Swami Vivekananda passed away on July 4,1902 but his unique contribution continues to enlighten and awaken us. He revived our great ancient heritage with fresh interpretation, adding different dimensions to it. Swamiji harmonised East and West, religion and science, past and present and the mundane and divine. He was the first exponent of yoga abroad as an enabling mean for self-control and placed religion as understandable science and not blind faith. He was a profound philosopher of humanism, universalism, religious liberalism, selfless service, practical spirituality and essential unity in diversity,
He asserted omnipresence of God and selfless service as worship; secondly, the acceptance of every way of worship as the valid way to God. This developed in him a sense of divine humanism and non-dogmatic approach, putting to rest disputes over comparative ‘superiority’ of religions.
His speech delivered at the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago, was a clarion call for help and not fight, assimilation and not destruction, harmony and peace and not dissension to mutually disputing religious representatives.
“Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendent, fanaticism have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often with human blood…. If anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his religion and the destruction of others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart.”
Swamiji was extremely conscious of the problem of evil and erosion of ethics and values. But he never thought that mere bookish advice will help in curbing evil-doing under instinctive compulsion. The solution lies in controlling our nature through psychophysical process, assimilation of philosophy, mystic love for God or expansion of self though selfless service of humanity with empathy and affection which cannot be imposed from outside. Our growth must come from within, from the dictates of higher consciousness through the aforesaid process called yoga, the art of cosmic union.
Swamiji transcendentally experienced the entire universe as manifestation of the absolute One. There is only one Self in the universe, only one existence. When it manifests through time, space and causation, it appears to be diverse and is called by different names. In the heart of things, there is fundamental unity. Hence he stood for harmony of religions and essential divinity of humankind.
Swamiji was an exponent of divine humanism, harmony and appreciation of diversities and not toleration. Toleration comes out of a sense of superiority complex: ‘You are wrong but I allow you to exist out of my generosity’. This is blasphemous. Difference of views and thinking are deeply
rooted in the scheme of the universe.
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