Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
What I Love about Swami Vivekanada is how He never minced His words. He couldn’t tolerate hypocrisy within Himself or with others. He walked the talk and He lambasted Brahmins, Christians, Kings, Priests, Philosophers, Gurus and one and all, if He felt them coming from ego, selfishness, weakness and most importantly, if they came from false discrimination.
He was very clear about a few things in life and all His life He strived to spread the simple philosophy of Oneness. He was clear that God wasn’t warming some fancy seat up there in Heaven but the fact is that in each and every living being throbbed the sigh of the Creator and that each and every living being’s main duty to oneself was to recognise the Godhood within. He was clear that serving the hungry, the ailing, the downtrodden, the weak, the untouchable, the damned, the so called outcasts, was the most important spiritual duty of every human being; more important than meditation, prayers, Religion, scriptures and even liberation.
His was the philosophy of Oneness, and that to realise Oneness, each individual had to go within, seek it out, be filled with the essence of Oneness and then bloody well spread the fragrance to all of Creation and not use it for one’s own personal liberation or growth.
For Him, to serve those in need and then instill this feeling of Oneness amongst one and all, irrespective of caste, creed, sex, Religion and all the other divisions that mankind has so conveniently created to meet his or her parochial needs, was His first and all pervading mission. He was clear that God cannot be found on an empty stomach, and that God could not be found in idols, places of worship, scriptures or even wandering about in the by lanes of Heaven.
The man called a spade a spade, and He wasn’t scared of God, devil, monarchy, superstition, Religious fanatics, media, or what the world thought about Him.
He loved his cigarettes and pipes and hookah and cigars. He enjoyed His smoking so much that when He was once asked by a Maharaja and the other time by a Prime Minister, what could He be presented with (cash, gold, whatever), He smiled and opted for a good pipe from the former and cigars from the latter.
He ate non vegetarian food, and when He was asked as to which was the most glorious period of Indian history, without blinking an eyelid He said, the Vedic period, when ‘five Brahmins used to polish off one cow’.
“If the people of India want me to keep strictly to my Hindu diet, please tell them to send me a cook and money enough to keep him. I do not believe in any politics. God and Truth are the only politics in the world; everything else is trash.”
He said that if Oneness was not the priority, it was rather better to play football than read The Gita. But He was the same Person who had embraced poverty and chastity. Who even consumed His own Master’s spit, to convince all the disciples that what His Master’s body was plagued with was not infectious. He toiled ceaselessly to serve the poor and the downtrodden. But He cared a rat’s arse to what people thought about Him or the way He went about with His life.
Swami Vivekananda had predicted that He would leave His body before He reached the age of forty years. He took Samadhi when He was thirty nine years and a few months. He suffered from thirty one ailments and still worked ceaselessly till He felt it was time to move on.
He was the greatest Orator and only spoke of Oneness, not just spiritually, but to reach the stage of Oneness where every being not only has God within, but in fact, each being was God, waiting to find and realise Him and Her Self. He was of the firm belief that every being was a Soul encased in the body and every Soul was potentially Divine. His mission was to manifest this Oneness, this Divinity within, which He felt could be done by controlling one’s internal and inherent nature collected through life times of Karma and impressions and also changing the external around each individual. If one operated from the spirit of Oneness, this change was inevitable. He was extremely practical and knew that every individual has his or her own strengths and weakness, and it was through operating from the strengths and ignoring and killing the weaknesses, which paved the way for Divinity to surface and blossom within. Thus, Divinity within could be evoked either through selfless work, worship of the internal Spirit within, mental discipline to crush all that which takes you away from Godhood, or by associating oneself to the right philosophy which could be received from somebody who is already advanced on this path; by one, or more, or all of these; which would bring about freedom from the clutches of duality and demands of the external and gross world for sure. He was clear that one needed to be in the world, work for the world, and not rest until every individual has not moved ahead on the path. For Him, liberation or mukti was a waste of time, and energy ill spent if done only for the individual self. He was clear that until every individual was not liberated, He would keep returning to Mother Earth to serve and spread the message of Oneness.
