I reverentially salute you who have all those pure qualities such as liking for the company of good people, appreciation for the good qualities in others, humility towards oneâ€™s teacher, hankering for knowledge, love for the life partner, fear of ill-fame, devotion to Shankara, ability to control oneself, and avoiding the company of wicked people.
Friends, we are happy to serve you with this â€˜Uttishthata Groupzineâ€™. We need your feedback and support to run this Groupzine. As the name suggest it will be of the group, by the group, for the group. So you have to run this periodical by regular supply of materials for its contents. Your participation and involvement is highly needed.
Today is Swami Vivekanandaâ€™s Mahasamadhi day. Though it is a sad event for us still it is a memorable day. Why he selected this day is not known but we can guess that it is just to signify his long cherished dream and what he always preached â€“ freedom. 4th July is the American Independence day and during his time that was the only country known to be free.
Josephine Macleod in her reminiscences recorded the last conversation she had with Swami Vivekananda, which took place in Belur Math in March 1902. She wrote: â€œHe said to me, â€˜I shall never see forty.â€™ I, knowing he was thirty-nine, said to him, â€˜But Swami, Buddha did not do his great work until between forty and eighty.â€™ But he said, â€˜I delivered my message and I must go.â€™ I asked, â€˜Why go?â€™ and he said, â€˜The shadow of a big tree will not let the smaller trees grow up. I must go to make room.â€™â€
His every action was for freedom; he never wanted persons who follow him should be under his influence. He wanted them to grow as they are from â€˜lower truth to higher truthâ€™.
So through this Uttishthata Groupzine we shall carry the messages of our Holy Trio â€“ Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda â€“ the messages of Freedom from bondage, Divinity of the Soul, Universal Brotherhood, Oneness of Being, propagating human dignity and above all the message of strength and fearlessness.
We are sure our members at Uttishthata shall appreciate this endeavour and shall circulate this Uttishthata Groupzine among their friends, colleagues, and like-minded persons. Donâ€™t just keep this with you. You can get a print out and give it to your children and parents. They shall certainly benefit from it.
The Swami Vivekananda's Life And Work - Selections
- Sister Nivedita
(Written in The Hindu, July 27, 1902, few days after Swami Vivekananda's MahaSamadhi)
Of the bodily presence of him who was known to the world as Vivekananda, all that remains today is a bowl of ashes. The light that has burned in seclusion during the last five years by our riverside, has gone out now. The great voice that rang out across the nations is hushed in death.
Life had come often to this mighty soul as storm and pain. But the end was peace. Silently, at the close of even song, on a dark night of Kali, came the benediction of death. The weary and tortured body was laid down gently and the triumphant spirit was restored to the eternal Samadhi.
He passed, when the laurels of his first achievements were yet green. He passed, when new and greater calls were ringing in his ears. Quietly, in the beautiful home of his illness, the intervening years with some few breaks, went by amongst plants and animals, unostentatiously training the disciples who gathered round him, silently ignoring the great fame that had shone upon his name. Man-making was his own stern brief summary of the work that was worth doing. And laboriously, unflaggingly, day after day, he set himself to man-making, playing the part of Guru, of father, even of schoolmaster, by turns. The very afternoon of the day he left us, had he not spent three hours in giving a Sanskrit lesson on the Vedas?
External success and leadership were nothing to such a man. During his years in the West, he made rich and powerful friends, who would gladly have retained him In their midst. But for him, the Occident, with all its luxuries had no charms. To him, the garb of a beggar, the lanes of Calcutta, and the disabilities of his own people, were more dear than all the glory of the foreigner, and detaining hands had to loose their hold of one who passed ever onward toward the East.
TO BE CONTINUEDâ€¦.
The message of universalism at its best which Swami Vivekananda learnt sitting at the feet of his Master, Sri Ramakrishna, was proclaimed by him in 1893 at the Chicago Parliament of Religions:
"... If there is ever to be a universal religion, it must be one which will have no location in place or time; which will be infinite, like the God it will preach, and whose sun will shine upon the followers of Krishna and of Christ, on saints and sinners alike; which will not be Brahmanic or Buddhistic, Christian or Mohammedan, but the sum-total of all these, and still have infinite space for development; which in its catholicity will embrace in its infinite arms, and find a place for, every human being. ... It will be a religion which will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its polity, which will recognize divinity in every man and woman, and whose whole scope, whose whole force, will be centered in aiding humanity to realise its own true, divine nature. . . . The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth." (CW of SV Vol. 1, pp.17-22)
His concluding words were:
"Help and not Fight,"
"Assimilation and not Destruction,"
"Harmony and Peace and not Dissension.""
