My first talk on HinduismOne of my friends at the Indian Consulate was Ananda Mohan. He used to work downstairs in the Information Section. I used to talk with him about religion.
A Jewish synagogue selected five religions and invited a speaker from each one to come and give a talk. Hinduism happened to be one of the religions they selected, and Ananda Mohan’s immediate boss, Nirmaljit Singh, accepted the invitation for Ananda Mohan to go and give the talk on Hinduism. It was all settled.
Then the rabbis or authorities wrote a letter to our Consul General, S. K. Roy, inviting him to attend the lecture. O God, when the Consul General heard about it, he asked his junior secretary, Ramanathan, to tell me to go and give the talk on Hinduism. I was working at my desk when the order came. I could not believe it. Ananda Mohan had been giving talks on Hinduism and Indian culture at various places for so many years. I had never given a talk on Hinduism and I had not written about it. Where did the Consul General get the idea that I knew that subject well?
I had only five days or one week to prepare. The talk that I gave was called “Hinduism: The Journey of India’s Soul.” Afterwards, the authorities wrote a very nice letter to the Consul General and they also sent me a letter of appreciation with a check for $100. In those days for me to get $100 was something!
Ananda Mohan was my very good friend. Perhaps he was happy that I went and gave the talk so he could have his freedom. He is a very good speaker and an excellent writer. He has written a book about Indira Gandhi and a few years ago he wrote a very nice article appreciating one of my large acrylic paintings.
[Note: “Hinduism: The Journey of India’s Soul” is printed in “Yoga and the Spiritual Life”.]