For Him, to serve the poor was serving God itself, and not only to put them on the path of Oneness, but also to make them strong and educated to work hard for family and society was His mission on Mother Earth. He was a patriot who believed the Earth to be His country and every single human being to be His brethren….to unveil the dust covering Godhood within each being was His undertaking in life. He believed that Religion has an essential inner foundation, which is the spirituality of Oneness, and the non essential outer layering which is comprised of rituals, beliefs, dogmas, books, customs, places of worship, idols and various forms, but these are secondary stuff. He didn’t care much or at all, for the latter.
He fought tooth and nail to accept and embrace His Guru, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Maa Kali, the Divine Universal Mother. He would question and question till He was convinced. Yes, He had a strong opinion about everything, and He fought with Maa and Guru often, till He eventually bowed down and embraced Both of Them within.
He was also greatly influenced by the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedanta philosophy, Jesus Christ, and also by Universalism, Neoplatonism, Herbert Spencer Immanuel Kant and Pavhari Baba. He was still the same Man who said never to believe anybody or any book till you didn’t use your brains and discretion and made sure what was told, suited you. If it suited your temperament, then all was fine. If it didn’t, then move on.
He was truly way ahead of His times. He was like a Rockstar who danced to the rhythm of Maa Kali and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and nobody else.
So who was Swami Vivekananda?
He was born on January 12th, 1863. His mother was a pious soul and believed in prayers and joyful service to one and all. She prayed to all Gods and Goddesses, but Shiva dominated her prayers as she wanted a son who would be like Him, a Yogi. One night she dreamt that Shiva got up from His meditation and told her that He would be born as her Son. She named Him Vireswara, but the family for whatever reason, shot her suggestion down and called Him, Narendranath, which became Narendra, which eventually became Naren.
He was born into an affluent family. The mother was pious and the father was an eminent lawyer and also a philanthropist, but he didn’t take much to Religion or all the stuff adjoined to rituals and worship. The outflow of scholars and intellectuals was heavy, and thus since childhood Vivekananda got spirituality from His mother and intellectualism as well as pursuit of logic from His dad. Both of these traits would always be a part of Him. He was inherently spiritual, but inwardly an intellectual, who questioned every damn thing under the Radiant Sun.
Since childhood Vivekananda was a handful integrated mass of activity and He had an issue with sleep all His life. He later admitted that He suffered from insomnia, one of the thirty one illnesses which He eventually suffered from. Since childhood He was filled with energy and would participate in everything that He possibly could, and after that He would create more activities and still stand out in the academic pursuits. This energy prevailed within Him till He decided to drop the body.
Because of His mother, He was found of Gods and Goddesses and Shri Ram and Sita Maa were His favourites, till one day He realised that They were married and for some reason He locked up The Idols in a cupboard, and began to focus on Shiva, as Shiva was a Yogi and away from the world and family matters. This could also be because Vivekananda was fascinated with Monks and Sages and Fakirs and whatever came into His hand was offered to the wandering spiritual Chaps. To the extent that if a word went about that there was a spiritual dude walking about near the house, the family frantically shut all the windows and doors and locked Vivekananda inside, less our Man began to distribute the family largess to the wandering Monk.
Vivekananda grew up to be a voracious reader, who could memories pages after one glance. He was educated in English and other languages, and thus took to various philosophers who insisted on the use of logic over spirituality. The power to reason was given all importance over the power of The Creator and faith.
But Vivekananda as a child and right till He dropped His body used to meditate and often saw visions and Light coming forth from between His brows; The Third Eye. Thus, on one hand He pursued all the intellectual stuff and on the other hand He kept on with His fascination for Monks and meditation.
He was clear of the fact that all human beings were equal, and to prove His point, when He was young, He decided to smoke from every pipe kept for visitors, including the pipe kept for Moslems and the untouchables; those days the issue with untouchables and religious bigotry was at its peak. For Him, to do so, shows that even at a young age He didn’t care much for prejudices and dogmas. Also, till He wasn’t convinced He never took anybody’s word for granted. ‘Do not believe in a thing because you have read about it in a book. Do not believe in a thing because another man has said it was true. Do not believe in words because they are hallowed by tradition. Find out the truth for yourself. Reason it out. That is realization.’
In college He studied Western logic. Thereafter He specialized in Western philosophy and the ancient and modern history of different European nations. Thus, He was a Man who had grown up with western logic and philosophy which is quite distant from Indian spiritualism. One insists on asking questions until one is not satisfied. The other insists to surrender before The Master and keep your gob shut and do as The Master Wills.
