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Let Us Be Gods-Part III
Continued From The Second Part
Swami Vivekananda's work of aggressive lecturing, fighting with opponents, and so on, had mostly come to a close by 1895, and his mind, released from the responsibility of this work, had at once risen to a high state. You may ask, 'Why did the Swami have to fight?' If you know anything about that period, you know there had been tremendous missionary activities against India—in India and outside India.
Most awful, most abominable things were written and spoken about India, and Swami Vivekananda found that if India was to have some peace and be saved from great misunderstanding, then he had to controvert all these slanders and unfounded falsehoods. So whenever he came across this kind of thing he opposed it.
I must now tell you this, he never made it a point of directly bringing propaganda against these missionary activities. What he did directly was to teach the principles of Hinduism and Vedanta. Knowers of God do not like to indulge in any kind of fight if they can avoid it. But then, wherever he went these ministers and missionaries would all rise up and begin to howl against him, and so he had to speak. However, that period had practically ended by the end of 1894. And he settled down in New York to teach these great doctrines of Vedanta and train people practically in the teachings of this great philosophy and religion.
So, when he arrived at Thousand Island Park within a week or ten days of having attained to nirvikalpa samadhi at his disciple's place in New Hampshire, his mind was high. We have a letter he wrote to some friends in Chicago in which he said:
'This is a wonderful place. Here I am feeling the state of mind I used to have in India.'
Swami Vivekananda then quotes from a famous poem describing a person who has risen above all relativities and dwells in the transcendental state. In that state there is no sense of good and evil, or sin and virtue, there is only infinite peace. All sense of difference and nondifference has gone away. This is a most wonderful state, according to Hindu understanding. It is the description of the divine status, the status of God, and also the status of a person who has become one with God. So, in that most beautiful place, peaceful and quiet place, and in the company of those who were earnestly devoted to the teachings of Vedanta, he began discoursing to them.
There used to be two classes every day, one in the morning, another in the evening. After breakfast he used to conduct the morning class on the basis of a scriptural text. The first class that he held was on the Gospel of St.John. That is how the book, 'Inspired Talks', begins. Afterwards he took up many other books, 'Vedanta Sutras', 'Upanishads', 'Bhagavad Gita', and so on one after another. He would explain a little of the text, but the most interesting part was not the explanation of the texts, but his comments. He would go from one idea to another, and speak so inspiringly, that the book itself was afterwards called Inspired Talks.
As I told you, Miss Waldo took down notes of these talks. Swami Vivekananda, once hearing her read those notes to a visitor, was astonished that she had taken them so faithfully, and he told her: 'Why, you have not only taken notes, I hear myself speaking, they are so faithful.' So we need not have any doubt about the authenticity of this sentence, 'Let us be Gods!' He really meant that.
To be continued
About the author
Swami Ashokananda (1893-1969) was a much-venerated monk of the Ramakrishna Order. He was ordained into sannyasa by Swami Shivananda, and was the editor of Prabuddha Bharata, an English monthly of the Ramakrishna Order brought out from the Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati in Uttaranchal. He was an outstanding writer and speaker and the leader of the Vedanta Society of Northern California (San Fransisco) from 1931 until his passing away in 1969.