Swami Vivekananda: Prophet of resurgent India

Swami Vivekananda as a wandering monk saw the condition of Bharat. In Bharat where the Rishis dreamt of Krinavanto Vishwamaryam, the youth had no other dream than getting a job of a clerk in British India. The richest land of the world was impoverished to such an extent that the famine sometimes wiped out one third of the population. The land of wisdom had gone to such depths of ignorance that most literate country of the world, the country that boasted of world’s best universities, had become illiterate. The land from which Rishis had gone all-over the world to give the message of ‘Amritasya Putrah- the children of immortality, the descendants of these Rishis had lost confidence in themselves. It was this overall pathetic situation which moved the heart of Swami Vivekananda. But at the same time he also saw that spirituality – the soul of Bharat was intact, the land still had a life-giving message to be given to the world. Thus fired with this mission that Bharat would have to come up to guide the world he sat in deep meditation at Kanyakumari for finding the way to do it. It was there, while sitting at the rock that the mission of his life dawned – his mission was to awaken the dormant spirit of his people and organize them into a power to mould the humanity on the path of spirituality. For that, he decided to go and participate in the Parliament of Religions to represent the Hindu Dharma.

In spite of very difficult situation and bleak certainty about his participation in the Parliament of Religions, his persistence and intrinsic worth made it possible that he could participate in the Parliament of Religions. And it became a historical participation! It was as if the whole Parliament of Religion was organized only for making his work go ahead. After five years of whirlwind successful tour he returned to Bharat. And what was his message for Bharat?

He said, “In religion lies the vitality of India and so long as the Hindu race do not forget the great inheritance of their forefathers, there is no power on earth to destroy them.”

When the life-blood is strong and pure, no disease germ can live in that body.  Our lifeblood is spirituality.  If it flows clear, if it flows strong and pure and vigorous, everything is right; political, social, any other material defects, even the poverty of the land, will all be cured if that blood is pure….Have that faith, each one of you, in yourself-that eternal power is lodged in every soul-and you will revive the whole of India. Aye, we will then go to every country under the sun, and our ideas will before long be a component of the many forces that are working to make up every nation in the world. We must enter into the life of every race in India and abroad; we shall have to work to bring this about. Now for that, I want young men.”

Swami Vivekananda had faith in the younger generation.  He said out of them would come the workers. Swamiji wanted mainly these four things to be inculcated by Indians.

Strength: Swami Vivekananda gave lot of importance to strength. He used to say

’Religion lies in manliness.’ He told, “Faith, faith, faith in ourselves, faith, faith in God – this is the secret of greatness, If you have faith in all the three hundred and thirty millions of your mythological gods and in all the gods which foreigners have now and again introduced into your midst and still have no faith in ourselves, there is no salvation for you…The history of the world is the history of a few men who had faith in themselves. That faith calls out the divinity within.  You can do anything. You fail only when you do not strive sufficiently to manifest infinite power.  As soon as a man or a nation loses faith, death comes…Never think there is anything impossible for the soul.  It is the greatest heresy to think so.  If there is sin, this is the only sin – to say that you are weak or others are weak.”

India had to face many problems. Every individual too has to face problems in life, but by crying over it, we cannot face the problems. Swamiji used to say, “But this is not the time with us to weep even in joy; we have had weeping enough; no more is this the time for us to become soft. This softness has been with us till we have become like masses of cotton and are dead. What our country now wants are muscles of iron and nerves of steel, gigantic wills which nothing can resist, which can penetrate into the mysteries and the secrets of the universe, and will accomplish their purpose in any fashion even if it meant going down to the bottom of the ocean and meeting death face to face. That is what we want, and that can only be created, established, and strengthened by understanding and realising the ideal of the Advaita, that ideal of the oneness of all. Faith, faith, faith in ourselves, faith, faith in God — this is the secret of greatness. Have faith in yourselves, and stand up on that faith and be strong; that is what we need.”

