It really fills my heart with bliss that this part of the world originally hailed as Aryavrata, now known as Bharat (India), has always produced evolved souls, having the capacity to delve deep into the world of mysticism in effortless manner- a reason why this part of the land is viewed with great wonder by people living in the other part of the hemisphere. I often meet yogis/saints, witnessing many such mysterious phenomenon related with world of Yoga, but this feeling saddens me that, back in past, when great saints and spiritually advanced yogis, roamed on this land quite frequently, I wasn’t fortunate enough to be the part of that era! It’s interesting to note that these great souls played different roles as per need of the society. Some roamed in jungles, some lived in caves, some lived as householder, and some became part of mainstream affairs, even as they retained their ascetic robes, to shape the destiny of Bharat-the land of divine principles.
True, many fake Gurus, have turned religion into a most lucrative affair, but it remains ultimate truth that India is intrinsically wedded to yogic principles. This land, in absence of spiritual values, would not be able to survive. May be currents of time sometimes lead to clash of values, but this nation has the capacity to absorb contradictions and conflicts in easygoing way. Like myself, others too, would have not believed the glory of Indian spiritual world, had saints like Swami Vivekananda not appeared in the modern phase of civilization. His presence was certain sign of the fact that supreme consciousness was still in operation. Swami Vivekananda removed my doubt that great yogis were mainly confined to storybooks; that great tales of yogic feats were exaggerated description of imaginative minds. However, after reading life-sketch of, Sri Aurobindo, I became truly confirmed that people in league with extraordinary psychic powers, were not only part of ancient India but they were very much part of modern India as well.
However, today I wish to remain confined to world of Swami Vivekananda, since on this very day, 12 January, 1863, this Avatara of Lord Shiva, manifested on earthly plane. He was an extraordinary person in his lifetime but one who had normal childhood. He involved in naughty pranks like any other child of that age. However, the thing that separated him from others was that he frequently got absorbed in higher form of consciousness. As he grew up and took admission in college life, he was the one who loved to read various philosophies, roped in by great teachers in past. In other words, he remained hooked to intellectual plane alone! That was not the final destination of a great mind like him placed on route to realization. The Updesha Vakyas (Directive Statements) found in Upanishads were yet to culminate into Anubhuti Vakyas or Anubhava Vakyas ( realized truths).
A great truth of the world of spirituality is that a willing seeker or a qualified seeker soon comes to find a Guru (The Master). The same thing happened with Swami Vivekananda, when he met with Sri Ramakrishna. Naturally, that turned out to be life-defining moment for Swami Vivekananda. He soon emerged as a realized soul. In fact, he was always a realized soul and able Guru like Sri Ramakrishna merely ensured that ignorance inside him which made him see himself as ordinary mortal get vanished for forever. It’s interesting to note that in pre-Independence era, we had host of great spiritual souls, who ensured that India’s journey in future as independent nation takes place amid certain special values. The Western world, and we Indians too, remember him mainly because of his great speech at Parliament of the World’s Religions, delivered on 11 September 1893, in Chicago. Not many are aware of the fact that it wasn’t a smooth journey and there was lack of funds to sponsor this visit, and surprisingly, he was not allowed to participate in the conference because of lack of endorsement from a well known organisation. It was only after the intervention of Professor John Henry Wright of Harvard University he got the chance to participate in this conference. Wright was so taken aback that he had to say: “To ask for your credentials is like asking the sun to state its right to shine in the heavens.”
Anyway, a soul of his stature, does not appear on earth for attainment of petty goals. He arrived to make supreme consciousness part of this land, which appears to be heart of the universe. If it stops functioning, the other civilizations are bound to collapse one after another. Although if one has a close look at the life of Swami Vivekananda, one would notice that he suffered life-long at the hands of mediocre minds but today when he is now no more in physical form, his own words have come true that real significance of his achievements would manifest after many years of his death. I must say that now when India is struggling hard to keep its ancient identity- the land of spirituality- intact, the words of Swami Vivekananda offer great solace, great strength. In other words, his thoughts and thoughts of other great minds are keeping at bay values antithetical to its spiritual essence. These great souls have now become active at subtle level, considering the way we have begun to realize that their thoughts alone could brighten our lives marred by ills of materialism.
It’s upon us that we either follow their way and emerge as an evolved being or ignore their wisdom to emerge as “dirty picture” of crass values. “All the powers in universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.” (Swami Vivekananda). Isn’t it the right thing to live life in light of these great values? Is there any merit in dying like a retarded lamb when you could have always roared like a lion? Let’s attempt for such huge transformation from this very moment.
January is associated with this nation in a youthful way. On January 4, 1924 famous Hindi poet Gopal Das Neeraj was born. A wonderful Hindi poet who wrote in simple style soul stirring verses, which made him darling of the masses. On January 4, 1994 India’s one of the most talented music composers R D Burman left this planet earth to merge in supreme consciousness for forever.
