Thursday 31 March 2016

Role of Vedanta

Swami Vivekananda says : preach the Advaita to every one, so that religion may withstand the shock of modern science.
Preaching Vedanta would save the world from the onslaught of materialism, westernization and thereby modernization. He observes :
And even there something of this idea will have to go from India. It has already got there. It will have to grow and increase and save their civilisations too. For in the West the old order of things is vanishing, giving way to a new order of things, which is the worship of gold, the worship of Mammon. Thus this old crude system of religion was better than the modern system, namely — competition and gold. No nation, however strong, can stand on such foundations, and the history of the world tells us that all that had such foundations are dead and gone. In the first place we have to stop the incoming of such a wave in India. Therefore preach the Advaita to every one, so that religion may withstand the shock of modern science. Not only so, you will have to help others; your thought will help out Europe and America. (CWSV, vol. III, p. 433.)

Wednesday 30 March 2016

Face Materialism - Indian way

In the modern society, man seems to be concerned only with acquiring money. But a time comes when even that appears meaningless. But for want of anything better or meaningful, he still runs after money and the objects of enjoyment.

Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall write in their book SQ: The Ultimate Intelligence,
The major issue on people's mind today is meaning. Many writers say the need for greater meaning is the central crisis of our times. …Indeed most people seeking some spiritual fulfilment see no relation between their longing and formal religion.

Swami Vivekananda pointed out,
There are times in the history of a man's life, nay, in the history of the lives of nations, when a sort of world-weariness becomes painfully predominant. It seems that such a tide of world - weariness has come upon the Western world. There, too, they have their thinkers, great men; and they are already finding out that this race after gold and power is all vanity of vanities; many, nay, most of the cultured men and women there, are already weary of this competition, this struggle, this brutality of their commercial civilisation, and they are looking forward towards something better. There is a class which still clings on to political and social changes as the only panacea for the evils in Europe, but among the great thinkers there, other ideals are growing. They have found out that no amount of political or social manipulation of human conditions can cure the evils of life. It is a change of the soul itself for the better that alone will cure the evils of life. No amount of force, or government, or legislative cruelty will change the conditions of a race, but it is spiritual culture and ethical culture alone that can change wrong racial tendencies for the better. Thus these races of the West are eager for some new thought, for some new philosophy; the religion they have had, Christianity, although good and glorious in many respects, has been imperfectly understood, and is, as understood hitherto, found to be insufficient. The thoughtful men of the West find in our ancient philosophy, especially in the Vedanta, the new impulse of thought they are seeking, the very spiritual food and drink for which they are hungering and thirsting. And it is no wonder that this is so. (CWSV, vol. III, pp. 181-182)

Tuesday 29 March 2016

influence of Vedanta

Swami Vivekananda after seeing the scientific progress of the West felt that they would understand the things better if told from scientific view point. He therefore presented Vedanta from that point of view. He says :
This then is another claim of the Vedanta upon modern Western minds, its rationality, the wonderful rationalism of the Vedanta. I have myself been told by some of the best Western scientific minds of the day, how wonderfully rational the conclusions of the Vedanta are. I know one of them personally who scarcely has time to eat his meal or go out of his laboratory, but who yet would stand by the hour to attend my lectures on the Vedanta; for, as he expresses it, they are so scientific, they so exactly harmonize with the aspirations of the age and with the conclusions to which modern science is coming at the present time. (CWSV, vol. III, p. 183)

influence of Vedanta

Swami Vivekananda after seeing the scientific progress of the West felt that they would understand the things better if told from scientific view point. He therefore presented Vedanta from that point of view. He says :
This then is another claim of the Vedanta upon modern Western minds, its rationality, the wonderful rationalism of the Vedanta. I have myself been told by some of the best Western scientific minds of the day, how wonderfully rational the conclusions of the Vedanta are. I know one of them personally who scarcely has time to eat his meal or go out of his laboratory, but who yet would stand by the hour to attend my lectures on the Vedanta; for, as he expresses it, they are so scientific, they so exactly harmonize with the aspirations of the age and with the conclusions to which modern science is coming at the present time. (CWSV, vol. III, p. 183)

Monday 28 March 2016

Vedanta is scientific

Attendance to churches is falling down. Akin to throwing the baby with the bath water, man in the West, while giving up faith in those errors of the sacred texts, has lost faith in religion itself. For a science and technology-based society, higher norms of life are required in place of the religious dogmas. Vedanta gives total solution to West. Swami Vivekananda explains this graphically,

