Review by Stephen David Mauldin
Vedanta Society of New York
Paperback $3.00 146 pp. 2013
Boom! Its the late 1970s, and Swami Tathagatananda is speaking in Sacramento on a visit with Swami Shraddhananda. The brother monks are having a joyous reunion. We are listening to Tathagatananda’s astute and powerful oratory for the first time. Suddenly, at the critical point of his talk, his voice goes supersonic! It’s not just loudness, it’s power that many of us who have heard him know well. Many years later, in 2012, I had a personal interview with him, sitting there with Shraddhananda’s photo gazing down on us from above Tathagatananda’s desk. It was energizing, to say the least. The Swami is in his 90s now, but I hoped to have his holy company at the July 4, 2013 celebration at Ridgely Manor for the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Tathagatananda had to cancel his attendance as he was not physically well. In consolation, it seems, I was asked at that event to review his book of essays. This way I am enjoying his holy company at a safe distance, as it were, considering his health. Still, I can hear that Voice in his writing. Maybe, with enough grace, I can share some of his insights and together we may not merely reach meditation, but through us Shakti will meditate!
Drawn by this very possibility, I dove directly into the fourth of the six essays, “Swami Vivekananda, Incarnation of Shakti: Apostle of Strength and Manliness.” I take this one as the crest-jewel of the six, and given the space, the only one I introduce in any depth. Obviously, I have been suggesting these essays are not the work of mere research and writing, or that the insights in them are simply intellectual productions. Much deep experience and concentration have generated these writings, and each essay is of inestimable value for us: 1. Swami Vivekananda, Mystic Par Excellence; 2. Swami Vivekananda’s Impact on the Parliament of Religions; 3. Glimpses of Swami Vivekananda’s Heroic Struggle; 5. Value of Brahmacharya; and 6. Swamiji’s Special Relationship with Ajit Singh, A Brief Study.
Given the title of essay 4 one wonders, is there is a contradiction between Vivekananda being an apostle of manliness and also an incarnation of Shakti, the female principle of divine energy? However, no male-female duality is indicated. Clearly, a manly man can embody Shakti. Swami Tathagatananda opens by referencing those who deeply experienced Vivekananda, that embodiment, those who received that Divine Power, who experienced an actual transmission of Shakti. More generally, Vivekananda in person generated a wide range of profound reactions in others, from immediate love to even a kind of fear. Tathagatananda relates the experiences several people had with the great Swami. They speak of his appearance making others near him seem “insignificant in comparison,” of a spiritual presence that “rang continuously like a gong,” or like “dominant thunder.” His eyes were said to be “captivating,” and he “appeared to emanate light.”
Many are the stories of Vivekananda’s manifestation of incredible memory and intellect, of his powers of concentration, of his clarity when spontaneously speaking and writing, of masterful singing and other musical abilities—manifestations of endless facets of an astounding personality. But Tathagatananda in this essay gets directly to the question: “What was the hidden source of Swamiji’s dynamism?” He answers his question with the supreme conception of the Upanishads: the non-duality of complete Self-knowledge. Where there is two, there is fear; so Vivekananda’s Divine Consciousness, not being a fragmented consciousness reflected by a more common mind, was the infinite source of the Shakti manifesting the unlimited Power he embodied.
Tathagatananda then makes a statement that is most significant and effective, one that carries the rest of the essay: “What leads one to the inaccessible veil of mystery that covers Truth and pierces it is intuition alone.” True intuition is “supra-rational, never irrational.”
He goes on to proclaim that Vivekananda’s “clarion call for human development is unique.” Tathagatananda describes it as a calling to live “a life dynamically determined to find unity.” He, Vivekananda, “assured everyone of the infinite capacity within them waiting to be harnessed through strength of character.”
The essay recalls many quotes from Vivekananda’s complete works that are direct appeals to our intuitive experience of the Divine Power. We are clearly reminded, that though we missed Vivekananda’s embodiment speaking words which were “vibrations of his immortal soul charged with a fire whose heat was actually felt by those who listened to him,” his words “carry that fire even today and will do so through the ages.” We can do no better than end by evoking Vivekananda-Shakti now in his own words, just as Swami Tathagatananda concludes this excellent essay:
Teach yourselves, teach everyone his real nature, call upon the sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that is excellent will come, when this sleeping soul is roused to self-conscious activity.
