The answer to the last part of your question is an emphatic no. Do you know about hawkers? They move from one place to another and shout: This is my article – very good and very cheap. The Mahamandal is like hawkers. The task of the Mahamandal is to visit every house, every village, and every town to give this vidya, this idea.
In the beginning the Mahamandal had very few centres. Now you see, in 12 States of India about 250 centres have come up. In every centre some 30 to 80 members may be there. They are working through the centres in their localities, villages or towns or cities, and the people living in the surrounding areas are also getting the idea. It is possible for the local people to get acquainted with these ideas, because the centres are working there. Others do not have an opportunity to hear about the ideas. The results are palpable when these centres are there. There are no political leaders or famous persons with us. We are all very simple people, householders, many not with much of education, but I feel the only secret of success is sincerity, the proper understanding of the idea, and intense determination to work it out.
And there is no other organization on the same line of work. There are thousands of institutions and societies. But what is going on? Have a piece of land, make a building, and arrange lectures and music etc., and so on. What is the result of all that? We are listening, but remaining as before. Remember what Swamiji told us: You listen to the lectures with rapt attention, you praise the speaker, and after you go home and have your dinner, you digest all that you have heard along with the ingested food – nothing is retained. This type of effort can neither make men nor build the nation.
The Mahamandal has an altogether different approach, which was suggested by Swami Vivekananda. We have a clearly defined goal and a detailed plan of action. We offer training and literature particularly suitable for the youths. Simplicity of the ideas and of the language expressing them is the watchword. All emphasis is on implementation of the ideas in our everyday life. Our life and character should be such that others will be charged, and that is the way to spread the idea. That way it is very difficult. In the case of the Mahamandal, the hawker that shouts should be character itself. Remember Swamiji’s words: ‘Neither money pays, nor name, nor fame, nor learning; it is character that can cleave through adamantine walls of difficulties.’