start with that, unlike Jesus and the Gospels, theSwami never thought it worth his while to devote time to studying the Prophet’slife and teaching in any depth. When he recounts the life of the Prophet (see forinstance, I. 481-3) it is in extremely simplistic terms: number of wives and all.His general view of the Prophet seems to be that the Prophet was an inspired butuntrained yogi, and the Swami uses him as a warning. This is how he puts thematter in his treatise on Raja Yoga:"The yogi says there is a great danger in stumbling upon this state. In agood many cases, there is the danger of the brain being deranged, and, asa rule, you will find that all those men, however great they were, who hadstumbled upon this superconscious state without understanding it, gropedin the dark, and generally had, along with their knowledge, some quaintsuperstition. They opened themselves to hallucinations. Mohammadclaimed that the Angel Gabriel came to him in a cave one day and tookhim on the heavenly horse, Harak, and he visited the heavens. But with allthat Mohammad spoke some wonderful truths. If you read the Koran, youfind the most wonderful truths mixed with superstitions. How will you
Myths about the Swami - Part I by Arun Shouriehttp://arunshourie.voiceofdharma.com/articles/19930131.ht2 of 68/15/2012 10:28 PM
 
explain it? That man was inspired, no doubt, but that inspiration was, as itwere, stumbled upon. He was not a trained yogi, and did not know thereason of what he was doing. Think of what the good Mohammad did tothe world, and think of the great evil that has been done through hisfanaticism! Think of the millions massacred through his teachings, mothersbereft of their children, children made orphans, whole countries destroyed,millions upon millions of people killed!... So we see this danger bystudying the lives of great teachers like Mohammad and others. Yet wefind, at the same time, that they were all inspired. Whenever a prophetgot into the superconscious state by heightening his emotional nature, hebrought away from it not only some truths, but some fanaticism also,some superstition which injured the world as much as the greatness of theteaching helped." (I. 184)
On The Book
The central claim of Islam, as of Christianity, is that it has been given The Book,that it alone has been given The Book, that therefore it alone possesses TheTruth. That there was The Book- the Talmud, the Bible, the Koran- the Swamisaid had one effect; it helped the adherents to hold together. But apart from thatthe effect of The Book whichever this happened to be was baneful. Ourcommunists will not find the Swami’s verdict palatable, not the least because theSwami’s words apply to them and the fetish they made of their Book just assharply as to Islam etc.!"One of the great advantages of a book," the Swami says, "is that it crystalliseseverything in tangible and convenient form, and is the handiest of all idols. Justput a book on an altar and everyone sees it; a good book, everyone reads. I amafraid I may be considered partial. But, in my opinion, books have producedmore evil than good. They are accountable for many mischievous doctrines.Creeds all come from books, and books are alone responsible for the persecutionand fanaticism in the world. Books in modern times are making liarseverywhere. I am astonished at the number of liars abroad in every country."(IV. 44).Moreover, the Jew, the Christian, the Muslim each has his own book. The Booksare at variance. Each says his books alone are right. How is the contest to besettled? Surely it cannot be settled by using any of the Books themselves as theyardstick. It can only be settled by subjecting all of them to reason (I. 368, II.335) -- the very procedure the faithful will not allow!The Book itself is but a specific example: an instance of the claim to being thesole possessors of Truth. That is the central claim of every Semitic religion, of Islam most of all. Again I doubt if our communists will reproduce what he had tosay about this claim, if for no other reason than because once again the wordsapply so very aptly to their own claim to being the sole possessors of TheRevelation. Here it is:"Therefore we at once see why there has been so much narrow-mindedness, the part always claiming to be the whole; the little, finite unitalways laying claim to the infinite. Think of little sects, born within a fewhundred years out of fallible human brains, making this arrogant claim of knowledge of the whole of God’s infinite truth! Think of the arrogance of it!If it shows anything, it is this, how vain human beings are. And it is nowonder that such claims have always failed, and, by the mercy of theLord, are always destined to fail. In this line the Mohammedans were thebest off; every step forward was made with the sword -- the Koran in theone hand and the sword in the other: ‘Take the Koran, or you must die;there is no alternative!’ You know from history how phenomenal was theirsuccess; for six hundred years nothing could resist them, and then therecame a time when they had to cry halt. So, will it be with other religions if they follow the same methods." (II. 369-70).
On Universal Brotherhood
The claim of Islam, as of every other Semitic religion right up to and including
Myths about the Swami - Part I by Arun Shouriehttp://arunshourie.voiceofdharma.com/articles/19930131.ht3 of 68/15/2012 10:28 PM

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