O Swamiji, the all-powerful Vibhuti of Sri Ramakrishna, as Maruti was of Sri Ramachandra! At your clarion call and invigorating touch, the almost corpse-like body of India, lying at the feet of British Imperialism, got a new lease of life and was put on the path to freedom, which she achieved in about half a century after you burst upon the world.
You declared to us, the awakening children of India, that if, in spite of all the vicissitudes through which we had passed down the corridors of time, we are still alive as a nation while all other nations, once our contemporaries, have passed into oblivion, it is because we have been serving a very great world-purpose all through history and we have still the capacity to do it in the modern age as well. That purpose is to play the part of the spiritual teacher of mankind — to remind man that he is basically the Immortal Spirit, a spark as it were of the Sat-cit-ananda, and that the goal of human life is to evolve from lower levels to the higher stage in which those divine potentialities become clearly manifest as self - forgetting love, as dauntless courage born of the conviction that the Spirit is deathless, and a grounding in peace which even the greatest stress or threat of danger cannot disturb.
For attaining the fitness to fulfill this purpose, you laid great emphasis in your message that India's people must first of all be better fed and better educated; for it is only a healthy body and a cultured mind that can realize spiritual values and effectively project them to the world at large. Our national energies have to be turned first in this direction, and so you went even to the extent of declaring: 'For the next fifty years this alone shall be our keynote — this, our great Mother India. Let all other vain gods disappear for the time from our minds. This is the only god that is awake, our own race — "everywhere His hands, everywhere His feet, everywhere His ears, He covers everything."... These are all our gods — men and animals; and the first gods we have to worship are our countrymen. These we have to worship, instead of being jealous of each other and fighting each other. It is that most terrible Karma for which we are suffering, and yet it does not open our eyes!'
To be continued
About the author
This article is an excerpt from Swami Tapasyananda's “A Prayer To Swamiji" (Swami Vivekananda). Swami Tapasyananda was a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, the president of the Ramakrishna Math, Chennai. He was a prolific writer well-known for his austere life and intuitive intellect.