Swami Vivekananda is alive!! And, he is here among us.
Yes. Truth be told, Swami ji is here amidst us. In a big bad world polluted by incessant greed, lies, lust for power, hunger, poverty, and whatnot how can we not keep the spirit of the evergreen saint of India alive.
Today, on the eve of Swami Vivekananda’s 153rd birth anniversary Swami Vivekananda needs to be remembered more than ever in an India attempting to re-emerge from the gallows of ills that its people have been responsible for bringing.
In a brief lifetime of just 39 years, the great spiritual master hailing from Bengal but one who belonged to an entire India left behind a shining legacy. His weren’t just contributions in introducing the concepts of Yoga and Vedanta to the Western World but priceless and admirable philosophies that touched almost every facet of mankind.
The monk who awoke millions
Whether it was his unparalleled work and dedication toward spiritual awakening, meditation, the concept of self-consciousness and its propagation, or the ever important thrust toward humanity, Narendranath Dutta, before he was renamed Vivekananda by his guru, Ramakrishna Paramhansa.
Milestones, there were many in that beautiful yet poignant life as were priceless moments from which Swami Vivekananda created lasting memories for the collective interest of the larger society. During his years of extensive travel across Bengal as in the rest of India(1880s onward) Swami Vivekananda educated the youth about the ills of smoking and drinking.
Through his active involvement with the Keshab Chandra Sen’s Nava Vidhan and the Brahmo Samaj, founded by the legendary Raja Ram Mohan Roy, also credited with the milestone efforts toward abolition of Sati, Swami Vivekanada got acquainted toward the concept of Hindu Religion and worship in a hitherto less experienced vein. He respected, regarded and promoted the concept of deprecation of idolatry (idol worship) and emphasized on the recognition of a ‘formless’ god.
Swami Ji’s exemplary life
Somewhere, if as laymen we attempt to strike a parallel between Vivekanda’s spiritually erudite concepts of religion and self-awakening then we might find certain similarities with the philosophies of Lord Buddha. Self-awakening leading to enlightenment is after all the final goal as prescribed by Buddhism whose founder, Siddharth Gautam Buddh himself never preached or encouraged worshipping a particular form of idol.
Monks there are many, but few are masters of self control. Swami Ji’s soul was the light that emanated tremendous self-control. He was driven by an incessant quest for knowledge and a need to self-perfection. He was famous for walking miles and miles barefoot, living on ‘bhiksha’ or alms offered to monks such as his bright self by visitors or followers and in his ceremonious journey that lasted a year shy of four decades, Vivekananda rose as an avant-garde intellectual priest in both the East marked by British Raj and outright poverty as well as the West, eager to explore the world of spirituality, and hence- self enlightenment.
Detachment and spiritual inquisitions
Practicing detachment in the beginning during his spiritual tutelage under the ever respected Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Vivekananda soon devoted his life toward holy-begging, ‘japa’ and meditation. This would continue in the years after his guru’s demise where upon Narendra Nath dedicated his efforts toward establishing Baranagar Math, a monastery for fellow monks.
For him, the quest wasn’t just to realize god. But, to dedicate one’s life toward self perfection and toward cultivating the spiritual side in one’s soul. This would lead him toward enormously successful and popular journeys to the West. His travels to Japan (Tokyo, Nagasaki, Kobe, Yokohama), China, Canada while en route to the United States, where he went to San Francisco and Chicago, opened the floodlights of the Western mind toward accepting Hinduism, Vedanta, Yoga and the enchanting practice of meditation.
A soft speaker and an economist of words, combining an effortless mastery toward knowledge of religion, Swami Vivekanda didn’t just have disciples but walking magnets whose affection toward India was largely credited to this spiritual giant’s reservoir of mastery self-expression.
On the ceremonious occasion of Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary, we offer an earnest tribute to a leading luminary of India, one who influenced not just Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose but stalwarts such as Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and numerable western intellectuals such as Aldous Huxley.
Pearls of wisdom by Swami Vivekananda:
Swami Vivekananda emphasized on the importance of struggle and immense hard-work. According to him, in hard-work and pure dedication lay our key to success. In our everyday lives, we often take short cuts to success. Truth be told, greater glory in life always lies through avoiding short cuts toward realizing our dreams.
Very often, we complain of hardships. Yes, it is not uncommon or unworldly to crib. But, must we understand that in facing hardships and challenges boldly lies the key to ultimate success.
3. Most of us depend on the almighty for answers to our life’s questions and its many confusing swirls. But, in so doing, we totally forget about the force that lies within. This is the dilemma. That, in realization and dependence on the highest force, one often tends to ignore the beautiful, powerful force that lies within. Swami Vivekananda emphasized on the need for self-confidence.
Many say that the ultimate goal of life is to realize or find god. But, on most occasions we often forget or simply ignore or downplay the importance of helping one another, and therefore, mankind in general. Vivekananda emphasized on the need to discount condemnation in life. Hard task this! But, if we all try, we can succeed in realizing what Swami Ji attempted to convey. One should learn to accept the other without forcing one’s own opinions and views over the other.
Very often, we undermine and totally ignore the need and importance of education. It still happens in various parts of our wonderful country. Swami Vivekananda, the founder of Vedanta and the masterful monk who had realized his self laid emphasized on the need for education, and thus, to seek proper education. It is like a sword in a hand that can cut through the bias, ill informed views, opinions and problems that often derail progress in life.
Swami Vivekananda felt that perfection didn’t lay outside and wasn’t a tool to be procured through out-worldly manifestations. He was of the view that it lay within. Therefore, we must delve deep to explore our greater self.