CULTURE AT HOME
(New Discoveries, Vol. 1, p. 365.)
[Detroit Evening News, February 25, 1894]
ANECDOTES OF SWAMI VIVE KANANDA’S VISIT TO DETROIT.
Anecdotes of Swami Vive Kananda’s visit are numerous and amusing — at least they must have been amusing to him, al though a little humiliating to the American self-love. One lady said:
“I really was ashamed at the contrast between the knowledge possessed by him and by some of our Detroit men who consider themselves gentlemen of culture. At one dinner party a gentleman asked Kananda what books he would advise him to read on chemistry, whereupon the Hindu monk responded with a long list of English works on this science, which one would naturally expect an American to know more about than a Hindu. Another gentleman followed by a request as to books on astronomy, to which Kananda obligingly answered with another equally good list of English astronomical works. But his growing astonishment reached its climax when a lady spoke of ‘The Christ,’ and said, ‘What do those words mean?’ He again furnished the desired information, but in a tone growing slightly sarcastic.”
Probably the choicest example of nineteenth century civilization and culture was given by a lady, who asked Kananda if he liked the English. He very naturally responded that he did not. Then she continued, with fine tact, to pursue the subject still further by touching references to that pleasant event, the Sepoy rebellion. As the Hindu grew excited she smiled at him ironically and said:
“I thought I could disturb your philosophical Eastern calm.”