Max Muller, the most eminent Indologist, while expressing his admiration and appreciation for the Sastras of the Rsis of this great territory having the appellation as Bharatavarsa, observed pertinently:
“If I were asked under what sky the human mind fully developed some of its chiocest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them, which well deserve the attention of those who have studied Plato and Kant, I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we, here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans and one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw the corrective which is most wanted to make out inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact, more truly human, a life not for this life only, but a transfigured and eternal life - again I should point to India”. 1 We have an almost identical laudatory concept about India expressed by W.J. Grant in his The Spirit of India (1933. p. VI) in the following form :
“India indeed has a preciousness which a materialistic age is in danger of missing. Some day the fragrance of her thought will win the hearts of men. This grim chase after our own tails which marks the present age cannot continue forever. The future contains a new human urge towards the real beauty and holiness of life. When it comes India will be searched by loving eyes and defended by knightly hands”.
The Aryan attitude is based on a definite philosophy of life which assumes that religion is a matter of personal realization. Creeds and dogmas, words, and symbols, have only an instrumental value. Their function is to aid the growth of spirit by supplying supporters for a task that is strictly personal. Spirit is free being, and its life consists in breaking free from conventions and penetrating into true being. When one is anchored in spirit, one treads on an air so thin and rare that no visible foot-prints are left. Only in the experience of the greatest contemplatives do we have the pure apprehension of the Absolute, the utter surrender of the creature to the uncreated spirit. They are denizens of the City of God. There are Indians who believe that true spirituality has never appeared anywhere in the world save on the sacred soil of India. In our Sastras since the period of the Satapatha- Brahmana we notice a concept of Avatara The locus classicus about the descent of God in the earth in different forms is in the Bhagavadgita, where it is stated that whenever piety or righteousness (dharma) declines and impiety grows up, I create myself. Age after age I am born for the protection of the good, for the destruction of the evil-doers and the establishment of piety. Their numbers vary, as also the names. These Avataras are regarded as persons of supra-normal spirituality, who moved in their thoughts far ahead of the time in which they descended on the lap of the earth to serve and save the humanity by their mode of life and series of teachings. Sri Ramakrsna fittingly was regarded as an Avatara, whose advent may rightly be considered to be essential for enlivening and uplifting the suffering humanity at a time when culture and religion of our country were at cross roads, when modernity of thoughts appeared to clash creating confusion and chaos. His was the simplest possible religious and spiritual mode of living and he had a magnetic charm of spirituality at whose touch and contact sparked forth an illuminating spirit, who had by himself the potentiality of giving a new turn to the, thoughts and livings of this vast land of ours. It is Narendra Nath Dutta, who intellectually was gifted with a wonderful memory and uncommon power of grasping very intricate philosophical problems of life, as a result of which he earned mastery over the Sastras of ancient India, came in contact with this spiritual preceptor and was eventually christened as a dedicated devotee with the new appellation as Svami Vivekananda. Recognising from the core of his heart the immortal spirituality of his Guru, Ramakrsna, Vivekananda, like Buddha started his missionary career to the world. specially to his motherland, preaching the doctrines of the Advaita vedanta reinterpreting the same, rendering a wonderful alliance of religion, spirituality and service to the society, in which act he was influenced fully by his Master. Sri Ramakrsna.
The present disquisition is an humble attempt to present before the academic world some aspects of his line of thinking in respect of Dharma; God, practical Vedanta and education.
The first chapter is dedicated to the study of the historical background of the age in which Narendra Natha was born and brought up. Here we have shown his family tradition. his learning and exceptional urge for realising truth in the context of which he was fortunate to come in contact with Sri Ramakrsna, the quasi-divine personality as a result of which Narendranath was spiritually baptised, ultimately being changed as Vivekananda. This chapter, introductory in nature is biographical and historical in character, where we have attempted to present a picture of Vivekananda as participating in renaissance of the land.
As he was christened to spirituality by his preceptor. Vivekananda deemed it to be his duty to give a new dimension to Dharma by interpreting the Sastric texts in adjustment with his novel ideas imrprinted on his mind by his Guru. The Sastric Dharma interpreted by him turned out to be the Dharma of humanity. The second chapter is devoted to this purpose.
Dharma and God are almost inter-related and herein also Vivekanandas approach was of revolutionary nature. The third chapter has dealt with this problem of God in the background of the Sastric concept of God.
As Vivekananda claimed that he was a protagonist and champion of the doctrine of Advaita vedanta; which makes no distinction between Brahman, the Supreme Reality and the individual self, his speciality has been demonstrated in his formulation of the theory of Practical Vedanta, which has been envisaged in terms of service to the society under the formula - ‘Jiva is Siva’. This has therefore been dealt with in a separate chapter.
The last chapter of this disquisition deals with the question relating to Vivekananda’s idea of education, where in the background of the ancient Indian system of education, he has formulated a system by following which a man in form and spirit may become a man in the true sense of the term.
The Book ends with a concluding note.)
Brahma Sutras (79)
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