TEPHEN DAVID MAULDIN a student of Swami Shraddhananda from 1972, remained with him for over ten years. Subsequently he worked for many years in Central and East Asia. He is currently retired and lives in Brooklyn, NY.” STDAMA9@YAHOO.COM
Swami Vivekananda was a great religious Hindu saint and leader who founded the Ramakrishna Mission and Ramakrishna Math. We celebrate National Youth Day every year on 12th of January at his birth anniversary. Students may get assigned by their teachers to write some paragraphs or complete essay on Swami Vivekananda. Now-a-days, essay writing is one of the good strategies followed by the teachers in the schools and colleges to enhance the English writing skill and knowledge of the students about any topic. Essay writing is also an effective way to get views, ideas and thoughts of students over any topic. We have provided some paragraphs, short essays and long essays on Swami Vivekananda to help students in successfully completing their task in the school. All the Swami Vivekananda essay are written very simply using easy English language. So, you can select any essay according to your need and requirement:
Essay on Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda Essay 1 (100 words)
Swami Vivekananda was born on 12th of January in 1863 in Kolkata as Narendranath Datta to the Vishwanath Datta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi. He was an extraordinary child with spiritual thoughts. His education was irregular but he completed Bachelor of Arts degree from the Scotish Church College, Kolkata. His religious and monk life started when he met to the Shri Ramakrishna and made him Guru. Later he led the Vedanta movement and introduced the Indian philosophy of Hinduism in western countries. His Chicago speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religion on 11th September, 1893 had represented India held in Chicago. He became successful in establishing Hinduism as the important world religion. He was very intelligent person with in-depth knowledge of Hindu scriptures (Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Bhagawata Gita, etc). Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raj Yoga, and Jnana Yoga are some of his famous and major works.
Swami Vivekananda Essay 2 (150 words)
Swami Vivekananda was a great patriotic leader, born as Narendra Nath Datta in Kolkata on 12th of January 1863. He was one of the eight siblings of his parents Vishwanath Datta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi. He was very intelligent boy and active in music, gymnastics and studies. He took his graduation from Calcutta University and got knowledge about different subjects including Western philosophy and history. He was born with yogic temperament and later used to practice meditation. He was very eager to know about God from childhood. Once he was passing through the spiritual crisis, he met to the Sri Ramakrishna and asked a question that “Sir, have you seen God?” Sri Ramakrishna replied him that “Yes, I have. I see Him as clearly as I see you, only in a much intenser sense”. He became one of the great followers of Sri Ramakrishna and started following his orders.
Swami Vivekananda Essay 3 (200 words)
Swami Vivekananda was born on 12th of January in 1863 in Calcutta as Narendra Nath Datta. The name of his parents was Vishwanath Datta (an attorney at Calcutta High Court) and Bhuvaneshwari Devi (a religious housewife). He was a most popular Hindu monk and patriotic saint of India. His teachings and valuable thoughts are the biggest philosophical asset of India. He had founded Belur Math, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. His birth anniversary is celebrated every year at Saptami in Paush Krishna Paksha after the full moon day.
It is declared by the Indian government to celebrate the birth date of Swami Vivekananda every year as National Youth Day on 12th of January since 1985. The aim of celebrating this day is to motivate young generations as well as inculcate these pious ideals into the coming generations. At this day people remember Swami Vivekananda and his contributions to the country. It is celebrated with great devotion at headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission including their branch centers. Various activities like homa, meditation, mangal arti, devotional songs, religious discourses, sandhya arti, etc are performed on this day.
Swami Vivekananda Essay 4 (250 words)
Swami Vivekananda, a worldwide popular monk, was born in Calcutta on 12th of January in 1863. He was called as Narendra Nath Datta in his childhood. His birth anniversary is celebrated every year as National Youth Day in India. He was one of the eight siblings of Viswanath Dutta, a lawyer at High Court of Calcutta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi. He was a bright student however his education was irregular. He was very religious and spiritual person, popular for his Sanskrit knowledge. He was a truth speaker, good scholar, and a player. He was very religious in nature from childhood and quite disturbed that where he could get God. One day he met with the Sri Ramakrishna (Priest at Dakshineswar Kali temple) when he got changed because of the spiritual influence of Sri Ramakrishna. He was called as Swami Vivekananda when he accepted Ramakrishna as his spiritual master.
