Swami Dayanand—A Freethinker
Theosophist, June, 1883
“O Lord, protect me from my friends, and I will myself take care of my enemies!”—was the daily prayer of a philosopher. We do not know whether our irascible ex-ally will repeat the exclamation upon reading the laudatory quotation of himself in The Arya for May (page 63). Probably not, for he does not read English. But we feel ready to wager a good deal, that were the Swami as learned in the Queen’s English as he is in Sanskrit—there would be a libel suit brought by this uncompromising theist against our indiscreet contemporary—the Arya. So eager are our good friends of the Lahore Samaj to jump at the smallest straw that trembles threateningly in the air in our direction, that, rather than miss an opportunity of making ugly faces at the Theosophists, they will republish equivocal compliments to the address of their Founder, and compromise their own work and its leader. We offer a specimen.
The Madras has the following about our Swamiji:
“We are glad to learn that Swami Dayanand Saraswati is busily engaged in exposing the misleading and degrading mythology and the mischief of the hereditary Brahmins. In spite of our disagreement with Dayanand Saraswati, we think that he will do more good to India than the pandering Theosophists can ever hope to do. If India had more of such men, Freethought would very easily spread over all India.”
We have italicized the sentence republished with such an unsophisticated naiveté by the Swami’s chelas, who do not seem to entertain the remotest conception that they have thereby introduced their Guru in a new light before the public—that of a Freethinker. We agree, however, entirely with the remark. Reaction from crude anthropomorphism is sure to bring in the long run among the educated youth of India disgust, and finally freethought. But there is something too charmingly ludicrous in the idea that for the pleasure of throwing into our teeth the epithet of “pandering Theosophists,” they should thus be dishonouring in their own organ the work of their “Swamiji” and virtually admitting that his efforts are breeding no better than freethought. Verily, foolish must be that bird that soils its own nest! . . .
Dear child of the Vedic lore; the uninitiated public may now well wonder, whether you are an organ of the theistic Aryas, or simply the servile copyist and advertiser of the Madras Freethought. Now, really, we can never show ourselves sufficiently thankful to the dear little innocent, for the amusement it has afforded us with its unconscious self-immolation. We propose that Mr. Bradlaugh’s Secular Societies should call for a vote of thanks to the editors of the Arya.