We celebrate Samartha Bharat Parva from 25th December to 12th January. Swami Vivekananda had started his historic meditation of three days on the future of India at the mid-sea rock at Kanyakumari on 25th and 12 January is Swami Vivekananda Jayanti. Swami Vivekananda had harped on the fact that India has to become capable of fulfilling her destined role of guiding the world in spirituality. Therefore, we celebrate this period from 25th December to 12th January as Samartha Bharat Parva focusing in the strength and capability of India and the ways to further enhance it. Samartha Bharat Parva culminates in grand celebration of Swami Vivekananda Jayanti.
Swamiji said, “The whole world requires Light. It is expectant! India alone has that Light, not in magic mummeries, and charlantism, but in teaching of the glories of the spirit of real religion-of highest spiritual truth. That is why Lord has preserved the race through all its vicissitudes unto the present day. Now the time has come. Have faith that you are all, my brave lads, born to do great things! Let not the barks of puppies frighten you-no, not even the thunderbolts of heaven-but stand up and work…
Give and take is the law, and if India wants to raise herself once more, it is absolutely necessary that she brings out her treasures and throws them broadcast among the nations of the earth, and in return be ready to receive what others have to give her. Expansion is life, contraction is death. We commenced to die the day we began to hate other races, and nothing can prevent our death unless we come back to expansion, which is life. We must mix, therefore, with all the races of the earth. …Let us calmly and in a manly fashion go to work, instead of dissipating our energy in unnecessary frettings and fumings. I, for one, thoroughly believe that no power in the universe can withhold from any one anything he really deserves. The past was great no doubt, but I sincerely believe that the future will be more glorious still. May Shankara keep us steady in purity, patience and perseverance….
We want thousands of men, and thousands of women, who will spread like wild fire from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin, from the North Pole to the South Pole- all over the world. It is no use indulging in child’s play-neither is there time for it. Let those who have come for child’s play be off now, while there is time, or they will surely come to grief. We want an organization. Off with laziness. Spread! Spread! Run like fire to all places. Do not depend upon me. Whether I live or die go on spreading yourself …When death is so certain it is better to die for a good cause”.
Thus in the celebrations of Samartha Bharat Parva, we have to organise various functions / camps / exhibitions / programs to reach the youth to give this message. The youth who come in contact with us through written cultural examinations also are to be motivated to celebrate Samartha Bharat Parva or at least the Swami Vivekananda Jayanti in their colleges. By this, they get associated with Kendra. Thus Samartha Bharat Parva is very important period for us to involve all the newly contacted persons in our work and hence, we have to plan properly.
While sitting at the Rock at Kanyakumari, Swamiji realised his mission of life as to awaken the Hindu Nation which had lost confidence in itself. He decided to talk to the American people about Vedanta, so that if West appreciated it then the educated in India too would turn to it. Due to exploitative British Rule, the people of India were too poor. His compassionate heart also wanted to start some work to help them. Thus, he first went to America with the idea of participating in the Parliament of Religions and for collecting the money for starting some work for the poor in India. The American people responded with great enthusiasm to his exposition of Vedanta. Because of his triumph in America the missionaries undertook vigorous campaign against him. Though it did not affect his popularity, it affected his fund collection. He wrote to Nanjunda Rao, “But you must not depend on any foreign help. Nations like individuals must help themselves. This is real patriotism. If a nation cannot do that, its time has not come. It must wait.”
But then he found that though his efforts to raise money were frustrated, his triumphant work in America had raised the confidence of India. He observed how West achieved many successes because of organized efforts. He wanted that, rise in self-confidence in India, not to be effervescent but, should lead to some concrete work through organization. For the organization, right types of men are needed. To mould the men to carry forward the work in America he found that he has to put the Vedantic truths in such a way that it moulds character. That was a difficult job. He wrote, “I have succeeded now in rousing the very heart of the American civilization, New York, but it has been a terrific struggle… I have spent nearly all I had on this New York Work and in England. Now things are in such a shape that they will go on. Then you see, to put the Hindu ideas into English and then make out of dry philosophy and intricate mythology and queer startling psychology, a religion which shall be easy, simple and popular, and at the same time meet the requirement of the higher minds - is a task only those can understand who have attempted it.”
