SWAMI OR MAHATMA: THEY ARE ALWAYS THERE.

Swami Vivekananda is even more relevant today. Mahatma Gandhi is even more needed today. Sai Baba of Shirdi has become even more rational in the times of irrational logics being promoted by many religious gurus.

Okay, that is the stuff we always say – remembering some great icon whenever his or her anniversary comes – whenever a landmark day associated with someone’s life and times recur.

But, in totality, in reality – the greats like these, they always matter – they always remain relevant – they always sound logical and ‘needed’.

Because evolution (of civilization) is an open-ended process that takes hues as times change – taking something new – going back to old ones – reworking and modifying on something already existing.

Evolution of civilizations is a never ending and ever resuscitating process – that is always old and always new. One can always find ways, reasons and premises to reminisce on things experienced back in life. Technology changes face of the world but technology, like imperialism, like democracies, is just another aspect that defines civilizations.

What remains always in the root – of humanity – of human societies – of human civilizations – spread across the world – since the dawn of the earliest human civilization – (and will remain so till the very last of us survive here) – is the fact that humanity is driven by the conscience of such greats who come to guide us in every age – and leave behind them an imprint of a conscious that shows us the light in difficult times – in times when we have questions – and more questions – in times when answers either don’t come to our thinking or fail to answer our questions effectively.

The problems that societies face, the issues that need answers in every age are basically same – how to be a good human being and how to let others live a dignified life that we aspire for ourselves.

This has been the basic tenet of human civilizations – this is something that we always arrive at after a dreaded, bloody war or after a prolonged spell of civil unrest or in the aftermath of a devastating terror attack.

It has remained so – since the early days – when we started organizing ourselves in groups from nomadic tribes – to formation of city states – to kingdoms – to countries – to modern day nations – and will always remain so.

And so will remain the conscience of greats like Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi or Gautam Buddha, or Lord Rama or Jesus Christ or Prophet Muhammad or Guru Nanak or countless other saints and sages or noble souls who have shown light to us by their teachings – teachings telling us varied aspects of life – but with the soul focus that how to become a good human being – that how to transcend your soul to the higher level.

It is not that I have read all teachings of Swami Vivekananda or Ramakrishma Paramhamsa. But I started feeling the pull of their words very early in my life. I used to visit Ramakrishna Mission in Varanasi and used to spend my time in book shop there. But one thing that I did not like was the elaborate ritual that was performed daily there to worship the Swami. Once I tried to sit through the session but found myself dilemmatic about the idea later on. The big grand temple of the Mission that I saw in Lucknow also gave me some uneasy feelings. But then it happens with all great names. Their followers justify their ill-placed logic with vivid reasons.

But what matters for the larger good of humanity – is the teachings of our greats who come to show us the path and who will be here to deliver us from the bad in the future. And remember, these greats never say to be blind in your faith. Be logical. Be rational. Feel, experience and follow – or don’t follow.

Swami Vivekananda’s life is its best manifestation. He initially did not believe in God the way his immediate society propagated the idea. He had his questions and doubts even he met Ramakrishna. His faith gradually transcended – from questions to completion.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE MAN WAS THE MONK DIVINE

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA – JANUARY 12, 1863 – JULY 4, 1902 

How long you live to learn what is life
How far you go to read its message
It’s not about adding years to existence
it’s not about counting years gone by

Walking, going inside on the journey
Living a life, free of its realms, rising up
Asking for its whereabouts, its ways
Reading the texts for answers to question

A way to live, a way to life, on the journey
Leaving nothing beyond the questions
Trying, refusing and accepting, even God
With the purity of childhood innocence

The Man of 39 was the monk divine
With the radiance of an enlightened youth
Embodying virtues of human universalities
He was the Swami of collective humanity

Much like the unorthodox ways of his Master
Winning over the conflicts of age and faith
Transcending beyond the quest of identity
His intelligence was august, his humility sublime

A life lived then is a life forever, a message eternal
The living experimented then is the call perpetual
Son of a nation, he was torchbearer of a civilization
Brother of humanity, he was doyen of a philosophy

The man of 39 was the wisdom of forgotten times
Resurrecting a way of life from the depths imposed
Bringing to life a nation’s compromised conscience
He was the dear sage of universal humankind

Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached
That is what he taught us to be, asked us to do
To become the enlightened souls, free from fear
A way to live, a way of life, on the journey here

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

READING SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

I was regular with reading since an early age. I had no particular choice of what I would pick to read. Some magazines and newspapers were in routine. For others, a careful scan of some pages into the ‘print’ would make for my decision. Once, into the written work, if it clicked, I went on to finish the work with full joy of reading.