Swamiji used to say that the message of Upanishads is the message of strength and fearlessness. Swami Vivekananda himself was a person who was full of strength, the way he walked, talked, he emanated immense strength.

Purpose of life: Swami Vivekananda stressed on this point that one must live a purposeful life. None of us are born without a purpose, each life has a purpose. The ultimate purpose of life is to manifest the divinity within. He said, ”Never mind the struggles, the mistakes.  I never heard a cow tell a lie but is only a cow -never a man.  So never mind these failures, these little backslidings; hold the ideal a thousand times and if you fail a thousand times, make the attempt once more.”

It is in the present, that we should work for the future. Swamiji said, “This is the time to decide your future — while you possess the energy of youth, not when you are worn out and jaded, but in the freshness and vigour of youth. Work — this is the time; for the freshest, the untouched and unsmelled flowers alone are to be laid at the feet of the Lord, and such He receives. Rouse yourselves, therefore, or life is short. There are greater works to be done than aspiring to become lawyers and picking quarrels and such things. A far greater work is this sacrifice of yourselves for the benefit of your race, for the welfare of humanity. What is in this life? You are Hindus, and there is the instinctive belief in you that life is eternal.”

Intense love for Motherland:  Bharat was the deity of the life-song of Swami Vivekananda. His love for his motherland was intense and immeasurable. Whenever he started talking about Bharat his bhakti, Jnana, and poetry poured out in full. He said, “If there is any land on this earth that can lay claim to be the blessed Punya Bhumi, the land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness, above all the land of introspection and of spirituality – it is India…As I look back upon the history of my country, I do not find in the whole world another country, which has done quite so much for the improvement of the human mind.  Therefore I have no words of condemnation for my nation, I tell them, “You have done well; only try to do better”.

Service: Sri Ramakrishna once while in Samadhi said Jiva Daya Jiva Daya (comapassion to living beings) but immediately he said, “Who are we to do Daya to Him? It is Shiva Bhave Jeeva Seva – Serve the living beings with god-consciousness.” Narendranath Dutta who later became Swami Vivekananda was listening to that.  And he started dancing, saying he has got a great message for this age. Swami Vivekananda stressed on serving the suffering masses.

His heart bled for the poor and the downtrodden. He said, “What vain gods shall we go after and yet cannot worship the god that we see all around us, the Virat (Janata Janardan)? When we have worshipped this, we shall be able to worship all other gods.”

He always said, “Elevate the masses without injuring their religion” He said, “Oh, how my heart ached to think of what we think of the poor, the low, in India.  They have no chance, no escape, no way to climb up.  The poor, the low, the sinner in India have no friends, no help. They sink lower and lower every day.  Thoughtful people within the last few years have seen it but unfortunately laid it at the door of the Hindu religion and to them, the only way of bettering is by crushing this grandest religion of the world.  Hear, my friend, I have discovered the secret through the grace of the Lord.  Religion is not in fault.  On the other hand, your religion teaches you that every being is only your own self multiplied. I claim that no destruction of religion is necessary to improve the Hindu society, and that this state of society exists not on account of religion but because religion has not been applied to society as it should have been. This I am ready to prove from our old books, every word of it.  This is what I teach and this is what we must struggle all our lives to carry out.”

The overflowing love of Swami Vivekananda for the people of India really brought the change, India which was sinking, started coming up. Just imagine those days when India was a poor and illiterate nation, a slave under British rule and had no hope or faith in itself. That time Swami Vivekananda has said, “I do not see into the future; nor do I care to see. But one vision I see clear as life before me that the ancient Mother has awakened once more, sitting on Her throne-rejuvenated, more glorious than ever. Proclaim Her to all the world with the voice of peace and benediction.” Today when we see India poised to take off, India being viewed as a future super power, as a country which can help other countries in spirituality, it is because of that lone cyclonic monk of India, Swami Vivekananda who rejuvenated India with his love and inspired many to live and die for her.

She is Vice-President of Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari.

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