By MN Kundu
Towering socio-spiritual contribution of Swami Vivekananda can be viewed from several angles. But the most important one is his amazing agenda for human empowerment through awakening of joyous spiritual consciousness of confidence, strength and wisdom. He stressed on releasing untapped potential flowing from innermost essence of being, our true Self, made in the image of God. Swamiji held that religion is intended to awaken spiritual consciousness, which removes suffering from the apparent level of existence, bringing about solidarity, harmony and divine humanism, and glides into ineffable ecstasy of being at the ultimate level.
Vivekananda spread a world-affirming spirituality involving identification of the Absolute through step-by-step removal of obstacles from various levels of conscious existence. Hence his religious agenda includes food for empty stomachs, football for weak muscles, liberalism for conservative societies, spiritual antidotes for die-hard materialism, and immense self-expansion for seekers through wisdom-driven service of the less privileged.
Swamiji held that the most fundamental human weakness lies in obsessive and obstinate predisposition for fostering essentially blind individual or collective ego, thriving on narrow divisionism. Hence, in the Parliament of Religions at Chicago, he gave a clarion call for assimilation instead of destruction, harmony and peace in place of dissension, as the keynote of empowerment through collective synergy.
But collective empowerment begins with individual transformation. So he asserted, “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 psychic control, or philosophy – by one, or more, or all of these and be free.” On this agenda for self-transformation he continued, “This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, dogmas, rituals, books, temples and forms are but secondary details.”
The problem lies in application of this innermost ultimate wisdom in outer life, in thinking, feeling and acting, rising above egoistic pursuits. He found that enabling ways and means are already there in our ancient curriculum of yoga, the art of supreme union with cosmic Self through psychophysical practice, assimilation of divine wisdom, selfless service to sentient beings and surrender to the supreme Self.
Swamiji stressed on reshaping our outer purpose of life and activities in accordance with inner purpose of revelation of cosmic solidarity in profound oneness of existence.
Vivekananda inspired all to ignite inner Self to overcome the delusive inertia. He used to tell the inspiring sheep-lion metaphorical tale. A pregnant lioness jumped upon a flock of sheep but died of exertion giving birth to a cub. The cub was brought up amongst the sheep learning everything from the sheep. One day another lion came and found him fleeing always with fear like sheep and bleating. With a lot of effort he could convince the sheep-lion that he was actually not a sheep, but a lion. After some guided practice, he realised his lion identity and started roaring like one.
We are made in the image of the Almighty but we assume mortal weakness due to ignorance and lack of faith. The real purpose of life is to assert our essential divinity and thereby invoke our divine inheritance.
Swamiji said, “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.” Intense aspiration and sincere endeavour attract divine grace in the form of inspiration, awakening and real human empowerment.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.