For today, under the blasting light of modern science, when old and apparently strong and invulnerable beliefs have been shattered to their very foundations, when special claims laid to the allegiance of mankind by different sects have been all blown into atoms and have vanished into air, when the sledge - hammer blows of modern antiquarian researches are pulverising like masses of porcelain all sorts of antiquated orthodoxies, when religion in the West is only in the hands of the ignorant and the knowing ones look down with scorn upon anything belonging to religion, here comes to the fore the philosophy of India, which displays the highest religious aspirations of the Indian mind, where the grandest philosophical facts have been the practical spirituality of the people. This naturally is coming to the rescue, the idea of the Oneness of all, the Infinite, the idea of the Impersonal, the wonderful idea of the eternal soul of man, of the unbroken continuity in the march of beings, and the infinity of the universe.

The old sects looked upon the world as a little mud - puddle and thought that time began but the other day. It was there in our old books, and only there that the grand idea of the infinite range of time, space, and causation, and above all, the infinite glory of the spirit of man governed all the search for religion. When the modern tremendous theories of evolution and conservation of energy and so forth are dealing death blows to all sorts of crude theologies, what can hold any more the allegiance of cultured humanity but the most wonderful, convincing, broadening, and ennobling ideas that can be found only in that most marvellous product of the soul of man, the wonderful voice of God, the Vedanta? (CWSV, vol. III, pp. 110-111)

Sunday 27 March 2016

India's role

To face the sledge-hammer of science India has to live and work for the best of the world and humanity. In the West, religion has become dogmatic. The sacred books cannot be questioned. When science started disproving the dogmatic 'truths' mentioned in these texts, man's faith in religion became shaky.
A few examples prove the point. Only in 1996 was the Biblical statement 'Earth is flat' corrected. Time, as per Christian theology, is considered linear and that creation is just over 6000 years old, whereas today science has proved the cyclical and relative nature of time and that the earth is millions of years old. Even today in some universities in the USA, Darwin's theory of Evolution is not taught as it is contrary to Biblical beliefs.
An article on the internet on church attendance in France says, Yesterday's poll showed that only 10 per cent go to church regularly — mainly to Sunday mass or christenings. Of the 51 per cent who still call themselves Catholics, only half said they believed in God. Many said they were Catholics because it was a family tradition. ( Viewed on 4 August, 2012)

Another study done for America which has a better percentage of Church goers too predicts falling attendance.

Booming mega-churches might grab headlines, but the bigger story of American congregations is one of accelerating decline, according to David T. Olson, the director of the American Church Research Project. Based on data collected from more than 200,000 churches, he projects that by 2050, only 10 percent of Americans will be in church on any given Sunday (http:// ar-131644/ (Viewed on 24 August, 2012.)

Saturday 26 March 2016

The Mission of Bharat

Swami Vivekananda could see that his purpose of life was to remind India about her national mission -to give the vision of Oneness – the practical Vedanta to the world. Bharat has to be awakened to the purpose of its existence.  Swami Vivekananda predicted,
India, this motherland of ours — a voice is coming unto us, gentle, firm, and yet unmistakable in its utterances, and is gaining volume as days pass by, and behold, the sleeper is awakening! Like a breeze from the Himalayas, it is bringing life into the almost dead bones and muscles, the lethargy is passing away, and only the blind cannot see, or the perverted will not see, that she is awakening, this motherland of ours, from her deep long sleep. None can resist her anymore; never is she going to sleep anymore; no outward powers can hold her back any more; for the infinite giant is rising to her feet. (CWSV, vol. III, p. 146)
Call up the divinity within you, which will enable you to bear hunger and thirst, heat and cold. …You must give up. Be great. No great work can be done without sacrifice. The Purusha Himself sacrificed Himself to create this world. Lay down your comforts, your pleasures, your names, fame or position, nay even your lives, and make a bridge of human chains over which millions will cross this ocean of life. Bring all the forces of good together. Do not care under what banner you march. Do not care what be your colour — green, blue, or red — but mix up all the colours and produce that intense glow of white, the colour of love. Ours is to work. The results will take care of themselves.

I do not see into the future; nor do I care to see. But one vision I see clear as life before me, that the ancient mother has awakened once more, sitting on Her throne rejuvenated more glorious than ever. Proclaim Her to all the world with the voice of peace and benediction. (CWSV, vol. IV, pp. 353-54)
An awakened India, a rising India is not for the destruction of anyone but to help humanity move forward harmoniously in its spiritual march.

