namukku chuttum. 03-Jan-2016
namukku chuttum. 03-Jan-2016
A youth , belonging to high caste Hindu called 'kayastha' from Bengal belonging to aristocratic family by name Narendranath became Swami Vivekananda , when he at last met with his Guru Shrirama Paramahansa , a priest in Kali temple at Dakshineswar, in Calcutta and took monastic vows from him during early 19th century . Right from HIS early childhood, he had spiritual temperament. He was the first saint, after Shri Sankaracharya, who lived in the modern era who shot to the fame of a saint of global recognition who taught the Indian philosophy, especially essence of Hinduism to people in India and especially to the western world . He made such an his impact to the western world that made them to look to India for spiritual guidance to face monstrous consequence of materialistic life of the west thanks to development of Science and technology . They looked to her for teachings of Hinduism as solace for all evils of materialistic world. He was first the Indian monk to visit countries outside India, especially west to preach the ideals of Hinduism. He visited all the holy places of India and also went round the country to see firsthand how people lived and their culture. He was stuck with wonder when he saw the abject poverty suffered by rural masses, which he felt, was largely their own making or due to unawareness of their innate capacities for bettering their co lot . He called Indians especially youths as "sleeping lion" . So his first mission was to uplift them. He woke them up their slumber ,lethargy, indolence , sense of helplessness , fatalistic attitude and superstations, rivalry in the name of Religion , caste prejudices and so on and urged them to work hard and be self-reliant, He advocated mass education..He placed India in the world map .He left an indelible impression in the minds of westerners and aroused their interest in knowing and practicing Indian spirituality .The interest we see today in the west in Indian spirituality and cordial welcome accorded to modern Indian spiritual masters are the result of the deep personal impression he left in the Psyche of the western world .
He was born on 11th, September, 1863 on the Makara sankranti day which Hindus believe to be auspicious .It is 150 years, since he lived and reformed the society and it is 120 years, since he made a historic and electrifying speech addressing the delegates of Parliament of world Religions which brought 7000 people who attendees under his spell, at Chicago in U.S He was the first monk from India to visit western world to remove the misconceptions about Hinduism in the western minds and preach Indian philosophy, not as a esoteric subject, but as a practical. So he was called as 'Parivrajaka' Sanskrit language meaning Cyclonic or travelling monk '. Ancient Indian sages use to live in solitary places like Himalayas and do penance, which bring positive effect on the people and community. When the Religion of the western world was held prominent, Vivekananda convinced them about the great of Hinduism as a universal Religion . He did not undermine any other Religion, on the other hand, proclaimed that all Religions are comparable in terms of their ultimate goals, which is reforming human conduct.
In India, he travelled widely in India, reaching each and every corner and reached till the last rock of Indian soil , the southernmost tip of India , which is the confluence of two seas- Arabian sea and Indian ocean called , Kanyakumari having a temple of' Goddess' Devi or' Shakthi' or power or the concept of Mother God called Kanyakumari. . He swam over the straight on to the solitary Rock, meditated and experienced illumination. He said he had a unified image of India in his trance and saw solutions for her problems . A memorial called Vivekananda Rock stands now as a historical monument in the place where he meditated, inspiring people to lead noble life. The place where he meditated is preserved as 'Vivekananda Memorial Rock'. It was due to his mystic power that he could tide over the rough waters.
The 150th Birth Anniversary of that towering spiritual personality is celebrated year long all over the world, so also 120th year Anniversary of his historic and inspiring, simple yet profound lecture called as' Chicago Address' . His messages of spirituality got embedded deeply in the minds of people .Those were helpful to bring back in the awareness of modern man , the true nature of human beings, as strive for freedom from fetters of all kinds and for mind fired with unflinching enthusiasm for doing good to society.
On this occasion when the world celebrated Vivekananda centenary, the author makes humble attempt to recapitulate his teachings and thoughts, he presented to mammoth audience and representatives of all the major Religions of the world, in this paper, as humble homage.
Vivekananda spread his message of tolerance and universal acceptance, when the world is fractured on grounds of caste, Religion, ethnicity, sectarianism, geographical boundaries and so on, which are all the evil creations of the human mind and nations were fighting with each other for imperialistic expansions and exploitations of wealth of the host countries for opulent lives, at the sufferings of host countries . He found divisive tendencies equally among people of our country. When he visited Kerala, he found people to be fanatics with caste and communal feelings and he called Kerala a 'lunatic asylum''. Because of the rift between people, Britishers could divide and rule and it was easy for them to retain their oppressive control over Indians. People in discord with each other hardly knew their individual and collective strengths to work for their own welfare. Swami Vivekananda's contribution to unify Indian masses to fight against British empire, believed to be a place where sun never set is remarkable. He addressed especially youths as 'sleeping lions and gave clarion call 'arise. His famous saying :' Awake and stop not till the goal is achieved' is h off quoted.. His preaching in Weston countries like U.S, Germany, France and so on helped to gain the sympathy and support of British people to India's' plea for freedom .Vivekananda exhorted that all the living and non-living beings including the smallest atom struggle for freedom from fetters or external impositions to reach states of perfection. This theory has been accepted by modern Science. Self or spirit which is perfect finding freedom from body and mind, which are creation of matter is the ultimate goal of human life and human evolution. This theory is an anecdote to modern materialism. Real happiness and enduring peace are possible only when self directs mind and body. Vivekananda exhorted people to realize the innate infinite strength of people and use it for laudable purposes. He advocated technique of mind control such as Ashtaanga yoga of Patanjali to recover the hidden power in man. It is the reformation of each person that reforms family, community, country and the world and not the other way round. Attempt of reformation in other way round is like 'putting cart before the horse'
The Gist of his Chicago Address
The main focus of his speech was focused on inter-religious faith and harmony between different Religions of the world. No Religion divides people, on the other hand unifies people in the world towards universal manhood.
