Saturday, May 18, 2019

Of tolerance and inclusion

A book I was recently reading made a reference to the following lines said my Swami Vivekanand in his famous Chicago speech around 125 years ago ...

I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth.

I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: “As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”

Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.”

The more I think about these lines, the more I feel disappointed with where we have wandered. Has the trigger for these thoughts seen any change in last 125 years? Has the society evolved beyond the "Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism" or is still clutching these tightly, ever closer to the heart? Have we lost more advancement because of their continued existence?


  1. The Sanatana Dharmi has not wandered from his original attitude of tolerance and inclusion. He has been forced to go on the offensive purely as a defensive mechanism to ward off aggression by the advent of petrodollar funded Wahabism and Fanatic funded aggressive Evangelicalism in his mother land.

    अथ चेत्त्वमिमं धर्म्यं संग्रामं न करिष्यसि
    ततः स्वधर्मं कीर्तिं च हित्वा पापमवाप्स्यसि [20] atha cet tvam imaṃ dhārmyaṃ saṅgrāmaṃ na kariṣyasi
    tataḥ svadharmaṃ kīrtiṃ ca hitvā pāpam avāpsyasi[21]
    If, however, you do not fight this religious war, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter. [22]

  2. With all due respect sir, I fail to understand why a correlation is established only with the "Sanatan Dharm"? In fact, the intent of my ruminations was more around where the world as a whole is moving, and not only limited to our country.