“It’s bad for a preacher to be young, don’t you think so ? I do, as I did all my life. People have more confidence in an old man, and it looks more venerable.” were the words of Swami Vivekananda which may be regarded as a symbol of his profound humility even if he intended to express his exasperation in some measure. With profound modesty, he kept aside hundreds of years of Tapasya of his previous lives as well as, as a dis-incarnate too !! The Swami was neither Master of Philosophy / Literature nor of Science / Engineering. He was Master of Life & Death, was born in that state having achieved the accolade even before being born. “Death I have conquered long ago when I gave up life. My only anxiety is the work.” alone was his supreme concern towards his nation, for the society he was born into.
It was the great Sannyasi in him that counselled youth of the country, “Eating, drinking, dressing and society nonsense are not serious things to throw a life upon.” Swami Vivekananda was a Sannyasi turned revolutionary par excellence.
Swami Vivekananda was a spiritual titan, highly privileged ambassador of Param Brahma who unleashed several forces that not only injected pride, dignity and honour into the country but also inspired so many of them to pick up the gauntlet to liberate the country from British shackles. His words struck the nation like a lightening thunder, “Here is the same India whose soil has been trodden by the feet of the greatest sages that ever lived. Here first arose the doctrines of the immortality of the soul, existence of a supervising god, an immanent god in nature and in man…We are children of such a country.” These thunderous words not only raised several freedom-fighters but also founder of RSS, Dr. Hedgewar who perceived vulnerability of defenceless Hindu-s at the hands of British / Mughals and heralded the call to unite them all into a cohesive, integrated society. When he cried, “Rise and awake…”, did self-imposed hypnosis of foreign rule was shattered into smithereens and anaesthetized Soul of the nation lived again.
The Swami undertook enormous endeavor of unshackling the nation reeling under the tyranny of foreign yoke without ignoring his fundamental moorings of Adhyatma. His S-Point, the Still-Centre of his innermost being, foundation of his philosophy, always remained the guiding force of all the epoch making tasks that he undertook for the nation. He always emphasized, “Each Soul is potentially divine, the purpose is to manifest that divinity.” to all so as to ensure, they do not digress from the divinely charted path of Dharma commanding Purusartha towards supreme redemption and emancipation. He visualized Supreme Entity as the Virata Purusa encompassing all beings in the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakama. As a measure of natural corollary, it led to the philosophy of service to all while beholding Siva ensconced within all beings. Highway to Narayana invariably passes through service unto Daridra–Narayana, so espoused the cause of lesser mortals, diminished by poverty, illiteracy and deprivation.
At every step of his historic journey through the world, there was an impossible looking hurdle awaiting him. When he requested for a letter of introduction to someone in the USA from Theosophical Society as he knew no one there, the Society set a pre-condition for the Swami to negotiate, “Will you join my Society ?” And he firmly declined. Then there were a few friends in Madras who managed to send him there. In USA, when he had no money and winter clothing, Theosophists made another aborted attempt to bring him around. When the Swami earned name and fame in Chicago, he had enormous magnanimity to extend his hand of friendship to them. Not only they spurned it contemptuously but also did everything feasible to cry him everywhere, wherever he went. Christian missionaries did their best to evict him from every house wherein he retired for the night.
He was even told, he had no right to become a Sannyasi as he was a Sudra !! And he responded so majestically, “I trace my descent to one at whose feet every Brahmana lays flowers and whose descendants are the purest Ksatriya-s. If you believe in your mythology or your Pauranika scriptures, let these so-called reformers know that my caste, apart from other services in the past, ruled half of India for centuries. If my caste is left out of consideration, what will there be left of the present day civilization of India ? In Bengal alone, my blood has furnished them with their greatest philosophers, poets, historians, archaeologists, religious preachers; my blood has furnished India with the greatest of her modern scientists. But I am not at all hurt if they call me a Sudra. It will be a little reparation for the tyranny of my ancestors over the poor. If I am a Pariah, I will be all the more glad for I am the disciple of a man who-the Brahmana of Brahmanas wanted to cleanse the house of a Pariah….”
Unfortunately, when freedom was really attained, a bunch of self-seeking politicians entered into secret agreement with the British monarchy styled as Transfer of Power Agreement 1947 to ensure, country remained wretched as ever with a begging bowl, moving around all over the world and it’s ancient cultural heritage, unparalleled accomplishments are appropriated, destroyed, rejected as dubious and humiliated.
If Swami Vivekananda were to incarnate at that very juncture, he would have roared, “You have betrayed the country. You have stifled the underlying inspiration for constitutional goals. You proceeded to set up political and administrative institutions, but failed to create the mind and motivation that would have given life and meaning to them. You built bodies without souls. You ignored the ancient nobility of temper engendered in Tyaga and Tapasya and started worshipping new gods of power and pelf. From the great storehouse of the past, you should have picked up the gems and thrown out the stones. You did exactly the opposite. And they now hang around the country’s neck like a dead albatross. You have done enough damage. Go, in the name of Mother India, go.”
Every nation has a core that lies at the heart of entire national persona. This core is specific and exclusive to every nation, must never be ignored across ravages of centuries of ruthless historicity. A nation that venture to ignore their core, are inevitably destroyed in due course, never to rise again. He thus emphasized it as, “Each nation, like each individual, have one theme in life, which is at their centre. If any nation attempts to throw off their national vitality, that nation dies.” Regime that assumed power immediately after liberation, did exactly that forcing the country to search for roots and national vitality even after six decades of political freedom. Country that was called “Sleeping Giant” by the Swami, was condemned to languish for six decades by a political regime that was hostile and inimical to the nation’s Asmita.
It was left by the Providence to depute an outstanding leader in Narendra Modi who could hold the Sleeping / Lethargic Giant by the scruff of her neck and set her on the right path to righteousness and glory. Incidentally, he has tremendous regard for the Swami and wished to be a monk himself of his order in early years of his life.The Swami abhorred the idea of personal, individualized Nirvana that shuns Vasudhaiva Kutumbakama. That is a solipsistic approach to the Infinite which can never be regarded as perfect or acceptable to the Absolute Divinity. Swami’s personal influence was so irresistible that even a plutocrat like John Rockefeller turned philanthropist for the rest of his life. His clarion call of “arise, awake and stop not…” is intertwined with, “They alone live who live for others, rest are more dead than alive.”
Tagore very rightly used to say, “…if you want to know India, read Vivekananda…”