He started his speech most informally, in contrast from other speakers, by addressing the audience as" sisters and brothers of America', which touched a personal cord with the audience and which electrifying effect on the people They honed their listening skills, impressed by his towering personality . All the 7000 delegates stood up as a mark of respect and started clapping their hands which went on for some time. He first of all thanked them for the heart touching welcome, they accorded to him .He told he is proud of belonging to faith called Hinduism, which is founded on spirit of tolerance of any differences and universal acceptance . He mentioned how Zoroastrians, when they fled from Iran were welcomed with open arms in India. They settled down in India as Parsees merging with the main stream of Indian society. He said a true Hindu being proud of his Religion and ancient culture respects every other Religion. As different streams having their sources in different sources all join the ocean, the different Religions are different paths taken to reach the same goal of reaching God, although the rituals may differ. It was time of rivalry between man and man based on Religion, caste and ethnicity and so on .It was at that time he made this proclamation, which went into the hearts those assembled there like shot of an arrow .He decried dogma and ideology in the name of Religion which made one man to hate another and lead communal violence and bloodshed .He wished that world Parliament of Religions herald a new era of brotherhood of man .He said we should not have parochial altitude and should see that only our Religion is superior and all other Religions are inferior .It is like a frog in the well telling a frog from the sea that his world is bigger than his. Hindus, Mohammedans and Christians are all sitting in such small wells imagining that their Religion is superior to all other Religions. In another session, he talked about Hinduism, especially Vedanta philosophy or what is called the end of Upanishad, which are treasure houses of knowledge about life contained in 100 texts. He said Hindus received their Religion from Vedas, which is not authored by any single or group of persons, On the other hand, it is a way of life- ideal life which is passed on from generations and generations . It was revealed to intuitive minds of mendicants( when their mind was under perfect control and when they were in state of absolute bliss, completely free from the influences of the material world) .It is believed to be revelation of God to Rishis or seers of yore . It contains no dogmas or practices to be followed rigorously. There are people among Hindus who believe in temple worship and others who do not believe in temple worship. Hinduism shows different paths called "Jnana Maarga" or path of knowledge," Karma Maarga" or path of action and" Bakthi Marga "or path of devotion . People can adopt any one of those paths that suits their temperament .It contains spiritual laws, similar to laws of nature, which control all the natural phenomena those spiritual laws are to guides to right living.
A true Hindu does not believe that he is his body, mind or intellect, which are products of material world and hence subject to destruction and dissolution .He believes that his true nature is soul or 'self' or 'spirit' or called 'Atman" which is eternal and integral part of 'supreme 'power called 'Brahman,' which controls the creation, sustenance and dissolution of entire universe including sun, planets and so on . This spirit is present in every creations .Body; mind and intellect are the vehicles for the spirit to carry out its activities. If we look at creation in this angle, we find all of us in this world are equal and expected to live like brothers and sisters. No one can claim superiority over other based on wealth, power, ethnicity, Religion, caste and such man made parameters, which are all short lived. Thus Swami vehemently opposed to any kind of discrimination between man and man. It was a new insight at that time , when the society was ridden with Religion, caste , sectarianism, parochialism and such social evils .
Hindus believe that the soul is immortal. Nothing can destroy it .They also believe that what we enjoy or suffer from is the result of past births which make personal disposition to follow a particular life style .Those who did evil deeds in their previous lives take birth in such situations for suffering the consequences of their actions . They may even take birth in sub-human forms such as animals and plants. Those who practiced virtues in their previous lives take birth as pious persons, if they had done the actions with personal attachment. They do not undergo the cycle of pleasure and pain, life and death, those are called 'karma bhala' .One has to act in life whether in a good or evil way. There is no escape from action .when we act or do something without self-attachment and not desiring the fruit of our actions, we are able to exhaust work or we are relived of the bondage of our actions . Our actions for the wellbeing of others are of this type of work or called 'karma yoga'. It helps the individual self to be in union with universal self or Individual self which every being has as 'life energy' becomes one with universal energy. According to Hindu scriptures, one's who lead a life of vices, his life is not sealed forever or that he would continue to lead that kind of life and meet with punishments, on the other hand , he can improve his present life by virtuous actions . Thus Hinduism gives hope even to the worst criminal .No one is condemned by the most merciful God. What is required is realization and correction of faults.
