Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sense of self-respect

Swamiji had a deep sense of self-respect and also wanted all Indians to be equally conscious of their selfrespect. The following incident prior to his journey to the West will illustrate this point. Swamiji and Jagmohanlal were sitting inside a railway coach at the Abu Road station, waiting for the train to leave for Bombay. A Bengali admirer of Swamiji
who came to see them off was also in the compartment. In the mean time, a European ticket collector came and harshly ordered the gentleman out of the train. The gentleman was also a railway employee. He tried to convince the ticket collector that he had done nothing unlawful. But the ticket collector would not listen to him.

                     As a result there was a heated argument when Swamiji himself intervened. But the European, taking him to be an ordinary monk, said in an insolent manner, Turn kahe bat karte ho?—' Why do you interfere?' The Hindi word turn is used to address intimate friends or inferiors while the word ap denotes either equals or superiors. The disparaging turn angered Swamiji. He said, 'What do you mean by tum Can you not behave properly? You are attending to first-and second-class passengers, and you do not know manners! Why do you not say ap.
                    Realizing his mistake, the ticket collector said, 'I am sorry. I don't know the language well. I only wanted this man....' Swamiji interrupted him : 'Just now you said you did not know Hindi well. Now 1 see that you do not even know your own language well. This "man" of whom you speak is a "gentleman".' Swamiji then told the European that he would report his disrespectful actions to the authorities. Quite frightened, the ticket collector hurriedly left the compartment.No sooner had the ticket collector left than Swamiji turned to Jagmohanlal and said : You see, what we need in our dealings with the Europeans is self-respect.
                   We should always remain as conscious of our rank and station as others do. Unfortunately we fail to do so and this failure prompts others to disparage us. We must defend our self-esteem by all means, otherwise we will be slighted and insulted. Hindus are no less civilized than anybody else on earth, but they always underestimate themselves.Thus Swamiji taught Indians how to love and respect their country. He was fully confident that the world needed Indian spiritual treasures much more than
it needed Western materialism.