This month marks the dawn of the year long celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the advent of Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda represents a new phase in the social history of Hindustan and a new awakening the consciousness of the planet. As the nineteenth century was drawing to a close Swamiji found him amidst a whirlpool of changes spanning all humanity. While more than half of the human race was subjugated by colonialism and plagued by internal stagnation, a considerable minority of humanity – the West- was progressing fast in science and technology, culture and in building socio-political institutions. New discoveries in science were shaking the basis of the old religious structures of the West. But the same old structures of the West found new pastures for their predatory pursuits in the subjugated humanities of the colonized worlds. Native spiritual traditions under social stagnation and colonialism became internal tyrannies, mere decadent forms bereft of their soul-strength. It was at this juncture that Swami Vivekananda appeared on the world scene. His message of universal brotherhood based on Vedantic humanism, showing the immense possibilities of synthesis of science and religion, democracy and tradition and different cultures from all the directions of the globe. Even as the leading socio-political philosophers of the West were hotly debating the supremacy of individual or that of the State, Swami Vivekananda harmonized both in a characteristically Vedantic way. In his social vision, the importance of freedom and the need for social equality have to organically moderate each other. He spoke of liberation of the downtrodden through Vedanta. This was a revolutionary way of ushering Vedanta into the socio-political realm.
The old order panicked. The predatory belief systems marked this penniless youth their prime enemy. And they slandered him. In his authoritative two-volume biography on Swami Vivekananda Prof.K.N.Dhar explains how various factions came together to slander Swamiji:
…at the time when the orthodox agitation against Swami Vivekananda was going on, his old “friends”, the Christian missionaries, perhaps also Pratap Chandra Majumdar, and Dr.Barrows also joined in the fray. They had a common object, viz., to bring down the Swami in public estimation, so as to ruin his work, though their lines of attack differed…. There was something funny in Christian missionaries and Brahmo reformers who did not believe in caste attempting to belittle one for non-orthodoxy… (A Comprehensive Biography, Vol-2, p.940)
All these happened soon after Swami Vivekananda started his active mission in India after his success in the World Parliament of Religions. More than a century later, today as a nation fondly looks forward to celebrate Swami Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary.
In a nation today bitterly divided by identity politics and ideological vested interests, the figure of Swami Vivekananda towers above all petty divisions, uniting India emotionally, cerebrally and spiritually for the world mission She has. And the forces of divisiveness panic at the prospect of an India united and strong, progressive and spiritual. So we find another malicious campaign against Swami Vivekananda unleashed by a section of English media. Indo-phobic, anti-Hindu mania of a section of English media, owned by Marxist media barons, penned by limousine liberals and funded mostly by Western academic institutions, have started a scathing attack on Swami Vivekananda, showing how still Swami Vivekananda remains the enemy numero uno of these anti-Indian forces.
Yet Swami Vivekananda continues to inspire and guide the nation. His grand vision of unity propelled Tesla; fructified in Einstein and proceeds in E.C.George Sudarshan. His idea of Karma Yoga was imbibed by Gandhiji in his interpretation of Gita. His vision of Vedantic human equality and projection of Buddhist compassion manifested itself in the actions of Dr.Ambedkar. His holistic vision of humanity inspired and found fulfillment in the writings of Sri Aurobindo whose evolutionary vision of humanity in transition into Overmind has become a map for the future of humanity. His vision of national uniqueness and fullness of human organism found a comprehensive ideological expression in Deendayal Upadyaya's Integral humanism. And he will continue to inspire many a million to come – each contributing his or her own song to the beauty of human civilization and glory of Mother India.
Yes. The grand Indic caravan of peace and benediction will move on through the vastness of time and royal routes of history, creating paths where none existed before and unfolding possibilities for the expression of the highest where none dreamt it as plausible, ignoring the howls of the lesser minds with the rich compassion they deserve.