Sunday, July 03, 2005

Part 2 of Resume, Swami Vivekananda's Ideas

The Future of India
Excerpts from a lecture by Swami Vivekananda in Madras

The is the ancient land where wisdom made its home before it went into any other country, the same India whose influx of spirituality is represented, as it were, on the material plane, by rolling rivers like oceans, where the eternal Himalayas, rising tier above tier with their snow-caps look as it were into the very mysteries of heaven. Here is the same India whose soil has been trodden by the feet of the greatest sages that ever lived.

Here first sprang up inquiries into the nature of man, and into the internal world. Here first arose the doctrines of the immortality of the soul, the existence of a supervising God, an immanent God in nature and in man, and here the highest ideals of religion and philosophy have attained their culminating points. This is the land from whence, like the tidal waves, spirituality and philosophy have again and again rushed out and deluged the world, and this is the land from whence once more such tides must proceed in order to bring life and vigor into the decaying races of mankind.

It is the same India that has withstood the shocks of centuries, of hundreds of foreign invasions, of hundreds of upheavals of manners and customs. It is the same land that stands firmer than any rock in the world, with its undying vigor, indestructible life. Its life is of the same nature as the soul, without beginning and without end, immortal, and we are the children of such a country. Look back therefore as far as you can, drink deep of the eternal fountains that are behind, and after that, look forward, march forward and make India brighter, greater, much higher than she ever was.

Our ancestors were great. We must first recall that. We must learn the elements of our being, the blood that flows in our veins; we must have faith in that blood, and what it did in the past; and out of that faith, and out of the consciousness of our past greatness, we must build an India yet greater than what she has been. There have been periods of decay and degradation. I do not attach much importance to them; we all know that. Such periods have been necessary.

A mighty tree produces a beautiful ripe fruit. That fruit falls on the ground, it decays and rots, and out of that decay springs the root and the future tree, perhaps mightier than the first one. The period of decay through which we have passed was all the more necessary. Out of this decay is coming the India of the future; it is sprouting, its first leaves are already out, and the mighty, gigantic tree, the "Urdhvamulam," is here, already beginning to appear!!

We see how in Asia, and especially in India, race difficulties, linguistic difficulties, national difficulties, all melt away before this unifying power of religion. We know that to the Indian mind there is nothing higher than religious ideals, that this is the keynote of Indian life, and we can only work in the line of least resistance. It is not only true that the ideals of religion are the highest ideal. In the case of India it is the only possible means of work; work in any other line, without first strengthening this, would be disastrous.

Therefore, the first plank in the making of a future India, the first step that is to be hewn out of that rock of ages, is this unification of religion.

It is when the national body is weak that all sorts of disease germs, in the political state of the race or in the social sate, in its educational or intellectual state, crowd into the system and produce disease. To remedy it, therefore, we must go to the root cause of the disease and cleanse the blood of all impurities. The one tendency will be to strengthen the man, to make the blood pure, the body vigorous, so that it will be able to resist and throw off all external poisons.

We have seen that our vigor, our strength, nay, our national life is in our religion. I am not going to discuss now whether it is right or not, whether it is correct or not, whether it is beneficial or not in the long run to have this vitality in religion, but for good or evil it is there; you can not get out of it, you have it now and for ever, and you have to stand by it, even if you not have the same faith that I have in our religion. You are bound by it, and if you give it up you are smashed to pieces. This is the life of our race and that must be strengthened. You have withstood the shocks of centuries simply because you took great care of it, you sacrificed everything for it. Your forefathers underwent everything boldly, even death itself, but preserved their religion. Temple after temple was broken by the foreign conqueror, but no sooner had the wave passed than the spire of the temple rose up again.

Some of these old temples of southern India, and those like Somnath of Gujarat, will teach you volumes of wisdom, will give you a keener insight into the history of the race than amount of books Mark how these temples bear the marks of a hundred attacks and a hundred regenerations, continually destroyed and continually springing up out of the ruins, rejuvenated and strong as ever! That is the national mind. That is the national life-current. Follow it and it leads to glory.

Be you all rishis and sages; that is the secret. More or less we shall all be Rishis. What is meant by a Rishi? “The pure one”. Be pure first, and you will have power. Simply saying, ''I am a Rishi,'' will not do, but when you are a Rishi you will find that others obey you instinctively. Something mysterious emanates from you which makes them follow you, makes them follow you, makes them hear you, makes them unconsciously, even against their will carry out your plans. That is Rishihood.

. Let this be our determination, and may He, the Lord, who "comes again and again for the salvation of His own people,'' to quote from our scriptures-may the great Krishna bless us, and lead us all to the fulfillment of our aims!
*******************************************
"India of the ages is not dead nor has she spoken her last creative word; she lives and has still something to do for herself and the human peoples."
- Rishi Aurobindo

"I am a proud Sanatani Hindu”
- Mahatma Gandhi

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