Tuesday 30 April 2013

Swami Vivekananda and Veer Savarkar

वीरेश्वराय विद्महे विवेकानन्दाय धीमहि । तन्नो वीर: प्रचोदयात् ।

In this, the 150th birth anniversary year of Swami Vivekananda, it is instructive to ponder over the common spirituality that existed between Swami Vivekananda and Veer Savarkar today (26 February 2013), the atmarpan divas of Savarkar.

"I will drink the ocean", says the persevering soul, "at my will mountains will crumble up". "Have that sort of energy, that sort of will, work hard and you will reach the goal." These inspiring words of the patriotic monk Swami Vivekananda who was goading Indians to show courage are true for all ages.

A legendary revolutionary who came under the spell of his emboldening words and brought many more under his own spell was Veer Savarkar. The driving power behind all the sacrifices which he made for national welfare was his innate spirituality - subtle but sublime. In the prime of his youth he suffered 14 years of imprisonment, more than 10 years of which were spent undergoing inhuman and torturous rigors of cellular jail in Andaman. Nonetheless he underplays his sufferings by describing them as "penances" carried out by him to discharge his debt towards the great forefathers of his dear Motherland!

Before Savarkar's deportation to Andaman, his elder brother Ganeshpant who was involved in freedom struggle had already been sentenced to life imprisonment in Andaman. Younger brother Narayanrao who was merely 19 had also been imprisoned and Savarkar too was on the verge of being arrested. At such a juncture he wrote a Marathi poem. Given below is the prose rendering in English done by Savarkar himself under the title My Will and Testament. Addressing his Motherland, he writes thus:

My elder brother so brave... and yet so softly loving
Was sacrificed on Thy altar.
The youngest one- so dear, so young -
he too followed him into the flames; and now here am I, O Mother!

Bound to thy sacrificial pillar: What of these !
 Had we been seven instead of only three
I would have sacrificed all in thy cause...

Even after his little son died due to small pox when he was away from his family because of his involvement in freedom struggle, at a time when his brothers were behind bars and the family property (including utensils) had been confiscated by the British Empire, Savarkar did not lose courage. We must not forget that Savarkar brothers had lost their parents in their adolescence and the ladies of the family were left homeless, penniless with practically none to care. Yet with supreme equanimity Savarkar wrote thus: 

Neither the longing looks of a young wife
waiting vainly waiting for my return
Nor the peals of laughter of dear children,
nor the helplessness of a sister-in law
stranded and left to starve
could hold me back from the call of thy trumpet!

Nothing could make Savarkar turn his back to Motherland's call for freedom. He made a virtual bonfire of family life to see India free. It was as if all the three brothers plunged into the sacrificial pit and made a veritable yagnya of their lives.

The sufferings endured by elder brother of Savarkar, Ganeshpant were no less. He too continued to suffer in the Andaman the same inhuman treatment for more than a decade and lost his wife while he was still in prison. The saga of Savarkar brothers is a saga of selfless and supreme sacrifice - a sacrifice without regrets and a sacrifice never flaunted.

Savarkar's spirituality which is the very basis of his outlook towards life is reflected in a letter written by him from Andaman to his younger brother in which observes thus: "The finest ideal for a young man is not to acquire but to sacrifice; not to forget that the garden that sheds all its flowers for the garland of Gods, is in blossom for ever."

What Savarkar observes reminds us of a similar exhortation by Vivekananda to the youth. "This is the time to decide your future- while you possess the energy of youth, not when you are worn out and jaded... for the freshest, the untouched and unsmelled flowers alone are to be laid at the feet of the Lord, and such he receives..."

Vivekananda's expectation from fellow Indians was - "... forget not that thy marriage, thy wealth, thy life are not for sense pleasure, are not for thy individual personal happiness; forget not that thou art born as a sacrifice to Mother's altar..." As spelt out by Vivekananda very clearly the God to be worshipped and Mother for whom sacrifice was to be made was no stone sculpted idol but "our great Mother India... the only god.." to use his very own words.

It is for this reason that service to Motherland was for Savarkar the highest form of worship as is evident when he writes - "Thy cause is Holy ! Thy cause I believed to be the cause of God! and in serving it I knew I served the Lord".

An humble homage to a great patriot who translated the thoughts of Vivekananda into action.

Join the year long 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda : sv150.org  Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari

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