Saturday, 16 July 2016

Swamiji propounded Thought of Sanatana Dharma

Swami Tapasyanandaji had written an article on Swami Vivekananda as a Thought Leader. We all who follow the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and also being a Thought Movement, the article which will follow in small parts would be quite useful.

Among the great men of India, Swami Vivekananda is unique for the fact that he occupies the first rank both as a teacher of India's ancient spiritual wisdom and as a leader of her modern national aspirations. His public activities extended over a brief span of about ten years only, but during this period he spoke and worked sufficiently to gain for him a front rank among the thinkers and patriots of India.

His main contribution to thought is the restatement of the principles of the Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Law), which is the correct name for what is known today as Hinduism. Hinduism is a religion without a creed or a personal founder, and its history has an uninterrupted antiquity of about ten millenniums, during which it has absorbed several races and peoples with their own social practices and religious beliefs. As a consequence, it had developed a bewildering overgrowth of cults, myths, rituals and social practices, out of which the ordinary man was finding it difficult, nay, almost impossible, to distinguish the essential principles of his faith. Even erudite Sanskrit Pandits, however competent to expound the abstruse points of Indian Philosophy, found themselves at sea when required to state the principles common to all sects coming under Sanatana Dharma. They always equated Sanatana Dharma with Varnashrama Dharma, and thus interpreted a Universal Philosophy of religion as being a social system of hereditary castes and rigid rules of life. They fostered an elaborate system of mythology and rituals divorced from the proper philosophical background which gives them their spiritual significance. As a consequence, a Universal Philosophy was in danger of being understood as a cluster of polytheistic cults, magical rituals and outdated social practices.

This was the situation that confronted the new English-educated generation of Hindus towards the close of the 19th century when Swami Vivekananda appeared before the world. These new generations were not educated in Sanskrit and had therefore no access to the higher philosophies of India. Their English education had given them a historical sense and a rational scientific attitude which made them question every authority that was hitherto held sacrosanct. Many of them found solace in scepticism or in a thoughtless and naive type of materialism, but the more reflective looked with earnestness to their ancient culture for the bread of life. But its custodians had only stones to offer in the shape of caste, mythology and ritualism a trinity which certainly failed to satisfy these quickened and critical minds. The consequence was that a spiritual vacuum was created in the minds of large sections of people.