Vivekananda then joined The Brahmo Samaj movement, which strongly advocated discarding rituals and idol worship and focus on the ‘emancipation of women, the remarriage of Hindu widows, the abolition of early marriage and the spread of mass education’.
It was during this time that two things led Him eventually to His Guru, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. One was that, He was going through His own inner turmoil. I am sure He being a young robust, over energetic and hyperactive Man, must have had to wrestle with the demons of the flesh. He began to realise that pure logic didn’t cut ice against the raging hormones.
Secondly, He wanted to experience and realise God and thus felt the need of a Master to guide Him on this spiritual path.
He first went to the leader of Brahmo Samaj, Mr. Devendranath and asked him if he had seen God. After being assured that Dev hadn’t seen God, Vivekananda was told to meditate more if He wanted to glimpse God, and it was then that the name Ramakrishna Paramahamsa came to Vivekanada’s mind. His teacher, Professor Hastie had told Him that Religious ecstasy was not for all, not even for the most spiritually exalted, and that ‘only one person who has realized that blessed state, and he is Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar. You will understand trances if you visit the Saint.’
This is how The Guru called Vivekanand to His fold.
Three meetings with The Guru would transform His life and this is how it all played out.
The first time that They met was at a disciple’s house. Vivekananda sang a few soulful songs and Ramakrishna was very touched by the young Man’s composure, bearing and dignified presence. He invited the young Man to Dakshineswar.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was already renowned for His love for Maa Kali. The Mother was known to reside in The Guru and Ramakrishna had studied Hinduism, Christianity and Islam and proclaimed the Universal Oneness of The Creator. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was guided through Maa Kali to start a Religion based on the doctrine of a Universal Religion; that of Oneness. His philosophy was simple. Love your God, Goddess, Master and it is through selfless love, remembrance and childlike devotion that The Creator, who was Maa Kali for Him, would make Her presence be felt within you and then lead you to Her. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was earnestly waiting for His boys to come and spread Her message of Oneness and The Universal Religion. He used to cry out to Mother to send His boys to Him, and in Naren or Vivekananda He saw His successor and leader to spread the message of The Universal Religion and Oneness to all of Creation.
The next meeting between The Guru and The Stubborn Disciple was momentous as well as rather unusual. Vivekananda sang again and The Master realised for certainty, that this young Man was The One. Ramakrishna was like a child. He was not of the world. Many considered Him to be very strange. He did not care much for social norms. He took Naren to a silent spot and asked the young Man why had He come so late and why was He so unkind to have taken so much time to meet Ramakrishna.
Then with folded hands Ramakrishna told the astounded Vivekananda that: ‘Lord! I know you are the ancient sage Nara — the Incarnation of Narayana — born on Earth to remove the miseries of mankind.’
Vivekananda sort of freaked out. He was not used to such a display of raw emotion. He was astounded that such a renowned Master would talk, what according to Him, was sheer gibberish. Then to make matters worse, The Master, brought some sweets and hand fed the stunned Vivekananda, who one must remember came from a very aristocratic family where such outwardly emotions were not a done thing. To the extent that Vivekananda began to wonder if He had made a blunder even coming to meet this strange Master.
But there was something about The Master that made Vivekananda experience a kind of peace and calmness that He had not experience ever before in this lifetime. He was sort of confused. But He still agreed to come once more to meet The Master. Before leaving He asked The Master, whether Ramakrishna had seen God ever.
As a matter of fact Ramakrishna replied that obviously He had seen God, and that, not only had He seen God but seen Him as clearly as He saw Vivekananda. In fact He saw God more clearly than He saw others in the room. He told the young Man, (who I am sure must have looked at The Master with mouth ajar) that, ‘But who cares for God? People shed torrents of tears for their wives, children, wealth, and property, but who weeps for the vision of God? If one cries sincerely for God, one can surely see Him.’
Though Vivekananda was rather put off by The Master’s earlier behavior, He not once could doubt the sincerity and authenticity of The Master’s reply. He knew there was something about this strange Man, who the world worshipped as the Vehicle and Embodiment of Maa Kali. There was something peaceful and child like about Ramakrishna and the sense of calmness pervaded the very heart of Vivekananda. It was a surreal experience.
