Swami Vivekananda 100 Years Later Swami Vivekananda, the great Hindu Monk of India, left his mortal coil exactly a century ago, on July 4 , 1902. Time has proved the truth of the words Swami Vivekananda uttered before his death: "It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body -- to cast it off like a worn out garment. But I shall not cease to work. I shall inspire men everywhere until the world shall know that it is one with God." “Work unto death, I am with you, and when I am gone, my spirit will work with you.”
OVERVIEW <ul><li>100 Years Later… </li></ul><ul><li>A Glowing Tribute </li></ul><ul><li>Homage </li></ul><ul><li>An Estimate ( of the inestimable) </li></ul><ul><li>A Prophetic Voice </li></ul><ul><li>Divine Sparks </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Be and Make’ </li></ul>
This is the centenary year of the maahasamaadhi of Swami Vivekananda, the patriot-saint and the intrepid Hindu Monk of India who dazzled the West by his fascinating personality, scintillating intellect and powerful oratory. One hundred years ago, on July 4, 1902, completing his divinely ordained mission, the great Swami left his mortal coil and returned to the Divine Source. In the words of his illustrious disciple, Sister Nivedita, “….on the wings of meditation, his spirit soared whence there could be no return, and the body was left, like a folded vesture, on the earth…. And the day he chose of all others was the Fourth of July – the American Independence Day.”
His was a rare personality, a dynamic and dedicated life in a short span. His multi-faceted life and work, and the inspiring message were for the spiritual regeneration of India and the world. “ Having given his ideal a firm practical shape, having inspired millions of people with the noble ideals of 'Renunciation and Service', having made India conscious of her glorious past, and having awakened her to future tasks, Vivekananda wound up his earthly career at the age of thirty-nine years, five months and twenty-two days, thus fulfilling his own prophecy: 'I will not live to be forty years old.' "
At the height of his glory and renown, how unassuming and ego-less he was! Here is the testimony: “If there has ever been a word of truth, a word of spirituality, that I have spoken anywhere in the world, I owe it to my Master; only mistakes are mine… They call me the ‘cyclonic Hindu’. Remember, it is His will – I am a voice without a form.” This is also a testimony to his fidelity to his Great Master – Sri Ramakrishna.
And, as to his spiritual depth and universality of outlook, mark his words: “What is India or England or America to us? We are the servants of that God who by the ignorant is called man.” Renunciation, service and sacrifice were his watchwords. And, an embodiment of renunciation that he was, he wore himself out in the service of ‘God in man’. Here is his testament: “When will that blessed day dawn when my life will be a sacrifice at the altar of humanity? …Let the body, since perish it must, wear out in action and not rust in inaction… It is better to wear out than to rust out.”
Time has proved the truth of the words Swami Vivekananda uttered before his death: "It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body -- to cast it off like a worn out garment. But I shall not cease to work. I shall inspire men everywhere until the world shall know that it is one with God." “Work unto death, I am with you, and when I am gone, my spirit will work with you.”
Swami Vivekananda's influence on societies and individuals can be classified into: his impact as a teacher of the message of Eternal India, which is in fact the spiritual message of Sanatana Dharma, popularly known as Hinduisim, or the rational and universal gospel of the Vedanta; his stress on the practice of religion of service, based on equality and tyaga ; his role as an awakener, builder and organizer of modern India with its patriotic, spiritual and service movements; his contribution as a cultural and spiritual emissary of India to the West; his work as an interpreter of Indian values in the universal language of science and, his influence in taming and unifying science itself.
Humanity has not yet opened fully the gift it has received from Sri Ramakrishna, the gift of the advent and work of Swami Vivekananda. We can only envy the future world, which will be delighted and blessed with this gift, which it has been ready to receive but slow to uncover.
Swami Vivekananda "burst into the world like a bomb not to lick it into destruction with tongues of fire, but to rouse men from their spiritual stupor by the boom of his powerful voice. His words seem to gain greater force as they roll down the years. Vivekananda is today a voice without form.
The main concern of the world today is peace and harmony…. If peace and harmony are to rise and rein in the hearts and minds of all people all over the world, they should have an opportunity to be exposed to the revealing insights of spirituality, which Swami Vivekananda has bequeathed to humanity….
Swami Vivekananda is verily a bridge between the East and the West. He is a dynamic spiritual force to shape the future of humanity. His teachings have set in motion a spiritual force, which can eventually bring into the western civilization the needed qualitative change .
The greatest of all benefactions, according to Swami Vivekananda, is the act of rousing man to the glory of the divinity within. The awakened man solves for himself all his problems, secular and sacred. "The solution to all human problems is in man's becoming Man (with capital ‘M’) in all his dimensions, by manifesting his divinity. Problems are understandably many. But the solution is one -- to become the new kind of man, who being simultaneously scientific and spiritual eventually becomes free. It is this new man, pure in heart, clear in brain, unselfish in motivation, who works in a balanced manner with his head, heart and hand, who has shed all his smallness and illusions, who has experienced unity of existence in his expanded consciousness -- this selfless, spotless and fearless man of character, enlightenment and love, is the hope of the world….
What made Swami Vivekananda stand apart from others is that in his life there was made manifest a tremendous force for the moral and spiritual welfare and upliftment of humanity irrespective of caste, creed or nationality. This power of his is what characterizes Swamiji’s work even to this day. Though his voice is without a form today, the vibrations of the same have been caught up in many a heart and have surcharged and transformed them.
As we offer our homage to Swami Vivekananda in the centenary year of his mahasamadhi, let us meditate on his multi-faceted life and work and inspiring message for the spiritual regeneration of humanity. And, above all, let us translate his spiritual teachings into our day-to-day life and be blessed thereby. All glory to that great Hindu Monk of India!