Friday 25 March 2016

Oneness - d core

What is that needs to be taken care of while taking up the Nation Building work. Swami Vivekananda had said,
Truth does not pay homage to any society, ancient or modern. Society has to pay homage to Truth or die. Societies should be moulded upon truth, and truth has not to adjust itself to society. (CWSV, vol. II, p. 84)
For example: If someone does not know or refuses to accept gravitational force, then he is not going to be spared the hurt if he jumps from a tree. Gravitational force cannot adjust to the desires, denials, foolishness or ignorance of a person, a person has to adjust oneself, align oneself with the truth or get perished. The human life, human society has come to such a state that unless it aligns itself with the truth it would perish. The grandest truth which humanity has to take into account is the Vedantic Truth of Oneness of existence. The more Swamiji moved in the West the more did he realize how the Vedantic truth is the need of the hour for the good of humanity.
He realized that, finding out this Oneness was the purpose of his life. He wrote,
Then you see, to put the Hindu ideas into English …is a task only those can understand who have attempted it. The dry, abstract Advaita must become living — poetic — in everyday life; out of hopelessly intricate mythology must come concrete moral forms; and out of bewildering Yogism must come the most scientific and practical psychology — and all this must be put in a form so that a child may grasp it. That is my life's work. (CWSV, vol.V pp.104-105)

Wednesday 23 March 2016

India's work

Swami Vivekananda said that each nation has a mission to fulfill and the mission of India is spiritualization of human race. It is for this that she has been living in spite of so many vicissitudes. At Madras he told,
Young men of Madras, my hope is in you. Will you respond to the call of your nation? Each one of you has a glorious future if you dare believe me. Have a tremendous faith in yourselves …that eternal power is lodged in every soul — and you will revive the whole of India. Ay, we will then go to every country under the sun, and our ideas will before long be a component of the many forces that are working to make up every nation in the world. (CWSV, vol. III, p. 303)
Another very interesting observation of world history made by Swami Vivekananda was that whenever communications were made, roads were linked the world over by various conquerors. The conquerors after a few years of bright existence went into oblivion but through those very channels of communication went the eternal message of India. Again the same phenomenon was taking place, observed Swami Vivekananda prophetically,
Owing to English genius, the world today has been linked in such a fashion as has never before been done. Today trade centres have been formed such as have never been before in the history of mankind. And immediately, consciously or unconsciously, India rises up and pours forth her gifts of spirituality; and they will rush through these roads till they have reached the very ends of the world. That I went to America was not my doing or your doing; but the God of India who is guiding her destiny sent me, and will send hundreds of such to all the nations of the world. No power on earth can resist it. This also has to be done. You must go out to preach your religion, preach it to every nation under the sun, preach it to every people. (CWSV, vol. III, p. 223)

Nation Building - the Core

Swami Vivekananda appeals all and tells not to lose the sight of the purpose of nation building
Swami Vivekananda, the knower of the East and the West, in his first speech after his return from the West said,
If there is any land on this earth that can lay claim to be the blessed Punya Bhumi, to be the land to which all souls on this earth must come to account for Karma, the land to which every soul that is wending its way Godward must come to attain its last home, the land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness, above all, the land of introspection and of spirituality —it is India.
Hence have started the founders of religions from the most ancient times, deluging the earth again and again with the pure and perennial waters of spiritual truth. Hence have proceeded the tidal waves of philosophy that have covered the earth, East or West, North or South, and hence again must start the wave which is going to spiritualise the material civilisation of the world. Here is the life-giving water with which must be quenched the burning fire of materialism which is burning the core of the hearts of millions in other lands. Believe me, my friends, this is going to be. (CWSV, vol.III, p. 105)

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Am I one in Swamiji's 100 thousand?

Together with dedication, we have to transmit the fire within to more and more youth to come forward. Wrote Swami Vivekananda,
Train up a band of fiery young men. Put fire in them and gradually increase the organization, letting it widen and widen its circle. (CWSV, vol. V, p.35)
He envisaged,
A hundred thousand men and women, fired with the zeal of holiness, fortified with eternal faith in the Lord, and nerved to lion's courage by their sympathy for the poor and the fallen and the downtrodden, will go over the length and breadth of the land, preaching the gospel of salvation, the gospel of help, the gospel of  social raising-up —the gospel of equality. (CWSV, vol. V, p.15)

"Am I one in His hundred thousand?" – is a question which more and more youth need to ask themselves. When thousands would ask this question to themselves and reply in the affirmative then would India wake up. Great works are done by great sacrifices only.

