Vedic Teaching in Theory and Practice

When the Swami’s visit was drawing to a close, his friends in Almora invited him to give a lecture in Hindi. He consented to make the attempt for the first time. He began slowly, and soon warmed to his theme, and found himself building his phrases and almost his words as he went along. Those best acquainted with the difficulties and limitations of the Hindi language, still undeveloped as a medium for oratory, expressed their opinion that a personal triumph had been achieved by Swamiji and that he had proved by his masterly use of Hindi that the language had in it undreamt-of possibilities of development in the direction of oratory.

Another lecture was delivered at the English Club in English, of which a brief summary follows.

The subject was “Vedic Reaching in Theory and Practice”. A short historical sketch of the rise of the worship of the tribal God and its spread through conquest of other tribes was followed by an account of the Vedas. Their nature, character, and teaching were briefly touched upon. Then the Swami spoke about the soul, comparing the Western method which seeks for the solution of vital and religious mysteries in the outside world, with the Eastern method which finding no answer in nature outside turns its inquiry within. He justly claimed for his nation the glory of being the discoverers of the introspective method peculiar to themselves, and of having given to humanity the priceless treasures of spirituality which are the result of that method alone. Passing from this theme, naturally so dear to the heart of a Hindu, the Swami reached the climax of his power as a spiritual teacher when he described the relation of the soul to God, its aspiration after and real unity with God. For some time it seemed as though the teacher, his words, his audience, and the spirit pervading them all were one. No longer was there any consciousness of “I” and “Thou”, of “This” or “That”. The different units collected there were for the time being lost and merged in the spiritual radiance which emanated so powerfully from the great teacher and held them all more than spellbound.

Those that have frequently heard him will recall similar experiences when he ceased to be Swami Vivekananda lecturing to critical and attentive hearers, when all details and personalities were lost, names and forms disappeared, only the Spirit remaining, uniting the speaker, hearer, and the spoken word.