Tag Archives: Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda on Shivaji quoting Bhushan kavi

“He was a great king, reflecting true loyalty to India. He gave shape to future generations of Indians. He had a dream of uniting the kingdoms of India into Akhanda Bharat ” –  Swami Vivekananda 

 

Shivaji ChatrapatiAkhand Bharat

Swami Vivekananda on Shivaji 

The below incident between Swami Vivekananda & Dr. M.C. Nanjunda Rao (a famous doctor and disciple of Swami Vivekananda)  puts Shivaji in perspective. Dr.Nanjunda Rao had written this in the 1st & 2nd parts of Vedanta Kesari magazine.

“It was a beautiful moonlit night. Swamiji was seated in the verandah of Bhattacharya’s  bungalow, and was conversing with the secretary of the Maharaja of Khetri, Munshi  Jagmohanlal. Shri Munshi had come to take Swamiji to Khetri. The Maharaja of Khetri had  invited the Swamiji saying that it was only due to his blessing that God had bestowed his  grace upon him and the Maharaja had got a son.

I entered as this conversation was going on. Suddenly Swamiji began to  sing sweetly.  The song was long and in Hindi. The meaning of the last two lines of the song was as follows:

दावा दृमदंड पर, चीता मृगझुन्द पर

Dawa Drumdand par, Cheetah Mrug Jhund par

भूषण वितुण्ड पर, जैसे मृगराज हैं !

Bhooshan Vithund par, Jaise Mrugraaj hai

तेज तमअंस पर, कान्हा जिमि कंस पर

Tej Tam Ams par, Kanha Jimi kams par

त्यों म्लेंच्छ बंस पर शेर शिवराज हैं !

tyon mlechha bans par, Sher Shivraaj hai ! 

‘Like the effect of fire on the trees of the forest,  Like the effect of the panther on a flock of deer, Like the effect of a tiger on a herd of elephants,  Like the effect of sun on the darkness of the night,  Like the effect of Krishna on Kamsa,  Such was the effect of Shivaji on the Mlechcha  (muslm)  gangs.’

I was simply surprised to hear this song from the lips of Swamiji because I had only learnt  that Shivaji was unprincipled, thieving, murderous and lethal.

As soon as I expressed my doubt, Swamiji stopped singing the eulogy to Shivaji and roared at me with anger, ‘Doctor, this is a matter of shame for you. You are a Maratha and yet you do  not have a proper and true picture of the greatest king of India over the last three hundred  years ? Shivaji was like a God or a personified divine incarnation. There were even revelations  predicting his advent before his birth. The sages and saints of Maharashtra were awaiting      his  birth with great eagerness.  A  protector  of  Hindu  Dharma  and  of  those  standing  up  against the Adharma of the Mlechchas, was going to be born.

Foreign historians ignorant of the culture,traditions and conventions, and fixated with  prejudice, did not have the ability to understand Shivaji. What leader, saint, devotee or king  greater than Shivaji was every born ?  A wonderful king like Shivaji can only be seen in poetry. He was a great king, reflecting true loyalty to India.

He gave shape to future generations of Indians. He had a dream of uniting the kingdoms of  India into Akhanda Bharat’.

 

Full text of the poem quoted above is by Mahakavi Bhushan :

इन्द्र जिमि जृम्भा पर बाडव सअंभ पर

रावण सदंभ पर रघुकुल राज है !

पवन बारिबाह पर संभु रतिनाह पर

ज्यों सहसबाह पर राम द्विजराज हैं !

दावा दृमदंड पर

चीता मृगझुन्द पर

भूषण वितुण्ड पर

जैसे मृगराज हैं !

तेज तमअंस पर

कन्ह जिमि कंस पर

त्यों म्लेंच्छ बंस पर

शेर शिवराज हैं

– महाकवि भूषण

 

 

Narayanan Krishnan – Restoring Dignity of Human Life

Once an award winning chef, 32-year old Narayanan Krishnan of Madurai has served meals to over 19 lakh mentally disabled, sick, old and homeless destitutes living on roads, under bridges or crannies between the temples.

Out of country’s total 21,906,769 disabled population about three lakh of them are mentally disabled. Large number of them are found living uncared on roadsides without clothes, food, and in highly unhygienic conditions. Madurai-based Narayanan Krishnan left the lucrative job of a chef in Switzerland and started serving the mentally disabled, old, sick and homeless destitute living or dying on roadsides in his hometown Madurai. His life mission totally changed when he saw a mentally disabled eating his own waste out of hunger. He started serving meals to such people utilising his own personal savings in 2002, and till now has served meals to around 19 lakh destitutes. Interestingly, he himself cooks and serves the meals. Not only this, he also learnt hair cutting when the local barbers refused to shave such people. It is an outstanding example of restoring dignity to the human life.

