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Spiritual Awakening of Swami Vivekanand

In 1884, Naredranath, who was later known as Swami Vivekanand, underwentconsiderable financial distress. Due to the untimely death of his father, he had to support his mother and younger siblings. He asked his master Swami Ramakrishna Paramhans to pray to the Goddess for the financial welfare of his family. On his master’s suggestion, he went to the temple to pray. But once he faced the Goddess, he could not ask for money and wealth. Instead, he asked for ‘Vivek’ (conscience) and ‘Vairagya’ (reclusion). That day marked the complete spiritual awakening of Swami Vivekanand. From that day on, he found himself drawn to an ascetic way of life.

Later, he established the Ramakrishna Mission in honor of his master. The mission was based on the ideals of Karma Yoga. The primary objective of the mission was to serve the poor and distressed population of the country. The Ramakrishna Mission undertook various forms of social service like establishing and running schools, colleges, and hospitals, propagation of practical tenets of Vedanta through conferences, seminars, and workshops, initiating relief and rehabilitation work across the country.

Swami Vivekananda was a prominent nationalist and had the overall welfare of his countrymen topmost in his mind. He urged his fellow countrymen to “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”.

Bhagwan Raman Maharshi :

As a boy of sixteen in 1896, he challenged death by a penetrating inquiry into the source of his being. Later hailed as Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi he revealed the direct path of practice of Self-inquiry and awakened mankind to its immense spiritual power.

“The Master is within; meditation is meant to remove the ignorant idea that He is only outside.

If he were a stranger whom you were waiting, he would be bound to disappear also. What would be the use of a transient being like that? But as long as you think that you are separate or are the body, then the idea of the Master being outside of you is necessary, and he will appear as possessing a body. When the wrong identification of oneself as a body ceases, the Master is found to be none other than the Self.”

An English disciple, Major Chadwick, kept a record of such an assurance given to him in the year 1940:

Ch. Bhagavan says he has no disciples?

Bh. Yes.

Ch. He also says that a Guru is necessary if one wishes to attain Liberation?

Bh. Yes.

Ch. What then must I do? Has my sitting here all these years been just a waste of time? Must I go and look for some Guru to receive initiation seeing that Bhagavan says he is not a Guru?

Bh. What do you think brought you here such a long distance and made you remain so long? Why do you doubt it? If there had been any need to seek a Guru elsewhere you would have gone away long ago.

Ch. Then Bhagavan does have disciples!

Bh. As I said, from Bhagavan’s point of view there are no disciples; but from that of the disciple, the Grace of the Guru is like an ocean. If he comes with a cup he will only get a cupful. It is no use complaining of the niggardliness of the ocean; the bigger the vessel the more he will be able to carry. It is entirely up to him.

Ch. Then to know whether Bhagavan is my Guru or not is just a matter of faith, if Bhagavan will not admit it.

Bh. (Sitting straight up, turning to the interpreter, and speaking with great emphasis). Ask him, does he want me to give him a written document?

Professor Venkatramiah, a disciple of Bhagwan Raman Maharshi recorded in his diary that he said to Mrs. Piggott, an English visitor, “Realization is the result of the Guru’s Grace more than of teachings, lectures, meditations, etc. These are only secondary, but Guru’s grace is the primary and essential cause.”

Socrates and the small boy (This story is also attributed to Ramakrishna Paramhans and Swami Vivekanand):

Once there was a young boy who was very lazy and reluctant to work and progress. His mindset was negative towards life. One day someone told him to go and get some teachings from the great philosopher Socrates. The young boy reached to Socrates and asked him how he could get wisdom, prosperity, and success.

Socrates replied to him, ”Do you really want it, and are you willing to devote yourself for that?”. The boy answered in the affirmative. Socrates told him to come to him the next day. The next day, he took the young boy to a river and ordered him to “Go under the water and stand straight in the river, until I call you back “. The boy followed the order of Socrates.
Then suddenly, Socrates pushed and drowned the boy’s head under the water with his full force, held it there until the boy was gasping for air to breathe, then he relaxed and released his head. The boy was unconscious for some time.

When the boy regained his composure, he asked him, “What did you desire most when you were underwater?”. “I wanted air badly to breathe”, said the boy.

Socrates said to him, “When you want wisdom and success as much as you wanted air when you were immersed in the water, you will receive it”.
Powerful Lesson Of The Story:

If you want to attain something great in life, build the strong-will and passion for that particular thing. Intense desire and powerful belief can change the impossible into the possible.