Monday 21 March 2016


"How much am I ready to give for the country?"; "How much of my time, money and energy is for my people?" To the people who dwell on the impossibility of the task or constantly criticise how hopeless the situation or the people are, Swami Vivekananda wrote passionately,

Yet it is only through the present state of things that it is possible to proceed to work. There is no other way. Every one has the power to judge of good and evil, but he is the hero who is undaunted by the waves of Samsara —which is full of errors, delusions, and miseries —with one hand wipes the tears, and with the other, unshaken, shows the path of deliverance. …I heard in Japan that it was the belief of the girls of that country that their dolls would be animated if they were loved with all their heart. The Japanese girl never breaks her doll. O you of great fortune! I too believe that India will awake again if anyone could love with all his heart the people of the country —bereft of the grace of affluence, of blasted fortune, their discretion totally lost, downtrodden, everstarved, quarrelsome, and envious. Then only will India awake, when hundreds of large - hearted men and women, giving up all desires of enjoying the luxuries of life, will long and exert themselves to their utmost for the well - being of the millions of their countrymen who are gradually sinking lower and lower in the vortex of destitution and ignorance. I have experienced even in my insignificant life that good motives, sincerity, and infinite love can conquer the world. One single soul possessed of these virtues can destroy the dark designs of millions of hypocrites and brutes. (CWSV -V-127)

Sunday 20 March 2016

We ve to be Rishis

 We have to be Rishis,  said Swami Vivekananda,

This is my method — to show the Hindus that they have to give up nothing, but only to move on in the line laid down by the sages and shake off their inertia, the result of centuries of servitude. Of course, we had to stop advancing during the Mohammedan tyranny, for then it was not a question of progress but of life and death.  Now that that pressure has gone, we must move forward, not on the lines of destruction directed by renegades and  missionaries, but along our own line, our own road. Everything is hideous because the building is unfinished. We had to stop building during centuries of oppression. Now finish the building and everything will look beautiful in its own place. This is all my plan. I am thoroughly convinced of this. (CWSV, vol. III,  p. 373.)

We also have to use our discretion while rebuilding our systems. Not everything is to be thrown out or is outdated. Swami Vivekananda said,

The degeneration of India came not because the laws and customs of the ancients were bad, but because they were not allowed to be carried to their legitimate conclusions. ...At their inception, these laws were the embodiment of a gigantic plan, which was to unfold itself slowly through time. The great seers of ancient India saw so far ahead of their time that the world has to wait centuries yet to appreciate their wisdom. (CWSV, vol. IV, pp. 324-25.)

Saturday 19 March 2016

Rebuild society with modified systems

Based on these life-giving principles we have to rebuild our family systems, economic systems, educational systems, village systems, etc. Our Rishis always stated the Principles out of their personal experiment and experience and then followed it with giving it a form. For example there was a time when we had joint family system. In today's complex situation, if retaining the joint family system is difficult then what is the system that we could have which will keep the principle and spirit of joint family system intact and yet is practical in this age? What is it that we have to retain and what is it that we have to change with time?

This churning and accordingly rebuilding is required. We cannot just imitate Western systems, howsoever good these may be for the West; imitating them would be poison for us. Howsoever wrong our systems may appear today these were built on sound principles. We need to understand these principles. Keeping our vision of life, our identity intact the systems can change if required but we cannot lose our identity by imitating the systems of others which are based on a different outlook of life. Thus a great rebuilding task needs to be undertaken in all systems.

Friday 18 March 2016

Eternal values in Changing Society

These grand eternal six truths were realized in India and also were nourished, were lived in her national life. In every period of challenging situations, the people internalized and practiced these principles. What was eternal and should be preserved and what should be changed with time was known to all.

These grand principles of Shruti or the unifying principles are even today seen in the family and social life of India but they are not vibrant because these are not practised consciously but apologetically as part of tradition. The dust gathered on these great principles is held on to more tightly and followed meticulously as ultimate truth or tradition. Therefore, we need to internalize these principles and practice again. These principles should become a dynamic force in our life.

