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Swami Vivekanand
Swami Vivekananda, born Narendra Nath Datta, was an Indian Hindu monk .. Maximum output with some simple thoughts...
Work in America
In order to further the cause of India and to free himself from obligation to his friends, he accepted the offer of a lecture bureau for a lecture tour of America. He thought that would help him also in spreading his ideas. The tour took him round the large cities in the Eastern and Mid Western States. Everywhere, people flocked to hear him. His speeches, delivered extempore, were mostly devoted to the exposition of religion and philosophy as preached and practiced by the Hindus through the centuries. He also explained to the America audience the Hindus manners, customs, and religious practices, removing some of the misconceptions spread through the monstrous and fantastic stories told by the Christian missionaries. The Swami also spoke with great reverence on Christ and his teachings and the valuable contribution of the West to the culture and civilization of the world. He did not hide his admiration for the tremendous progress the West had made in the fields of industry and economics, as well as for the western democratic social systems with equal opportunity for everyone. While he was never sparing in his praise of the good side of western civilization, the hollowness of the western society the tears behind the peal of laughter became more and more apparent to him as he moved from city to city. He was mercilessly critical of the defects in European culture the signs of brutality, inhumanity, pettiness, arrogance, and ignorance of other cultures as he was severe in his criticism of the defects of Indian social customs like untouchability and other allied evils during his lectures from Colombo to Almora after his return from the West in 1897. Thus the Swamis western work took him gradually beyond his original plan, which was just to raise money for the uplift of the Indian masses. He realized that his services could not be confined within narrow limits. He wrote to his disciples who were urging him to return to India: I have helped you all as I could. You must now help yourselves. What country has any special claim on me? Am I a nations slave? I do not care whether they are Hindus, or Mohammedans, or Christians, but those that love the Lord will always command my service. He gave away most of his earnings through lectures to the charitable institutions there in American and asked his friends to do the same. He wholeheartedly devoted himself to the service of the West.

This attitude, however, was no mere volte face. It arose from the fact that he had become conscious of the full significance of his lifes work. His mission was to the whole world, not to India only. He realized that his task was to preach the fundamental universal principles of religion, and to preach them to all countries. Later he was to assure India that only if she clung to those universal principles, which were her birthright, would her poverty and other problems be solved. To these universal principles he gave the name Vedanta. As Miss Marie Burke writes in Swami Vivekananda in America: Never before had it been broadened into a philosophy and religion which included every faith of the world and every noble effort of man reconciling spirituality and material advancement, faith and reason, science and mysticism, work and contemplation, service to man and absorption in God. Never before had it been conceived as the one universal religion, by accepting the principles of which the follower of any or no creed could continue along his own path and at the same time be able to identify himself with every other creed and aspect of religion.The Herculean task of teaching Vedanta in a foreign land had completely worn him out; he needed rest badly.

hence he proceeded to Thousand Island Park on the St. Lawrence where, at the earnest request of a few students, who were ready to put aside all other interests to study Vedanta, he agreed to hold classes for them. There, under ideal surroundings, he taught those intimate students. The subjects discussed in that heavenly atmosphere surcharged with his spirituality were many. The Swami expounded to them such precious texts as the Bhagavad Gita and the Narada Bhakti Sutras, with his mind always absorbed in Brahman. He himself said later that he was at his best at Thousand Island Park. One of the students records: Of the wonderful weeks that followed, it is difficult to write. Only if ones mind were lifted to that high state of consciousness in which we lived for the time, could one hope to recapture the experience. We were filled with joy. . . . On the wings of inspiration, he carried us to the height which was his natural abode.


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