Now, as I reflects back, I see it as one of the formative processes of being my ‘Self’, for it inspired me to try and think independently of what I read and it guided me on how I wrote (how I would write) my thoughts on the issues I thought over. The teachings have come to stay with me.

In the process, when I was still in the college, I picked up a magazine on Osho, found it interesting, and went on reading it. The reading of the magazine pushed me to read more on Osho. Along with the magazine, I found some books. The Osho reading went on almost for a year.

Yes, interesting it was. But I could not come to correlate with it. But I never reasoned about it. The continued reading for almost a year was more about reading something unorthodox and thinking over it.

Meanwhile, after a chance-event, I had started reading Swami Vivekananda, too.

It happened so that once I was visiting a Ramakrishna Mission hospital. At the entrance of the hospital I saw a book shop selling Vedanta and other works on cultural and spiritual literature. While leaving the hospital, I gave a visit to the book shop. The visit took more than an hour. I read some pages of some books and decided to pick some by Swami Vivekananda.

Swami Vivekananda is known globally for his spiritual views and for resurrecting the pride of the Indian spiritual heritage. I, too, was having this image of Swamiji when I picked up the books from that shop. But it was going to be my first serious reading of Swamiji.

As I started reading Swamiji, I found my ‘Self’ more and more drawn towards reading Swamiji even more. Moreover, I found an instant liking of him, of his life, and of unorthodox and traditional ways.

This happened while I was still reading Osho.

Swamiji and Osho, both delved deeper into the spiritual practices like Yoga and Meditation. But as I read more of Swamiji, I found many points of contradictions in Osho’s viewpoints. When the contradictions created many layers creating a trust-gap, I stopped reading Osho.

Reading a text has to be a text-reading. Try to be as objective as you can be. If you read something, try not to be trapped in its environs, be it negative or positive in the worldly means. Read the work in the context of its writing plot but if you have to think over it, never allow its context to influence yours. I thought so. I think so. I believe it to be so.

While reading Osho, I never thought to follow him. And not just with Osho, it had not happened so to me yet while reading a written work. I still follow this sell-evolved principle.

But Swamiji was the one who became a natural exception to this principle. I read and rewrote my words. I tried to follow his teachings. I came to know my limitations in following Swamiji’s teachings. I consciously made it a point for me to follow my new found attachment earnestly. Also, Swamiji was an important aspect of my connect with her.

But if the inclination to follow Swamiji came to me naturally, equally spontaneous was the fact that I never felt dominated by his teachings. I tried to follow all of his teachings initially but realized I could not. And I never felt sorry for it.

I don’t feel sorry about it for, I know reading Swamiji is more about the ‘Process’ in my life; a life that loves to evolve consistently, a life that tries to live meaningfully, a life that lives severally alone, a life that believes in making sense of its existence, a life that understands what its identity means, a life that knows it needs to contribute for its existence to be one with its identity.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

VIVEKANANDA: A MAN BECAME THE MAN OF TIME

A MAN BECAME THE MAN OF TIME – SWAMI VIVEKANANDA’S 150TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY

A tribute on his 150th birth anniversary on January 12, 2013

January 12, a day we celebrate as the National Youth Day to remember the eternally relevant message of the Young Monk with an unparalleled wisdom

A man became,
The Man of Time
Came to be
The Eternal Divine

Who He didn’t Follow the God
Became God’s front for the Cause

A faith,
Has not to be blind
His never,
Had Him entwined

Practicing God for Him was evolved
His teachings, realized, lived and achieved

Having lived the logic
He had felt the sublime magic
Guided by the Saint of the Temple
He became the Spirited Miracle

The Man of Ideal
The Sage of Vedanta
The Voice of the Conscience
The monk of Advaita

The Call of India
The Voice of its Strength
A Life beyond worldly
An existence so radiant

January 12, 2013

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

VIVEKANANDA AND VARANASI

Swami Vivekananda: January 12, 1863 – July 4, 1902

The wandering monk in Swamiji was very fond of Varanasi. Though he didn’t spend a long stretch of his life in Varanasi, the mysticism of Varanasi found a great admirer in the great visionary, the ascetic miracle of India, and of humanity, and the experiences, the teachings, the learning, that he had in Varanasi, always echoed in his teaching throughout his life.