The reality of religion, its universality and harmonizing influence cannot be proved by the sword or by theological warfare, but by one's own spiritual experience.
by Swami Atmajnanananda
Swami Vivekananda once remarked to a disciple in San Francisco, "You know, I may have to be born again. You see, I have fallen in love with man." When we study the life of Swami Vivekananda and read his lectures and writings, particularly his letters, we see what a tremendous force this love of mankind was for him.
From the time he decided to come to the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 up until the end of his short life in 1902, his love for mankind, his sympathy for the poor and downtrodden of all lands, and his great devotion to his Motherland and her depressed masses were the motivating power behind all of his actions. In his social views, whether on caste, education, women's rights, or the conditions of the masses, the one common factor was his great sympathy for all who suffer. It was this sympathy of heart which impelled him to accomplish as much as he did in such a short period of time; and it was the same sympathy of heart which brought so much suffering to his life as well.
In considering the social philosophy of Swami Vivekananda, we should always keep one thing in mind: Swamiji was not a man to be easily categorized. He himself had a distinct distaste for any "isms", and it would be a mistake to try to categorize his beliefs as falling within any particular school of thought, such as humanism, socialism, or the like.
Undoubtedly, many of his views are in sympathy with those of different political and social philosophies, and various proponents of different schools have rightfully drawn inspiration from his words and deeds. However, Swamiji's teachings were never based on any sectarian allegiance, but rather on his own spiritual convictions regarding the divinity of the soul, the oneness of existence, and the worship of God in man.
To be continued in the next issueâ€¦
An Incident from Mahabharata - Educate the Deserving:
Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man
- Swami Vivekananda
The philosophy of yoga is portrayed in the epics of Hindu scriptures, including the Mahabharata. It is in this epic that we see a story that exemplifies the philosophy of knowledge: knowledge does not belong to you, rather you belong to knowledge. When we realize this concept, we do not become arrogant of our knowledge, and thus, we begin to realize the spiritual dimension of knowledge. Knowledge may be of the world, but the wisdom that we belong to the knowledge and not visa versa, is spiritual knowledge. Let us further explore this concept through a story found in the Mahabharata.
Upon the recommendation of Bhishma, King Dritarastra appointed Drona as the teacher of both the Kaurvas and Pandavas. Dronaâ€™s son, Ashwatthama, is also learning under the tutelage of his father since he is around the same age as the others. One of the Pandava brothers is Arjuna, a great archer.
One day, while being trained, Ashwatthama approaches his father, who is also his teacher, and impatiently states, â€œFather, I heard some people talking and I want to know if it is true.â€
â€œWhat is it my dear son?â€ Drona was concerned about is disturbing his son. Ashwatthama asked, â€œI heard you are teaching a special archery technique to Arjuna. Is this true?â€
â€œYes, my dear son, but why are you asking this?â€ Drona asked.
Ashwatthama continued, â€œWhy are you not teaching me this technique? Why are you teaching it to Arjuna?â€
Drona calmly responds with a question, â€œWho is asking me this question? Are you asking as my son or my student? Please clarify this first.â€
Ashwatthama was surprised by this question. â€œOf course, I am your son and I am asking. Donâ€™t you love me? Donâ€™t you think that what belongs to you first belongs to your son before it is shared with others? Is this not true father?â€
Drona patiently, yet firmly responds, â€œMy son, I really love you. I love you so much that I live only for your sake. If I ever hear that you have died, I shall die the very next moment.â€ (During the epic, when the war occurs and Drona hears of his sonâ€™s death, that very moment Drona dies)
â€œBut if you love me so much, why do you not give me the knowledge?â€ Ashwatthama asks.
