“Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy – by one, or more, or all of these – and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details.”Swami Vivekananda
IN THE DARK AGES OF THE ISLAMIC RULE, except for a few exceptions, hardly any unique work was created in the field of economics, painting or literature in India. Islam is an anti-artism religion (Islam demands complete dedication, as a result, even today music, art, painting are banned in radical Islamic countries, or art is discouraged from the side of the ruling class). Surprisingly, India remained associated with its pre-Mughal period because of Hindu folk literature. With the help of this ancient Hindu folk literature, a common Hindu not only remained aware of the fundamental elements of his culture and religion but also took inspiration from this ancient literature in solving the problems of daily life. How was this possible? This became possible due to the storytelling art of Hindu sages. This unique art kept the common man in one thread.
The great saint of modern times, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, played a great role in the Bengal renaissance by telling short inspirational stories.
Many such short stories are archived in the famous book THE GOSPEL OF SRI RAMAKRISHNA written on the life of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. He took the help of ancient, intuitive, tales to bring welfare ideas to the common people.
Swami Vivekananda, the great disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who himself was a sanyasi, was also a great storyteller. Swami Vivekananda was a forerunner of the Hindu renaissance and a multi-faceted personality. Swami Vivekananda was the first person who introduced the countries of the West to Vedanta literature, Hindu philosophy and yoga. He tried to remove the absurdity and superstitions from the Hindu religion. Above all Swamiji made people realize that the Hindu civilization was one of the richest, rich in culture, rich in traditions, rich in art forms, rich in every aspect that anyone could probably think of. Unfortunately, Swamiji died at a very young age. He had a total life span of thirty-nine years, five months and twenty-four days.
“TO THE HUNGRY RELIGION COMES IN THE FORM OF BREAD”
Vivekananda believed “Service to the poor is the biggest religion”. This was a revolutionary initiative in those days, no one had ever taken such an initiative before. Daridra Narayan:- Swami Vivekananda urged people to see God only in the poor. Swamiji said that serving the poor, trying to solve their problems is like serving God. Mahatma Gandhi was greatly influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s idea of ”service to the poor”. Later on, Mahatma Gandhi further publicized and spread the idea of service to the poor.
Swami Vivekananda as a Narrator:-
Swami Vivekananda told the stories of ancient Hindu literature, he also told stories related to some of the true events of his difficult life to the people in a very interesting way. These inspirational stories and Swamiji’s life experiences are relatable even today.
“In a conflict between the heart and the brain, follow your heart. ”
Pavahari Baba:- There is a town named ‘Ghazipur’ which is situated at a distance of about 75 km from the famous Hindu city of Varanasi. A sadhu resided in this city, who was famous by the name of Pavahari Baba. Pavahari Baba used to reside in a pit made underground. He ate very little and spent most of his time meditating. He just had two vessels which he used for cooking and eating food and this was probably the only property(if you could possibly call it one) that he possessed. His philosophy of life was based on the belief that God is omnipresent. He considered all human beings, animals and birds as God. Once a thief came to his abode (pit). Knowing that Pavahari Baba was asleep, the thief took one of his pots and carefully came out of the pit. Suddenly Pavahari Baba woke up. Seeing that the thief was carrying one of his utensils, Pavahari Baba ran after him. When the thief saw that Pavahari Baba was chasing him, the thief started running too, but when the nearby locals saw that Pavahari Baba was chasing someone, they caught the thief for him. ( Pavahari Baba had quite a great reputation in the society so the people always tried to help him whenever it was possible). In no time, Pavahari Baba was also there. And to the people’s surprise, Pavhari Baba also gave his second vessel to the thief and said, “God why did you leave it, please take it too”. People were astonished by this act of Pavahari Baba. They wanted to know the reason for this from him, He said “I used to think that I have completely given up Maya, I have no attachment to any mortal thing, but now when I think about it I am realizing that I have become attached to these two utensils. God wanted to remove Maya from me through a thief. So by the will of God, I have got rid of this Maya as well.
Note: – Swami Vivekananda’s disciple Margaret Elizabeth Noble (Sister Nivedita) while referring to Pavahari Baba, wrote that if Swamiji was influenced by a person in his life after his guru Ramakrishna Paramhansa, then that person was Pavahari Baba.
WHAT IS MAYA???
Once Narada Muni asked Lord Krishna “What is Maya please explain it to me”.
Lord Krishna asked Narada Muni to follow him. After walking a long distance together they reached a desert. It was very hot there. Lord Krishna told Narada Muni that he was very thirsty and due to tiredness, he was unable to walk anymore, so Narada Muni decided to go to a nearby village and bring some water for him. Knocking on the door of a house, he asked for drinkable water. While he was waiting for the house owner to bring the water, he saw a beautiful girl in that house who was the daughter of that house owner. He became so engrossed while talking to that girl that he completely forgot that he came there, just to ask for some water for his master Lord Krishna and that he is waiting for him to return. After talking to that beautiful girl throughout the day, Narada Muni asked the girl’s father for her hand. Taking the permission of the girl’s father, he married that girl. Time passed. His father-in-law had now passed away. Narada Muni was also the father of three boys now. He felt that he was leading a happy life.
Once there was a flood in that village. Narada Muni decided to leave the village with his family to escape the ravages of floods. With one of his hands he held her wife’s hand, with the other he held two of his boys and made the third one sit on his shoulders. Narada Muni entered the floodwater intending to quickly cross the flood but unfortunately, because of the strong current of the water, his wife and children started flowing away from him. Soon Narada Muni’s wife and children disappeared from his sight. He too got washed away in the strong currents of the flood. Narada muni went far ahead while flowing in the strong current of the flood. When the flow of water subsided, Narada Muni found himself on the bank of a calm river. The moment he realized that his family wasn’t there with him, and remembered what happened, Narada Muni started crying. Just then, he heard a whisper in his ears. “It’s been half an hour Narada, you didn’t bring water.” Narad Muni was stunned to hear this. Half an Hour! Only half an hour had passed! According to him, twelve years have passed by, and all these events happened just in a time interval of half an hour. THIS IS WHAT MAYA IS.
“The one theme of the Vedanta philosophy is THE SEARCH AFTER UNITY. The Hindu mind does not care for the particular; it is always after the general, Nyay (justice), the universal. “what is it that by knowing which everything else is to be known.” That is the one search.”
TWO BIRDS were sitting on a tree. Both had golden wings. The bird which was sitting on the top branch was calm, majestic and engrossed in itself. The bird which was sitting on the lower branch seemed very playful. The bird sitting on the lower branch sometimes ate bitter fruits, sometimes sweet. On eating a bitter fruit, she became calm and after eating a sweet one, she became happy and playful once again. For a while she got only bitter fruits to eat, so she calmed down and looked at the bird sitting on the top branch, but soon she forgot about that bird. And was once again back in business eating the fruits bitter and sweet. She ate a bitter one once again and looked at the bird above which was not affected by the bitter and sweet fruits. While eating fruits, the bird sitting on the lower branch hopped onto the branches above her and because of this at one point in time, she reached the same branch where that calm and serious-natured bird was sitting. But what did she see? There was no bird there, the bird was astonished to see this but after thinking about this for some time she realized that the calm and serious bird was just a reflection of her good qualities.
“TALK TO YOURSELF AT LEAST ONCE IN A DAY, OTHERWISE YOU MAY MISS A MEETING WITH AN EXCELLENT PERSON IN THIS WORLD.”