Wednesday 13 June 2018

The National Significance Of The, Swami Vivekananda's Life And Work - 1

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Of the bodily presence of him who was known to the world as Vivekananda, all that remains today is a bowl of ashes. The light that has burned in seclusion during the last five years by our riverside, has gone out now. The great voice that rang out across the nations is hushed in death. Life had come often to this mighty soul as storm and pain. But the end was peace. Silently, at the close of even song, on a dark night of Kali, came the benediction of death. The weary and tortured body was laid down gently and the triumphant spirit was restored to the eternal Samadhi.

He passed, when the laurels of his first achievements were yet green. He passed, when new and greater calls were ringing in his ears. Quietly, in the beautiful home of his illness, the intervening years with some few breaks, went by amongst plants and animals, unostentatiously training the disciples who gathered round him, silently ignoring the great fame that had shone upon his name. Man-making was his own stern brief summary of the work that was worth doing. And laboriously, unflaggingly, day after day, he set himself to man-making, playing the part of Guru, of father, even of schoolmaster, by turns. The very afternoon of the day he left us, had he not spent three hours in giving a Sanskrit lesson on the Vedas? External success and leadership were nothing to such a man. During his years in the West, he made rich and powerful friends, who would gladly have retained him in their midst. But for him, the Occident, with all its luxuries, had no charms. To him, the garb of a beggar, the lanes of Calcutta, and the disabilities of his own people, were more dear than all the glory of the foreigner, and detaining hands had to loose their hold of one who passed ever onward toward the East.

What was it that the West heard in him, leading so many to hail and cherish his name as that of one of the great religious teachers of the world? He made no personal claim. He told no personal story. One whom he knew and trusted long had never heard that he held any position of distinction amongst his Gurubhais. He made no attempt to popularise with strangers any single form or creed, whether of God or Guru. Rather, through him the mighty torrent of Hinduism poured forth its cooling waters upon the intellectual and spiritual worlds, fresh from its secret sources in Himalayan snows. A witness to the vast religious culture of Indian homes and holy men he could never cease to be. Yet he quoted nothing but the Upanishads. He taught nothing but the Vedanta. And men trembled, for they heard the voice for the first time of the religious teacher who feared not Truth.

Do we not all know the song that tells of Shiva as he passes along the roadside, "Some say He is mad. Some say He is the Devil. Some say—don't you know?—He is the Lord Himself!" Even so India is familiar with the thought that every great personality is the meeting-place and reconciliation of opposing ideals. To his disciples, Vivekananda will ever remain the archetype of the Sannyasin. Burning renunciation was chief of all the inspirations that spoke to us through him. "Let me die a true Sannyasin as my Master did," he exclaimed once, passionately, "heedless of money, of women, and of fame And of these the most insidious is the love of fame!" Yet the self-same destiny that filled him with this burning thirst of intense Vairagyam embodied in him also the ideal householder,—full of the yearning to protect and save, eager to learn and teach the use of materials, reaching out towards the reorganisation and re-ordering of life. In this respect, indeed, he belonged to the race of Benedict and Bernard, of Robert de Citcaux and Loyola. It may be said that just as in Francis of Assissi, the yellow robe of the Indian Sannyasin gleams for a moment in the history of the Catholic Church, so in Vivekananda, the great saint, abbots of Western monasticism are born anew in the East.  Similarly, he was at once a sublime expression of super-conscious religion and one of the greatest patriots ever born. He lived at a moment of national disintegration, and he was fearless of the new. He lived when men were abandoning their inheritance, and he was an ardent worshipper of the old. In him the national destiny fulfilled itself, that a new wave of consciousness should be inaugurated always in the leaders of the Faith. In such a man it may be that we possess the whole Veda of the future.

To be continued...........

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