We have to come out of the hypocrisy and inferiority that generally a slavish race falls prey to. We say God is everywhere and so nature is sacred for us and yet we are defecating nature. We do not feel pain or any qualms in polluting rivers or felling trees or throwing waste anywhere. We may chant 'Tat Tvam Asi' but rarely do we tell our children that 'your life is to manifest the divinity within you'. Awakening to these eternal principles is required.

Thursday 17 March 2016

being & becoming

 The 6th attribute that Swamiji tells of Hindu Dharma in Common Bases of Hinduism is :
Dharma does not mean faith or believing in some God. Swami Vivekananda had said, The Hindu religion does not consist in struggles and attempts to believe a certain doctrine or dogma, but in realising — not in believing, but in being and becoming. (CWSV, vol. I, p. 13)

It is not important as to what form of God one believes. What is important is the person's behavior and character. By worship and prayers of his God, does his heart become large enough to include all? By being religious is he really contributing to the harmony wherever he goes? That is the test. Religion is not in believing God but in Being and Becoming God.

Our history, our struggles to keep our identity and our Dharma intact in the face of invasions, the aspirations passed on to us by our ancestors, all these are our common bonds.

India has to be awakened to this unifying strength so as to be a capable vehicle of the message of Oneness to the whole world. Swami Vivekananda emphasized the need of organization and organized efforts for the same. Taking inspiration from him many organizations came up to serve the needy. But still there is a long way to go about the conscious knowledge of our unifying principles and putting in sustained efforts in an organized way.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Inward looking

 Swami Vivekananda says the 5th attribute of Hinduism is : Soul is pure & perfect
And then comes the most differentiating, the grandest, and the most wonderful discovery in the realms of spirituality that has ever been made. Some of you, perhaps, who have been studying Western thought, may have observed already that there is another radical difference severing at one stroke all that is Western from all that is Eastern. It is this that we hold, whether we are Shaktas, Sauras, or Vaishnavas, even whether we are Bauddhas or Jainas, we all hold in India that the soul is by its nature pure and perfect, infinite in power and blessed.

….Whatever the difference may be, we come to the central core, and there is at once an irreconcilable difference between all that is Western and Eastern. The Eastern is looking inward for all that is great and good. When we worship, we close our eyes and try to find God within. The Western is looking up outside for his God. …This is one great point to understand, and, my friends, my brethren, let me tell you, this is the one point we shall have to insist upon in the future. (CWSV, vol. III, p. 375.)

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Man is Atman

The fourth attribute that MSwamiji tells as Common Bases of Hinduism in his lecture at Lahore is:

Man is not just the physical body or the
finer body called mind. But he/she is Atman which
takes to a body again and again till it realizes it is
free. Thus body is not the real identity of man.
Fear of death is less and even non-existent in many.

We always forget that this world is a means to an end, and not an end itself. If this were the end we should be immortal here in our physical body; we should never die. But we see people every moment dying around us, and yet, foolishly, we think we shall never die; and from that conviction we come to think that this life is the goal. That is the case with ninety - nine per cent of us. This notion should be given up at once. This world is good so far as it is a means to perfect ourselves; and as soon as it has ceased to be so, it is evil. So wife, husband, children, money and learning, are good so long as they help us forward; but as soon as they cease to do that, they are nothing but evil. If the wife help us to attain God, she is a good wife; so with a husband or a child. If money help a man to do good to others, it is of some value; but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better.

Monday 14 March 2016

Creation is cyclical

The third aspect that Swamiji tells in the 'Common Bases of Hinduism' is :

Creation is without beginning and without end. We know that time is not linear. We do not say that the world was created so many thousands of years before and would come to an end after such and such an event. We say time is cyclical and the creation is projected and withdrawn cyclically. So psychologically we do not have apocalyptic fears.

The discoverers of these laws are called Rishis, and we honour them as perfected beings. Here it may be said that these laws as laws may be without end, but they must have had a beginning. The Vedas teach us that creation is without beginning or end. Science is said to have proved that the sum total of cosmic energy is always the same. Then, if there was a time when nothing existed, where was all this manifested energy? Some say it was in a potential form in God. In that case God is sometimes potential and sometimes kinetic, which would make Him mutable. Everything mutable is a compound, and everything compound must undergo that change which is called destruction. So God would die, which is absurd. Therefore there never was a time when there was no creation. (CWSV :I:7 The Paper on Hinduism)

Sunday 13 March 2016

God is everywhere

2nd unifying principle that Swami Vivekananda told in his lecture on 'Common Bases of Hinduism' :

God is everywhere. God is not sitting up there in some corner but He has manifested as this existence. Ekoham bahusyam - The One has become many. Therefore, we do not fight for a specific name or form of God. Each one has the freedom to follow his or her own Ishta Devata. Sister Nivedita writes,
The distinctive doctrine is that of the Ishta Devata, the right of each soul to choose its own path, and to seek God in its own way. (CWSV, vol. I, p. xiii.)

