The Importance of Swami Vivekananda
Introduction: It was more than hundred years after the battle of Plassey. The Sepoy Munity has almost wrecked the Company regime. By dint of the proclamation of Queen Victoria governance of India has been transferred from the company to the British Government. The Santal resurgence has made the government helpless. During that turbulent time in the decade of 1860 a few great men appeared in India to resurrect the country and Swami Vivekananda was one of the those few important personalities.
Family and education: Swami Vivekananda was born in the famous Dutta family of Simla of North Kolkata on the 12th day of January in the year 1863. His father’s name was Viswanath Dutta and his mother’s name was Bhuvaneswari Devi. His father a well-known attorney of the High Court. His mother was a highly religious woman. His mother named him Bireswar. His real name was Narendranath. His nick name was ‘Bile’. He was found to be meritorious and truly intelligent from his childhood. He got educated at the Metropolitan School which was established by Vidyasagar. He secured the first position in the entrance test. Then he was admitted to the Presidency College. Later he was admitted to the General Assembly College. In 1884 he passed B.A. from this very college.
In close association with Ramakrishna Paramhansa: After studying ‘Philosophy of Vedanta’ composed by Raja Rammohan Roy he got attracted to the religion of ‘Brahmosamaj’ and later became a member of ‘Brahmosamaj’. One day Ramakrishna Dev came to the house of one of his neighbours. There Narendranath had to sing. Hearing his song Ramakrishna Dev became pleased. Narendranath asked Ramakrishna Dev a few questions about the existence of God. Hearing the answers he became pleased and got attracted towards Ramakrishna Dev and later became his disciple.
Some family hazards: After the demise of his father his family was subjected to great economic disaster. He was not able to decide what he should do in that crisis. He went to the temple at Dakshineswar to pray to Goddess for money, but wanted respect-devotion and knowledge instead. Then a change came in his mind.
Importance of Swami Vivekananda as a traveller and pilgrim: He travelled throughout India for about three years. As a matter of fact he started his tour of India for the purpose of giving important lessons on Vedanta and Philosophy and development of India.
He travelled from the Himalayas to the Cape Comorine and from Gujrat to Eastern India and tried to make Indians progressed and tried to develop Indians. He stayed in the house of Hindus as well as in the house of the Muslims and took his food there. Sometimes he stayed at caves of hills and on other occasions he stayed at little islands of ocean. When someone asked him how he being a Hindu Sage could become a guest in the house of a Muslim, he became angry and told him that he was a Monk and therefore he was above all restrictions, he was able to see and realize omniscient Brahma everywhere. In 1891, he met King Ajit Singh at his palace at Mount Abu. There he told about life that life is the manifestation of living being in the midst of adverse situation. There he stayed for a few days.
Mangal Singha, the king of Alwar, had Western education. He told Vivekananda that he had no faith in the cult of worship of idols. Then Swamiji got his portrait pulled down from the wall and asked the Dewan and others to spit on it. But nobody agreed, because they didn’t want to defame or humiliate the king. Thus he beautifully explained to the king that the devotees imagine the presence of God in idols and worship it. He used to sing Urdu lyrical poem or soyeree and Hindi songs for others to listen to those. Moreover, he was able to make the thought of the Veda, the Koran and the Bible clear to others.
Furthermore he could assimilate religion and science. The most important subject for consideration to him was man and the development of man. He used to impart Indian spiritual education to his disciples. In order to clarify non-dualism he stated that the conscious and the unconscious, the visible and the invisible are identical and light, heat and electricity are transformation of the same energy or power.
In the year 1891 he arrived at Ahmedabad. There as he was attacked by imposters who pretended to be (fake) monks or king, Yeswant Singh saved him by sending his soldiers. The king gave him his proper identity card and with it he visited the holy places like Junagarh, Girnar hills, the Soninath Temple, Dwaraka, Pravas, Porbandar on Pilgrimage. In the year 1892 he came to Belgaon. Starting from Gujrat he arrived there via Mahabaleswar, Khandwa, Mumbai and Pune. Starting from Belgaon, he came to Tiruvanantapuram of Kerala via Goa, Marmagaon, Panjim and Kochi and from there he went to Cape Comorine. He swam in the Indian Ocean and reached an island where he meditated. From Rameswaram he came to Chennai or Madras via Madurai and Pondicherry. There his young disciples collected money for his visit to America so that he would be able to take part in the important event of parliament of religions to be held at Chicago, started his tour from the Himalayas and travelled to Rajasthan, Dwarka, Kashmir, Kedarnath and Badrinath and thus made his tour throughout hole of India.
