15 March 2014

Arthur Llewellyn Basham On Swami Vivekananda

Arthur Llewellyn Basham or A. L. Basham (24 May 1914 – 27 January 1986) was a renowned historian and Indologist. He authored several books too. The book The Wonder That was India (Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 1954) is considered as his best work. A detailed biography of Basham is available at Wikipedia. In this article our topic is Arthur Llewellyn Basham's quotes and comments on Swami Vivekananda.

A. L. Basham told—
Image source: HinduHumanRights
Even now a hundred years after the birth of Narendranath Datta, who later became Swami Vivekananda, it is very difficult to evaluate his importance in the scale of world history. It is certainly far greater than any Western historian or most Indian historians would have suggested at the time of his death. The passing of the years and the many stupendous and unexpected events which have occurred since then suggests that in centuries to come he will be remembered as one of the main moulders of the modern world, especially as far as Asia is concerned, and as one of the most significant figures in the whole history of Indian religion, comparable in importance to such great teachers as Shankara and Ramanuja, and definitely more important than the saints of local or regional significance such as Kabir, Chaitanya, and the many Nayanmars and Alvars of South India.
. . .  . . .  . . .

I believe also that Vivekananda will always be remembered in the world’s history because he virtually initiated what the late Dr C. E. M. Joad once called 'the counter-attack from the East'. Since the days of the Indian missionaries who traveled in South-East Asia and China preaching Buddhism and Hinduism more than a thousand years earlier, he was the first Indian religious teacher to make an impression outside India.


  • Swami Vivekananda in East and West, Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre, London, pp. 210-14.

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