He was pulled by Varanasi’s spiritual heritage and its hermitic tradition. When he began on his itinerary, on his pilgrimage, to know and experience more, after his Guru, his Master, Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa attainted Maha-Nirvana, Varanasi was always a priority.

He visited Varanasi in 1890, during his itinerant time before the Parliament of the World Religions in Chicago in1893 and in 1902, the year he took Mahasamadhi.

Volume 1 of the book ‘The Life of Swami Vivekananda: By His Eastern and Western Disciples’ published by the Advaita Ashrama’ expresses it beautifully.

“Coming now to such details as we have of his extended pilgrimages, the first of these was Varanasi, the home of monks, the centre of learning and the Seat of Shiva. He set out from the Baranagore Math, accompanies by Premananda and Fakirbabu, a lay devotee of the Master. The sacred Ganga, the praying votaries, the numerous temples, especially those of Vishwanath, Annapurna and Durga, the atmosphere of holiness, the thought that it was here that the Buddha and Shri Sankara had preached – all these made a vivid impression on him.”

He was expressive about his yearning for the city. In his works, he writes emphatically about Varanasi, the holy city of Hinduism, the spiritual Capital of India and the eternal city of the Indian civilization.

The book writes: “Often he would resolve to go to Varanasi and spend time in the sacred city of Vishwanath. He wrote in a letter – my idea is to remain there (Varanasi) for some time and to watch how Vishwanath and Annapurna deal it out to my lot. And my resolve is something like ‘either to lay down my life or realize my ideal’ – so help me, Lord of Kashi.”

While on pilgrimage with his brother-monks, he left Delhi alone in 1889 to explore the Northern India and Varanasi was an important part of it. While in Varanasi, going with the name Swami Vividishananda, the ascetic in him found good company during his stay at the Dwarkadas Ashrama, and in Pandit and writer Bhudev Mukhopadhyay and Saint Trailanga Swami, to discuss and meditate over the questions, the spiritual themes and the answers on the existential realms.

After 1890, he again came back to the city in 1902, after his second visit to the West. By this time, from an unknown monk he had become a globally known great spiritual soul, a pride of India. During this visit to the city, he became the force behind the evolution of an organization ‘the Home of Service—Sevashrama’ from its earlier avatar ‘Poor Men’s Relief Association’, established by some youngsters who were inspired by Swamiji.

By changing the symbolism of the nomenclature of the organization, he led the foundation stone of a committed organization, ‘Ramkrishna Mission Home of Service’, by making people realise the value of ‘service of others and manifestation of God’ and the irrelevance of ‘helping out others with the concept of compassion in mind’.

These Varanasi visits are according to the books published by the Advaita Ashrama. But other works put as early as1887 as the year of Swamji’s first Varanasi visit quoting Gambhirananda. Some other works put 1888 as well.

Whatever be the years of his visit or the time spent, Swamiji’s teachings tell us of his deep, transcendental attachment with Varanasi.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

VIVEKANANDA: SOAR, BE THE LIFE

SOAR, BE THE LIFE – ON SWAMI VIVEKANANDA’S BIRTH ANNIVERSARY

A tribute to Swami Vivekananda, one of the staunchest believers in human tenacity, on his birth anniversary, the National Youth Day – January 12

Your aspirations are unique
Your dreams mystique
Your ways are pathbreaking
Your days inspiring

Behold and believe!

Nothing is like nothingness
Everything is spontaneous
Nothing lies beyond
You need to see the bond

Think to thank
A life like you
Can never be left blank
Think to roar
A human life
Has this goal to soar

Behold and believe!

Be the man you are
Ascend and work
Have an aura
Be a life
Beyond this life

O’ Human
You are the dream
The aspired creation
The mystic dreamt
Realize thus you exist
Rise and act
Soar, be the inspiration
Be the life
That you need do be!

January 12, 2012

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey