I am neither a politician nor a social reformer!
What was the purpose of Swami Vivekananda’s life? Though it may be deemed arrogant to ask such a question, for those who want to follow his path it is very important to address this basic query in right spirit. The purpose of life is what makes the personality what it is.
Swamiji as an Avatar?
Some devotees like to believe Swamiji to be an avatar and they would simply say the purpose of avatar is to establish Dharma and that’s what Swamiji did. But the founder of Vivekananda Kendra, Ma EknathjiRanade would consider calling Swamiji an avatar as an escapists’argument. By calling him avatar we are shunning our responsibility to follow his path. On the other hand it is belittling his achievements also. ”If he was a divine incarnation, I feel, what he did was not very much. But on the other hand if I think he was as human as any one of us then I feel that he has achieved a great height. At the same time, I get the inspiration to keep a noble goal before myself and to emulate his path to greatness.” Eknathji would argue.
What were Swamiji’s thoughts on the matter? He has uttered many a things about himself. He has also written about his life’s mission in some of his letters. But never has he called himself an avatar. That should be the ultimate test. Notwithstanding the vision of ShriRamakrishnaParamahamsa reported by some devotees to back their avatar claim; we will be more honest if we use Swamiji’s method to decide the issue. Narendra was also faced with the samedilemma about his Guru. Many devotees called ShriRamakrishna an avatar. Narendra himself had many miraculous experiences with the great master. He attained NirvikalpaSamadhi, had Shaktipat(Transfer of Spiritual power by touch) and also the SakaraDarshan(Vision in Form) of Mother Kali by the grace of the great Guru. Still he could not come to a definite conclusion as to Shri Ramakrishna being a divine incarnation till the very last days of Thakur. To resolve the dilemma he decides in his mind, ”I will accept him as a divine incarnation, an avatar, only if he himself directly tells me so.” It is documented that he got the answer then and there. As if the Guru was reading the mind of the disciple, Thakur, taking Narendra’s hand proclaimed very clearly, ”One who was Rama, who was Krishna, has now born as Ramakrishna”; leaving no ambiguity whatsoever.
Hence we must apply the same test for deciding whether Swamiji was an Avatar or not. According to the documented and available information he never claimed to be one. He was not shy of speaking about himself. As early as in1891 he is known to have said, ”I will burst upon the Indian society like a bomb”. He fulfilled this self prophecy. Talking to his disciple he extolled, ”I may leave this mortal body, but I will continue to work for next 1500 years.” So he does. But there is no mention of his calling himself an Avatar. Thus till any such new discoveries are found we are bound to take Swamiji’ word for his purpose of life as a human being rather than an Avatar.
References to his mission:
He has distinctly made a few comments on his mission which was dawned upon him in the intense meditation at the ShreepadShila in Kanyakumari. He had written in one of his letters to ShashiMaharaj, Swami Ramakarishnanda, ”Sitting on the last bit of Mother Bharat, I hit upon a plan”. He has explained his plan of campaign in a lecture in Madras after his triumphant return from the west. But we are after the purpose of his life. The mission and plans are to fulfill the purpose. What was the purpose of Swamiji’slife? He himself had struggled hard within and without to find this. He was convinced that there was a noble purpose but most of the time it was elusive. On Hatharas station he told the station master SaratChandraChakroborty, who later became his first sanyasi disciple, Swami Sadananda, ”I see my purpose of life like the hill covered by the morning mist. My destiny beckons me. I have to move on.”
What others say:
Many people have given him many lofty attributes and rightly so. Some called him the patriot monk, warrior monk, the savior of Hinduism, the second Shankarcharya, a social reformer. Bhagini Nivedita says about his address in the Chicago, “Of the Swami’s address before the Parliament of Religions, it may be said that when he began to speak it was of ‘the religious ideas of the Hindus’, but when he ended, Hinduism had been created.” Thus almost announcing him the father of neo-Hinduism. He has been creditedas one of the greatest pioneers of Indian renaissance in the 19th century. His own brother BhupendranathDutt talks about his (failed) plans of organizing political revolution to free India from foreign rule. Likes of Bipin Chandra Pal and Brajendranath Seal would agree to call him a political activist. This may not be authenticated by available documents but there is no doubt that his life and message inspired generations of freedom fighters both of armed and nonviolent type.
“He was so great, so profound, so complex. A Yogi of the highest spiritual level in direct communion with the truth who had for the time being consecrated his whole life to the moral and spiritual uplift of his nation and of humanity, that is how I would describe him. If he had been alive, I would have been at his feet” Said Subhash Chandra Bose many a times. On the other hand Rajaji, Sri Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari calls him a savior of Hinduism, “Swami Vivekananda saved Hinduism and saved India. But for him, we would have lost our religion and would not have gained our freedom. We therefore owe everything to Swami Vivekananda.”BalGangadharTilak who had hosted Swamiji in Pune during his wanderings equates him with AdiShankaracharya, “It is an undisputed fact that it was Swami Vivekananda who first held aloft the banner of Hinduism as a challenge against the material science of the West. It was Swami Vivekananda who first took on his shoulders this stupendous task of establishing the glory of Hinduism in different countries across the borders. And he, with his erudition, oratorical power, enthusiasm, and inner force, laid that work upon a solid foundation. Twelve centuries ago Shankara was the only great personality who not only spoke of the purity of our religion… but also brought all this into action. Swami Vivekananda is a person of that stature.” Rabindranath Tagore when asked by the french Historian Roman Rolland, how can he understand the spirit of India? Said, “If you want to know India, study Vivekananda.”
