January 21, 1897
Swami Vivekananda was accorded a most enthusiastic reception at Colombo , where he landed on the 15th instant. All classes of the Colombo community, whether Hindus or Buddhists, forgot their differences, and went to work together to render fitting honour, where honour was so eminently due. The appreciation of his splendid record of work in the West is by no means confined to his brethren in the faith, for the fact of the Buddhists having co-operated with the Hindus in acknowledging the debt of gratitude, under which he has laid all followers of the several Eastern creeds, is a proof positive of his services having been estimated at their true worth, outside the ranks of Hinduism. The Swami stayed only for four days at Colombo , and then started for Madras , where arrangements are being made on a magnificent scale to extend to him an impressive and enthusiastic welcome. We learn from a letter from the Southern Presidency that the Hindu community there to a man is animated by a sincere desire to celebrate, in a fitting manner, the return of the " conquering hero," and, on this behalf, it has set about its work in sober earnest. It is but in the fitness of things that the Province, which was the first to recognise the Swami's genius, and which paid the greater portion of the expenses of his voyage, should also be the first to welcome him with open arms on his return to the country of his birth. The Swami, after stopping in Madras for a few days, will leave for Calcutta —his native city—where he is expected to arrive by the middle of February. A prophet, they say, is not honored in his own country, but, we hope, that, in this case, there will be a departure from this rule, and that all sections of our community will combine to welcome the
The Theosophical Society had no doubt cleared the ground, and prepared the soil, but it was reserved for a native of Hindustan to sow in the West the seeds of the religion, bequeathed to him as a priceless legacy by his noble ancestors, whose benefit he wanted the entire world to share. The seeds have not fallen by the way-side, and been devoured by the fowls of the air. They have taken root in the soil, and will, as the years roll on, first put out the blade, and then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. And all this has been effected within the short space of three years. Where is the Hindu, who can help a feeling of pride at this unique record, and who does not long to clasp Vivekananda in a close and fervid embrace. He deserves well of his brethren in the faith, for he has rendered yeoman's service to the cause, which is so dear and near to their hearts. His services to his country's cause, combined as they are in the sphere of religion, are on a par with the achievements of Rajah Ranjit Singji, Messrs. Chatterji, Bose, and Biswas, in the respective departments of human activity, on which they have shed so brilliant a lustre. We cannot yet understand the far-reaching consequences of the work, which Vivekananda has achieved. The gift of the Seer has not been vouchsafed to us, and the inspiration of prophecy is not one of our acquirements. But if the present be the best prophet of the future, " if coming events cast their shadows before," we may take it upon ourselves to say that Vivekananda has forged the chain, which is to bind the East and the West together, the golden chain of a common sympathy, of a common humanity, and a common and universal religion. Vedantism, as preached and inculcated by the Swami, is the bridge of love, which is to extend from the East right away to the West, and make the two nations one in heart, one in spirit and one in faith—a consummation so devoutly to be wished. Can humanity, then, be ever too thankful to Vivekananda ? Can his fellow-countrymen be ever too proud of him or be ever too grateful to him ? He is a Calcutta Bengali, and let all Bengalis of Calcutta greet him with the homage of their hearts. It will be a foul shame if we fail in the performance of a duty, which is so incumbent upon us. Let us follow in the wake of Madras , which, be it said, to her eternal honor, has set us a glorious example in this matter. Let us show that so far as his own countrymen are concerned, Vivekananda has not been " ploughing the sands on the seashore." A preliminary Committee should at once be formed and ways and means devised to present the Swami with an address of welcome, setting forth fully our high appreciation of his invaluable services to our cause. All right-thinking men of the community ought to assist in the furtherance of so noble and patriotic an object. No pains or expenses should be spared to make the reception worthy of the Metropolis, worthy of the Swami, to whom it is to be accorded and worthy of the culture and patriotism on which Bengal so greatly plumes herself.
Today this editorial may seem to some as prophetic... but it was used shortly after its publication by the Christian Literature Society for India to elicit letters from a number of prominent" Americans. They then published these letters in their book--Swami Vivekananda and HisGuru with letters from prominent Americans on the alleged progress of Vedantism in the United States.
- www.vivekananda.net edited by Frank Parlato Jr.