In the concluding episode, Lala Har Dayal makes a fervent and highly moving appeal to both Indians in America and back home. It is an appeal of hope, a prayer for strength and fortitude, a clarion call to continue working silently and sincerely. His conviction is truly remarkable and inspirational.
The final portion of his essay shows how deeply rooted Har Dayal was to the Vedic roots given his unshakeable confidence in the vengeful and therapeutic value of Time.
We at The Dharma Dispatch, came away feeling enriched and ennobled throughout the preparation and publication of this series. We hope you find it similarly useful.
I am also Interested in the success of these Vedantic missionaries as representatives of that spirit of enterprise and self-denial which is transforming New India. Their work is part of the great renaissance which is breathing new life into Hindu society.
In this part of America, there are many persons who lovingly cherish the memory of Swami Rama Tirtha and tell how he lived like a true ascetic and won the hearts of the rude villagers in the mountain valleys of California, how he used to throw into the sea the laudatory comments on his lectures that appeared, in the local press, how he insisted on charging no admission fee and said to a well-to-do friend who complained that the expenses of holding the meetings could not be met on that plan, “Surely you can pay the expenses of holding the meetings.” He was the greatest Hindu who ever came to America, a real saint and sage, whose life mirrored the highest principles of Hindu spirituality.
It would require a long article to tell of the good work done by P. C. Mazumdar and other Hindu preachers.
Some critics may ask why these Swamis go out to work in America, when there is so much scope for them in India. The same reproach is levelled at the heads of Christian missionaries, who leave the benighted and demoralised population of their own large cities and try to convert the heathen in China and India.
At any rate, we shall see that all Hindus who have laboured to accomplish tangible results for the good of the people are worthy of praise. It is in the same spirit that we should judge those self-sacrificing swamis who are “making Hinduism aggressive,” because they cherish that dream and are sincerely devoted to it.
Further, we should, consider that India should also give something, to other nations instead of always begging from them. Our students stand at the doors of Germany, England, Japan and America as humble suppliants for industrial education. What do we offer to these countries' in return? Or are we intellectual paupers who have nothing with which to repay the debt? It behoves us to cease from appearing in the world’s fair of art and science only as mendicants. We should also exhibit our goods, in exchange for which we demand the valuable articles discovered and perfected by other nations. The gain in self-respect more than counter balances the loss to India of- the direct services of a few workers, who should in all probability have been hampered and hindered in their activities at home.
Modern India is a pupil and beggar in all sciences and arts—from soap-making to biology. But she can offer to the world two things which are sufficient to pay for everything that she receives—her systems of philosophy and her ideal of a religious life. Modern India is fallen and helpless, but she produces a few individuals in each generation who are really the salt of the earth, if they but knew it.
Hindu society as a whole is extremely corrupt and demoralised, and cannot be put on a footing of equality even with backward Western countries like Portugal, Spain, Bulgaria or Italy. But out of its bosom, like lightning from the dark clouds, there arise from time to time a few men, who would exercise enormous influence on humanity, if they came out into the wide world. So the dead systems of ancient philosophy and the living specimens of ideal humanity, are the two great gifts that India offers to other nations. What more can the world desire?
Wisdom and virtue in exchange for the secrets of manufacture and mechanical science— it is too generous an offer! From this point of view, too, the work of the Swamis is necessary and useful.
In conclusion, I should put on record my conviction that Hindu society still contains elements of vitality, but they must be found out. The spirit of self-help and the creative energy displayed by the Hindu labourers, - students and swamis in America cannot belong to a dead nation. India is not dead, but living. That is the cry that instinctively rises to the lips of a traveller who sees the Hindus at work in America. Theirs is that spirit of the old Aryans who developed schools of learning and philosophy. All that life is being lived over again here. The Sikhs representing the sturdy warriors, the Students. living the life of the Brahmacharin, and the Swamis founding ashramas like those of Agastya and Vashishtha to convert the barbarians.
The change that the average peasant undergoes during his sojourn here shows that deep down in his heart, there is hidden the fire of social feeling and enthusiasm, which alone can consume and destroy the ills from which we are suffering. Thus my loving heart sends to all my countrymen a message of optimism. They say, there is a silver lining to every cloud.
At present, the people who live in India see only the dark thunder-laden ominous clouds and the sun seems, blotted-out forever. But I have seen the silver lining which is invisible to them. I have found it in Europe and America. But mostly in America, for here I have discovered character and perseverance, self-denial and hard toil. Here I have seen that our countrymen can develop the noblest virtues and achieve the most solid results even under unfavourable circumstances. Here , there is little talk but much work, little speculation about the future but much actual achievement in the present. These are the qualities that go to nation-building; not fantastic-religious or- political theories, or eloquent speeches and articles.
India is not dead but living. Much is being done abroad which is not known at home. Let all of us work sincerely and silently, in the hope that time, which ripens the grain and brings the spring again after winter, which evolves the animal from the stone and man from the animal, which leads, the savages of central Europe to the primacy of the world in art and science and bestows on the erstwhile slaves of Rome the empire of the globe.
Time, the mighty architect the healer of all wounds and the avenger of all wrongs, will lead, our efforts to final success after our ashes; are mingled with the eternal waters of the holy Ganga.
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