Detroit Free Press
March 17, 1894
MISSION WORK IN INDIA
To the Editor of The Detroit Free Press:
Kananda claimed in his lecture, Sunday evening, to be perfectly well posted in regard to mission work in India. How comes it then, that he is ignorant of the fact that all missionaries try to speak to the people among whom they work in their own vernacular?
Many missionaries do not learn the Sanskrit because it is a dead language, spoken nowhere, hence they spend their time on the spoken languages. It would please me to show you books in one vernacular, the work of American missionaries, notably a dictionary, by a man whose memory is revered, not only in Detroit, but, also, by many as learned Brahmans as Kananda himself.
This dictionary is the only one in the language it represents, and is constantly used by natives learning English and by the English learning the native language.
May I ask Kananda why it is that the low caste people in India are so changed after coming in contact with the missionaries? Why are they better educated; why are they superior; why are they different from their own class who are still under the rule of the Brahman? It would also be a gratification to one who has lived years in India, and who knows a little about the country, and, also, show natural history, to learn what those creatures are that are seen by the hundreds (by all travelers), sunning themselves on the sand churs in every large river in India, if they are not crocodiles?* Can it be possible that the god Krishna, that wonderful incarnation of the pure and immaculate Vishnu, with his sixteen wives, and 16,000 concubines, and all the progeny he murdered, are disporting themselves under this guise, and is that the real reason why the creatures are bullet-proof?
Will Kananda tell us where he finds his definition of the word Swami? The Sanskrit dictionary, at the public library, says it means lord-master, owner-husband; but never a word about brother.
One thing more. Will the learned Babu tell us all he knows about the rites and ceremonies necessary for him to perform, before he can appear before his own people as a real Hindoo Brahman? It will gratify many and prove instructive to hear from his own lips all about these ceremonies and their spiritual significance.
ONE OF THE MISSIONARIES.
- www.vivekananda.net edited by Frank Parlato Jr.