SWAMI VIVEKANANDA AS A PATRIOT
Swami Vivekananda was a perpetual witness, he was as the flood-gate of the mighty torrent, of the national genius itself. His great pugilistic (fighting spirit) energy was absorbed in the task of defence and not of aggression. He understood exhaustively all that could be urged by the opponents of caste for instance. He could say more brilliant things in its defence than anyone else living. But the one point that was clear to him when such disputes arose was the necessity of a strength that would deal with its own questions, and make or unmake its own castes old or new, at will.
It was useless to plead to him the morality of his people as a proof of their well-being. He would point out only too promptly that not one of them was so moral as any corpse! Life! Let it bring order or disorder, strength, though it might entail turmoil and sorrow,—these, and not petty reforms were the goal of his patriotism. But it must be the nation's own life, proper to her own background. India must find herself in Asia, not in a shoddy Europe "made in Germany"! The future would not be like the past, yet it could be only firmly established in a profound and living reverence for that past.
This was why the Swami aimed so persistently, so pertinaciously (determined) at discovering the essentials of the national consciousness. This was why no smallest anecdote, no trifling detail of person or of custom, ever came amiss to his intellectual net. This was the meaning of his great search for the common bases of Hinduism. Let a still greater future be built upon the mighty past. Let every man be Bhishma or Yudhisthira and the Mahabharata lives again. His great cry—"We are under a Hypnotism! We think we are weak and this makes us weak! Let us think ourselves strong and we are invincible," - had a national as well as a spiritual meaning. He never dreamt of failure for his people, any more than he tolerated the superficial criticisms of exuberant fools. To him India was young in all her parts. To him the ancient civilisation meant the inbreeding of energy through many a millennium. To him the destiny of the people was in their own soil, and the destiny of the soil was no less in its own people.
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