Thus we do not see in India, any community trying to convert a person of other community in the name of its God. 'Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti'- Truth is one, learned persons call it by various names. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India writes in his book, 'Wings of Fire' that his pious father after his Namaz would go to work. On the way, when he passed the temple of Rameshwaram, he would join his hands in obeisance . Thus, India has been a land of unity in diversity baffling all scholars.

As God pervades everything, the whole existence is sacred. There are poojas before building the house and before entering the new house. There are poojas before tilling the land and also before harvesting. There are poojas for instruments and gadgets like new Television sets and computers, poojas for parents, for ancestors, for children in all parts of India. The system of pooja differs in various parts of India but the attitude, the Bhava, the vision behind the pooja is the same. Despite all the outward differences our approach, attitude to nature, to society, to family is the same.

Saturday 12 March 2016

We believe in Vedas

In one of his most soul-stirring speeches "Common Bases of Hinduism" at Lahore, Swami  Vivekananda focused on these unifying principles. These should be part of our knowledge and our drive for every work that we undertake for the good of our society. These six unifying principles which spring forth from the vision of Oneness are,

i. We all believe in the Vedas. By the Vedas is meant that knowledge which is eternal and not relative and does not depend on any personality or sensory perceptions. Rishis are not the authors of the Vedas, they are only seers. Thus we are not dogmatic. For example, we do not say, 'so and so has said it and so it should be followed.' Our religious (upasana) faiths are not personality-based but principle-based. Sister Nivedita writes in her introduction to the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, To him, all that is true is Veda."By the Vedas," he says, "no books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times. (CWSV, vol. I, p. xiii.)

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.)

Wednesday 9 March 2016

What rebuilds society?

For India to be able to give her message of spirituality to the world, she needs to rebuild herself first. In order to achieve this Swami Vivekananda gives a four-dimensional, (simultaneous) process:
1. Internalize the eternal, unifying principles. Keeping these principles intact, all development should be thought about because, it is these principles that keep getting applied to the situations and circumstances and give a new meaning to everything. 
2. Develop and rebuild the systems based on these eternal and unifying principles. Development, progress is a must but that is to be achieved keeping in mind the unifying principles. That creates connect with all and in a way, development of all means development of one.
3. Sacrifice! Great things can be achieved only through great sacrifice. Tyagenaike amrtutatvamanashu:. It is through Tyaga alone, immortality is gained.
4. Never lose sight of the purpose of nation building. It is not the activity, but its intent that matters. 

Rebuilding of India

How could India be a nation which is so ancient that its beginning cannot be traced and yet is most relevant in time? Though India had to face a lot of invasions, how did it retain its identity?
Invaders looted India, deprived her of her wealth and distorted her systems and yet how does she have all the potentiality of an emerging super power? How is it that religion is her life-center and yet she has no problem with science and technology?
India knew to rebuild itself after every challenge. What is the secret? If we understand that, we shall be able to rebuild our nation.Nation plays an important role in the life of man as well as in the march of humanity. This is what Swami Vivekananda said:
Each nation has a destiny to fulfill, each nation has a message to deliver, each nation has a mission to accomplish. Therefore, from the very start, we must have to understand the mission of our own race, the destiny it has to fulfill, the place it has to occupy in the march of nations, and note which it has to contribute to the harmony of races. (CWSV, vol. III, p. 369)

For India to be able to give her message of spirituality to the world, she needs to rebuild  herself first.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Bharat Jagat Guru

A culturally strong and vibrant Bharat can show the way for global peace and harmony.
Said, Arnold Toynbee, the great British historian,
It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in human history, the only way of salvation is the ancient Hindu way. Here we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together into a single family.

Almost echoing him, Will Durant, the great American historian, said,
It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to us such unquestionable gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all numerals, and our decimal system. But these are not the essence of her spirit; they are trifles compared to what we may learn from her in the future. Perhaps in return for conquest, arrogance and spoliation, India will teach us tolerance and gentleness of the mature mind, the quiet content of the unacquisitive soul, the calm understanding of the spirit, and a unifying, a pacifying, love for all living things. (The Case for India, 1931)

Significantly both Arnold Toynbee [1889-1975] and Will Durant [1885-1981] were contemporaries; they spoke almost in the same language, namely the language of Swami Vivekananda who, in the darkest period in the history of India, saw India emerging as the Jagat Guru.

