This day completes 150th year of Swami Vivekananda‘s advent – the Vedanta incarnate.
There isn’t much I have to say that isn’t already available online. I feel less of fervour than the light I merged in through following it from long afar, though I retain the simple verve he himself lived in his last days … of cooking for the poor who came to labour at the Belur Math project site, offering to them a glass of water and feeling blessed, sitting with them and shedding tears flowing in empathy from his universe-wide heart.
But I will recall a couple of his summarising thought …
He was an advocate of religion, for the universal human values it provides to us through our growing up years, when we are not yet capable of raising a values-perspective of our own, when our morals are yet unformed and we have yet not instituted a light bright enough within ourselves to guide our ethical conduct.
But his advocacy of religion was far from being absolute. In fact, he suggested that it was better we remained atheists than accept anything, any thought, without our questioning, without subjecting it to our reason. And, most famously, he declared : It was good to be born in religion but terrible, terrible ti die in one.
Again, he would advise our young to grow strong in body and mind than give themselves to studying religious texts. Football was a favoured sport. To all, he would exhort them to attend to their call of duty, to family and society, but even that was tempered with an opposite : ” Fools burn in the scortching sun of duty …” The value of introspective leisure was always paramount.
Lastly, ever so softly but glowing brilliantly, he says : ” If you are untouched by selfish ways, in thought and conduct, you need not read a word of the what the world of religious texts have to offer.”
Mother of all poisons negating the best of human endeavours… is selfishness. So said #Vivekananda. Capitalism relegates it to the church. In response, my best of online friend, Basudeb Sen, says, ” Socialism and Communisism do not delegate but internalises selfishness among the rulers who enjoy all the powers of the State / society. Democracy camouflages selfishness in numbers. No one knows how to use the poison of selfishness into a potion of love, care and non-interfering liberty.”
To which, I wrote :
The Sanatan Dharma … had found a way, and it is clear that a vast unselfish population including teachers, sadhus, recluses, judges, socio-political governing institutions, householders, govt and business advisors, and students … co-existed with the selfish verticals, keeping the latter in check.
The unselfish values are still publicly espoused values in society and politics … but largely in words, not lived in character. We still speak of the “good.” Our morals and ethics are still formally defined in unselfish terms. We still win elections through raising slogans of public good … but informally, in practice, as we think and live, we have legalised the selfish ways, instituted our business and economy in unbridled selfishness of our lowest common denominating standards, and actually teach and advise how to profit ourselves through making use of such social, political, legal and economic laxities.
Untill now, we find ourselves in such polluted and poisonous waste that we do not know how to extricate ourselves ourselves out of it, pull ourselves back to honest living, sustainable ways, empathetic hearts, reasonable intellects and happy relationships.
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Abundant responses to my call of SOCIAL MEDIA CITIZEN INITIATIVE
have been personal, quite as its origin was : in my personal desire to meet people, my contemporaries, who I value. They all have refrained from going public … on the Google-doc I had published.
We will work on how best we would coordinate for an evening of warmth in the days ahead, at a suitable venue in Delhi.
Keep in touch, my friends !
Wishing you the best …