Tonnes of cooked food go waste in the parties whether hosted in hotels, banquets or parks of the cities almost every day. On the other hand, lakhs of people go to bed without food everyday. The condition of those who are mentally disabled is very miserable, as they are not aware of their basic needs—when to eat, what to eat. This thought changed the life mission of Madurai based Narayanan Krishnan to such an extent that he turned down the offer of a chef’s job in Switzerland and started serving this most neglected section of the society living and dying on the roads in Madurai.

Narayanan Krishnan

Since 2002, Narayanan has served millions of meals, three times a day — breakfast, lunch and dinner — to the mentally ill, destitute and abandoned in the city. Now he has set-up Akshaya Home in Madurai and housed more than 450 mentally disabled people after rescuing them from the roads. It is a complete home equipped with modern kitchen, hospital and entertainment facilities. Narayanan personally devotes time for preparing and serving the meals. The gratitude and happiness seen on the faces of the inmates after taking the meals cannot be expressed in words.

Apart from feeding, Narayanan also provides quality medical care to all the residents with the help of doctors. Periodically, dental camps are also conducted to improve the personal hygiene. If any of the residents falls sick, he or she is immediately is taken for emergency care. The Trust also gives special care to beneficiaries who are very sick bringing back to normal life. “Since I personally know all the beneficiaries since the last 12 years, I spend almost 18 hours a day interacting and mingling with them. They get a secured feeling,” says Narayanan.

At the age of 19, with a degree in hand, Krishnan was selected to be a chef in a five star hotel of Switzerland. A single moment changed his life; seeing a man eating his own waste out of hunger. This made him realise how much we take for granted and how much we waste (even if it is unintentional), by throwing parties at banquet halls to honour people. So much food is wasted. Hundreds of people come, but only a handful eats the food.

When Narayanan decided to quit his dream job to serve such people, it was a little harder for his middle class parents to understand completely until the day he took his parents to show them why he was giving up his dream. A man on the street looked up at Narayanan’s parents and boldly said, “We are able to get three meals a day because of your son.” Touched by that man’s words, Narayanan’s mother said to him, “My dear son, you feed all these people, I will feed you till I am alive.”

In 2003, Krishnan founded Akshaya Trust. Akshaya means never-ending. That is exactly what he and his team of volunteers provide for the homeless– never ending aid. Over 12 years, he has been able to serve almost 1.9 million hot meals to the elderly and the mentally disabled—non-stop without any break, come rain or shine. Since the mentally sick people are not aware of their needs, they are found on the roads in very miserable condition—long hair, dirty clothes, lying in dirt and highly unhygienic condition. In 2005, Narayanan approached a team of barbers of Madurai to help give haircuts to such homeless people, but without any success, he took matters into his own hands, “I went to a hair cutting training school for six months, learnt hair cutting and till then has done thousands of haircuts for people.”

Before setting-up of Akshaya Home, Narayanan and his team travelled to great lengths to serve the meals. “We travelled 35 miles for breakfast, 35 miles for lunch and 35 miles for dinner.” Even now Krishnan’s day begins at 4 am. He and his team roam in a donated ambulance in the city and find the homeless poor souls under bridges, crannies between the city’s temples.

Another outstanding achievement of Narayanan is that some of the mentally disabled who were till just 6 months ago on the streets without hope or dignity, are today able to lead a life that has some semblance of normalcy. Some help in preparations of meals, while some have been trained to clean the dining hall, set the tables, clean-up after the meals, washing the clothes, housekeeping or look after the garden. Even the last rites are performed with full respect and honour. It is important because many of such people die on the roads and sometime last rites are not performed for days until the dead body starts decomposing and somebody complain to the police of foul smell. The inmates are also engaged in craft works and in indoor games. The quantum of happiness and satisfaction on their faces cannot be expressed in words. Surely, there can be no better rehabilitation of these people as has been done by Krishnan. The love and affection he shows while serving these people is outstanding.

Gandhiji had said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Narayanan Krishnan truly imbibed these words and set a precedent for all of us to follow.

NARAYANAN KRISHNAN HONOURED WITH PROF. YASHWANTRAO KELKAR AWARD

Yeshwant Rao Kelkar puraskar

Shri Narayanan Krishnan of Akshaya Trust Madurai has been awarded with Prof. Yashwantrao Kelkar Yuva Puraskar 2013. This award is given to recognise his outstanding work in helping the helpless, homeless, sick, mentally ill and destitute by providing healthy food, care and opportunity to rehabilitate to restore human dignity.  The award comprises of Rs 50,000 cash, certificate and a memento. He was felicitated with the Award in a special function at the National Council of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad held on November 30 in Varanasi.

