I received the following story titled “Funny side of Swami Vivekananda” through WhatsApp.
When Swami Vivekanand was studying law at the University College, London, a white professor, whose last name was Peters, disliked him intensely.
One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room when Vivekananda came along with his tray and sat next to the professor.
The professor said, “Mr. Vivekanand, you do not understand. A pig and a bird do not sit together to eat.”
Vivekanandji looked at him as a parent would a rude child and calmly replied, “You do not worry professor. I’ll fly away,” and he went and sat at another table.
Mr. Peters, reddened with rage, decided to take revenge.
The next day in class he posed the following question: “Mr. Vivekanand, if you were walking down the street and found a package, and within was a bag of wisdom and another bag with money, which one would you take ?”
Without hesitating, Vivekanandji responded, “The one with the money, of course.”
Mr. Peters , smiling sarcastically said, “I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom.”
Swami Vivekanand shrugged and responded, “Each one takes what he doesn’t have.”
Mr. Peters, by this time, was fit to be tied. So great was his anger that he wrote on Swami Vivekanand’s exam sheet the word “idiot” and gave it to Swami Vivekanand.
Vivekanandji took the exam sheet and sat down at his desk trying very hard to remain calm while he contemplated his next move.
A few minutes later, Swami Vivekanand got up, went to the professor and told him in a dignified polite tone, “Mr. Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade.”
Moral: Don’t mess with intelligent people.
When I read this anecdote I smelled a rat.
Though Swami Vivekananda visited England twice, he never studied in London.
First of all, Narendranath Datta took the name “Swami Vivekananda” on Christmas Eve of 1886, when he and eight other disciples of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa took formal monastic vows and decided to live their lives as their master lived.
Then I checked the timeline of important events in the life of Swami Vivekananda.
Vivekananda (born Narendranath Datta), after passing the Matriculation Entrance examination in 1879, joined Presidency College in January 1880. He was the only student to receive first-division marks in the Presidency College entrance examination.
In 1881, he passed the FA examination (equivalent to the current Higher Secondary, Class XII) from the General Assembly’s Institution (now known as the Scottish Church College).
One day, Professor William Hastie explaining the word “trance” to his students suggested that they should visit Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa of Dakshineswar to understand the true meaning of trance. In November 1881, Vivekananda met Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa for the first time in Calcutta, at the residences of Surendranath Mitra.
In January 1884, Vivekananda passed Bachelor of Arts examination from the General Assembly’s Institution with philosophy and logic as subjects.
Vivekananda’s father died on February 25, 1884, and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa became his spiritual focus.
So, we find that Narendranath Datta never studied in London.
I remember coming across earlier the same turn of events mentioned above in an anonymous anecdote with M. K. Gandhi as the vanquisher of Professor Peters.
Here is the anonymous anecdote using Gandhi as the superstar published under the title “Did Gandhi trump Professor Peters in a number of interactions?” in the Skeptics Stack Exchange, a question and answer site for scientific skepticism.
When Gandhi was studying law at the University College of London, there was a professor, whose last name was Peters, who felt animosity for Gandhi, and because Gandhi never lowered his head towards him, their “arguments” were very common.
One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room of the University and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor, in his arrogance, said, “Mr Gandhi: you do not understand… a pig and a bird do not sit together to eat,” to which Gandhi replies, “You do not worry professor, I’ll fly away, ” and he went and sat at another table.
Mr. Peters, green of rage, decides to take revenge on the next test, but Gandhi responds brilliantly to all questions. Then, Mr. Peters asked him the following question, “Mr Gandhi, if you are walking down the street and find a package, and within it there is a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money; which one will you take?”
Without hesitating, Gandhi responded, “the one with the money, of course.”
Mr. Peters, smiling, said, “I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom, don’t you think?”
“Each one takes what one doesn’t have,” responded Gandhi indifferently.
Mr. Peters, already hysteric, writes on the exam sheet the word “idiot” and gives it to Gandhi. Gandhi takes the exam sheet and sits down. A few minutes later, Gandhi goes to the professor and says, “Mr. Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade.”
I came across a comment that said: “Story is about Mr. Jinnah. Someone has switched the mainstay to Gandhi“.
So, if you are computer savvy, you can copy the above anecdote to notepad. Then press Ctrl-H.
In the resulting dialog box enter against “Find what:” Gandhi and against “Replace with:” Abdul Kalam. Next press button. In the blink of an eye, all instances of “Gandhi” will be transformed into “Abdul Kalam” and you would have created a new anecdote for Abdul Kalam.
Post the anecdote you created about Abdul Kalam on Facebook. Instantly you will get thousands of likes, and hundreds of witless idiots will blindly copy your post and propagate it on Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media creating a new episode in the life of APJ Abdul Kalam.
- Swami Vivekananda (en.wikipedia.org)
- Ramakrishna (en.wikipedia.org)
- Did Gandhi trump Professor Peters in a number of interactions? (skeptics.stackexchange.com)
- Swami Vivekananda — Timeline (advaitayoga.org)