I was telling about Swami Vivekananda in Part I. I want to share some more information about him.
I want to begin with his words, “Dare to be free, dare to go as far as your thought leads and dare to carry that out in your life”.
One day Vivekananda’s mother was very ill and on her deathbed. Vivekananda didn’t have money to give her proper food and medicine. He went to his guru Sri Ramakrishna and asked,”What is the use of spirituality when there is no job and money to take care of essential needs in life?” Ramakrishna asked Vivekananda to pray to Kali to fulfil his needs. Vivekananda sat for prayer before Kali and prayed for hours together but he could not ask Her anything for himself.
Once a social reformer told Vivekananda, “I want to support women. I want to reform them”. For that Vivekananda replied, “Just leave them alone. They will do what they have to do. It is not that a man has to reform a woman. If he just gives room, she will do what is necessary”.
In the beginning, when he gave lectures in India, there was no response. But, after finishing lectures in western countries, he got a warm reception in India. He traveled throughout India and inspired many people by his speech. In foreign countries he spoke about India’s spiritual heritage. In India he addressed social issues such as uplifting people, eliminating the caste system, promoting science and industrialisation, poverty and ending colonial rule.
He inspired Jamsetji Tata to set up a reseach and educational institute but when he was offered to head the institute, he declined.
Vivekananda propagated that the essence of Hinduism was best expressed in Adi Sankara’s Advaita vedantha philosophy.
Vivekananda believed that a country’s future depends on its people and his teachings focused on human development.
I will share some more information about Vivekananda in my next blog.