A GLOWING TRIBUTE by Srimat Swami Ranganathanandaji 13 th President of the Ramakrishna Order
“ Swami Vivekananda is the one person who stands as a golden link between India and the western world, and who promises to be such a link between India and the rest of the world as well.
“ For the first time in our history of the past thousand years, our country produced a great teacher in Swami Vivekananda who took India out of her isolation of centuries and brought her into the mainstream of international life. This is a great work, whose beneficent results are slowly and steadily becoming evident as decades roll on.
“ Swami Vivekananda had a fourfold training, which equipped him for the world mission. Firstly, his education in modern western science, literature, and history; secondly, his assimilation of the positive elements in the Indian culture and traditions; thirdly, his discipleship at the feet of Sri Ramakrishna, the very personification of the Indian spiritual tradition; and fourthly, his intimate grasp of the realities of contemporary India during his life as a wandering monk for six years. And this fourfold training made Vivekananda an embodiment of the East and the West.
“ He passed away on 4 th July 1902, at the young age of 39 years, 5 months, and 22 days. Out of the nine years of his public ministry, from the Parliament of Religions in 1893 up to his death in 1902, he gave over four most intense years to the West. The intensity of his nine years of work in the West and in India, the output of spiritual, intellectual, literary, and organizational work, besides the traveling involved during the period, is unprecedented. As a teacher of modern India and as her cultural and spiritual Emissary to the West, Vivekananda has illumined the horizon of national and international life, which has no parallel in the history
“ ‘ Buddha had a message to the East, and I have a message to the West.’ The West will one day learn to feel proud of this Emissary of modern India and learn from him the philosophy of comprehensive spirituality and total life-fulfillment and the way to its own redemption from a soul-killing materialism. When that response comes from the West, the tunnel connecting East and West would be complete, and a new culture, neither eastern nor western, but just human, would be evolved, making for the spiritual growth of man everywhere and tending to develop a ‘mankind-awareness’ in all nations, and marking the fulfillment of the purposes of the advent of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda in the modern age”. “ He was a man with a message and he delivered it fearlessly and intensely. He had said of himself:
“ Victory to that Intrepid Hindu Monk of India” A HOMAGE
vishwahitaishi mahaamanishi janasevaataapasi jayatu vivekananda swami jayatu veera sannyaasi II nipeeya sakalam tattwajnaanam paanchabhautikam nava vijnaanam jagaditihaasa puraana darshanam parameshwara darshane manaswi yo nitaraam abhilaashi jayatu veera sannyaasi II
sakaladharama patha parama saadhakam vividha dharma mata marmabodhakam bhogavaada naastikya rodhakam jagadgurum tam pranamya sahasaa jaato dradhataapasi jayatu veera sannyaasi II graame graame nagare nagare nadi nadaanaam teere teere guha gahware vipine ghore vilokya jana jivanam vipannam yo vivhala maanasi jayatu veera sannyaasi II
“ Surely, Vivekananda’s words do not need introduction from anybody; they make their own irresistible appeal.” - Mahatma Gandhi “ The best introduction to Vivekananda is not to read about him but to read him….” - Christopher Isherwood “ If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In him everything is positive and nothing negative.” - Rabindranath Tagore AN ESTIMATE (of the inestimable)
“ Today man requires one more adjustment on the spiritual plane; today when material ideas are at the height of their glory and power, today when man is likely to forget his divine nature, through his growing dependence on matter, and is likely to be reduced to a mere money-making machine, an adjustment is necessary…. A PROPHETIC VOICE
“ The whole world requires Light. It is expectant! India alone has that Light, Not in the magic, mummeries, and charlatanism, but in the teachings of the glories of the spirit of real religion of the highest spiritual truth. That is why the Lord has preserved the race through all its vicissitudes into the present day. Now the time has come.”
“ As I look upon the history of my country, I do not find in the world another country which has done quite so much for the improvement of the human mind and that India was the homeland of the invisible powers that ruled the destinies of men and nations and its ancient scriptures would make it the teacher of the world.”
” Each soul is potentially divine. The goal (of life) is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external (through physical science, technology and socio-political processes), and internal (through the science of religion). Do this either by work or worship or psychic control or philosophy – by one or more or all of these – and Be Free … All power is within you; you are the reservoir of omnipotent power… Awake from this hypnotism of weakness. None is really weak; the soul is infinite, omnipotent and omniscient. Stand up, assert yourself, proclaim the God within you… Teach yourself, teach everyone his real nature, call upon the sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, glory will come, goodness will come, purity will come and everything that is excellent will come, when the sleeping soul is roused to self-conscious activity…. DIVINE SPARKS
The prayer: “ tamaso maa jyotirgamaya ” – “Lead me from darkness to Light” quoted in the inner orb, is indicative of man’s spiritual quest – his aspiration to discover, realize and manifest the innate Divinity. The meditative posture of man, the brilliant sun behind him, the lotus on which he is seated and the waves beneath it are symbolic of mystic communion, pursuit of knowledge, devotional absorption and selfless work, respectively. The design thus depicts the gospel of Swami Vivekananda, according to which man can discover, realize and manifest the Divinity enshrined in him, by cultivating an integrated life, with due emphasis on pursuit of knowledge, devotional absorption, mystic communion and selfless service. “ Be and Make” – is an epigram of Swamiji exhorting man to unfold his intrinsic divinity through the cultivation of an integrated life and also to help others march towards that end. ‘ BE AND MAKE’ The monosyllable superimposed on the bosom of man symbolizes his intrinsic Divinity, which is his real nature.