After the death of his Guru, he attended the Parliament of Religions, Chicago in 1893 where he had to face many difficulties. He was ranked, as greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions, by one of the newspapers in New York. Swami Vivekananda was a great patriot and greatest spiritual figure all over the country who tried to remove poverty from India. He had founded an organization known as Ramakrishna Mission on 1st of May in 1897 which is involved in propagating Practical Vedanta and variety of social services. He died at the age 39 on 4th of June in 1902.
Swami Vivekananda Essay 5 (300 words)
Swami Vivekananda was born in the Shimla Pally in Calcutta on 12th of January in 1863 and died on 4th of July in 1902. He was the chief follower of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. His birth name was Narendranath Datta who later became the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. He was the person of Indian origin who became successful in introducing the Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in the Europe and America. He revived Hinduism in the modern India. His inspiring speech is still followed among the youths of the country. He had also introduced the Hinduism at Parliament of the World’s Religions at Chicago in 1893.
His father name was Vishwanath Datta, an attorney of Calcutta High Court, and mother name was Bhuvaneshwari Devi. Swami Vivekananda was influenced by the rational mind of his father and religious temperament of his mother. He learned self-control from his mother and later became an expert in meditation. His self control was really amazing using which he could easily enter to the state of samadhi. He developed a remarkable leadership quality in his young age. He came in contact with the Sri Ramakrishna after visiting to the Brahmo Samaj when he was youth. He stayed with his monk-brothers at the Boranagar Monastfery. In his later life, he decided for touring India and started wandering from place to place and reached Trivandum where he decided to attend the Parliament of Religions at Chicago.
He became very popular all around the world after delivering effective speeches and lectures at many places. He returned to India and founded Ramakrishna Maths and Mission in 1897, Advaita Ashrama in Mayavati (near Almora) in 1899. The Ashrama was a branch of the Ramakrishna Math. The famous arati song, Khandana Bhava Bandhana is composed by him. Once he meditated for three hours at Belur Math. It is considered that once he went to meditate in his room. He asked not to be disturbed and died while meditating.
Swami Vivekananda Essay 6 (400 words)
Swami Vivekananda was born in Calcutta, on 12th January in 1863 during Makar Sankranti festival, in a traditional Bengali Kayastha family. The birth name of Swami Vivekananda was Narendranath Datta (also called as Narendra or Naren). He was one of the nine siblings of his parents (father Vishwanath Datta, an attorney in Calcutta High Court and mother Bhubaneswari Devi). He was developed into the most effective personality under the environment of rational attitude of his father and religious temperament of his mother.
He was a spiritual person from his young age and used to meditate before the statues of Hindu God (Lord Shiva, Hanuman, etc). He was inspired by the wandering ascetics and monks of his time. He was very naughty from his childhood and out of control of his parents. He was told ghost by his mother according to the statement, “I prayed to Shiva for a son and he has sent me one of his ghosts”. He enrolled to the Chandra Vidyasagar’s Metropolitan Institution for study in 1871 (when he was eight years old) and to the Presidency College in 1879. He was very bright student in the subjects like social science, philosophy, history, religion, art and literature. He studied Western logic, European history, Western philosophy, Sanskrit scriptures and Bengali literature.
He was very religious person interested in Hindu scriptures (Vedas, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata, Upanishads, Puranas, etc). He was also active in Indian classical music, sports, physical exercises, and other activities. He was told as, “Narendra is really a genius” by the William Hastie (principal of General Assembly’s Institution).
He was very enthusiastic towards Hinduism and became very successful in creating new understanding among people about Hinduism both within and outside the country. He became successful in promoting meditation, yoga, and other Indian spiritual way of self-improvement in the West. He was the nationalistic ideal for the people of India. He drew the attention of many Indian leaders through his nationalistic ideas. He was praised by the Sri Aurobindo for awakening India spiritually. He was also admired by the Mahatma Gandhi as one of the great Hindu reformers who promoted the Hindu religion.
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (first governor-general of independent India) said that Swami Vivekananda was the person who had saved Hinduism and India. He was told as “the maker of modern India” by the Subhas Chandra Bose. His effective writings had inspired many Indian independence activists such as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Aurobindo Ghose, Bagha Jatin, etc. Before his death on 4th of July in 1902, he meditated for three hours at Belur Math.
Speech on Swami Vivekananda