Only those who throw away the shackles of material life can visualize God and achieve permanent peace and happiness. Each one of us has had unending cycle joy and sorrows, of lives and deaths .We do not remember our past birth ordinarily, though it is possible and some self-evolved souls can visualize, because our consciousness is wrapped up by several layers of experiences and mental agitations pertaining to our present birth . We would be able to remember our past, if we can remove those layers from our consciousness. They act as cataract in our eyes which obstruct our vision, when removed we retain our true vision. The born genius is explained by this process. One who accumulates knowledge in a previous birth, but could not use it either due to untimely death or due to other reason, he is reborn with the same 'vasana' or 'samskara' or tendency or predisposition or inclination, which expresses in his present life .There are persons who can recall their past lives in Chrystal clear way .Those who acquire what is called 'intuitive skill' or the ability for extrasensory or supra sensory perception can have knowledge about experiences in previous life. It is a case of knowing not though our ordinary senses which gives us only partial information about our world. Man is cable of sixth sense of acquisition of knowledge. Traces of that we find in creativity and innovativeness .Ancient seers had these skills exceptionally. They could hear what we cannot hear with our ears, they could see which we cannot see with our eyes, though their mental ears and mental eyes. They could see what is happening elsewhere called 'Telepathy'; they could see what is happening far away. Now modern Science has made it possible through Television. What modern science could do is limited compared to what ancient seers could do. They could hear, with their mystic power the sound of earth spinning round the sun, which they identified as 'AUM', otherwise called as primordial sound. Using their mystic power. They could alter the working of the nature such as movement of solar system, making artificial rains, making fire from nowhere, materializing things from nowhere and so on . Those are called 'yogic 'powers, which they never used for any unholy purpose.
Vivekananda further explained the deep implication of Hindu way of life as follows . In the materialistic world our souls are under the bondage of outside circumstances, body and ego .The ideal state is freedom of the soul from the bondages of the body .It can be attained only with God's grace . God reveals himself only to pure hearts, which are purged of material desires and their cousins of evil tendencies. This is the central idea of Hinduism. Hindus want to experience individual and universal soul where we experience bliss infinite. When Soul attains perfection, it becomes one with universal soul . Hindu life is constant attempt for perfection for living for higher purposes than for mere biological existence or life at sub-human level.
Swami Vivekananda defended the criticism leveled against Hinduism of worshipping many Gods and Goddesses in human form or what is called Polytheism . Their criticism was based on their misunderstanding the purpose of idol worship . Swami clarified the scientific basis behind idol worship and explained the true purpose, it serves or should serve. He said that Hindus are worshipping the same universal God or God universally present, the nature of whom can not be understood by ordinary intellects under different names and forms, familiar to them . He said Hindus think of Gods with various forms and attributes to develop mental image for withdrawing our attention from other worldly things. That helps to keep their minds focused on the being to whom they pray . They know that Idols are not God. They are only symbols. Other religions also use such symbols representing Almighty, although they might not be using so many symbols. Hindus associate innumerable noble attributes such as love, compassion, purity, truth, omnipresence, omnipotence, nurturance. For beginners, idol worship necessary for further spiritual progress, followed by ethical actions, before they experience divinity through knowledge and realization of self , just like toddlers need walkers before they can walk . For a Hindu all religions are equal. Every Religion tries to evolve divinity out of man and it is the same God which inspires all It is the same fundamental truth that man irrespective of which faith he belongs to. It is the same light coming through glasses of different colors, which Hindus call by various names , Christians call as 'Jesus' and Moslems call as ' Allah .So persons belong to different Religions should be tolerant of other's Religion. Attempts at forcible conversion to another is not ethical .Which ever religious family, one is born, should follow that Religion, while respecting other Religion. A Hindu cannot be Muslim as a Muslim cant be a Hindu, nor can he be a Christian He can certainly evolve himself to perfection and obtain God's grace within the confines of his Religion .
Swamy Vivekananda concluded his short but his forceful speech by warning that that one should give up the notion that one's Religion can prosper by destroying other Religions and that Religion should be used to unify humanity rather than divide . all should follow the fundamental teachings of all Religions the belief in the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man .Even in the present 21st century , The Religious fanaticism, its ugly manifestation viz Religious persecution and hatred towards each other based on caste, sectarianism and so on still operate leading to loss of human lives and property. Thus , the teachings of Swami Vivekananda is equally relevant today , as they were during his times . On the occasion of his 150 birth day, it is not enough if we preach or listen those ideals of equality of men and other human values, but we should practice them in our day to day life , to be proud of a true Hindu . That perhaps, is the real tribute, we can pay to him.