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By Sudeshna Paul
Swami Vivekananda belonged to an upper middle-class Bengali family in Calcutta. He was born in 1863 and was known as Narendranath Datta. Maharaj Ajit Singh of Khetri had given him the name 'Vivekananda' before he left for America to speak about Hindu spirituality.
He had become one of the chief disciples of Ramkrishna and tried to reform the society and make it a better place. Swamiji had also been a part of the Brahmo Samaj and tried to put an end to child marriage and also spread literacy.
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Along with a few other people, he tried to promote the Vedanta philosophy in the western world, mainly America and Great Britain. There were numerous places where he spoke to people through major conferences, the one at Chicago becoming the most important one. On the 11th of September 1893, Swami Vivekananda delivered his iconic speech at the first World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Through his speech, he tried to introduce Americans to Hinduism. His speech is as follows,
" Sisters and Brothers of America,
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world, I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.
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My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honour of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: "As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee."
The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me." Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal. "
Vivekananda on the platform at the Parliament of Religions, September 1893Wikipedia
After his speech, he had been questioned about why India was being ruled by another country which is much smaller in size and follows a totally different religion, if the religious belief of the former happens to be so strong. How could the religion in question be a better way of living life when the people themselves were in servitude? This question had been asked by a missionary supporter, who was in favour of Indians being converted to Christianity. According to the person, people following Hinduism should be made to follow Christianity as the latter one is the correct one. The Hindus should be converted to Christians.
Swamiji responded to it by saying that the terrible condition of the people was not because of the religion that they followed but because of the ignorance and misconceptions that were present. He said that there needs to be an awakening which needs to come from one's within and only then they can lead a better life. People need to realise their true potential and work on it. He hoped that one day, the world would realise the actual potential of a person following the Hindu religion as a superior way of leading life. Also added that he would himself try to ensure that this movement towards betterment takes place.
Keywords : Swami Vivekananda, Chicago, religion, Hinduism, speech, query.
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Ashtottaram 36: OṀ TYĀGABHŨMYAI NAMAH
Ashtottaram 36: OṀ (AUM) –TYAA-GA-BHOO-MYAI—NA-MA-HA
ॐ त्यागभूम्यै नमः
(Tyāgam: Renunciation, sacrifice, giving up)
Tyāgam or giving up is an important concept found in the Hindu scriptures. It has two aspects: giving away something to someone who needs it more (dāna) and giving up an object that is not a necessity or even an obstacle to the way of life one has chosen (renunciation). Dāna has been prescribed as a duty for householders. Vairāgya is an essential qualification for one who aspires after sanyāsa or monastic life where you give everything entirely. The Manusmruti forbids a householder from giving up his parents, wife, and children who depend upon him.
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The Bhagavad Gīta gives a general definition of tyāga as giving up the fruits of all actions. It then categorizes tyāga into three types: sāttvika, rājasa, and tāmasika. The Bhagavad Gīta, however unequivocally declares that works like a yajna (sacrifice), dāna (giving gifts), and tapas (austerities) should not be given up, but, must be performed. They always have a purifying effect.
Swami Vivekānanda said that ‘a person born on the Bharata land which knows tyāgam and dharmam does not have to go anywhere else’. There were many Indians who sacrificed their lands and lives during the freedom movement and independence struggle with the British. Chatrapati Shivājī, Alluri Sitārāma Raju, Rāṇī Rudrama Devi and many more fought for our independence and sacrificed their lives. Gandhi was famous for his civil disobedience movement (satyāgraha) against British rulers and following non-violence as his weapon in the freedom movement.
There are many tales and fables about tyāgam in our purāṇās and itihāsās. Bhishma’s oath (pratijna) is one of the most popular sacrifice stories from Mahabharata. Bhishma vowed to remain unmarried so that his father Shantanu could marry Satyavathi. In turn, Bhishma’s father gives him a boon that, he shall die only when he wishes for it.
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King Shibi is the son of Ushinara, the Bhojak King of Kashi and he lived in the Treta Yuga. His father was Ushinara. His story is highlighted in the Mahabharata. He was most famous for willingly offering his flesh to an eagle, who wanted to slay an innocent bird. The birds revealed themselves to be the gods, Indra (king of demi-gods) and Agni (fire god), and restored Shibi to his original form. He once encountered the spirit of Yayati (was a Purāṇic king) and helped restore the king to the heavens.
There were many women in Indian villages who sacrificed everything they had for the protection and welfare of the villagers. They are deified and worshipped as village protectors by the villagers. People celebrate these deities’ birthdays annually with decorations, fireworks, parades, and processions. This is just a glimpse of what Indian culture used to be, where tyāgam ran in the blood of many Hindus. Even today, you see parents in every house, street, town, or city in India, who sacrifice many things and pleasures in their lives in order to provide better education and better lives for their children.
The land we call as our mātrubhōmi is the home of sacrifice and is ‘Tyāga Bhūmi’.
BY SALIL GEWALI
Some people still hold that “power” comes only from the barrel of the gun. But the power in spurts also comes from the pens. The power coming from the pen is mightier and more impactful. That’s why we have the works from the pens of great thinkers like Hegel, Friedrich Engels and Karl Max which easily “demolished” the monopoly of feudalism, aristocracy, monarchy and churchism that no weapons on earth could have done. In India we Have a Great Philosopher and Thinker Swami Vivekananda.
