Monday, June 29, 2020

Each soul is potentially divine.

The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy – by one, or more, or all of these – and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details. 

It is through these enchantingly meaningful words that Swami Vivekananda introduced the universal and ever relevant message of Sanatana Dharma to the world at large in his introduction to Raja Yoga.

Thousands of Years back our great rishis or scientists, having perfected the technique of withdrawing the senses from the sense objects and focusing them on their own inner Self had realised within themselves the Ominiscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent Truth as their own Atman and had become acutely conscious of the one Ultimate Truth, present within and without. Having discovered this unifying thread of Divinity within each and everything in the Universe, in the exuberance of that realization they addressed the entire humanity as ‘Children of Immortality, which later culminated in the universal ideal of ‘Vasudhaiva kutumbakam’. This realization of the central Truth and its extrapolation to include the whole universe is what makes Sanatana Dharma a unique form of religion which is at once personal, practical, scientific and universal.

Like Sri Hanuman carrying Sri Rama and Lakshmana on his shoulders, understanding the full implications of these words would carry us on its shoulders to Infinity. Herein lies the key to unlock the Treasure Chest of the message of Swami Vivekananda.Whoever is able to realise within them this great Truth will never be subjected again to any misery, grief or disappointment. Even today this great Truth stands unmatched and unpolluted, showering its blessings on the entire humanity. May this message inspire us to start the the quarantine period by climbing the steps towards Immortality absorbing the wonderful ideals given by Swami Vivekananda.

Sunday, June 28, 2020



The following is a brief sketch of the Swami's fundamental teachings: 
Every man must develop according to his own nature. As every science has its methods so has every religion. Methods of attaining the end of our religion are called Yoga, and the different forms of Yoga that we teach are adapted to the different natures and temperaments of men. We classify them in the following way, under four heads:

(1) Karma Yoga — The manner in which a man realizes his own divinity through works and duty.

(2) Bhakti Yoga — The realization of a divinity through devotion to and love of a personal God.

(3) Raja Yoga — The realization of divinity through control of mind.

(4) Jnana Yoga — The realization of man's own divinity through knowledge.

These are all different roads leading to the same center — God. Indeed, the varieties of religious belief are an advantage, since all faiths are good, so far as they encourage man to religious life. The more sects there are the more opportunities there are for making successful appeals to the divine instinct in all men.  (New York Herald, January 19, 1896) (IX, 484)

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Vedantic Idea of Civilisation

Q. — What is the Vedantic idea of civilisation?

A. — You are philosophers, and you do not think that a bag of gold makes the difference between man and man. What is the value of all these machines and sciences? They have only one result: they spread knowledge. You have not solved the problem of want, but only made it keener. Machines do not solve the poverty question; they simply make men struggle the more. Competition gets keener. What value has nature in itself? Why do you go and build a monument to a man who sends electricity through a wire? Does not nature do that millions of times over? Is not everything already existing in nature? What is the value of your getting it? It is already there. The only value is that it makes this development.

This universe is simply a gymnasium in which the soul is taking exercise; and after these exercises we become gods. So the value of everything is to be decided by how far it is a manifestation of God. Civilisation is the manifestation of that divinity in man. Do you realise that India is the only country that never went outside of itself to conquer? The great emperor Asoka insisted that none of his descendants should go to conquer. If people want to send us teachers, let them help, but not injure. Why should all these people come to conquer the Hindus?

Did they do any injury to any nation? What little good they could do, they did for the world. They taught it science, philosophy, religion, and civilised the savage hordes of the earth. And this is the return — only murder and tyranny, and calling them heathen rascals. (V, 308)

Truly has it been said that the lives of great men are not lived in vain. In the life and message of Swami Vivekananda – which reflect that extraordinary power and light that Sri Ramakrishna manifested in His life – we find that motivation and direction by which today our youth energy can be channelised and used for national reconstruction. To achieve this it is necessary to inculcate in them a wholesome vision of life in which work assumes a new significance delinked from personal gains, rewards and recognitions. If we could combine these two, in whatever small measure it may be, there would start a silent revolution transforming all the vital energies in our national life which are being drained today through unproductive channels, into one harmonising and integrating force for rebuilding our nation.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Salvation comes through Conquering Desires

The eyes of the whole world are now turned towards this land of India for spiritual food; and India has to provide it for all the races. Here alone is the best ideal for mankind; and Western scholars are now striving to understand this ideal which is enshrined in our Sanskrit literature and philosophy, and which has been the characteristic of India all through the ages...........Religious researches disclose to us the fact that there is not a country possessing a good ethical code but has borrowed something of it from us, and there is not one religion possessing good ideas of the immortality of the soul but has derived it directly or indirectly from us............

