Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/560

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1890.—Rai Bahadur P. Ranganadha Mudaliyar.

to the third stage, the unanimity of the wise. I am sincerely convinced that real progress is possible, in this as in other directions, only if the guiding spirits of the movement are men of enlightened views, sound moral impulses, and a living religious sentiment, —men capable of looking before and after, —men not so blindly attached to the past as to oppose every thing new nor so rashly bent on reform as to despise every thing old. Never lose sight of the fact that you have to carry the masses with you, and that in consequence some of the social and religious changes that the educated few may be ripe for will have to be postponed; and that true wisdom and philanthropy require that while you have your faces set in the right direction, and while you have the courage to declare your convictions, you walk warily and slowly so that your less favoured brethren may follow your lead at such pace as is good for them. Observe, I do not commend the practice, which is only too prevalent, of talking and acting in a manner entirely at variance with one's own thoughts and feelings. Such incongruity between the inner and the outer life is the very death of all that is pure and noble and self-denying. According to the best light in you, approve only of what you consider to be right, and so conduct yourselves as to make it clear, that you neither justify nor excuse injurious customs and debasing superstitions. The Western ideas and sentiments that you have imbibed in the course of your education will and must urge you to advance, but as in human affairs good and evil are inextricably blended together, and the desire to obtain a thing is no guarantee of fitness to use the thing desired wisely and well, I would solemnly entreat you to look before you leap, and to make sure by observation, by study, and by reflection that in your impatient unwillingness to bear the ills you have, you do not fly to greater ills you know not of. 'Prove all things.' A spirit of rational and searching inquiry is the necessary outcome of the scientific discipline that you have had. You cannot help feeling the absurdity of assuming that all our thinking has been done for us by our ancestors. If through indolence, or love of selfish ease, or fear of consequences, you fail to think for yourselves, and if you neglect your opportunities of doing what you can to make your domestic life and your social surroundings harmonize better with the needs of the present, you will, believe me, be unworthy of the education you have received; you will betray the trust the University reposes in you; you will be false to your selves and false to your countrymen. I say again fast 'prove all things,' but "hold fast that which is good." While I feel nothing but respect in regard