Tilak's Esteem for Swami Vivekananda

Tilak and Swami Vivekananda had great mutual respect and esteem for each other. They met accidentally while travelling by train in 1892 and Tilak had Vivekananda as a guest in his house.

A person who was present there(Basukaka), heard that it was agreed between Vivekananda and Tilak that Tilak would work towards nationalism in the "political" arena, while Vivekananda would work for nationalism in the "religious" arena.

When Vivekananda died at a young age, Tilak expressed great sorrow and paid tributes to him in the Kesari.

Tilak said about Vivekananda:

"No Hindu, who has the interests of Hinduism at his heart, could help feeling grieved over Vivekananda's samadhi. Vivekananda, in short, had taken the work of keeping the banner of Advaita philosophy forever flying among all the nations of the world and made them realize the true greatness of the Hindu religion and of the Hindu people. He had hoped that he would crown his achievement with the fulfilment of this task by virtue of his learning, eloquence, enthusiasm and sincerity, just as he had laid a secure foundation for it; but with Swami's samadhi, these hopes have gone. Thousands of years ago, another saint, Shankaracharya, who, showed to the world the glory and greatness of Hinduism. At the fag of the 19th century, the second Shankaracharya is Vivekananda, who, showed to the world the glory of Hinduism. His work has yet to be completed. We have lost our glory, our independence, everything."

THE RELATIONS OF TILAK AND VIVEKANANDA The personal relations between Tilak and Swami Vivekananda (1863– 1902) were marked by great mutual regards and esteem.

In 1892, Tilak was returning from Bombay to Poona and had occupied a seat in a second-class railway compartment. Some Gujaratis accompanied Swami Vivekananda who also came and sat in the same compartment. The Gujarati introduced the Swami to Tilak and requested the Swami to stay with the latter.

93. Among the Congressmen there was one exception and that was Bal Gangadhar Tilak, whose patriotism was marked by 'sacrifice, scholastic fervour and militancy.'94 Tilak a great scholar, was also a fearless patriot, who wanted to meet the challenge of British imperialism with passive resistance and boycott of British goods. This programme came to the forefront in 1905-7, some years after the death of Swami Vivekananda. It would be useless to speculate what Swamiji would have.

Here it will not be out of place to refer to Tilak's views of Swami Vivekananda whom he did not know intimately; but Swamiji's dynamic personality and powerful exposition of the Vedantic doctrine, could not fail to impress Tilak.

When Swamiji's great soul sought eternal rest on 4 July 1902, Tilak, paying his tributes to him, wrote in his Kesari: "No Hindu who has the interest of Hinduism at his heart, can help feeling grieved over Swami Vivekananda's Samadhi".

According to Basukaka, when Swamiji was living in Tilak's house as the latter's guest, Basukaka, who was present there, heard that it was agreed between Vivekananda and Tilak that Tilak would work for nationalism in the political field, while Vivekananda would work for nationalism in the religious field.

Tilak and Vivekananda Now let us see what Tilak had himself to say about the meeting he had with Swamiji. Writing in the Vedanta Kesari (January •934), Tilak recalled the meeting.