Thursday 8 January 2015

He lived Swami Vivekananda

From the moment he was inspired by the idea of a rock memorial for Swami Vivekananda he allowed that idea to take up his entire being. The idea evolved on him; first the rock memorial to Swami Vivekananda – in that last piece of Indian mainland where the great son of Mother India visualized his mission and then a living memorial to Swami Vivekananda – an institution of dedicated men and women - a non-sanyasi order of workers for spirituality based social empowerment of the down-trodden and the renaissance of the Indian society. His spirituality was all encompassing. He created an institution that took care of the toddlers in Balwadis ; an institution that also published the most authentic and elaborate book to date on the contribution of India to world civilization;

How did this become possible? Eknathji himself explains how this happened:

How will I justify while talking to the people for money for putting up the structure? Will a simple structure be enough to perpetuate Swami Vivekananda’s memory? All these thoughts came to my mind. I said to myself that whatever came should be welcomed and at the same time we should plan in such a way that some good was achieved out of this Memorial when it came up. This Memorial should form a nucleus for something still greater. What would be that and how this situation could be made best use of for that purpose?

With this fireling seeded in his heart he started working. And the fireling became a mighty flame illuminating all his works and guiding all his actions; it attracted all the needed ingredients – both human and material. By 1967 as the work was progressing and new challenges in the form of unforeseen problems arose in the mission of building the rock memorial, his vision of the living memorial was becoming more concretized. In his letter dated 21-12-1967 he wrote:

I can assure you that this big Vivekananda Memorial is destined to develop into an equally big and even bigger centre of activities envisaged and preached by Swami Viveakananda. …in the fullness of time, the Committee’s plans in this regard are finalized and people of intense feeling and devotion like you are called upon by the Committee to come forward to take up the work of serving the poor and the downtrodden.

At last when the Rock Memorial came up against the tides of all odds, it was not just a physical building on the rock as a tourist attraction or mere architectural memorial with no life left. But what emerged was a living memorial of humans united by the mission of serving the poor, fallen and the downtrodden through many means – from teaching Yoga to conducting livelihood classes in rural areas to taking quality modern education to the tribal communities in the far away border states which vital for the national security to publishing invigorating literature.  Here then is a classic example of how one single idea taken up by a person transforms him into a great nation builder. Eknathji is the living example of the words of Swami Vivekananda:

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced.”

In the same way in approaching the people for the building of the Rock Memorial and getting not just donations but their heartfelt support as well as possible contribution beyond the financial contribution, he shunned none based on ideology or other divisions. Beyond the cloaks and colors of politics and ideologies which people were wearing, he was able to see their Hindu heart. In his own words:

There is almost a uniform idea or aspiration in the minds of all people belonging to different political groups as to what should be the future of India.  But then because of politics you find differences. It is the politics that divides us. Political considerations make two people separate even though they belong to the same group and have similar ideas. Politics makes them speak in different tongues. So if we steered clear of politics and restricted our activities on the basis of our cultural heritage of what we call Bharath, to catch up several of our old values, we may perhaps gain equal support from all sides. … In the heart of hearts all are real Hindus, children of the soil.

These were not mere words of Eknathji. He acted upon them. He approached every Member of Parliament, Nehruvian secularist, Lohiaite, socialist, Marxist, cultural nationalist and even Dravidianists. And he was able to touch and revive the deeply buried Hindu heartbeat waiting to be resurrected by such a touch of understanding and hope. The Rock Memorial was built on the ability of Eknathji to feel the dormant Hindu spirit in all Indians and rekindle it through the dialogue of the heart. Once again that is the very fundamental road map Swami Vivekananda had given us:

Let them follow their own path to realisation so long as they struggle to see truth in their own hearts; and when the broad, naked truth will be seen, then they will find that wonderful blissfulness which marvellously enough has been testified to by every seer in India, by every one who has realised the truth. Then words of love alone will come out of that heart, for it has already been touched by Him who is the essence of Love Himself. Then and then alone, all sectarian quarrels will cease, and we shall be in a position to understand, to bring to our hearts, to embrace, to intensely love the very word Hindu and everyone who bears that name.   

Eknathji lived Swami Vivekananda and in such a life the spiritual heartbeat of the Hindu nation has been validated once again. 
                                                                                                 Aravindan Neelakandan