Delivered on 4 January 2005 at the concluding celebrations
of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi's
150th birth anniversary held at Belur Math.
are observing today Holy Mother's 150th birth anniversary.
Different speakers - today, tomorrow and the day after - will
discuss various aspects of Holy Mother's life and message.
I am glad to speak to you today a few words about Holy Mother's
life and what message we get from that life.
thing you can mark - our country is now free; we have got
a democracy; democracy means that the common people are equal
to all high-class people, not separate. And so in this age,
we need a new attitude towards each other. We are citizens
of a free democracy - everyone; no distinction of caste or
creed. And in Holy Mother's life you will find this wonderful
development; one who could take in American Christians, British
Christians; live together, eat together. Mother, although
coming from a very orthodox kulin brahmin family, could
overcome all this and create a democratic attitude. Miss Margaret
Noble (Sister Nivedita) of England, Christine Greenstidel,
Mrs Sara Bull and Josephine MacLeod of America - all were
received by Holy Mother. They also ate together. She also
looked after a Muslim boy, Amjad, very well. After feeding
him she cleaned the ucchishta (leavings) herself. What
a wonderful thing! Coming from a kulin brahmin family
and without any (formal) education, she cultivated this liberal
attitude. Holy Mother's life contains these various incidents
- all of which have great meaning for India.
country has one peculiar disease, what we call discrimination
between upper caste and lower caste - untouchability (asprishyata).
All this has been ruining India. Now the time has come to
make all people one and the same. Ultimately this equality
must come. Holy Mother, Swamiji and Sri Ramakrishna have showed
this in their lives: this type of harmony between man and
man, man and woman; no kind of upper caste or lower caste.
Democracy also emphasizes this point - only one vote for everyone.
No one is superior or inferior. Democracy means [of and for
the] common people - all are common people, so far as democracy
we have this celebration. Beginning with the 150th birthday
of Holy Mother, by the next century, we must be able to achieve
complete democracy in India. Holy Mother, Swamiji and Sri
Ramakrishna have given us the message to treat human beings
as equals. No upper or lower, no caste or creed. Casteism
and untouchability must be completely removed from India.
And we can see that happening slowly in our own lives.
Gita tells you - God incarnates whenever there is decline
of dharma to create new dharma, kaladharma; 'sambhavami
yuge yuge.' This time Sri Ramakrishna has come, along
with Swami Vivekananda and Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi, and
there is a manifestation of real human development in India.
If these teachings are applied all over India, it is my hope
that this century will see the beginning of tremendous activity
to remove the great blot of untouchability and casteism from
India. Swamiji lived in England and America, and we are told
that all the foreign people are mlecchas. Swamiji says
in one place that India's doom was sealed the very day it
started believing in the word mleccha and stopped communicating
with the world outside. The mleccha - idea should be killed
now - no more of mleccha. Indeed, thousands of our
people are studying in America and England.
Mother's life is a great example. She is a divine personality,
with absolutely no (conventional) education. Yet she had shown
how to deal with all these (foreign) people. One important
thing is Holy Mother's photo. Who arranged to take these photos?
Mrs Sara Bull. She requested Mother to allow a photo. Mother
did not allow in the beginning. After much persuasion, when
she (Mrs Bull) said, 'I want to take the photo to America
and worship it', Mother slowly agreed. In all the different
photos that you get, taken by Mrs Sara Bull, you can see Holy
Mother sitting. In one photo you can see Holy Mother sitting
on one side and Sister Nivedita sitting on the other. It is
a beautiful photo. We are all enjoying this photo of Holy
Mother - it is seen everywhere. This photo signifies this
unity (of the East and the West). Our democracy must thus
be strengthened. India is very bad in this matter. For more
than two thousand years we have been practising this kind
of untouchability, casteism, and all that.
life is a great example for us - for all our people, all over
India. The Gita says, whatever a great man does, all others
follow that. The brahmins and also the highly educated people
in India - if they change and try to stop untouchability,
all other people will then follow. There is the teaching in
the top people do, that will be followed by lesser people
democracy today will be real only when we have this equality.
Already it has come in the political language. Everybody has
one vote, even the untouchable; even the tribal has only one
vote. So also the top people in India - brahmanas and kshatriyas
- have but one vote. The servant has one vote, the master
also has only one vote, not two. Democracy has already made
for this equality of humanity in India. So you will see great
consequences in the future, the strength of this new democracy
- of everybody having one vote.
Mother's message will spread. The life and message of Sri
Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda will continue
to inspire India in the coming generations. In this manner
we shall establish harmony and peace in India and respect
for every human being. Our teachers tell us in the Upanishads,
Gita and Bhagavata that God is present in the hearts of all
beings. Krishna says in the Gita: 'Ahamatma gudakesha sarvabhutashayasthitah;
Arjuna, I am in the hearts of all beings.' (10.20) If God
is in the hearts of all beings what distinction can there
be? We alone make social distinctions, artificial distinctions
- these shall go. The distinctions based upon the highest
titles of a person must come; and we are identified with God
who is in the hearts of all beings. So, I am sure, these teachings
of Vedanta exemplified in the lives of Sri Ramakrishna, Swamiji
and Mother will inspire people all over India and also abroad.
I am sure this will happen. Today I am very happy to be at
this beautiful meeting, where people have come from all over
India. I thank you all for this function. I am happy to take
part in it and I am sure we shall get great inspiration during
the next few days. When you go back home, you should carry
this inspiration. Stop untouchability. Democracy will thus
be strengthened and Vedantic India will come thereby. Swami
Vivekananda wanted that. Vedanta says: We are all one; 'I
am the Atman' - (this applies to) every being.
you all. Namaskar.