Apart from these two great souls, I also wish to talk about Swami Vivekananda whose birth anniversary falls on January 12. That’s because there is a striking similarity between R D Burman and Swami Vivekananda. These both exceptional souls cared a lot for youths. Their vision and creative outburst were primarily aimed at changing the perceptions of Indian youths.
Swami Vivekananda used spirituality as medium to shape the lives of youth, to carve for them a balanced approach to deal with the complexities of life. He was a spiritual dynamo who surcharged the lives of youths with spiritual waves by introducing them to Vedantic concepts which until now were confined to the pages of scriptures.
R D Burman, on the other hands, explored Indian film music from newer angles. An original composer in the truest sense whose consciousness kept looking for unheard beats and sounds. He mixed the various shades of Indian music with the Western shades to prepare an amalgam that became hot favourite compositions for not only youths of his times but even youths of coming generations. Just visit any music shop you would definitely come to listen one of his compositions in a remixed form. In nutshell, these both gigantic souls turned out to a be big source of inspiration for youth world.
Even Gopal Das Neeraj’s poetry is full of symbols that are fresh, inspirational and unique from many angles. One of the reasons why his poetry struck a chord with the readers is that his verses came straight from the heart, which though used sensuality as a tool were aimed at creating a better space within an individual. Fortunately, he managed to makes his presence felt in Indian movie world which allowed him to unleash his creative energy for a wider circle of admirers.
Neeraj was also lucky in finding the company of greats like S D Burman ( father of R D Burman), Roshan and Shankar Jaikishan who prepared immortal tunes for verses flowing out of his pen. In nutshell, his simple verses which combined metaphysical elements and intimacy existing between man and woman in a lyrical form became part and parcel of ordinary masses.
Excerpts From Messages Of Swami Vivekananda Meant For Youths:
1.Rouse yourselves, therefore, or life is short. There are greater works to be done than aspiring to become lawyers and picking quarrels and such things. A far greater work is this sacrifice of yourselves for the benefit of your race, for the welfare of humanity.
2.Man is like an infinite spring, coiled up in a small box, and that spring is trying to unfold itself; and all the social phenomena that we see are the result of this trying to unfold.
3. Give up that awful disease that is creeping into our national blood , that idea of ridiculing everything, that loss of seriousness. Give that up. Be strong and have Shraddha (faith), and everything else is bound to follow.
4. Inspiration is not filtered out to the world through one channel, however great. Each generation should be inspired afresh.
5. Make your nerves strong. What we want is muscles of iron and nerves of steel. We have wept long enough. No more weeping, but stand on your feet and be men.
Neeraj’s Great Inspirational Poem Dedicated To Youths And People Having Lost All Hopes:
This Hindi poem written by Hindi poet Neeraj has the capacity to instill confidence even in the most depressed souls. It’s must read for any youth who feels life’s game is now over. The youths are the one prone to losing all hopes all of a sudden. The moment examinations results are declared the sad news of bright and young souls committing suicide gets reported from across the nation. Career related disappointments or failure in love have also become frequent in our times.
The youths who are quick to fall in love are often unable to bear the jolts they receive in such mercurial relationships. Anyway, even a casual glance at this poem is enough to make any youth regain hopes in sustaining human life instead of extinguishing it in one go!!
छिप-छिप अश्रु बहाने वालो
मोती व्यर्थ लुटाने वालो
कुछ सपनों के मर जाने से
जीवन नहीं मरा करता है।
सपना क्या है, नयन सेज पर
सोया हुआ आंख का पानी
और टूटना है उसका ज्यों
जागे कच्ची नींद जवानी
गीली उमर बनाने वालो
डूबे बिना नहाने वालो
कुछ पानी के बह जाने से
सावन नहीं मरा करता है।
माला बिखर गयी तो क्या है
खुद ही हल हो गयी समस्या
आंसू गर नीलाम हुए तो
समझो पूरी हुई तपस्या
रुठे दिवस मनाने वालो
फटी कमीज सिलाने वालो
कुछ दीयों के बुझ जाने से
आंगन नहीं मरा करता है।
खोता कुछ भी नहीं यहां पर
केवल जिल्द बदलती पोथी
जैसे रात उतार चांदनी
पहने सुबह धूप की धोती
वस्त्र बदलकर आने वालो
चाल बदलकर जाने वालो
चंद खिलौनों के खोने से
बचपन नहीं मरा करता है।
कितनी बार गगरियाँ फूटीं
शिकन न आई पनघट पर
कितनी बार कश्तियाँ डूबीं
चहल-पहल वो ही है तट पर
तम की उमर बढ़ाने वालो! लौ की आयु घटाने वालो!