Probably about 100 countries had determinedly opted for communism till the first half of the 20th Century. The leaders were euphoric that they would bring “equality” among all, they would fill the stomach of each individual. The ordinary citizens will have no worries. The news of new-found joy and peace among the commoners in Russia veritably spread world-wide. But very soon, standing on the elevated pedestal of power, the torchbearers of Communism projected themselves to be “more equal”. Thus, in spite of major changes in the socio-economic fabric, the Marx-Lenin doctrines also came to wreak havoc with the lives of the people who at times raised their voices against the brutal atrocities in the name of achieving equality. Millions of people were killed. Consequently, that endless violence and bloodshed have further bloodied the pages of history. The second half of the twentieth century thus saw the fall of communism like a ton of bricks.
This rapid transition was in fact prompted by various factors. The loss of the “integrity” of the leaders was the prime cause. On seeing the rise of power of the leaders who acted with unusual arrogance, George Orwell could not hold himself back. He roared – ‘communism to totalitarianism is terribly frightful’. Orwell penned down a satirical novel – ANIMAL FIRM. This touched everyone’s heart. It was a lethal attack upon self-righteous Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union.
True, the wayward and whimsical misinterpretation coupled with the loss of human values turned out to be Frankenstein’s monster to kill this well-intended ideology of classless government. Within a period of less than 50 years, only a few nations stood up to continue to follow the pathway conceived by Karl Marx and his masters. Many rational political scientists had set forth diverse reasons for the chronic sickness of the communism.
Yet, the literature by Marx and his ilk still continue to cast its spell. In some countries, it roars and thunders with a vengeance. This results in barbaric riots and violence disturbing the peaceful co-existence of the diverse communities.
As other countries, India has also long been suffering the onslaught of such ideologues and their proclivities. Therefore, we regularly witness the “cruel avatar” of Marx-and-Mao. Just recently, the statue of Swami Vivekananda was mindlessly defaced by a group of students in JNU, Delhi. If you ask earnestly what they have found wrong in the Indian monk then their answers come with the tone of immaturity, dogmatism and hatred. JNU has earned a reputation of being infested with a swarm of certain kind of crackpots whose eyes can’t bear to look at that which glorify the nation. Their minds are weighed down by the heavy load of prejudices and hatred for the nation, nay, humanity. They are almost like spoilt brats kicking their parents and smashing their own household furniture. “Tukre-tukre” gang is a new term to describe them for their open subversive activities.
What is very appalling is that round-the-clock they are motivated and protected by certain forces. Those forces also held the Indian academia to ransom for the past over a hundred years. Therefore, many wrongs are taught in Indian schools as right. The TRUTHS are resisted to be included in the academic curriculum. The pride and glories history of the country and its rich literary KNOWLEDGE has been systematically buried. Yes, they are the kind of intellectuals who see “virtues” in Mahishasur and foreign despotic invaders like Mohd. Gajni, Babar, Aurangzeb but vehemently criticize Indian icons who are invariably the paragon of righteousness.
Right from the embodiment of righteousness like Krishna, Rama, Ved Vyasa, Shankaracharya to the present social and literary figures who have contributed remarkably in the making of INDIA, are the objects of regression and derision for those scholars who hold Karl Marx, Hegel, Lenin…., and in high esteem. Therefore, when the statue of Vivekananda was desecrated, we noticed conspicuous “silence” while the groups of intellectuals rocked the country when the statue of Lenin of Russian was pulled down in Tripura, India.
Rightly speaking, Swami Vivekananda was a thinker and free from worldly affairs. He is known to have realized the divinity in every being. He is also known to have preached across the world that we must learn to see every individual as God manifestation in flesh and blood. Is it not the universal wisdom of humanity? Is loving each being without discrimination not the first teaching of right-thinking philosophers and all religions? Even Karl Marx and Hegel will not disagree on this. But it is very disgraceful that such great men with great ideas from the home country are brazenly disrespected and demeaned. It seems it is time for serious introspection and to take the right measures before it is too late.
Look at North Korea — how Ho is super equal who has write to kill other equals.
Making heroes of those sadists ,,,
Freedome of speech the speech the man weak …
Look at North Korea — how Ho is super equal who has write to kill other equals.
Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali
“The Modern Monk”, a book about Swami Vivekananada’s relevance to present-day life and times, is set to be made into a film.
Film producer Sunil Bohra has bought the rights of the book, penned by Hindol Sengupta and published by Penguin Random House India.
“India has a great heritage and I want to make films on some of the people like Swami Vivekananda and Sardar Patel who have built this heritage. It’s my tribute to our country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Bohra said in a statement.
Sengupta, the rights to whose book “The Man Who Saved India” on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, were also taken by Bohra for a web series, is looking forward to working with the producer again.
“More than perhaps any other person in the last 200 years, Swami Vivekananda spoke most passionately of a vision of a renewed, reinvigorate Indian civilization which serves as a beacon of peace and prosperity to the world.
“I wrote ‘The Modern Monk’ to explain in the most contemporary language the importance of Vivekananda’s vision for the past, present and future of India and I am delighted to partner with Sunil Bohra, a visionary in the world of cinema, in bringing this story to millions of people,” Sengupta said.
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Work on the project has begun and the writing is in process, according to the statement. (IANS)