This award is given in the memory of the late Prof. Yashwantrao Kelkar, whose contribution was like a foundation stone to build up and flourish ABVP, the world’s largest students’ organisation. This award is being given since 1991. This is a collaborative activity of ‘ABVP’ and ‘Vidyarthi Nidhi Trust’, both committed for the cause of uplift of education and students.’ The idea behind this award is to encourage young social workers, engaged in various social welfare activities and to offer them a platform, thereby to motivate other youth for social work as well as to express gratitude to the young social workers.

 

Rejoinder to Salman Khurshid

Salman Khurshid, the external affairs ministers says that Hindu nationalist is an oxymoron.

Is Mahatma Gandhi oxymoron?

In Hind Swaraj, which is his fundamental ideological text, he ( Mahatma Gandhi)  pointed out how Hinduism is the core of Indian nationalism. Gandhi said: ‘those farseeing ancestors of ours who established Setubandha (Rameshwaram) in the South, Jagannath in the East and Hardwar in the North as places of pilgrimage were no fools. They knew that the worship of God could have been performed just as well at home and yet they argued that it must be one nation. Arguing thus, they established holy places in various parts of India, and fired the people with an idea of nationality in a manner unknown in other parts of the world. But they saw that India was one undivided land.’

When asked about the advent of Muslims on the unity of India, Gandhi replied: ‘foreigners merge in it. A country is one nation only when such a condition obtains in it. That country must have a faculty for assimilation, India has ever been such a country.’

Compare this with what the “secularist ” , Khurshid has to say in his book  ‘At Home In India’. He wrote that in 1984, when the Sikhs were massacred in Delhi, “there was terrible satisfaction among the Muslims, who have not completely forgotten the Partition’s unpleasant aftermath. Hindus and Sikhs were alike paying for their sins. They were paying for the blood they had drawn in 1947 ”.  When Khurshid was chief of the Congress in UP, he defended the Islamic terrorist outfit Students Islamic Movement of India [SIMI] – reincarnated later as Indian Mujhahideen – as peace-loving lads, arguing as its counsel in courts. This was in 2001.

The above is an excerpt from S.Gurumurthy’s article “Aurobindo, Vivekananda and Gandhi too oxymorons – http://newindianexpress.com/opinion/Aurobindo-Vivekananda-and-Gandhi-too-oxymorons/2013/07/16/article1685661.ece

 

150 Years Young and Going Strong – Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivek 150 JayantiThe sanyasi who declared “The national ideals of India are renunciation and service” is arguably the most popular youth icon in the country. Born on 12th Jan 1863, he is 150 years young and still going strong !

What makes Swami Vivekananda tick among the youth and what makes him the most sought after guiding force for crores of youngsters ? What makes his views on holistic personality development relevant even today ?

In his best-seller ” Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, world renowned management guru Stephen Covey writes about “The Personality Ethic” and “The Character Ethic”. He writes that the Western world has been emphasizing on the personality ethic which focuses on how to dress, how to smile, how to stand, how to talk, how to sit and so on. This is characterized by the thousands of books that have been published around this subject by authors like Dale Carnegie, Allan Pease, Napolean Hill and many more modern-age personality development writers. However, he emphasizes that “The Character Ethic” is more crucial. It is what one is on the inside that makes the long term impact. The development of the personality is not external but internal. This is the oriental way, he writes. The West’s understanding of Bharat’s legacy has been improving in recent times. Bharat’s world-view forms the fulcrum of what is termed as the oriental worldview and an excellent articulation of this was done by Swami Vivekananda.

Swami Vivekananda through his life and message exhorted the youth to develop their personality and work for the nation. He understood the limitations and travails of the youth of the country and gave the mantra of holistic personality development.

At the same time he was convinced that “A hundred thousand men and women, fired with the zeal of holiness, fortified with eternal faith in the Lord, and nerved to lion’s courage by their sympathy for the poor and the fallen and the downtrodden, will go over the length and breadth of the land, preaching the gospel of salvation, the gospel of help, the gospel of social raising-up — the gospel of equality.”

He spoke of Vyaktitva vikaas ( personality development) in a new paradigm while acknowledging that whatever he has said is not new but was part of our scriptures. His views gained more impact because he lived what he spoke.

It would be worthwhile to discuss his views on a holistic personality which was based on the traditional Bharatiya view of personality development , viz., pancha kosha vyaktitva vikas (the 5-fold personality development process). This development process is all the more vital for us because we are a country with 40% of youth-force and a holistic personality of the yuva-shakti is essential for a strong and vibrant nation.

1. Annamaya Kosha Vikas

– Developing Strength (Shakti )The development of a strong body falls in the realm of the Annamaya kosha.