Father of Hindu Nationalism:
The accolades he received during his lifetime and thereafter are countless and the list still continues to grow longer and longer. Even the critics of Hinduism in the modern times in search of the roots of Hindu upsurge during the Ramjanmbhumiagitation reach back to Swamiji for so called ideological foundations. They try to put the blame on Swamiji among others for the revival of Hindu Nationalistic spirit. He is considered to be father of Hindu Nationalism by those in favor as well as those against the idea.
Preacher of Vedanta:
There are many others who are fascinated by his depth of spiritual knowledge. The scientific way in which he articulated the mysteries of highest spiritual knowledge is unparallel. Hence he was called the foremost preacher of Vedanta in the west. It is also claimed by some that he conquered the west and converted many to Vedanta.
Swamiji’s personality and his message was multifaceted hence there are many ways of understanding Swami Vivekananda. Each one does it from one’s own respective point of view. This has made Swamiji the most acceptable, non controversial ideal of the modern times. People from opposing camps use his quotations to prove their side of argument and blame the other of misrepresenting him. The left ideologues who denigrate religion also accept Swamiji’s views on the regeneration of deprived masses. But in all this process, sometimes, there is a deliberate effort to dilute Swamiji’sNationalism, his in-depth understanding of the soul of Bharat. He was the first religious and spiritual leader to proclaim that the soul of Bharat was ‘Dharma’. He was the first proponent of the concept of Hindurashtra, the Hindu nation. This should not be forgotten and any effort to prove it otherwise is an attempt to twist his message to suit the present day vested political interest.
In this cacophony of diverse and sometimes even contradictory claims about Swamiji how do we find the answer to our query? What was the purpose of Swamiji’slife? Here again we must rely on the original text rather than the interpretationswhich may be within or out of proper context. Is there any statement of the Swami about his own self? What was his view about himself and his work? There are loads of indirect references in his speeches in India. There are a few direct discussions recorded by his disciples which give us an insight in to his mind. But the most direct statement on the topic is,”I am not a politician, nor am I a social reformer. It is my job to fashion man…Man-making is my mission of life.”
To Fashion Man:
What a great statement? To Fashion man! What does it means when one uses the verb to fashion? Rogers’s thesaurus gives us a lot of options – to design, to tailor, to style, to mould, to modify etc. When we apply it to humans what will be the most consistent meaning. To fashion man- is to transform. To use Swamiji’s own words, ‘to enable man to manifest the perfection already within.’ To fashion is to train to realize the potential divinity in practical life. To make one actualize the full potential.To make one realize the special purpose of his life and to progress on that path.
Swamiji did that all his life. He transformed the life of everyone he touched. The list is long and varied. Swamiji’s man making technology which Sister Nivedita later on qualified by adding its prime objective as ”Man Making for Nation Building” was unique for each of its beneficiary. To study this transformation brought about by Swamiji in hundreds of people is an interesting way to understand the science of human excellence and the various methods of unfolding it.
Self Transformation by Efforts:
The mission started early in his life. The first experiment of his self proclaimed job was on his own personality. It is an interesting saga of self transformation through intense enquiry, struggle within and without, experimentations and in short total and continuous efforts. The whole journey is in four distinct stages Biley to Narendra, Narendra to Sachchidananda/vividishananda (his sanyasi names during the initial wanderings), Kolkata to Kanyakumari -From Wanderer to a determined Vivekananda with a mission and finally the Missionary Vivekananda Chicago to Bellur. This is not the occasion to examine the whole journey but the methods of Fashioning involved. The prime urge was to realize, to experience. No pretence, no belief no acceptance without thorough logic and questioning. He not only questioned others, but his self questioning continued all through his life till the end. As confidant as he was of his mission and the success of it, still he kept on asking am I on the right path. His openness to discussions and acceptance to change at any stage is really inspiring. Though the process went on all his life the most important period of intense self-transformation is his encounters with Shri Ramakrishna. That fashioned the Vivekananda that we know. It was not an easy process. The struggle went on. Both of them suffered a lot. Each one sticking to ones own ways. Swamiji’s adamancy was to be tamed only by realization. He did many experiments under the guidance of his Guru. This acceptance of Thakur as Guru also came only after the mystic experience of the oneness through touch- Shaktipat. But the final surrender and giving up of the rigid ego was done by the greatest of the experiences – Vision of Kali as a Chinmayi (living, conscious mother). This was the turning point which made him realize that the divine was omnipotent, omniscient and can be realized in all forms. This made him internalize the revolutionary Gospel of ShriRamakrishna – Shiv BhaveJeevSeva. Serve the living being with the full understanding of its divinity. This becamehis life mantra, “Service to humanity as an offering to the divinity.”
The self acceptedvocation to Fashion man continued more vigorously after the Guru left the mortal form. The initial period of 3-4 years was very testing. The domestic situation was worsening. Thakur had given him the responsibility to keep the Sangh, the monastic order of young disciples together. The householder devotees had their own ideas. During this period Narendra kept all his brother disciples in constant contact and saw to it that they did not forget the call of the master as well as their inner fire of Vairagya was kept alive. It was a daunting task. The whole well meaningworld of relatives, families and even the householder followers of Thakur were against the idea. But Narendra kept it alive in the tough times and gave it a shape in VarahnagarMath.
This man-making mission continued throughout his life and even there after. We see great examples of total transformations in this journey. There are examples like Swami Ramtirh, a Professor of Mathematics in Lahore, who attended Swamiji’s lectures there on Common Bases of Hinduism and Vedanta and got so inspired that he renounced and became a great Sanyasi. But there are few example of Man-making that will give us the insight into the science of the art of Human Fashioning. We will try and study some of them in detail in the next part.
अभी तक कोई टिप्पणी नहीं ।