From the Book:
Swamiji and friends, I am grateful for this invitation to come to this celebration and I am glad to take this opportunity to express my homage to the memory of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. I do not know that I am particularly fitted to speak about the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, because he was a man of God and I am a man of earth and engaged in earthly activities, which consume all my energy. But even a man of earth can admire and perhaps be influenced by a man of God, so I have been admiring godly men, though sometimes I do not altogether understand; and though I do not fully understand what they said, I have admired these great men of God, and have been influenced by reading what was written about them by their disciples. These extraordinary personalities have powerfully influenced their generation and the succeeding generations. They have powerfully influenced great men and changed the whole tenor of their lives. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa obviously was completely outside the run of average humanity. He Rishis of India, who have come from time to time to draw our attention to the higher things of life and of the spirit. For India never ignored, in the course of her long history and in spite of the other activities, of the world, the spiritual values of life, and she always laid certain stress on the search for truth and has always welcomed the searchers of truth by whatever names they may call themselves. And so India built up this tradition of the utmost tolerance to those who earnestly strive for the truth in their own way. Unfortunately, recently, that tradition of tolerance has been rather shaken and we have sometimes fallen into evil ways and have become narrow-minded and thought that we people who walk in a certain narrow path alone are right and others are wrong.
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