Friday, 15 July 2016

Swami Vivekananda - God Realization, Strength, Compassion

'The three great elements which constituted the life and message of Swami Vivekananda were his love of God or the realization of the Self, his great compassion, and his strength. One reacted on the others. His life on earth was a long-drawn realization of the Spirit. For a period in his early days, he suffered from conflicts and anguish for the direct experience of God. But that was only temporary. Soon he got the blazing light of the knowledge of the Highest Consciousness which was his home.

He was born with a compassionate heart. With growing years, coming into contact with human suffering he rebelled against God, as it were He could not find the reason why in the creation of God there should be so much misery. He considered the world devilish. Afterwards, with his spiritual achievements, he realized that the problem of evil in the world could not be explained on the human plane. Evil can be and must be transcended, but it cannot be explained. Afterwards, his only concern was to lift up the whole of humanity to a plane where evil cannot reach. 'I may have to give up the body,' he once said, 'but I will not rest until each individual finds that he is one with God.'

Strength was a great characteristic of Swami Vivekananda even in his younger days. Afterwards he radiated and scintillated strength. His very presence was strength-giving. Even his prayer to God was not a form of cringing supplication to God, but was the demanding attitude of his birthright. Even in his crisis and difficulties he manifested nothing but strength. That became a part of his life, and a vital aspect of the religion he preached. One who studies Swami Vivekananda and deeply ponders over his thoughts and ideas cannot help catching these three characteristics. One finds the basis of religion is so rational, clear and living, that one is filled with the intense aspiration of following his precepts. Nay, one feels that those precepts have become almost a realization with one.

But religion did not become a self-centered isolation with him. He invariably was filled with the spirit of love for others and was seized with an aspiration to serve others. And simultaneously one sees the need and naturalness of strength in one's own life. One is fired with a spirit of strength. One catches the contagion of these qualities in one's mind and heart from the message of Swami Vivekananda. We do not say that these influences become at once lasting in their effect on one's life. They tend to disappear. To make them lasting one has to struggle and struggle vigilantly. That is a spiritual practice. That is religion. That is what happens in the life of all spiritual aspirants. But in all our struggles and efforts, through all our hope and despair, Swami Vivekananda's message itself will be a source of great strength and power to us. For his message was not different from his life ; his words were co-equal with his power and realization.

 ... From an Article by 'Swami Pavitrananda' on "Swami Vivekananda on Spiritual Practices"