The second time He visited The Master in Dakshineswar freaked Vivekananda out more. The Master was ecstatic to meet the young Man. He spoke softly to Him, focusing His attention on Vivekananda and The Third Eye and then gently put His right foot on Vivekananda’s body. The experience truly confused, petrified and astounded Vivekananda. The room, the people, the walls, the very world and including Himself began to disappear and Vivekananda got petrified as He thought this was it, He was going to die, no thanks to this strange Man who the world calls a Master. He began to cry out that He couldn’t die so young and that He had a family and parents and siblings to take care of. The Master laughed, stroked the young Man’s chest and told Him, guess there is a time for everything. Vivekananda was confused and upset. He first thought there was some trick at play, even hypnotism, but He was certain there was no way any living Soul could hypnotize Him, and thus realised that there was more than what met the eye where Ramakrishna was concerned. He left, but for some reason again promised to come and visit The Master.
Third time was no different. Once again in the garden The Master who was Himself in a trance, intoxicated by Devi’s Presence and Her Energy, touched the unsuspecting Vivekananda and before the young Man could say ‘what the….’ He lost all consciousness.
When Vivekananda was unconscious, The Master asked Him various questions, and through the answers, which must have come from the Higher Self of Vivekananda, The Master was convinced that the young Man, who now lay horizontal on the garden floor was The One. The Master later told His disciples that Vivekananda was perfection personified much before His birth, in fact He was one of The Perfect Seven Sages. The Perfect Seven Sages or Saptarshis, live in the realm of the Absolute Reality. Many consider The Seven Sages even beyond all known Gods and Goddesses. Ramakrishna like a child also informed one and all that, Vivekananda was adept at meditation and that the day Vivekananda truly realised who He was He would give up the body through a particular breathing technique and go into a state of Samadhi.
Also, that it was on His beckoning that Vivekananda, One of The Perfect Seven Sages, agreed to come down to Mother Earth, to assist Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s mission of spreading the Universal Religion of Oneness.
It took Vivekananda six years to accept Ramakrishna as His Guru. He was often rude or cold to The Master. He ridiculed The Master’s visions of Gods and Goddesses, as mere hallucinations. He questioned and argued with The Master. He made it clear that no man was without weakness and limitations and scoffed at The Master’s assertions that the Latter was the Embodiment of Maa Kali and thus He had no limitations. Vivekananda refused to surrender and accept Paramahamsa as The One. His mind was filled with doubts and suspicions. He even taunted The Master on frequently going into either ecstasy or trance or both combined.
Ramakrishna was always full of love and tenderness with Vivekananda. Every doubt, rebuke, question, accusation was answered with love and calmness. All wondered how this was possible, as in the tradition of Master and Disciple, blind faith and complete surrender are mandatory. But Ramakrishna realised that till the well of logic would not dry up, the spring of true faith would not spring forth.
Obviously there was anger, jealousy, wonderment as to why Ramakrishna loved the seemingly haughty and proud Man, but Ramakrishna was like a proud mother and a possessive lover, and would not tolerate any criticism towards Vivekananda.
The Master would praise Vivekananda openly and the young Man would hate such adulation, often accusing The Master of being infatuated with Him. He was blunt, embarrassed, rude, but He too could not do without the child like Master.
Often Vivekananda would try to explain to Ramakrishna that medically and psychologically when one was in love or infatuated, the mind played tricks, and thus The Master wanted to see greatness in Vivekananda, and there were no visions and all that jazz. The Child like Master listened to His learned disciple and ran to ask The Mother about the authenticity of either His visions or Vivekananda’s logic. The Mother told Him, ‘why do You care about what He says? In a short time He will accept Your every word as true.’
Once The Master told Vivekananda, ‘You are a rogue. I won’t listen to You anymore. Mother says that I love You because I see the Lord in You. The day I shall not see Him in You, I shall not be able to bear even the sight of You.’
If Vivekananda didn’t visit The Master, Ramakrishna travelled a distance to meet Him, and He didn’t care where Vivekananda was or with whom or what He was doing. The Child like Master would present Himself, and once He saw Vivekananda He would go into a trance, much to the anger and embarrassment of Vivekananda.