The important speech of Vivekananda at Parliament of religions in Chicago – on 31st May in the year 1893, he started for Chicago from the port of Mumbai by boarding the ship named ‘Peninsular‘. He greeted them as “My dear Brothers and Sisters of America“. There he won the heart of everyone with his speech. He explained the greatness of Hinduism, the Hindu religion and the Indian Philosophy. He said that science is nothing but the process of discovery of unity and when one surpasses dualism and reaches non-dualism absolute development, of religion and science is achieved. His speech upgraded the dignity of India in the court of the world. He was able to clarify and prove that Hindu religion/Hinduism and Indian Philosophy are not inferior to any religion of the world. Thereafter he was invited to speak at various important places in the world. Many learned and virtuous people became his disciples.
Founding of the Belur Math/monastery and the centre for Vedanta education – In the year 1897 Swamiji returned to India. In that year he got founded the Ramakrishna Ashram which is considered as an important achievement of Swami Vivekananda. In the year 1899 he established the Belur Math/Monastery on the West Bank of the Ganges. That is not only a holy place but also an important centre for education of the Vedanta.
The last Journey: In the year 1900 he started for America for the second time to take part in the Parliament of religions in Paris. This was yet another important event. People of the world got amazed and overjoyed at his revolutionary thoughts. He motivated the people of the world towards welfare service. His health deteriorated due to excessive toil. His health was further damaged after his return to his country. But he continued his work in that sick state. Finally, on 4th July, in the year 1902 he left this world for ever at the age of 39 years. On that day recital of hymns, devotional songs and teaching went on from the morning and meditation started after evening. He took rest for a while and left this world when he was meditating.
Important Literary works of Vivekananda: He traveled too many countries of the world besides India for the purpose of spreading the philosophy of Vedanta. But he also composed some essays. Among his works ‘Rajyoga’, ‘Bhaktiyoga’ ‘Karmayoga’, ‘Prachya ‘O’ Paschatya’, ‘Paribrajak’, ‘Bartaman Bharat’ are notable.
The noted works in English are ‘Jnanayogo’, ‘Bhaktiyoga’, ‘Rajyoga’ etc. One of the collected works of poems is ‘Birbani’. He endeavored to develop and upgrade Bengali prose and language.
Swami Vivekananda in the light of his 150th birth anniversary – The 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda is on the 12th January in the year 2012. This day is also celebrated in the house of Swami Vivekananda in Simla. At about 8 a.m. a procession is arranged from College Square to Simla Street. The State Government and the Central Government also observe this day. The State Government declared this important day a holiday. Crowd was also found in front of the house of Swami Vivekananda and Belur Math. The locality of Swami Vivekananda gets brightened or illuminated by light at night. The day is also observed in Delhi at the initiative and effort of Ramakrishna Mission Sangha and the Central Government. It is also announced besides all these functions that the ideal of Swami Vivekananda would be spread throughout the world.
Conclusion: Swami Vivekananda is regarded as the perfect inheritor of the mission of Sree Ramakrishna. He was the embodiment of patriotism and thought for his own land and country. His life and sayings used to motivate fully the Indians who were fettered with foreign rule. His life, sayings and courage used to encourage, fill with confidence, enliven ‘revitalize with new strength the Indians who were oppressed, superstitious, full with inferiority complex and about to die or get destroyed. The important message of Swami Vivekananda of Swami Vivekananda is that while ancient religion states that one who doesn’t have faith in God is in an atheist but modern religion states that one who doesn’t have faith in oneself is an atheist. Thus he tried to make the Indians courageous.
He said to his countrymen, “Indians are my brothers, Indians are life, all deities of India are my God, the Indian society is my cradle, the garden of my youth, the abode of my old age, say, behold brothers’. ‘The soil of India is my heaven, the good of India is my welfare’.
For the sake of the development of men he wanted to develop the economic, social, political, religious thought and education. As a matter his religion is ‘Man-making religion’. He raised his voice against poverty, untouchability, illiteracy, slavery, racial discrimination and religious separatism. He believed that the real strength of the country was the common laborers or the persons who have to earn their daily bread by dint of hard labor and diligence. Therefore he regarded all including the Brahmins, the Chandals, the Cobblers and the Sweepers as his brothers or kinsmen. He believed that new India could be made with the development of so-called low-caste and active co-operation, endeavor and participation of Hindu, Muslim, Jains and others. Therefore, on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda if, recalling his ideals and sayings we may forget the discrimination based on race, religion-group and rising above the narrow political interest and politics we try to construct our country in this manner, and take his dream towards success and reality, then and then only it will become possible to pay him true respect and it will also be possible to preserve the dignity of his ideal. Then and then only welfare of India and the Indians will be possible. Thus the observance of his 150th birth anniversary will be successful. We must remember this great man thus.