Statement against Caste-based Discrimination: Swami Prabhananda, General Secretary of Ramakrishna Order, Belur Math, India
We are glad to know about HAF and the noble work you are doing. Swami Vivekananda was one of the first religious leaders in India to speak for the downtrodden masses of India, and the first leader to plan and execute long-range social service schemes for their uplift.
Swamiji’s exhortations awakened and energized the whole nation. It is a living tradition in the Ramakrishna Order. Our individual and collective lives provide a living testimonial to the practical way the problems of caste, especially untouchability, can be solved. Following Swamiji’s instructions, we believe not in talking or newspaper blazoning but in silent, sincere, respectful serve – service to man as service to god.
During Swamiji’s time caste was only a social scourge. But now it is also inextricably linked to politics in India. Following Swamiji’s instructions, our Sangha has all through its history kept aloof from political involvements and controversies. We do not want to break this noble tradition. And so we are sorry to inform you that we are unable to give verbal support to your efforts in rousing public opinion about social atrocities.
However, if anybody wants to know how the problem of caste can be actually solved, he may visit any centre of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission and how people without any distinctions of caste, race or religion live together, how everyone from the untouchable to the Brahmin live together, work together, eat together and worship together like children of the same Divine Parents, which indeed they are. Ours is not the way of social protest; ours is the way of social enlightment through actual transformation of life and consciousness in a spirit of service to the Lord.