The strongest hearts have the most scars.
When the entire world was encapsulated with physical pleasures and materialistic race of leading a luxurious life, they needed someone to guide them to know real meaning of leading life. Hindu spirituality deals with body, mind and soul. Swami Vivekanand introduced world with the concept of oneness, soul and sole reason of taking birth as humans. The new concept thrilled the people across the globe and they got to know true realms of life through meditation and spiritual science of Hinduism.
Swami Vivekananda’s contributions in shaping the world culture is acknowledged by scholars of several countries.
Making an objective assessment of Swami Vivekananda’s contributions to world culture, the eminent British historian A L Basham stated that “in centuries to come, he will be remembered as one of the main moulders of the modern world…”
Swami Vivekananda, known in his pre-monastic life as Narendra Nath Datta, was born in an affluent family in Kolkata on 12 January 1863. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was a successful attorney with interests in a wide range of subjects, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with deep devotion, strong character and other qualities. A precocious boy, Narendra excelled in music, gymnastics and studies. By the time he graduated from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. Born with a yogic temperament, he used to practise meditation even from his boyhood, and was a and was associated with Brahmo Movement for some time.
1. New Understanding of Religion: One of the most significant contributions of Swami Vivekananda to the modern world is his interpretation of religion as a universal experience of transcendent Reality, common to all humanity. Swamiji met the challenge of modern science by showing that religion is as scientific as science itself; religion is the ‘science of consciousness’. As such, religion and science are not contradictory to each other but are complementary.
This universal conception frees religion from the hold of superstitions, dogmatism, priestcraft and intolerance, and makes religion the highest and noblest pursuit – the pursuit of supreme Freedom, supreme Knowledge, supreme Happiness.
2. New View of Man: Vivekananda’s concept of ‘potential divinity of the soul’ gives a new, ennobling concept of man. The present age is the age of humanism which holds that man should be the chief concern and centre of all activities and thinking. Through science and technology man has attained great prosperity and power, and modern methods of communication and travel have converted human society into a ‘global village’. But the degradation of man has also been going on apace, as witnessed by the enormous increase in broken homes, immorality, violence, crime, etc. in modern society. Vivekananda’s concept of potential divinity of the soul prevents this degradation, divinizes human relationships, and makes life meaningful and worth living. Swamiji has laid the foundation for ‘spiritual humanism’, which is manifesting itself through several neo-humanistic movements and the current interest in meditation, Zen etc all over the world.
3. New Principle of Morality and Ethics: The prevalent morality, in both individual life and social life, is mostly based on fear – fear of the police, fear of public ridicule, fear of God’s punishment, fear of Karma, and so on. The current theories of ethics also do not explain why a person should be moral and be good to others. Vivekananda has given a new theory of ethics and new principle of morality based on the intrinsic purity and oneness of the Atman. We should be pure because purity is our real nature, our true divine Self or Atman. Similarly, we should love and serve our neighbours because we are all one in the Supreme Spirit known as Paramatman or Brahman.
4. Bridge between the East and the West: Another great contribution of Swami Vivekananda was to build a bridge between Indian culture and Western culture. He did it by interpreting Hindu scriptures and philosophy and the Hindu way of life and institutions to the Western people in an idiom which they could understand. He made the Western people realize that they had to learn much from Indian spirituality for their own well-being. He showed that, in spite of her poverty and backwardness, India had a great contribution to make to world culture. In this way he was instrumental in ending India’s cultural isolation from the rest of the world. He was India’s first great cultural ambassador to the West.
On the other hand, Swamiji’s interpretation of ancient Hindu scriptures, philosophy, institutions, etc prepared the mind of Indians to accept and apply in practical life two best elements of Western culture, namely science and technology and humanism. Swamiji has taught Indians how to master Western science and technology and at the same time develop spiritually. Swamiji has also taught Indians how to adapt Western humanism (especially the ideas of individual freedom, social equality and justice and respect for women) to Indian ethos.
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It was just few days ago . I rushed to my client ensuring needful to carry along (Yoga mat , bottle of water, props and a towel for myself). This was a last moment deal about the timing , fees and place. So , he asked me to come to a 5 star hotel gym and provided transport nothing less than an Audi .
I asked for him at the reception; a concierge lead me to the gym area . He waved me quite unbothered way . It’s very difficult for me to make his face out . His skin was full of patches, white, pink and little brown. I was little nervous thinking that he shouldn’t make out what thoughts were going in my mind. I was nervous and trying hide it, trying to show how normal and composed I was. When I came near to him he stood up, his one leg was stooped . He was shorter than me but not hesitant about it at all.
I gave him some Yoga Therapies for his legs , then Pranayama and half an hour of Guided meditation & Yog Nidra. Ending the session , he asked gym instructor to provide Cranberry Mint juice for both of us. I figured out he was only 25, much younger than me. He said, “I had a different childhood.” “Only few months ago I isolated myself in a room playing only Game of Thrones and *(few other names).” His hands and feet were completely white and few patches of brown skin. As I finished the drink I immediately asked him my willingness to leave. He offered me the fees in an envelope and as forwarded his hand, I was quite hesitant for a handshake . But , I didn’t want to refuse it and I left with a smile.
Though I knew Vitiligo was not at all contagious but I was more concious about dealing with him. I might have little more in ease if it was a female. Was he concious about his look in front of a woman? Was he feeling pity on himself? Does he curse his life? Then I thought if he was, he would have been sulking instead of pampering himself in a luxurious way. He is definitely very strong than I thought. Very positive about his future. May be more than anyone of us without Vitiligo, without any scars or other physical adequacy.