While attempting to take the Vedanta to the modern mind higher purpose of his birth as hinted by Sri Ramakrishna became clearer to him. In one of his letters he wrote about it- “The dry Advaita must become living -poetic- in everyday life; out of hopelessly intricate mythology must come concrete moral forms; and out of bewildering Yogi-ism must come the most scientific and practical psychology-and all this must be put in a form so that a child may grasp it. That is my life’s work.”
It is this work of Swami Vivekananda of ‘making Vedanta practical’ that we are carrying forward. Vivekananda Kendra has to do this work of Swamiji to spread the message of Practical Vedanta. Practical Vedanta in other words is the Yoga way of life. Therefore, Mananeeya Eknathji chose Yoga as the core of Vivekananda Kendra as said in our Prarthana - Karmayogaikanishtha. Our Kendra Prarthana enshrines most of the key points of how Vedanta can be practiced. Eknathji founded Vivekananda Kendra to focus on these life-giving principles and work accordingly in life.
The prayer starts with Jaya Jaya Paramatman – victory to God. At every moment in our life, we have to choose. Our each action either elevates us or makes us more selfish or narrow. Jaya Jaya Paramatman means exercising our choice of action in the interest of the Samashti i.e. collectives like family, society, nation and the whole creation in such a way that we are elevated; the Divinity in us is more evident. Swami Vivekananda said in ‘Common Bases of Hinduism’, ‘And then comes the most differentiating, the grandest, and the most wonderful discovery in the realms of spirituality that has ever been made. Some of you, perhaps, who have been studying Western thought, may have observed already that there is another radical difference severing at one stroke all that is Western from all that is Eastern. It is this that we …hold in India that the soul is by its nature pure and perfect, infinite in power and blessed.’ This is what we remind ourselves in our prayer as ‘Vayam suputra amritasya noonam’. We can see that each line of our Prayer is to focus on the great Vedantic principles which Swamiji wanted us to practice. Thus not mere chanting the prayer everyday but also contemplating on it and practicing it in our life would make our society strong and capable to fulfill the purpose of India.
During Samartha Bharat Parva, the Kalpataru Day is also celebrated on 1 January the day Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa granted his devotees whatever they wanted. Swami Vivekananda says that Sri Ramakrishna was born to protect our Hindu Dharma and Hindu society. Therefore, our society should emerge as Kalpataru, which would fulfill the needs of all the individuals. And what is methodology? Our prayer gives it beautifully – Jeevane Yavadadanam syat pradanam tatodhikam Let give far more than what we receive.
Swami Vivekananda awakened the soul of India. When Swamiji returned from America in 1897, he was given a rousing welcome, - a welcome no one has received till now. It was as if the soul of India had returned to moribund Indians. Today we need to give a rousing welcome to his ideas in our heart and raise our land through organized work, to make India a capable nation – Samartha Bharat. We have to make the Vedanta simple and practical. Being one with the Chaitanya / Divinity pervading everywhere and employing the body-mind complex in the service of the divinity expressed through family, community, society, nation and the whole creation – Nishkama buddhyaarta vipanna seva vibho tav aaradhanam asmadiyam- is the meaning of Practical Vedanta or Yoga way of life. This is what we are working for raising the world to the higher consciousness for spiritual evolution. Today, this work initiated by Swami Vivekananda is the need of the hour for the whole world. Therefore, our celebrations of Vivekananda Jayanti, which is the concluding program of Samartha Bharat Parva, should be a very grand and purposeful involving many persons at all strata of the society.
Nivedita Raghunath Bhide