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Monday, 14 January 2013

Swami Vivekananda – Principles and Philosophy


ByBengal Bee

Vivekananda was a renowned thinker in his own right. One of his most important contributions was to demonstrate how Advaitin thinking is not merely philosophically far-reaching, but how it also has social, even political, consequences. One important lesson he claimed to receive from Ramakrishna was that “Jiva is Shiva ” (each individual is divinity itself). This became his Mantra, and he coined the concept of daridra narayana seva – the service of God in and through (poor) human beings. If there truly is the unity of Brahman underlying all phenomena, then on what basis do we regard ourselves as better or worse, or even as better-off or worse-off, than others? – This was the question he posed to himself. Ultimately, he concluded that these distinctions fade into nothingness in the light of the oneness that the devotee experiences in Moksha. What arises then is compassion for those “individuals” who remain unaware of this oneness and a determination to help them. Vivekananda didn’t advocate the emerging area of parapsychology, astrology (one instance can be found in his speech Man the Maker of his Destiny, Complete-Works, Volume 8, Notes of Class Talks and Lectures) saying that this form of curiosity doesn’t help in spiritual progress but actually hinders it.
Swami Vivekananda belonged to that branch of Vedanta that held that no-one can be truly free until all of us are. Even the desire for personal salvation has to be given up, and only tireless work for the salvation of others is the true mark of the enlightened person. He founded Sri Ramakrishna Math and Mission on the principle of Atmano Mokshartham Jagad-hitaya cha (for one’s own salvation and for the welfare of the World).
Vivekanda adviced to be holy , unselfish and have shraddha (faith). He encouraged the practise of Brahmacharya. In one of the conversations with his childhood friend Sri Priya Nath Sinha he attributes his physical and mental strengths, eloquence to the practice of brahmacharya.
However, Vivekananda also pleaded for a strict separation between religion and government (“church and state”). Although social customs had been formed in the past with religious sanction, it was not now the business of religion to interfere with matters such as marriage, inheritance and so on. The ideal society would be a mixture of Brahmin knowledge, Kshatriya culture, Vaisya efficiency and the egalitarian Shudra ethos. Domination by any one led to different sorts of lopsided societies. Vivekananda did not feel that religion, nor, any force for that matter, should be used forcefully to bring about an ideal society, since this was something that would evolve naturally by individualistic change when the conditions were right.
The turban that Vivekananda used to wear is generally believed to be suggested by Maharaja of Khetri. But some followers of Ayyavazhi claim that Vivekananda visited the Swamithope Pathi during his visit to Kanyakumari in December 1892 and believe that he was impressed by the principles behind rituals of this monistic faith, such as wearing a head gear during worship in temple, worshipping in front of mirror etc., and started wearing a turban then on. Some also suggest that Vivekananda received some spiritual instructions from the disciples of Ayya Vaikundar. [1] There is no mention of this in Vivekananda’s biographies or works. It is also said that while he was a child, he was impresssed by the turban of the horse cab driver, who used to ferry his father on his daily work. Subsequently when he renounced the world and took to sanyasa, he started using one himself.
Though it may not be obvious but Swami Vivekananda inspired India’s (whom he loved so dearly) freedom struggle movement. His writings inspired a whole generation of freedom fighters in Bengal in particular and India at large. Most prominent were Subhas Chandra Bose, Aurobindo and countless others.
Source: http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Swami_Vivekananda_-_Principles_and_Philosophy/id/5498561
Photograph: Vivekananda House in South Pasadena – Swami Vivekananda stayed in this house for six weeks in 1900. On the left is the Vivekananda House as it is today. On the right is Swami Vivekananda standing in front of the house in 1900.
http://www.yousaytoo.com/aditya/rare-photos-swami-vivekananda/18461

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