लाख करे पतझर कोशिश, पर उपवन नहीं मरा करता है।
लूट लिया माली ने उपवन
लुटी न लेकिन गंध फूल की
तूफ़ानों तक ने छेड़ा, पर
खिड़की बन्द न हुई धूल की
नफ़रत गले लगाने वालो! सब पर धूल उड़ाने वालो!
कुछ मुखड़ों की नाराजी से दर्पण नहीं मरा करता है॥
To those who shed tears in hiding
Shedding tears in hiding,
Throwing away your gems,
Your life does not come to an end,
When unfulfilled remain some dreams.
What’s a dream? Water
Of sleeping eyes on lashes.
It breaks loose like
Rising from sleep of naive youths.
Passing your life in tears, taking your baths not drowning,
If some water flows out, monsoons do not come to an end.
So what if the garland’s beads got loose?
The problems get solved themselves.
When tears get to an auction,
Know that that your travails are over.
Passing your days in sorrows, getting your torn shirts stitched,
If some lamps die out, the terraces do not die out.
Nothing is lost here.
Only the book changes its covers.
Like the night shedding off moonlight,
Wears in the morning a skirt of sunlight.
Wearing different clothes, walking in different gaits,
If some toys are lost, childhood is not lost.
Water vessels broke a million times
But no sorrows prevail at shores
Boats drowned a million times
But same festivities go on at shores
Lengthening your happiness, shortening your grief,
If fall comes a million times, spring still does not die
Translation Source: EduAsharm4
R D Burman’s Lesser Heard Compositions Which Are Still Hot-Favourite Among The Youths:
Movie: Palay Khan( 1986) ; Lyrics: Anand Bakshi; Singers: Lata and Suresh Wadekar
Movie: Samundar (1986); Lyrics: Anand Bakshi ; Singers: Kishore and Lata
Movie: Duniya ( 1984) ; Singer: Kishore
Movie :Yeh Wada Raha ( 1982) ; Singers: Kishore and Asha
Movie: Jeeva ( 1986) ; Lyrics: Gulzar ; Singers: Amit Kumar and Asha Bhosle
Quotes of Vivekananda Have Been Borrowed From “Great Sayings” Published By The Ramakrishna Mission Institute Of Culture, Calcutta.
“Thoughts Of Power” Published By Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta.
It’s beyond human intellect to comprehend in totality the attributes of a real Master. Why? Because to know Lord you have to become Lord. Sri Ramakrishna could undoubtedly be hailed as supreme incarnation of the Parabrahman. He is the perfect role model for the enthusiastic seekers who wish to merge their identity in Lord. Ramakrishna is regarded as the real Master by their disciples. While laying down the characteristic of qualified teacher Sri Aurbindo stated “The master is one who has risen to a higher consciousness and being and he is often regarded as its manifestation or representative. He not only helps by his teaching and still more by his influence and example, but by a power to communicate his own experience to others”
Sri Ramakrishna graced this divine land on February 18,1836 in a village named Kamarupkar. Ironically, the decent representatives of Lord always appear at times when the atmosphere is laden with confusion and chaos. As a matter of fact they are like gentle wind amidst the fury of demoniacal interests. Other than human garb, which they use as a mean to wonder among us like an ordinary soul, there is no other point of similarity, which allows to strike a bond with these rare souls.
Ramakrishna had a unique childhood. Even then he was in league with his “sublimity of his aim and the one-pointedness of his application to them”. Once the person who was chosen to play the part of Shiva in a play, named “Conversation between Shiva and Parvati”, was forced by the circumstance to withdraw his name at the last moment. Ramakrishna got the chance to provide colour to the role of Shiva on the stage. No need to mention that he transcended the human consciousness while playing the part and for next few hours remain lost in that particular mood. His childhood provides a glimpse into his bent of mind stuffed with extraordinary perceptions. Ideally, it allowed him to gain insight, which invariably shattered the illusions of this dreamy would.
In his village school, when others were busy in parroting the sterile instructions of the teacher, he toyed with ideal which was not normal by any standard in that age. “What purpose will it all serve-this hard study, this sitting up late at right, this rumination of the glosses and commentaries? Will this help me in attaining the truth? “Obviously, he did not wish to end up as ‘finished product’ much like his school teacher. He rebelled against this sort of teaching system which enabled man to sail in the ocean of materialism with ease. But in the process extracting a heavy price for teaching this art of deception. We are unconsciously turned into monsters that trample other human beings without any trace of remorse. It wouldn’t be out of place to observe that in our times the realistic education has come to mean the ability to laugh at the miseries of fellow beings and name it pragmatism.