This is the goal of ancient India in contemporary times. We have to awaken to this truth that it is not only in India's interest, but in the world's interest that Bharat has to be culturally vibrant to emerge as the Guru of the world.

Monday 7 March 2016

Bharatiya Culture

The Cultural Unity of Bharat has been always presented by all. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India while speaking at the Annual Convocation of Aligarh Muslim University on 24 January, 1948 asked the students,

I am proud of India, not only because of her ancient magnificent heritage, but also because of her remarkable capacity to add to it by keeping the doors and windows of her mind and spirit open to fresh and invigorating winds from distant lands. India's strength has been twofold: her innate culture which flowered through ages and capacity to draw from other sources and thus add to her own. She was far too strong to be submerged by outside streams, and she was too wise to isolate herself from them, and so there is a continuous synthesis in India's real history, and the many political changes which have taken place have had little effect on the growth of variegated and yet essentially unified culture.

I have said that I am proud of our inheritance and our ancestors who gave an intellectual and cultural pre-eminence to India. How do you feel about this past? Do you feel you are also sharers in it and inheritors of it and, therefore, proud of something that belongs to you as much as to me? Or do you feel alien to it and pass it without understanding it or feeling that strange thrill from the realisation that we are the trustees and inheritors of this vast treasure?

I ask you these questions, because in recent years many forces have been at play diverting people's minds into wrong channels and trying to pervert the course of history. You are Muslims and I am a Hindu. We may adhere to different religious faiths or even to none; but that does not take away from that cultural inheritance that is yours as well as mine. The past holds us together; why should the present or future divide us in spirit?

Sunday 6 March 2016

Glorious Indian way..

Swami Vivekananda in his first speech in the
Parliament of Religions on 11 Sep 1893 said the greatness of Indian Culture. He said,
I thank you in the name of the mother of religions; and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects. …I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth…I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn: "As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee." …The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me." (CWSV, vol. I, pp. 3-4)

Saturday 5 March 2016

Sanatana Dharma

Once in a conversation with Sri Nag Mahashay, one of the greatest of disciples of Sri Ramakrishna from East Bengal, Swamiji said,
Now my one desire is to rouse the country — the sleeping leviathan that has lost all faith in his power and makes no response. If I can wake it up to a sense of the Eternal Religion then I shall know that Shri Ramakrishna's advent and our birth are fruitful. That is the one desire in my heart: Mukti and all else appear of no consequence to me. Please give me your blessings that I may succeed. (CWSV, vol. VII, p. 188.)
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had practiced Sadhana of all paths and had realized that each path is valid for its followers and ultimately each has to reach the same goal. Even after realizing the validity of all paths, he continued to live in Sanatana Dharma 'the way of life based on the vision of Oneness.' Sri Ramakrishna said,
The Hindu religion alone is the Sanatana Dharma. The various creeds you hear of nowadays have come into existence through the will of God and will disappear again through His will. They will not last forever. Therefore I say, 'I bow down at the feet of even the modern devotees.' The Hindu religion has always existed and will always exist. (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, 'The Visit to Sinthi Brahmo Samaj', Chapter 32, p. 642, First Red Letter edn. 2000.)

Friday 4 March 2016

Nation Building : few aspects

While speaking at Lahore, Swami Vivekananda reminded the audience that they belonged to the legacy of Rishis.
       When a man has begun to be ashamed of his ancestors, the end has come. Here am I, one of the least of the Hindu race, yet proud of my race, proud of my ancestors. I am proud to call myself a Hindu, I am proud that I am one of your unworthy servants. I am proud that I am a countryman of yours, you the descendants of the sages, you the descendants of the most glorious Rishis the world ever saw. Therefore have faith in yourselves, be proud of your ancestors, instead of being ashamed of them.

And do not imitate, do not imitate! Whenever you are under the thumb of others, you lose your own independence. If you are working, even in spiritual things, at the dictation of others, slowly you lose all faculty, even of thought. Bring out through your own exertions what you have, but do not imitate, yet take what is good from others.

