Archive for the ‘Vivekananda’
Being “belated” while wishing my friends has almost become a ritual now! It is not that i forget! It is only that the lazy me procastinates…wanting to do/write sth “really nice” and finally end up doing nth. Sometimes, i remember till the day before and then the day after !! Sometimes I just cant reach them ! So what was the reason this time ?!? Well, I am not sorry atleast this time! I was so worried about savitha dutta that gloating over history faded incomparision to the urgency of the present! Yes, for those of you who do not know still, Jan 12th was the Bday of Vivekananda !
Have you seen God?
As a student of Philosophy, the question of God very much his mind. Was there a God ? If there was a God, what was He like ? What were man’s relations with Him ? Did He create this world which was so full of anomalies ? He discussed these questions with many, but no one could give him satisfactory answers. He did not want a “preacher”. He wanted someone who practiced what he preached. So his first question to any sadhu in safforn was “Have you seen God?”
A relation of his used to advise him to visit Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar, who, he said, would be able to remove all his doubts about religion. As the days passed, Naren began to grow restless about the various riddles that religion presented to him. He particularly wanted to meet a person who could talk about God with the authority of personal experience. Finally, he went to Ramakrishna one day and asked him straightaway “Have you seen God?” . He said he had, and if Naren so wished, he could even show God to him. This naturally took Naren by surprise. But he did not know what to make of it, for though his simplicity and love of God impressed Naren, his idiosyncrasies made him suspect if Ramakrishna was not a ‘monomaniac’. He began to watch him from close quarters and after a long time he was left in no doubt that Ramakrishna was an extraordinary man. He was the only man he had so far met who had completely mastered himself. Then, he was also the best illustration of every religious truth he preached. Naren loved and admired Ramakrishna but never surrendered his independence of judgment. Interestingly, Ramakrishna himself did not demand it of him, or of any other of his disciples. Nevertheless, Naren gradually came to accept Ramakrishna as his master.
It pained Swamiji to see Indians strutting about in Western clothes and imitating Western ways and manners, as if that made them really Western. Later he would call out the nation and say, ‘Feel proud that you are Indians even if you’re wearing a loin-cloth’. He was not opposed to learning from the West, for he knew the Western people had some great qualities and it was because of those qualities that they had become so rich and powerful. He wanted India to learn science and technology from the West and its power to organize and its practical sense, but, at the same time, retain its high moral and spiritual idealism. But the selfishness of the so-called educated people pained him more. They were happy if they could care for themselves and they gave a damn to what happened to the people. Swamiji wanted to draw their attention to the miserable condition of the masses-illiterate, always on the verge of starvation, superstitious and victims of oppression by the upper castes and the rich landlords.
As Swamiji arrived in Madras, young people gathered round him drawn by his bright and inspiring talks. They begged him to go to the USA to attend the forthcoming Parliament of Religions in Chicago to represent Hinduism. They even started raising funds for the purpose. Swamiji was first reluctant but later felt some good might come of his visit to the West, for if he could make some impression there, his people back at home, who always judged a thing good or bad according as the Western critics thought of it, would then give him a respectful hearing. That is exactly what happened : Swamiji made a tremendous impression, first in the USA and then also in England. The press paid him the highest tributes as an exponent of India’s age-old values; overnight he became a great national hero in India. Suddenly it was brought home to them that there must be something in Indian thought that Western intelligentsia feel compelled to admire. They began to suspect that perhaps they were not as backward as they once thought, and in areas like religion and philosophy, in art and literature, they were perhaps more advanced than the Western people. They had always felt sorry about themselves, but, now for the first time, they awoke to the richness of their heritage. This was the starting point of the Indian renaissance one hears about.
Contribution to freedom movement
A long successful of national leaders starting from Tilak have drawn inspiration from Swami Vivekananda. They ‘discovered’ India-her strong and weak points-through him. ‘If you want to know India, study Vivekananda’, was Tagore’s advice to Romain Rolland. This holds true even today, indeed no one has studied India’s body and mind so thoroughly as Swamiji did. It was Swamiji’s hope that India would create a new social order and a new civilization by combining her best spiritual traditions with the latest advancements in science and technology.She would be rich both materially and spiritually. He knew affluence was not enough, man had to be human, too. He wanted India to set an example in this. One may gain political and social independence, but if one is a slave to his passions and desires, one cannot feel the pure joy of real freedom.
In his own words
After so much austerity, I have understood this as the real truth - God is present in every jiva; there is no other God besides that. ‘Who serves jiva, serves God indeed.’ Cut out the word help from your mind. You cannot help; it is blasphemy! You worship. When you give a morsel of food to a dog, you worship the dog as God. He is all, and is in all.
Religion and religion alone is the life of India, and when that goes, India will die, in spite of politics, in spite of social reforms, in spite of Kubera’s wealth poured upon the head of every one of her children. Before flooding India with socialistic or political ideas, first deluge the land with spiritual ideas. We want to lead mankind to the place where there is neither the Vedas, nor the Bible, nor the Koran; yet this has to be done by harmonizing the Vedas, the Bible, and the Koran. Mankind ought to be taught that religions are but the varied ex-pressions of THE RELIGION, which is Oneness, so that each may choose the path that suits him best.
