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Answers By:       Prof. Kewal Krishan Mittal M.A. Ph.D.

Questions By:     Amitabh Mittal




'My Dear Sisters and Brothers of America' why did Swami ji used these words & what is the importance of this greeting ?

(This question is based on the address given by Swami Vivekananda at Chicago in year 1893. Swami Ji greeted the mostly American audience with the following opening statement "My Dear Brothers and Sisters of America" his opening words were greeted by standing ovations and cheers for more than 5 minutes)



The opening words of Swami Vivekananda in his Chicago address on 11, September 1893. in the very beginning he said "Sisters    and brothers of America." and you want to know why he said so,  It was not with some motive or some expectation Swami ji used these words.

This usual address is made, Or the beginning of the address which is made like that and that it self is dependent on the idea on the presumption on the belief that all men and women are primarily brothers and sisters.

of course when we think of man and women relation ship there are two or three more relations which can also be there, but out of them, is the relation ship of a women with man, first of all is that of a Mother to a child, here the address is being made to the grown ups and in the case of the grown ups or maybe of the same range of age  you are addressing then it is usual that most of the time that relationship, including both sexes that is that of the brother and sisters and that is what is our common understanding of life in India and that understanding Swami ji had and that was the usual address which was made in India and he made it here, also it was entirely different here people would address generally ladies and gentleman or some such address which is more impersonal than brothers and sisters which is a very intimate and personal sort of  relationship. it is from the narrow circumscribed family surroundings in which we had this relationship but this relationship is extended and this extension is not done intentionally or maybe someone at some juncture might have done it but it had become or it has become in India a sort of extension which is natural and from that point of view Swami ji made that address, and it was new and something new is always attractive something new is always such that people would better appreciate and it was from that point of view that the very opening words of Swami ji got the applause from people who were there.




Narendra (Swami ji's name before Shri Ramkrishan ji changed it to Vivekananda) asked  so many sages a question "Have you seen GOD",  none answered it directly other than Ramakrishna Paramhansa who said "I See Him as I See You". What makes it possible for Ramakrishna ji to say that?



Swami Ramakrishna was really a realized soul. He while telling Narendra used these words that 'Yes I have seen him and I can show him to you also', these words did not come merely as sort of bravado, merely as something he wanted to impress Narendra with, they were the words which were so usual to him, so natural to him. It was telling the truth, and telling the truth in his own simple words, in his own effective words that he did.

      And later he showed Naredra also, in the sense that he just touched Narendra this is what we call "Shakti Path\\}( 'Transfer of energy' ) and just by this touch that he went in to Samadhi and could have that wonderful experience which Ramakrishana  used to have.




Now let us move to Hindu Dharma. The other day I was reading the story of Vamana Avatar of Vishnu, in that story at a point Vishnu appear in front of Ma Aditi (Mothers of all Devas or Suras)  when we say Vishnu is every where then when he is in front of Ma Aditi how can he be any where else ?



When we say that God is every where then we have to understand it along with the idea that the whole which we look at from a certain angel from the position  where we are standing or where an individual like me is standing and another individual is standing at another angel but both of us are looking at the same thing this is our mutual experience, we say that my vision of this table, of this room, is as I see it, this is the whole room that I see, This is the whole mountain  that I see or this is the mountain I see, so when we say like this then you are also right, and I am also right even though our angels are different even though our mental makeup maybe different, and it is some times the mental makeup also that makes the difference between one vision and another vision. therefore there is a saying in Hindi "Jaki Rahi Bhavna jasi, Prabhu Murat Dekhi teen tasi" (that one who has a sort of  mental makeup of a particular kind will  see the statue or will see the Image of the GOD as per his mental makeup) The others will see what ever image they have created in mind.)

      When we say that GOD is every where and God is seen in all forms is there fore to be accepted, but all those forms are  representing one aspect which covers or is connected with the whole. One way of looking at this idea of  the one in many and many in one, in a way is that GOD is the one who appears to be many to different persons in different circumstances at different   times and so on.    

      lets take an example , suppose you have been served Sweetdish after dinner,  and we say that the dish is being served from this big bowl or pot and it is from this big pot the dish will be served to several different plates, it is the same dish which was there earlier in the big pot and which has come to your plate or you have taken it on your plate, though in a way it is the portion, here the portion if we put them back portion by portion then there is another way of  looking at things and that it is the different parts which when collected together they make a whole this is one conception of  the whole and this indicates a relationship which in Sanskrit is called as the }Avyav  Avyavi '} relation ( A relationship of Part and the Whole "  ) that there are different parts when they are collected together there is a collectivity, whole as a collectivity is one idea of the whole but whole not as a collectivity but whole which is conceived as the first , we can not think of the parts as the first, in the sense of the part  and the collectivity, really we are not thinking of the whole at all, it is not a whole its a collectivity and colectivity and a  whole  are two different things where as when we are thinking of the whole then whole is the "Anshi" (The Whole ) and parts are the  "Ansha" (The Part) they are the parts of the whole we conceive of the whole first God is the first one or the reality is the first one and that realty is we say every where means that it is fully present every where and when it is fully present every where then it is present in that sense the whole is the first and whole is the last. There is that we are looking at God in our own way Vishnu is being looked at in the form of a young boy, Vaman Avtara, a small boy of  7years or so who also has not a large size and he is considered to be an Avtara of Vishnu, and he is present there to Ma Aditi but he is not that way separate or cut off from the whole. he is ever in connection with the whole and it is in terms of this that we can conceive of this idea of the part and the whole in this way and when we look at it this way we can understand that some thing that is everywhere is also at the same time when we are thinking in terms of its collectivity it is at one place.



Lets put a small Poem here for where is GOD. 


The God is telling the Man

You believe me to be in high haven O' Man of Earth

You search for me with the use of a Telescope

however you are unaware of the truth

I am in fact there, here, and every where

I am in every bit of whatever 'is'

I am not at all far away from you

I am in fact inside your very heart

Search your heart and there you will find me.

Poem in Urdu By:  Prof. Kewal Krishan Mittal

Translation By:   Dr. Aniruddha H. Mittal



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