Drona gives his son great wisdom in the context of his answer which is full of love and affection towards him. â€œMy dear son, as you are my son, all of my property and wealth belongs to you. But my knowledge belongs to my student and not to my son. In reality, it is so because the knowledge does not belong to me, I belong to it. By coming to someone, knowledge gives one freedom and happiness. Because knowledge gives all of that, you have to be humble and respectful to the knowledge. Therefore, you belong to the knowledge and not otherwise. I, therefore, belong to the knowledge. The knowledge does not belong to me. Therefore, I have the responsibility towards the knowledge to pass it on to someone who deserves it.
Ashwatthama still did not completely understand. He seeks further clarification in this regard, â€œBut I am your student as well. So why do you choose to pass this knowledge on to Arjuna and not me?â€
Drona patiently explained, â€œThe knowledge will only be given to the deserving student and not anyone else.â€
â€œBut how do you say that I am not the deserving student?â€ Ashwatthama further questioned.
â€œMy son, the very fact that you are asking this question is evidence that you do not deserve and have not proved your deservedness in the eyes of the teacher. I do not really owe any further explanation. However, out of my compassion for you, I shall answer your question. I shall show you tomorrow, on the exam, that Arjuna is the only deserving student.â€
The next day, Drona gave the exam and proved that Arjuna has been the only student who actually obeys his orders perfectly.
This is a beautiful incident where has been a great teacher who did not deviate from his Dharma, or duty, as a teacher and did not come under the spell of his attachment to his son. Though Ashwatthama is his son and he loves him absolutely, he could discriminate the difference between his love and his attachment.
Drona also exhibited that knowledge does not belong to him but he belongs to knowledge and that he must be humble to this knowledge. The stories of the Mahabharata are not just stories giving incidents but they are lessons of a higher and subtler reality told by several characters. It is the story of yoga in practice.
The world is a training ground and not a pleasure garden as many wrongly suppose. The pleasure seekers who shirk their duty or do it haphazardly create great bondage for them and hamper their evolution. While those sincere soul who boldly face the realities of life and perform their duty wholeheartedly, without attachment and as a form of service to the Divine, attain to mental purity and higher evolution leading to spiritual illumination and inner peace and blessedness.
Work and worship must go hand in had. And work done in the right spirit is acceptable to the Divine as much as devoted worship consisting prayer and meditation etc. My teacher
Swami Brahmananda gave me this instructionâ€”â€œBefore you begin to work remember the Lord & offer salutation to Him. Do the same at intervals in the course of the work, and also after you finish it.â€
Through practice you may be able to repeat the Lordâ€™s name, or chant a hymn or prayer and think of Him, as your hands are busy with work. It is in this way that a devotee is able to transform work into worship, and be nearer and nearer to God. May He bless you all in every way in your attempts to realize Him.
- Divine Light, Swami Yatishwarananda
Contribution from: nikhilanurag
Well, when I first came across Vivi (Swami Vivekananda of course, but I see him as my friend and mentor than someone great (which he definitely is!) So spare me the obsequies.) from the book, "The Call to His Nation" This little book inspired me SOOO much that the poems I used to write which were based on love theme from the sad point of view, transformed into something which looked beyond such normal things and aimed for higher goal. I have written so far something like five to six of them and here is one of them which is more or less in accordance with this group's motto. So here it is...
Man of Illusion:
Ah! This human,
Lives in such a folly
As to believe himself to be weak,
Nothing more than a body.
Has he not created music?
Does he not know to love?
Has he not shown love for others,
More than mere himself?
Does he not still protect others,
When he has no animal instinct to do so?
Why doest thou think thou are weak?
Why doest thou believe that thy can not do anything?
Never think of yourself low,
You are the one who can create life!
And yet, it's no normal life,
But of other great souls.
It is you alone who can give create saints,
It is you alone who can achieve greatness.
Shed you fears, shed your doubts.
Arise! For you are not one to sit and cry for pittance!
It is for weak to weep,
It is for weak to cry.
It is for them alone,
To halt and look upon their past,
And feel remorse for their losses.
And yet, man is not weak!
Man is not to look upon his past.
You conquered the moon,
You conquered the space!
Then why are you dejected?
Subject: Guilt, Infatuation and Apprehension
Lesson: Guilt and infatuation make people apprehensive."
"Arise! Awake! Struggle on and stop not till the goal is reached" â€“ Swami Vivekananda
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|| Hari Om ||