He famously exhorted youth saying ” You will understand the Gita better with your muscles stronger”. Strength Is Life. The Gita preaches “Paritranay Saadhunam, Vinashaya Dushkrutan, Dharma Samsthapan“. ( protection of good persons, punishment of the wrong-doers and protection of Dharma). How can we achieve this without being strong ourselves ?

“Everything that can weaken us as a race we have had for the last thousand years. My friends, as one of your blood, as one that lives and dies with you, let me tell you that we want strength, strength, and every time strength”.

2. Pranamaya Kosha Vikas :

The control of prana, steadfastness the training of the mind and building a strong character fall in the realm of the Pranamaya and Manomaya kosha.

 – Developing Concentration & Steadfastness : He says” To me the very essence of education is concentration of mind, not the collecting of facts. If I had to do my education over again, and had any voice in the matter, I would not study facts at all. I would develop the power of concentration and detachment, and then with a perfect instrument I could collect facts at will. Side by side, should be developed the power of concentration and detachment.” He demonstrated this in his personal life by an incident where on he not only read the ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ but also answered many questions on difficult and varied topics/subjects, from different volumes. Swamiji not only replied each correctly, but in many instances he quoted the very language of the books!

Later he greatly emphasized to cultivate power of mind in the form of purity and concentration for spiritual gains, so also perfection in many arts and studies in science and other branches of education.

3. Manomaya Kosha Vikas

– Developing Strong Character & A Strong Mind – A strong body with sound knowledge must have a healthy character. He says “The basis of all system, social or political, rests upon the goodness of men. No nation is great or good because Parliament enacts this or that, but because its men are great and good. Fill the brain with high thoughts, highest ideals, place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work. Take up an idea, devote yourself to it, struggle on in patience, and the sun will rise for you”.

How to build a strong character he says is by doing good, thinking holy thoughts continuously, that is the only way to suppress base impressions….Character is repeated habits, and repeated habits alone can reform character. If a man thinks good thoughts and does good works, the sum total of these impressions will be good; and they….will force him to do good even in spite of himself.

4. Vignanamaya Kosha Vikas:

The process of acquisition of knowledge, both Para and Apara Vidya ( worldly and spiritual) form the realm of the Vignanamaya Kosha.

Swamiji was a great propounder that Indians need to equip themselves with both modern scientific knowledge and at the same time strive for the knowledge of the Atman. This is clearly demonstrated when he inspired Jamshedji Tata to start the Tata Institute of Science and personally encouraged Sir J.C.Bose in all his experiments. At the same time he said “realize that understanding human nature is the highest knowledge.”

Holistic Education – ” We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet. The ideal of all education, all training, should be man-making. But instead of that, we are always trying to polish up the outside. What use is polishing up the outside when there is nothing inside? The end and aim of all training is to make the man grow. The man who influences, who throws his magic, as it were, upon his fellow-beings, is a dynamo of power, and when that man is ready, he can do anything and everything he likes; that personality put upon anything will make it work. “

5. Anandamaya Kosha – The Sheath of Bliss

The acquisition of strength, knowledge and concentration is complete only when we identify ourselves with the larger society, when our qualities are useful to the nation. The process of merging our individuality for the greater good of the nation and humanity is the way to bliss – development of the Anandamaya kosha. This development of this sheath leads to bliss and true happiness.

Swamiji says ” Feel, my children, feel; feel for the poor, the ignorant, the downtrodden; feel till the heart stops and the brain reels and you think you will go mad; then pour the soul out at the feet of the Lord, and then will come power, help and indomitable energy. “

Moving Forward : The challenges before the country will have to be answered only by introspective youth who want to make a change. There are questions each of us has to ask ourselves. What are the challenges facing me and my country ? Where is my nation heading to? Where am I heading ? What is my life’s compass ? What is my dream of a strong & vibrant country and how can I contribute for it ? Out of this introspection will arise the answers and the ideal.

The next phase would be to stick to an ideal inspite of pressures from all quarters, both internal and external. That is the hall mark of a hero. Swamiji says” Hold Up An Ideal – Never mind failures; they are quite natural, they are the beauty of life, these failures. Hold the ideal a thousand times, and if you fail a thousand times, make the attempt once more.”

Out of these individual and collective goals and ideals, we would all be able to bring to reality the dream of Swamiji. He declared “One vision I can see clear as life before me that the ancient Mother has awakened once more, sitting on her throne- rejuvenated, more glorious than ever. Proclaim her to the entire world with the voice of peace and benediction”.

The 150 Years celebrations of his Jayanti ( birth anniversary) is a great occasion to resolve ourselves to the glory of our nation.

 Article originally published in Hans India –

1.http://www.thehansindia.info/News/Article.asp?category=1&subCategory=5&ContentId=113213#.UPE9uZ-hKvI.gmail

2.Short Linkhttp://tinyurl.com/bhwh5an