Another story:

Once Socrates was walking on the beach when he saw a young boy crying. Upon asking about the reason, he showed his cup in hand and said that he is not able to fill the sea into his cup. Hearing this Socrates became very restless. He started crying and rushed to his place. The boy asked him the reason for crying. Socrates explained that even being a child, you know that the vast sea cannot fit into your cup. Yet, I am continuously trying to fit the Supreme God into me through my limited Mind and Intellect.

The boy, by that time, had become calm and was continuously trying to console him. Then, the boy offered a very simple solution by stating that the cup can go into the sea and become the sea. Hearing this Socrates began crying louder. The boy became confused and did not understand the reason for his crying louder. Socrates spoke again, saying: “I did not understand this my entire life”.

This is what our Guru Maharaj has said that we can merge into God and become one with him instead of trying to know God with our limited intellect.

Lord Buddha:

Once Buddha was traveling with his disciples when they stopped at a place for rest. Buddha asked one of his disciples to fetch some water from the nearby stream as he was feeling thirsty. The disciple went to the stream but found that a lot of people were washing their clothes, taking baths, etc., which made the water quite dirty. He could not take the dirty water to his master, so he returned empty-handed.

After some time, Buddha sent another disciple to bring water. He, however, did return with clear water. The first disciple was startled. Buddha asked him, how did he manage to bring clear water? He explained that when he saw people washing clothes and taking baths, he waited for them to finish their job. Then waited for an additional amount of time to enable the dirt in the water to settle down. The water at the top became cleaner. It was this cleaner water that the disciple brought to Buddha.

Buddha explained that our mind also gets mixed up with the environmental dirt due to various activities that we have to perform. With this state of mind, we are not able to focus and lose our discerning intellect. But when we sit in meditation, the dirt settles down and the mind becomes clear. We get our discerning capabilities and see things clearly. The state of confusion gets replaced by clarity. This is the power of meditation.

Param Pujya Premmurthy:

  1. The woodcutter and the sage – Don’t stop, go further:

There was a woodcutter who sold wood cut from the forest and lived on the revenue he received from the sales. He was a poor man because of the limited quantity of wood that he could cut and sell. There was a hermit who used to live at the entrance of the forest. He observed him every day and found that he continued to be poor despite his hard work. One day he called the woodcutter and advised him to go further into the forest, where he would get better quality wood that would fetch a better price.

The woodcutter followed the advice, and his earnings improved with the same quantity of wood. After some time, the hermit again advised him to go deeper into the forest, where he surprisingly found sandalwood. By selling the sandalwood for a better price, he became rich. Subsequently, he did not need to cut wood every day. His standard of life also improved, and he became happier. Days passed before he returned to the hermit with offerings to pay his respect. The hermit advised him not to stop and to go even deeper into the forest. He followed his advice and went even deeper where he unexpectedly found a silver mine and then a gold mine and gems.

He had become very rich. One day he was sitting with the hermit listening to his valuable sermons. He asked him if he knew about the existence of all these precious metals and gems, why didn’t he go himself? To this, the hermit replied that he found higher levels of happiness. Hence, these things do not inspire him to seek happiness by possessing them anymore.

This is what happens when we move ahead on our journey. Slowly, slowly, as we experience Bliss, the sensory pleasure is left behind. This is not just a theory, but we have all experienced it during our trips to Bhandaras.

  1. The horse and the water wheel:

A policeman was going on his regular trip on his horse through a village road. It was quite late, and he felt that his horse was thirsty. He was looking for some water when he spotted a farmer watering his field with the help of a water wheel. It’s a big wheel with small buckets fitted on the periphery. One end of the wheel is in water. Every time a bucket touches the ground, it tilts to spill over the water in it. This is how the water continuously flows to the field, but every time the bucket tilts to empty the water, there is a khat sound.

The policeman took his horse there but every time the horse bent to drink water, it used to get distracted by the sound of the bucket hitting the ground. After some attempts, the policeman asked the farmer to stop it so that the horse can drink water. The farmer replied in a plain tone that the horse will have to learn to drink water with this sound because when the sound stops, the flow of the water also stops.

This is our situation too when we say that we are so preoccupied with our day to day routine work, that we are not able to take up our spiritual practice. We will have to learn to do this amid our busy schedule.