Wednesday, July 24, 2013

RELEVANCE OF SWAMY VIVEKANANDA 

Shall we see Swamy Vivekananda as a Monk who renounced worldly pleasures to lead a life of renunciation or as a man more “worldly” than the lesser mortals? The dilemma persists if we do not study the Man and Monk in him. True he, said “When you have no bread, whither religion” He lived between 1863-1902. Though M.K. Gandhi was born in 1869, he started public life at a time when Swamiji attained Maha Samadhi. (Final Journey). 

In latter days Gandhi too said, I quote,

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

Relevance of Swamy Vivekananda is reflected in the words of Gandhi and what Gandhi stood for is relevant even today.

An Assessment of Swamiji's teachings to world culture was made by British Historian who said “in centuries to come he will be remembered as one of the moulders of modern world
His primary contribution is defining religion as “Science”, more Scientific than science itself. He defined religion as the “science of the self-reality” In his view Science and Religion are complimentary. The religious intolerance of present day, dogmatic approach of few individual bigots, the theory of “science is superior to religion” are all born out of ignorance of Swamyjee's world view.

Swamyjee's stress on “Meditaion” to attain self-realization for common good is commendable. Present day society is torn with immorality, corruption of body and mind, crime and violence. Swamyjee enunciated the “supremacy of soul” and that by seeing the inner self only, one can attain heights of humanism immersed in spirituality. An understanding of this simple concept would make the world happier.

While on one hand he made the West to understand the great cultural, social and religious ethos, on the other hand he taught Indians to imbibe the Western Science and Technological advances through research. Today we stand high in the eyes of the West only because of Philosophers like the Swamyjee. So too, the West learned a lot through his teachings, especially family values from India.

Another area where Swamyjee's teachings apply today are his stress on realization of “Atman” through Meditation as the only way to attain high moralistic ethos. He stressed that one can not attain morals by fear of Law of the land or Laws of the Heaven, called Karma. He stressed “Strength, Strength!” . Moral strength through strength of soul attained by meditation. He stressed no disease can get hold on humans if they are strong by soul and body.

His stress on environment is equally valid today. Population explosion is, according to him, one of the reasons for deprivation and environmental pollution. Man's over dependence on other beautiful creations of God like tress, animals, flora and fauna and their eventual annihilation for assuaging human hunger, leads to unmitigated harm to environment, according to him.


His relevance to the society today is more than at any time in view of the turmoil in the world. The other teachings of the Swamyjee are equally relevant and will be discussed in subsequent papers.