While the people were getting ready to honour the memory of the great hero and the celebration committees had just started functioning, the nation was violently shaken into a realisation that she was urgently called upon to rally all her might to contain the invading hordes of a ruthless and perfidious enemy from the North. His surreptitious preparations for war and enmity under cover of talk of friendship and negotiations over the inroads made into our territory on the one hand, and, the propensity of our own rulers to live in dream and unreality on the other, took the country by complete surprise when the enemy launched a full scale open invasion across the Himalayas.
This state of affairs of our nation lends a new significance to the message of Swami Vivekananda. For his was the message of strength--the strength of the body, the mind and the will. And this strength in all its aspects is the greatest need of the hour. Swami Vivekananda wanted the nation to have "muscles of iron and nerves of steel inside which dwells a mind of the same material as that of which the thunderbolt is made”. He wanted his countrymen to possess and to cultivate "strength, manhood, Kshetra-Virya plus Brahma- Teja". These are precisely the things needed in the present hour of crisis and peril, and these are precisely the qualities which have been neglected by us in the post-independence period under the influence of the imported hedonistic philosophies and materialistic views of life.
If we were to sum up Swamiji’s teachings, we could say that he gave us one great Mantra: the Mantra of Faith in God, Faith in ourselves. Faith in oneself is based on that great Upanisadic truth which declares: "I am the Spirit. Me the sword cannot cut; nor any weapon pierce; nor fire bum; nor air dry. I am omnipotent; I am omniscient”. This is the Mantra, Swami Vivekananda was constantly dinning into the ears of his countrymen. In whatever he spoke and preached, this Mantra was the refrain of his gospel-song. It is time that we grasped the inner meaning of this Truth and tried to live up to it. If we do that, no power on earth could harm us.
He further declares that in aspiring to attain Moksha, we have to fulfil our Dharma first. In fact, there is no Moksha without Dharma. This is a truth which needed re-emphasis at a time when our religion tended to become life-weary. He rehabilitates a house holder’s life and gives it a new dignity. He reminds his countrymen of their Shastras which declare that only "heroes enjoy the world" and urge them to "show heroism". He asks us to remember that the Shastras enjoin upon us to accept the moral conditions under which we work and have to function. Only by such acceptance of our conditions and environment can we hope to improve them and raise them. Therefore Swami Vivekananda exhorts his countrymen not to forget the Shastric injunction "Apply according to circumstances the fourfold political maxims of conciliation, bribery, sowing dissensions and open war to conquer your adversaries and enjoy the world-then you will be Dharmika. Otherwise you live a disgraceful life if you pocket your insults, when you are kicked and trodden down by any one who takes it into his head to do so; your life is a veritable hell here and so your life hereafter.
This is a message of great value and efficacy for the purpose of steeling our nerves and strengthening our resolve at this critical hour of our history when the nation is called upon to take up arms in defence of its freedom and its way of life, its destiny and its Swadharma.
Time and again he preached that "the national union in India must be a gathering up of its scattered spiritual forces". He thought that "a nation in India must be a union of those whose hearts beat to the same spiritual tune". This message demands our most careful attention, particularly at this present hour when the nation needs all the unity and quick mobilization of her forces.
Swamiji has one more message to give to the Hindu nation. He asks us to give up our ‘Tamas’. For ‘Tamas’ gives birth to all the evils such as imbecility, superstition, pettiness of mind, mutual quarrels and bickering about trivial things. Giving up these evils, we should build up great power on the rock of unity and organisation. And thus by coordinating our separate wills we should build up a future far more glorious than our past. This message of Swamiji too is timely. For only under a peril like the one we are facing at present, do nations take to stock-taking and self-searching.
It was to fulfil this need of the hour that this publication was attempted.
Swamiji`s writings and utterances cover varied subjects like philosophy, religion, sociology and even art, architecture and music. Thus the subjects belong to both the secular as well as the spiritual realms. But in view of the limited purpose of the present publication, only those portions which deal with the glories of our past, and analyse the cause of our degradation in the present and which inspire and prepare us for a bright future, have been chosen. The portions thus chosen have been re-arranged to form a new coherent whole. Evidently, only such passages have been chosen which were of universal character and therefore would not lose their meaning by being taken out of their original setting.
The publication was intended to be only a compilation. The idea was to present Swamiji’s message in his own words without any attempt at interpretation or commentary. Therefore, everything is presented in Swamiji’s own words. Only the titles, subtitles, and arrangement of the material belong to the compiler. In certain places nouns have been substituted for pronouns in the interest of clarity. The material for the present volume has been taken from authentic publications like the volumes of "The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda", "Life of Swami Vivekananda--by His Eastern and Western Disciples" both published by the ‘Advaita Ashrama’, old issues of the ‘Prabuddha Bharata’, ‘Brahmavadin’ and ‘Udbodhan’ started during Swamiji’s life-time and other contemporary journals.
Therefore, it would be clear to the reader why individual passage have not been put within quotation marks. For in a sense the whole of this volume is within quotation marks.
This book is divided into four parts with different captions indicating their respective contents. These are; (l) The Message. (2) Selections from Addresses, Discourses and Writings, (3) Some Observations and Admonitions and (4) Man Making or Moulding of ‘Workers’.
(1) The Message :- This part forms the main body of Swamiji’s thoughts on the state of our nation, a sort of a ‘THESIS’ advanced by him and which, as has been mentioned above, is carved out of his innumerable addresses, talks, letters and articles. Though only a combination of pieces culled together from various sources, it is composed in the fashion of a mosaic-designing so that it presents, as it were, one unbroken flow of Swamiji’s thoughts.
(2) Selections from Addresses, Discourses and Writings :- These selections are included with a view to make known to the readers Swamiji’s thoughts on certain important points which have a bearing on his ‘Message’ but could not be fitted into the first part or which were only casually touched there.
(3) Some Observations and Admonitions :- These few pieces have been selected for helping the readers to get some vivid glimpses of the throbbings of Swamiji’s heart and the working of his mind. This selection should enable the readers to form a clearer idea of the great fervour and emotion which moved Swamiji from behind his cool and calculated approach.
(4) Man-Making or Moulding of ‘Workers’:- In all the writings and utterances of Swamiji he referred often to a particular frame of mind as well as to certain qualities of mind and heart required of workers or ‘Karyakartas’ willing to participate in the nation-building activity.
All such instructive references have been arranged under different heads namely (l) Organisation, (2) Leadership, (3) True Teachership and (4) Secret of Successful Life or The Science and Art of ‘Work’. As the subject concerns the operative part of Swamiji’s Message it has been incorporated into the book.
Though the choice of the material was limited by the restricted number of subjects chosen, there was plenty of valuable material available under each subject. The compiler had to face a tough problem in overcoming the temptation of including all such material, for had all this valuable material been included, it would have increased the cost of the book beyond the reach of many of our readers. But the compiler and the publisher both wanted the book to be priced as low as possible so that me largest possible number of people could benefit by the thoughts and words of Swamiji. It is, however, hoped that this publication will kindle the desire among the readers to make a fuller study of Swamiji’s teachings and many of them would naturally be prompted to go through ‘The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda’ published by ‘Advaita Ashrama’.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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