Thursday, 10 March 2016

Internalize eternal, unifying principles

Swami Vivekananda was interviewed by the representative of the Prabuddha Bharata. He asked Swamiji, "And what do you consider to be the function of your movement as regards India?" Swamiji replied, "To find the common bases of Hinduism and awaken the national consciousness to them."(Prabuddha Bharata, vol. V, p. 225 , September, 1898) Though India has immense diversity, she also has a deep cultural unity – a fact acknowledged by historians like Vincent Smith. Unfortunately the incessant invasions and subsequent Macaulay education made us lose sight of these unifying threads. Today we harp only on diversity and interpret our diversity as differences.

Therefore, we have become disunited and our energies, too are dissipated. There are educated people who ask these questions, 'What is common between a Sikh and a Jain; or a Christian and a Muslim; or between a Gujarati and an Arunachali, or a Punjabi and a Tamilian?'; 'Their God, festival, language, food habits, physical features everything is different' is their conclusion. We need to ask a different set of questions. 'What is it that which is common for us?' 'What unites us?' Swami Vivekananda wanted our society again to wake up to those unifying principles which have made Indian culture unique. He said,
…for our national welfare, we must first seek out at the present day all the spiritual forces of the race, as was done in days of yore and will be done in all times to come. National union in India must be a gathering up of its scattered spiritual forces. A nation in India must be a union of those whose hearts beat to the same spiritual tune. (CWSV, vol. III, p. 371.)