Notes on Teachings of Swami Vivekananda


Introduction

Swami Vivekananda was the greatest spiritual prophet in modern times and probably the greatest India-worshipper in history. His message to the world is all-encompassing; it seeks all-round development of each soul towards ultimate Freedom. Throughout his life he also strived for all-round development of India and even after his passing away he continues to work for India. He had famously said,‘It may be that I shall find it good to get outside of my body -- to cast it off like a disused garment. But I shall not cease to work!’ True indeed it has been; as decades roll by, we see the influence of Swami Vivekananda growing in ever wider circles.

Sister Nivedita rightly observes in her immortal introduction to the 'Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda':
‘... the Shastras, the Guru, and the Motherland--are the three notes that mingle themselves to form the music of the works of Vivekananda.’
And in her magnificent work, 'The Master As I Saw Him', she writes:

‘... the thought of India was to him like the air he breathed. ... ... he was born a lover, and the queen of his adoration was his Motherland.

Like some delicately-poised bell, thrilled and vibrated by every sound that falls upon it, was his heart to all that concerned her. Not a sob was heard within her shores that did not find in him a responsive echo.

There was no cry of fear, no tremor of weakness, no shrinking from mortification, that he had not known and understood. He was hard on her sins, unsparing of her want of worldly wisdom, but only because he felt these faults to be his own. And none, on the contrary, was ever so possessed by the vision of her greatness. ...

His country's religion, history, geography, ethnology, poured from his lips in an inexhaustible stream. ... ...In these talks of his, the heroism of the Rajput, the faith of the Sikh, the courage of the Mahratta, the devotion of the saints, and the purity and steadfastness of noble women, all lived again. Nor would he permit that the Mohammedan should be passed over. Humayoon, Sher Shah, Akbar, Shah Jehan, each of these, and a hundred more, found a day and a place in his bead-roll of glistening names. ...

Like some great spiral of emotion, its lowest circles held fast in love of soil and love of nature; its next embracing every possible association of race, experience, history, and thought; and the whole converging and centring upon a single definite point, was thus the Swami's worship of his own land. And the point in which it was focussed was the conviction that India was not old and effete, as her critics had supposed, but young, ripe with potentiality, and standing, at the beginning of the twentieth century, on the threshold of even greater developments than she had known in the past. Only once, however, do I remember him to have given specific utterance to this thought. "I feel myself" he said in a moment of great quiet, "to be the man born after many centuries. I see that India is young." But in truth this vision was implied in every word he ever spoke. It throbbed in every story he told. And when he would lose himself, in splendid scorn of apology for anything Indian, in fiery repudiation of false charge or contemptuous criticism, or in laying down for others the elements of a faith and love that could never be more than a pale reflection of his own, how often did the habit of the monk seem to slip away from him, and the armour of the warrior stand revealed! ...

...Just as Sri Ramakrishna, in fact, without knowing any books, had been a living epitome of the Vedanta so was Vivekananda of the national life.’

Swami Vivekananda's mission on this Earth was to help all souls move towards ultimate spiritual Liberation (मुक्ति Mukti) as he himself puts it, ‘My ideal indeed can be put into a few words and that is: to preach unto mankind their divinity, and how to make it manifest in every movement of life.’ Further he proclaims:

‘Each soul is potentially divine.

The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal.
Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy -- by one, or more, or all of these -- and be free.

This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details.’

Fortunately for us, we have authentic record of Swami Vivekananda's life and teachings; 'Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda' is one such ocean of nectar containing pearls of wisdom, about which Sister Nivedita says:

‘In the ... works of the Swami Vivekananda ..., we have what is not only a gospel to the world at large, but also to its own children, the Charter of the Hindu Faith. What Hinduism needed, amidst the general disintegration of the modern era, was a rock where she could lie at anchor, an authoritative utterance in which she might recognise herself. And this was given to her, in these words and writings of the Swami Vivekananda.’

In following pages we try to present some notes, taken from these books, which we hope readers would find useful.

----------- Om Tat Sat -----------