Everybody should know that there is no salvation except through the conquering of desires, and that no man is free who is subject to the bondage of matter. This great truth all nations are slowly coming to understand and appreciate. As soon as the disciple is in a position to grasp this truth, the words of the Guru come to his help. The Lord sends help to His own children in His infinite mercy which never ceaseth and is ever flowing in all creeds. Our Lord is the Lord of all religions. This idea belongs to India alone; and I challenge any one of you to find it in any other scripture of the world. (III, 138 - 39)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lesson in Toleration and Sympathy

The one great lesson, therefore, that the world wants most, that the world has yet to learn from India, is the idea not only of toleration, but of sympathy. Well has it been said in the Mahimnah-stotra: "As the different rivers, taking their start from different mountains, running straight or crooked, at last come unto the ocean, so, O Shiva, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead unto These." Though they may take various roads, all are on the ways. Some may run a little crooked, others may run straight, but at last they will all come unto the Lord, the One. Then and then alone, is your Bhakti of Shiva complete when you not only see Him in the Linga, but you see Him everywhere. He is the sage, he is the lover of Hari who sees Hari in everything and in everyone.
If you are a real lover of Shiva, you must see Him in everything and in everyone. 

You must see that every worship is given unto Him whatever may be the name or the form; that all knees bending towards the Caaba, or kneeling in a Christian church, or in a Buddhist temple are kneeling to Him whether they know it or not, whether they are conscious of it or not; that in whatever name or form they are offered, all these flowers are laid at His feet; for He is the one Lord of all, the one Soul of all souls. He knows infinitely better what this world wants than you or I. It is impossible that all difference can cease; it must exist; without variation life must cease. It is this clash, the differentiation of thought that makes for light, for motion, for everything. Differentiation, infinitely contradictory, must remain, but it is not necessary that we should hate each other therefore; it is not necessary therefore that we should fight each other. (III, 114)

Punyabhumi Bharat

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. (III, 105)

After Swamiji’s lecture tours in the West on 15th January 1897 Swamiji landed at Colombo where he was given a right royal reception.  In his eloquent reply Swamiji expressed his loyalty to his Motherland through the above words.

Mother India was the object of his adoration and worship. The Command that he received from his Guru Sri Ramakrishna was fully absorbed by Swamiji through his Bharat Parikrama, during which he visited the great centres of pilgrimage and  learning, held discussions with renowned Pandits, accepted the hospitality of the Royalty and also made intimate contact with the lowest in the society. Thus he discovered his mission of doing ‘Mother’s work’ and dedicated himself fully for it. 

         The beauty and the grandeur of the land, the uniquely noble and generous nature of its people as well as their weaknesses and above all the spiritual Oneness of the whole nation and its most universal, spiritual heritage – they all left their deep impressions on Swamiji’s mind. Fortunately we can relive all these experiences by going through Swamiji’s valuable descriptions, discourses and letters. There is hardly any leader who has, like Swamiji, enjoyed and absorbed the rare flavor of Indian spiritual heritage through travels across the country. One great tragedy which has happend to us today is our total inability to identify with and dedicate ourselves for Mother’s work. Study of Vivekananda literature will awaken in us a great yearning to contemplate on Mother’s glory and also motivate us to do Her work.

The ancient land of Wisdom

This is the ancient land where wisdom made its home before it went into any other country, the same India whose influx of spirituality is represented, as it were, on the material plane, by rolling rivers like oceans, where the eternal Himalayas, rising tier above tier with their snowcaps, look as it were into the very mysteries of heaven. Here is the same India whose soil has been trodden by the feet of the greatest sages that ever lived. Here first sprang up inquiries into the nature of man and into the internal world. Here first arose the doctrines of the immortality of the soul, the existence of a supervising God, an immanent God in nature and in man, and here the highest ideals of religion and philosophy have attained their culminating points. 

This is the land from whence, like the tidal waves, spirituality and philosophy have again and again rushed out and deluged the world, and this is the land from whence once more such tides must proceed in order to bring life and vigour into the decaying races of mankind. It is the same India which has withstood the shocks of centuries, of hundreds of foreign invasions of hundreds of upheavals of manners and customs. It is the same land which stands firmer than any rock in the world, with its undying vigour, indestructible life. Its life is of the same nature as the soul, without beginning and without end, immortal; and we are the children of such a country. (III, 285)

India the Cradle of the Nations & the Cradle of the Faith

It was towards the end of 1892, after his wanderings through  our Great Motherland that  he came to the land’s end at Kanyakumari.  His three days’ meditations have become part of the history of Modern India. 

What were the contents of Swamiji’s meditation. " They were as deep as the Indian ages; they were all on India’s itself.”

“There, where all was silence, seated by himself on the last stone of India, he thought of the Purpose and the Fruition of the Indian World. He thought, not of Bengal or of Maharashtra, or of the Punjab, but of INDIA and of its very life. He passed in his thoughts through all the Indian centuries and he perceived,. as few souls have ever done in India, the realities and potentialities of the Indian Experience.”

“He saw the whole of India organically and syntheticlly as a great Master-builder sees the whole architectural design. He saw Religion as the very blood and life and spirit of the Indian Millions. He saw its future generation as a whole, and he said in the selence of his heart, ‘India shall rise through a renewel and restoration of that highest Spiritual Consciousness which has made of India at all times, the Cradle of the Nations and the Cradle of the Faith.’ “
(Life of Swami Vivekananda: By his Eastern and Western Disciples)  

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