Truth, purity, and unselfishness - whenever these are present, there is no power below or above the sun to crush the possessor thereof. Equipped with these, one individual is able to face the whole universe in opposition. Everything can be sacrificed for truth, but truth cannot be sacrificed for anything. The highest ideal is eternal and entire self-abnegation, where there is no ‘I’, but is Thou’. All expansion is life, all contraction is death. All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love’s sake, because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
According to me “Fearlessness”, “selflessness”, “rationality” are three words around which teachings of vivekandana are woven. Please do read the much talked about Chicago speach at the Parliament of religions. One google search and you find many lnks. I felt i owe this post because of the “Thus spake vivekanada” and the subsequent explaination that i have given ( which i deleted. You can see that in comments by crazy spelunker for “Thus spake..”)without relevent context. He gave Indians self respect by raising the esteem of India and Hinduism in the eyes of the West. Till then India was thought a place of snake charmers and elephants, with uneducated and uncivilized people, whom the West is ruling for their own benifit so as to educate and civilize them! After Vivekanandas talk at Chicago a Chirstian intellectual is supposed to have said “Are we sending missionaries to this country to tell them about God??! I think it should be otherway round!”
“Children of immortal bliss”?what a sweet, what a hopeful name! Allow me to call you, brethren, by that sweet name?heirs of immortal bliss?yea, the Hindu refuses to call you sinners. Ye are the children of god, the sharers of immortal bliss, holy and perfect beings. Ye divinities on earth-sinners! It is a sin to call a man so; it is a standing libel on human nature. Come up, O lions, and shake off the delusion that you are sheep; you are souls immortal, spirits free, blest and eternal; ye are not matter, ye are not bodies; matter is your servant, not you the servant of matter.”
I simply adore him and wish he had lived longer. I would gleefully exchange or rather give away my life span to him, if that were ever possible (well some palmist had told me i would live till 86 ;-))
I dont want to reproduce any of his teachings or biography. I cant do better than what is already done in that aspect. This is just an introspection or rather soliloquy. I was full of vigor and enthusiasm as a student and in my early 20s. ( I thought i can to “a lot” once am done with education and start earning. But have not done “much” so far!) The fire in me had started to choke under the cloud of my worldly responsibilities as a daughter, wife, friend and now a young mommy. This attempt is to fan the smolders and rekindle the fire before it is extinguished.
At the same time i cannot blame my responsibilities or show them as an excuse as it is contarary to the Spirit of Gita. Afterall, Krishna urged Arjuna to do his worldly dharma and not to run away from the battlefield of life.
I only need to learn to juggle better. After all, maximum efficiency of a motor is near its full load (Well, see.. my Btech EEE hadnt been totally futile…;-))
Ya, Vivekananda! I cant even simply follow or emulate him! He forbade even that ! He says it is ok to have role models, but do not blindly emulate any one ! Keep your eyes wide open, think objectively and accept one thought at a time. Bcos to err is human, and no one is above that! (Being the inquisitive lad that he was, he even subjected Ramakrishna Paramahamsa to a series of tests before accepting him as a Guru)
Who else would have dared to say “It is easy to reach God through game of football than through prayer (he might have meant mere repitition of mantra)”
I have a some of concepts of his, that i have assimilated and integrated into my life partly and continously try to do so. I cannot quote a book or speach right away as this is the gist assimilated and purely from my memory.
He says, every religion is pure when it started. But as Ganges is pure at it’s origin but bcoms polluted during it’s course towards mighty ocean due to the crap dumped into it by selfish and irresponsible people, lot of misinterpretations and dogmas creep into the religion as termites into the trunk of mighty tree. As one of the oldest religion/way of life known till date, hinduism too has had its share! There is as much that u have to leave in hindism as you have to learn. Be objective and do not accept anything blindly(this sentence is a kind of alliteration to all his teachings :-))
Needless to say, am not a favourite with many of the elders, when it comes to “respecting culture and elders” by which they mean accepting without questioning what “elders” say. I do my best not to hurt their sensibilities and do what they say with a disclaimer “I dont believe in what am doing, but am doing it just to make u happy.”
Ha, this is what i love most (and use most ;-)) of vivekananda.
Am not entirely for Gandhiji’s “Show ur other cheek if someone slaps you” attitute. (Remember Lage Raho munnabhai, where arshad warsi says “Uske baad kya karneka …ye Gandhi nahi bola…” :-)) Vivekananda took care of that …)
Vivekananda says..To forgive is good. But forgive only once if someone insults you. If he insults you again, it means he doesnt know the difference between tolerance and ineptitude and considers you weak and incapable of defence. Teach him such a lesson that he will never even entertain the thought of insulting you third time !! If he gets away insulting you 3rd time, it really means u are incapable and spineless!
Huh?!? Interesting, abreast with current times..and worth a try…isnt it?
I think we as a nation fail to do that time and again and Hindus as a community fail to do that time and again! which is the reason anybody gets away doing anything to a Hindu and goes scot free most of the times. As someone rightly said “If history repeats and there are still surprises, it only shows how stupid a man can be!”