February 27, 1897
We are glad that at the M. N. C. A. meeting Dr. Barrows pricked with success some of the Swami's bubbles. According to the Swami the Parliament of Religions has resulted in a victory of Vedantism over Christianity. Half America has been won over to Hinduism, if the Swami is to be believed. Dr. Barrows says, " No" emphatically. "Nothing would appear more absurd to well-informed people in my own land and in Great Britain than the assertion that churches had been closed, and Christian faith shaken by the advocacy in Western Christendom of the claims of mental faiths. There is nothing more grotesque and ridiculous in any of the mythologies than the rumours as to the wide acceptance in America and England of mental philosophies as substitutes for Christianity. ... To affirm that American Christianity has been shaken by the Eastern speakers at the Parliament of Religions is as absurdly incredible to every one who knows as to say that a child's hand has pushed back the current of the Ganges or that the buffalo's tread has unsettled the foundations of the Himalayas."
"The non-Christian mind of India has been ludicrously inflated with pride because its representatives made a pleasant impression as advocates of Hinduism. Such pride on such poor foundations 'goeth before a fall.' But I hope the non-Christian friends here will permanently cherish the assurance that the Christian West is not blind to the elements of truth discoverable in non-Christian faiths. We recognize their hungerings for God, and we hope and pray for additional wisdom, the wisdom of sympathy, kindness and love, enabling us to show that Christ only is the Bread of Life which can satisfy those hungerings.
" Now that absurd speeches and unfounded reports are again announcing that the Parliament was a triumph for Hinduism, I hope that missionaries will give the widest and most emphatic denial, and show, what well-informed people in America have always known, that as the President of the World's Congress Auxiliary, Hon. Chas. C. Bonney, has written, " The final outcome of the Parliament will be enormously beneficial to the cause of Christian missions."
- www.vivekananda.net edited by Frank Parlato Jr.