On the 127th anniversary of the famous address of Swami Vivekananda at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago, let us look at another iconic speech of the 19th century Hindu saint. In a speech titled, “The great teachers of the world’ delivered on February 3, 1900, at the Shakespeare Club in Pasadena in California, Swami Vivekananda talked about the significance of Messengers and their importance in the context of religion.
My Prophet is the only true Prophet is not correct, stated Swami Vivekananda
In his speech, the Hindu saint emphasised, “Now, as regards those of you that think that you understand Truth and Divinity and God in only one Prophet in the world, and not in any other, naturally, the conclusion which I draw is that you do not understand Divinity in anybody; you have simply swallowed words and identified yourself with one sect, just as you would in party politics, as a matter of opinion; but that is no religion at all.”
Swami Vivekananda was of the belief that not a single Prophet could embody the ‘Truth’ of the world. Every Prophet had a task to fulfill in the world and that all Messengers together taught the message of God to the people. “So, when each man stands and says “My Prophet is the only true Prophet,” he is not correct — he knows not the alpha of religion. Religion is neither talk, nor theory, nor intellectual consent. It is realisation in the heart of our hearts; it is touching God; it is feeling, realising that I am a spirit in relation with the Universal Spirit and all Its great manifestations,” he stated.
“This very moment let everyone of us make a staunch resolution: “I will become a Prophet, I will become a messenger of Light, I will become a child of God, nay, I will become a God,” he concluded.
We are bound to worship personalities, contrary to Islamic teachings
The Hindu saint added that while such Prophets had been worshipped and admired by every religion, Mohammedans (Muslims or followers of Mohammed) were different from the rest. But, he added that, as humans, we were bound to worship and revere individuals on a higher spiritual level that us. Swami Vivekananda said, “The Mohammedans from the beginning stood against any such worship. They would have nothing to do with worshipping the Prophets or the Messengers, or paying any homage to them; but, practically, instead of one Prophet, thousands upon thousands of saints are being worshipped. We cannot go against facts! We are bound to worship personalities, and it is good.”
Swami Vivekananda pointed out the dangers of sectarian beliefs of ‘some’ Muslims
In his speech, the Hindu monk emphasised, “Now, some Mohammedans are the crudest in this respect, and the most sectarian. Their watchword is: ‘There is one God, and Mohammed is His Prophet.’
Highlighting the dangerous implications of such a belief that had wrought havoc on the lives of disbelievers (Kuffars), Swami Vivekananda said, “Everything beyond that (in Islam) not only is bad, but must be destroyed forthwith; at a moment’s notice, every man or woman who does not exactly believe in that must be killed; everything that does not belong to this worship must be immediately broken; every book that teaches anything else must be burnt. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, for five hundred years blood ran all over the world. That is Mohammedanism!”
Swamiji was a visionary in the sense that the notion of killing every man or woman who didn’t believe in Islam by some Muslims turned out to be true, years later in 2001. On this day, 19 years ago, Islamist terror outfit Al-Qaeda orchestrated four different terror attacks, hijacked planes, and killed 2977 people in the United States.
The Hindu saint believed in the notion of ‘equality’ in Islam
Swami Vivekananda believed that Islam, though it spread through bloodshed, could not have survived the wheels of time if there was nothing good in it. He opined, “How could Mohammedanism have lived, had there been nothing good in its teaching? There is much good. Mohammed was the Prophet of equality, of the brotherhood of man, the brotherhood of all Mussulmans.”
He stated that a lot could be learnt from the life of Prophet Mohammed. “So we see that each Prophet, each Messenger, has a particular message. When you first listen to that message, and then look at his life, you see his whole life stands explained, radiant,” Swami Vivekananda stated.
He further added, “Mohammed by his life showed that amongst Mohammedans there should be perfect equality and brotherhood. There was no question of race, caste, creed, colour, or sex. The Sultan of Turkey may buy a Negro from the mart of Africa, and bring him in chains to Turkey; but should he become a Mohammedan and have sufficient merit and abilities, he might even marry the daughter of the Sultan.”
Comparing it with the ‘orthodoxy’ of some Hindus, Swamiji clarified, “Notwithstanding our grand philosophy, you note our weakness in practice; but there You see the greatness of the Mohammedan beyond other races, showing itself in equality, perfect equality regardless of race or colour.”
However, the great Hindu monk was unaware that years later, the notion of equality will turn out to be a farce. Sunnis will fight the Shias and vice-versa in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and vice-versa, Ahmadis will be deemed as non-Muslims and Hazaras will face persecution at the hands of Sunni ‘brothers’ in Pakistan.