One of the commonplace assumptions regarding the bent of mind of Indian saints is that they lack scientific temper. In other words, they just swallow the facts owing to their inability to discern them in rational ways. The reality is otherwise. Ramakrishna passionately followed all through life that “He shall accept anything as true only after having subjected it to close scrutiny. If it stands the test, I will reduce it to practice. And I shall not look down upon anything of the world if it is not demonstrably untrue”. This may be the reason why apparently antagonistic soul like Narendra could hardly resist from surrendering his dreams at his feet. This curious mixture of both these worlds-the earthly and the heavenly-created deep impression on Vivekananda’s mind who didn’t take much time to be the vehicle of his purpose. So much that he openly confessed that “Ever since our first meeting, it was the Master alone, and no one else, not even my own mother and brothers, who had uniform faith in me. That faith and that love of his have bound me to him forever. It was the master alone who knew how to love. He did love, while others only feign to love for the sake of their self-interest”.
How intimate was their relationship could be gauged from this hilarious incident. Once Ramakrishna offered the Hookah to Narendra. Perplexed looking Narendra could not turn down this strange offer. He stopped smoking after two or three puffs. The Master then took that Hookah and as he was about to smoke Narendra, stopped him to remind that he should first wash his hands and then carry out the smoking business. This infuriated Ramakrishna and what followed was display of ecstatic mood mired in uncontrollable anger-a familiar sight for Narendra having spent a long time with him. “You rascal, you are awfully conscious of differences” uttered Ramakrishna before gaining normalcy. The smoking session moved ahead with that very Hookah which Narendra had sealed with impunity with his lips.
In earlier year of Sadhana, the group comprising of Narendra, Kesava and others was greatly influenced by Western Philosophy. Narendra however, tried to counteract the charm of alien literature. Something so evident when he quotes Hamilton who felt that “where philosophy ends there religion begins.” It wasn’t easy for the Master to de-construct these minds shaped in convictions gathered from here and there. Even Master was bit worried about their flirtations with bogus reading material. “I hope he did not do so because some Western scholars had expressed that opinion.”
Under the influence of Western Philosophy Vevekanand held the opinion that God unknown and unknowable. Ramakrishna came to intuitively apprehend his dilemma regarding the true nature of Lord. He advised Narendra to seek the Lord’s grace which he said could result from sincere prayer offered from heart aching for Lord’s darshana. Such feelings when condensed in form of words may read like this “O God, I don’t know Thy nature, do Thou manifest Thyself to me as Thou really art”. Vivekananda, who earlier medicated on formless Brahman with attributes, decided to anticipate Lord in its real form. So he started praying “O Lord make me fit to see your real nature”.
What the Master wanted to convey through this episode was that the Lord couldn’t be governed by any particular belief. He has form and lo and behold formless as well. And thus Narendra bid adieu to doubts in this regard. Being now aware of His glory Swami Vivekananda suggests seekers to unite their heart and mind with the fountain of all bliss.” Seek for the Highest, aim at that Highest, and you shall reach the Highest.”
Sri Saradadevi, the divine consort of Sri Ramakrishna, also considered the Master ‘embodiment of bliss itself’. That is why she advised seekers to rely on Ramakrishna in order to remain above the pangs of worldliness. Vindicating the fact that Ramakrishna was not an ordinary soul she said, “Really and truly Sri Ramakrishna was God himself. He assumed this human body to remove the sorrows and sufferings of others”. According to the holy mother Ramakrishna played the part of both Maheswara and Maheswari. All through her life she translated into action the will of Master. Perhaps, she has known too well that Lord alone is the real and the world illusionary. It’s really hard nut to crack to cross the ocean of desires partially owning to seeker’s bent of mind but more largely because of Mahamaya’s mysterious designs. “A person may have no relative anywhere but Mahamaya may cause him to keep a cat and thus make him worldly. Such is her play”, observed mother in lighter vein. Unmistakably it may sound pessimistic had not she sent supreme souls to show us the way amidst drama of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The moral of this whole story is that a soul must take refuge in these Mahatmas (super souls) if he truly wishes to strike an eternal bond with Lord. Such souls alone provide security blanket from the onslaught of worldly desires.
A man who is in sync with sincerity of his purpose finds himself sooner or later in company of the Lord. Let us never forget that real aim of the individual wondering on this planet is realization. Other than this all other concerns are bound to open the floodgate of misery. In this journey towards the Lord the company of godly souls acts as a catalyst. Our intrinsic nature compels us to return back to our source. It’s only matter of time when the restlessness to attain the Highest germinates in our heart. Indeed, the life goes in waste if it is not used as an instrument to establish perfect communion with the Lord. Finally, I would like to refer to statement of the Master, one surcharged with mystical undertone, which establishes his tie-up with the Lord – “All those who are living their final lives in the world will come here, and all those who have, even once, truly called on God cannot but come here.” Yes, it’s imperative for the seekers to honour those who share the platform with Lord.
Literature Published By Ramakrishna Mission