Had there been no Vivekananda, what would have happened to our national life? The answer would frighten us, surely.
There were two options before him in 1891 : either to settle down in the serene Himalayas and continue penance and become one of the many ascetics and saints of Bharat or take the path that would lead straight in to the heart of Bharat and humanity to redeem them from suffering. He took the road less travelled by. His deep desire for spiritual quest in the holy Himalayas could not ‘defeat’ the role that destiny had entrusted him with. After all, Vivekananda was a destiny's child. It will be significant here to recall the prophetic words of his guru Sree Ramakrishna Paramahansa. In August 1886, when Vivekananda (known as ‘Naren’ then) pleaded Ramakrishna to show him the way to Nirvikalpa Samadhi—a state of final bliss after becoming completely free from earthly ties—he (Ramakrishna) exclaimed with a sharp rebuke , “ I never thought you so mean as to be anxious for your own salvation only whereas you have powers to do so much good for the mankind !”
Another Story : The Rejuvenator
Though Ramakrishna had expressed his disappointment at Vivekananda's longing for personal salvation , he understood the heart of his beloved disciple. So after a while, on the same day, Ramakrishna softly said , “ Naren , today I have given you my all and have become a beggar. By the force transmitted by me , great things will be done by you, only after that , will you go to the place from where you have come.”
It was this prophecy and blessings of Ramakrishna that showed Vivekananda the path that he had to walk. Fortunately for Bharat and humanity , Vivekananda gave up his lure for the Himalayas and turned to people of his motherland. He cut himself off from his brother monks and wandered alone through Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Mysore , Malabar , Madhura and Rameswaram. Renowned French scholar Romain Rolland writes : “He wandered , free from plan , caste , home , constantly alone with God. And there was no single hour of his life when he was not brought into contact with the sorrows , the desires , the abuses , the misery , and the feverishness of living men , rich and poor, in town and field ; he became one with their lives ; the great Book of Life revealed to him what all the books in the libraries could not have done. He saw tragic face of the present day , the God struggling in humanity and heard the cry of the peoples of Bharat and of the world for help.”
The suffering of people of his country and humanity at large had moved Vivekananda so much that he dived deep in to meditation for days together in order to find the solution. There he clearly saw the past , the present and the future of Bharat. Those meditations had opened up a path before him. He remembered his master's thundering words : '' Religion is not for empty stomachs.'' He decided to sacrifice his desire for personal salvation and live for the salvation of millions of his countrymen. The monk in him gave up the path to samadhi and took up the path to samarpan.
Will Durant , the American historian and philosopher writes : “He (Vivekananda ) preached his countrymen a more virile creed than any Hindu had offered them since vedic days. He said : It is man-making education that we want … Give up this weakening mysticisms, and be strong… For the next fifty years … let all other vain gods disappear form our minds. This is the only God that is wake, our own race, everywhere His hands, everywhere His feet, everywhere His ears; He covers everything.. The first of all worship is the worship of those all around us .. These are our gods – men and animals ; and the first gods we have to worship are our own countrymen.” P Satish