Toleration.

‘Those who came before Me were thieves and robbers’ – Buddha, Socrates, Plato, Rama …!

It is only in Europe that a man has been allowed to be killed for expressing an opinion which was not the orthodox opinion.

He did say on another occasion that perhaps the words of Jesus had been wrongly reported, but he also at times spoke against the narrowness found in places in the Jewish tradition and its offshoots Christianity and Islam. He himself suffered from persecution (though not imprisonment or execution) in his early days as a lecturer at public meetings in India at the end of the 19th century.

These lectures were very popular; some newspaper clippings report that when he appeared on the dais, some of the audience began to dance at the sight of him. He used illustrations from science, and he also spoke with reverence of Jesus.

Some other lecturers, jealous of his success, paid ruffians to interrupt the talks; then they circulated rumours that he was a secret Christian, with a secret plan to undermine the traditional Vedanta. Shouting these accusations, the hired toughs threw him off the platform and kicked him.

He was by these cruel methods prevented from continuing the public lectures, and retired, to become for a time headmaster of a school in a remote district of North India, which became an inspiration to the region. Then he went abroad to take the yoga outside India, first to Japan, and then China, and finally Britain.

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