Sunday, 24 September 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Sister Christine : 73

IMPRISONMENT IN FLESH

...The thirteenth century in Europe was the great creative period following the "Dark Ages". Then came St. Francis of Assisi,"the troubadour of God". A wave of spirituality swept the country, thousands embraced "Sister Poverty". In the wake of this power came, first Dante (1265-1321) and Giotto (1266-1336), then later Savonarola (1452-1498) and Michelangelo (1475-1564), Benevenuto Cellini (1500-1571). Bernini (1598-1680) and other great names. The Renaissance had come.

We come now to the twentieth century — with the greatest war in the history of the world waging, brother fighting against brother, millions of the earth's finest and best wiped out, nation against nation in Europe, the East against the West, in a death struggle, famine, pestilence, the downfall of religion, materialism rampant. Western civilization in danger of extinction. If ever there was need of an Avatar, it is at this time. Will the need be met in this time of direst need? What are the signs of the times? During the nineteenth century several stars of greater or lesser magnitude appeared in various parts of the world, all of whom did their part, great or small, to save the world from the cataclysm which seems about to overtake it. Each has brought new spiritual light and power. Among the greatest of these are the Bab and Bahaullah, in Persia, and Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda in India. Which is the Avatar of this age? We are perhaps too close to these luminaries to know which is the greatest. The Baha'ist will say it is the Bab and Bahaullah, while the followers of Ramakrishna will claim with equal certainty that it is Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. Are there signs by which we can tell? Which has given the message most needed at the present time? It must be a message not for any particular nation but for the world. Which has ushered in a new spiritual era, has brought a light which will never be extinguished, has let loose a power which will make a new heaven and a new earth? The future alone can tell.

(Prabuddha Bharata, March 1978)