Remembering a Great Sage
On Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary, January 12th 2013, I remember the great sage and state how he influenced me.
Till date there are several men and women influenced by the mighty Swami. I believe he is an unstoppable force who will continue to inspire many more young men and women to come by. Who can forget that hypnotic eyes? It is that magnetic look that enchanted the whole world. Many westerners were dumbfounded when he spoke in the Chicago convention resulting in many of them becoming his disciples: Margaret Noble (sister Niveditha), Captain and Mrs. Sevier, Josephine McLeod, Sara Ole Bull, Sister Christine, etc.
My maternal uncle was deeply influenced by the great poet Kuvempu’s writings. Likewise, Kuvempu was inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s writings. I believe influenced by Kuvempu’s writings my uncle was drawn towards the inspiring thoughts of Swami Vivekananda. I then as a teenager looked up to my uncle as my mentor. Like him I too embraced Swami’s teachings. Even now, I look up to his teachings when I falter.
What influenced me the most was when I read that he wholeheartedly supported the cause to have a stronger and fit body. He says, “Be strong, my young friends; that is my advice to you. You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of the Gita. You will understand Gita better with your bicep, your muscles, a little stronger.” Aren’t these inspiring lines from the Master?
His writings are dynamite. Gopala Krishna Gandhi says, “He spoke the language of the Vedas but not as others spoke them. He chose his own verses and breathing his own passion in them, gave them new, contemporary meanings. He then shared them, pristine with entranced listeners.” His utterances on the Hindu philosophy could be easily deciphered by a layman. It was this simplistic dynamism that reached huge masses that thronged wherever he taught. He was not only an ochre robbed sanyasin—a mendicant; rather a rare intellectual and a fearless social philosopher.
To sum it up, I will quote Sister Christine who aptly says, “Blessed is the country in which he was born, blessed are they who lived on this earth at the same time, and thrice blessed are the few who sat at his feet.” It would suffice to say that I am at the least born in the same country—I am blessed.
PS: I thank Dr Layajeeth Sham, for asking me to write on Swami Vivekananda.