The cyclonic monk from the east
When the very idea of India is being questioned by religious fundamentalists, terrorists, casteists and worthless politicians, Swami Vivekananda’s concept of nationalism rooted in the Vedic thoughts assumes great significance. Vivekananda was one of the greatest leaders who had shaped the nationalist movement in modern India. He is what Indians call a legend
By Dipin Damodharan
If this Universe, or sometimes Multiverse, is a temple, then obviously the position sanctum sanctorum belongs to Bharat or India. This eternal land of great civilisations has been blessed with a perennial tradition of saints and sages who sacrificed everything for society and the nation.
Service to humanity is the greatest form of worship-this is the mantra that the farsighted ancient Indian saints upheld in their lives. Swami Vivekananda was born as a legatee to these great saints who had nurtured the spirit of India with the breeze from the Indus and the Vedic mantras from the Himalayas. Vivekananda’s birth happened in the midst of a turbulent period. It was the worst of times, the nation had been floating without any direction and a state of ideological bankruptcy caught up the growth. Rulers and society treated Hindutva ideology as completely undesirable and totally nonsensical. The need of the hour was to propel nationalism. And the man was there, born to Vishwanath Dutta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi, in Shimla Pally, Kolkata, West Bengal, on January 12, 1863, Narendranath Dutta had destined to change the course of a great land in the later avatar of Swami Vivekananda.
The ideals of this great saint, whom the American media had described as the Hurricane Hindu, are eternal and very germane in the present scenario. That’s why the world now celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda in a respectable manner. Vivekananda wanted to change the way Indians treated themselves. He had to break down barriers and shape the future of India on the edifice of the Vedas. In other words, his commitment was to recapture the ancient Vedic identity of India.
The maker of modern India
The vibrant thoughts and thunder like words of Vivekananda were found to be a riveting inspiration for the valiant Indian freedom revolutionaries including national hero Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in their struggle against British imperialism.
Netaji described Vivekananda ‘as the maker of modern India’. That, indeed, the reason for why Vivekananda has been regarded as the father of spiritual nationalism in India. Many prominent figures of Indian freedom movement including revolutionary-turned saint Aurobindo Ghose, Mohandas Gandhi, C Rajagopalachari, Jatin Das…were found Vivekananda as their unending source of energy. Vivekananda’s clarion call helped them to fight against the British, that too, in a darkened political atmosphere.
When India celebrates the 150th anniversary of the great patriot monk, the nation and society badly need Vivekananda’s energetic thoughts to rise from its lethargy to a new era of renaissance.
When the very idea of India is being questioned by religious fundamentalists, terrorists, casteists and worthless politicians, Vivekananda’s concept of nationalism rooted in the Vedic thoughts assumes great significance. He was one of the greatest leaders who had shaped the nationalist movement in modern India. He is what Indians call a legend.
Vivekananda had a vision to make a nation nobody thinks of attacking. That’s why he wanted a young Indian generation having the courage and spirit of Rajaputra warriors. “My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions,” Swami Vivekananda said in one of his speeches.
He was a valiant monk who had proclaimed the greatness of Hinduism in America at a time when the Europe and the Americas considered Bharat as a land of superstitions. The meeting with his guru, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, in 1881, was the turning point in Vivekananda’s life. From him, Swamiji realised that he had to dedicate his life to human race, which he believed the living god.
The cyclonic monk
It was the beginning of a spiritual revolution, when Swami Vivekananda, with his saffron robe, thundered at the Parliament of Religions on 11 September 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago. An Affable and unruffled Vivekananda outclassed all other speakers, who proclaimed the greatness of their own religions, at the Parliament of Religions. But Vivekananda spoke about the oneness of all religions. Throughout his life, he looked and sounded energetic and succeeded in shaping the nationalistic thoughts of Indian youth.
With his remarkable speech, he had startled the audience at the Parliament of Religions by presenting the idea of Hinduism and there by changed the perception of the West towards India. He had begun his first speech with the words, "Sisters and brothers of America!” which itself was alien but very much acceptable to the West. They had felt a sense of brotherhood for the first time from a prolific speaker from the East.
They received him as a real hero, a ‘Cyclonic monk’ from the East. The fire, which had started out from the West, soon inflated into India and inspired thousands of youth. He had given a rousing call to India, “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.”
The roaring call from Swami Vivekananda-“India need a young generation of iron muscles and steel nerves”- had ignited the sense of patriotism and nationalism amongst Indian youth. For him the land of Bharat has had special and sacred significance and he used to refer Bharat as the Punyabhumi (the sacred land). Swami Vivekananda's concept about India was a strong, powerful and aggressive nation.
He had a dream to build modern India based on the ideals of Vedanta. Vivekananda, one of the seminal figures of modern India, once said, Vedanta should be the very foundation on which Bharat has to build her edifice.
According to Vivekananda, a Hindu is one who believes in the authority of the Vedas, God, the cyclical order of creation and above all he should consider Mother and Motherland above heaven. “I do not see in to 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 the entire world with the voice of peace and benediction,” Vivekananda’s passionate words on his motherland.
“Remember that the nation lives in the cottage. The fate of a nation depends up on the condition of the masses. Can you raise them? Can you give them back their lost individuality without making them lose their innate spiritual nature?”
Yes! India has to wake up…and enlighten the world. Vedanta, which interprets all religions teach the same truth, is the ideology that will take the country forward. The moment India sceptical about its legacy, the game is lost.
(Dipin is a journalist based in Kerala. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tags: Swami Vivekananda , Hindu Nationalism , India
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