We have to learn from others. You put the seed in the ground, and give it plenty of earth, and air, and water to feed upon; when the seed grows into the plant and into a gigantic tree, does it become the earth, does it become the air, or does it become the water? It becomes the mighty plant, the mighty tree, after its own nature, having absorbed everything that was given to it. Let that be your position.

We have indeed many things to learn from others, yea, that man who refuses to learn is already dead. Declares our Manu: "Take the jewel of a woman for your wife, though she be of inferior descent. Learn supreme knowledge with service even from the man of low birth; and even from the Chandala, learn by serving him the way to salvation." Learn everything that is good from others, but bring it in, and in your own way absorb it; do not become others.

Do not be dragged away out of this Indian life; do not for a moment think that it would be better for India if all the Indians dressed, ate, and behaved like another race. You know the difficulty of giving up a habit of a few years. The Lord knows how many thousands of years are in your blood; this national specialised life has been flowing in one way, the Lord knows for how many thousands of years; and do you mean to say that that mighty stream, which has nearly reached its ocean, can go back to the snows of its Himalayas again? That is impossible! The struggle to do so would only break it. Therefore, make way for the life - current of the nation. Take away the blocks that bar the way to the progress of this mighty river, cleanse its path, clear the channel, and out it will rush by its own natural impulse, and the nation will go on careering and progressing. (CWSV, vol. III, p. 381)

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Dharma - d Foundation

With so many onslaughts of all types - military, cultural, educational, India could survive, because Indians held on tightly to their life-centre, Dharma -the root, the foundation of culture. Swamiji explains it further:

The mythologists of all ancient races supply us with fables of heroes whose life was concentrated in a certain small portion of their bodies, and until that was touched they remained invulnerable. It seems as if each nation also has such a peculiar centre of life, and so long as that remains untouched, no amount of misery and misfortune can destroy it. In Dharma (religion) lies the vitality of India, and so long as the Hindu race do not forget the great inheritance of their forefathers, there is no power on earth to destroy them.

Nowadays everybody blames those who constantly look back to their past. It is said that so much looking back to the past is the cause of all India's woes. To me, on the contrary, it seems that the opposite is true. So long as they forgot the past, the Hindu nation remained in a state of stupor; and as soon as they have begun to look into their past, there is on every side a fresh manifestation of life. It is out of this past that the future has to be moulded; this past will become the future. The more, therefore, the Hindus study the past, the more glorious will be their future, and whosoever tries to bring the past to the door of everyone, is a great benefactor to his nation. (CWSV, vol. IV, pp. 324-25.)

Cultural glory

Swami Vivekananda wanted us to be aware of the significance of our culture. In those days when the the theory of 'Survival of the Fittest' and its adherents were praised, he pointed out that India has survived in spite of not forcing herself on others,
- the fittest alone survive. How is it, then, that this most unfitted of all races, according to commonly accepted ideas, could bear the most awful misfortunes that ever befall a race, and yet not show the least signs of decay? How is it that, while the multiplying powers of the so called vigorous and active races are dwindling every day, the immortal Hindu shows a power of increase beyond them all? Great laurels are due, no doubt, to those who can deluge the world with blood at a moment's notice; great indeed is the glory of those who, to keep up a population of a few millions in plenty, have to starve half the population of the earth, but is no credit due to those who can keep hundreds of millions in peace and plenty, without snatching the bread from the mouth of anyone else? Is there no power displayed in bringing up and guiding the destinies of countless millions of human beings, through hundreds of centuries, without the least violence to others? (CWSV, vol. IV, pp. 323-24.)

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Selfless service

Swamiji tells us two more aspects which need to be kept in mind to take up the seva meaningfully. He says : "You may feel, then; but instead of spending your energies in frothy talk, have you found any way out, any practical solution, some help instead of condemnation, some sweet words to soothe their miseries, to bring them out of this living death?

Yet that is not all. Have you got the will to surmount mountain - high obstructions? If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right? If your wives and children are against you, if all your money goes, your name dies, your wealth vanishes, would you still stick to it? Would you still pursue it and go on steadily towards your own goal? …Have you got that steadfastness? If you have these three things, each one of you will work miracles. You need not write in the newspapers, you need not go about lecturing; your very face will shine." (CWSV, vol. III, pp. 225-27.)
Selfless service of the society is the highest spiritual practice. Each one of us should give our committed time, energy and money in the interest
of the society and in the service of the deprived and suffering masses. India has to be awakened to the great spiritual significance of "Serve man-Serve God".