But inspite of all His anger, all the ridiculing of The Master’s visions and trances and The Mother’s Presence and Her worship and The Master’s love and communication with Maa Kali, Vivekananda loved Ramakrishna. Vivekananda was certain that if there was any individual who was the closest to Divinity, it was Ramakrishna. He loved Him, but I guess His aristocratic upbringing couldn’t let Him digest the innocent and the simple ways of The Master.
In fact once The Master asked Vivekananda that, if He didn’t accept or believe in Maa Kali, why did He keep coming to visit Ramakrishna.
‘Must I accept Her,’ Vivekananda it seems to have replied, ‘Simply because I come to see You? I come to You because I love You.’
Then Ramakrishna went within and told the young Man that, one day not only will He accept Maa Kali as The Divine Universal Mother, but will shed tears of pain, for being separated from Her.
Vivekananda refused to believe what eventually became His greatest reality.
One of the greatest issues for Vivekananda was Ramakrishna’s first belief and conviction that God resided in everything and every being was God waiting to manifest Godhood. He couldn’t accept that even inanimate objects also possessed God. Vivekananda was clear that mankind was a depraved animal and God could not reside in all and everything. Once the Master in one of His trances touched Vivekananda and for the first time the young Man experienced the Oneness of it all, that everybody, everything, and all of Creation was in reality ‘One’. Whether the meal He consumed, the people around Him, the trees, the objects, all appeared to contain the fabric of Oneness.
The reality was that Vivekananda had on one hand all logic, western philosophy and His own upbringing, and on the other hand He had this Child Like Master who was always in ecstasy with His union with Maa Kali, The Divine Mother. Slowly the young Man began to see the difference between knowledge and wisdom, glitter and gold and began to go deeper into meditation. So deep within that He began to lose the sense of the body and the more He identified with the Spirit within the more He was convinced that His Master was the only one who would not only show Him the true reality, but bless Him with the touch of God madness.
Just when Vivekananda was moving towards the path, His father passed over. All this while, when His father was alive, Vivekananda had never to worry about money or his day to day needs as He lived a life of affluence. But the moment His father passed over, reality struck. His father had lived beyond His means and suddenly they were poverty stricken. He had an elderly mother and the responsibility of seven other family members. Try as hard as He must nobody would give him a job and He couldn’t make ends meet.
Even His pious mother told Him that God no longer existed, as if He did, would they have to go through such harrowing times. Vivekananda often landed up fighting with his friends and disciples of Ramakrishna. He went hungry for days and nights. He became bitter. Wondered if God truly existed and due to His arguments, word went about that not only had He become an atheist, but He had begun to indulge in so called amoral activities.
Everybody seemed convinced that the slander was true. In this world a lie told a hundred times becomes the fugging truth. But The Master knew, and would make sure that nobody spoke a word against His Vivekananda.
The fact is that Vivekananda was clear about one thing. He would not believe in God because He feared Him. He would believe in God if He loved Him. Then one day, wet from rain, cold, and hungry, He sat on the road and suddenly one by one, through the mercy of The Master, all the duality and veils began to drop. The True Oneness and Compassion of The Creator came through. God is all Merciful. God is not a tyrant or a dictator. God knew why and when and has His ways. He is Compassion personified. Vivekananda for the first time realised His mission in life. He knew He had to become a Monk to serve.
He met The Master and The Master went into a trance and made the young Man promise Him that yes He would be a Monk, but would be a part of the world, and serve the world but made the young Man promise Him that Vivekananda would remain in the world for a while, at least as long as Ramakrishna was in the body. The Master cried and The Disciple gave Him the word, though He was perplexed how could He decide when to leave His body.
Soon He got a job, enough to keep the family’s body and Soul together. Then one day He went to The Master and told Him that Mother Kali would listen to everything The Master wanted. Why couldn’t The Master request Maa Kali to bring his family out of this hand to mouth existence? So The Master told Vivekananda why didn’t He go and talk to Maa directly on His own and He promised the young Man that whatever He asked of Maa, He would get. Maa Kali is Compassion Personified and whoever has asked anything of Her from a selfless true heart, with faith and devotion has never returned empty handed. That is the word of The Master to His favourite disciple.
So at night Vivekananda happily went into Maa Kali’s Temple. He sat in front of Maa’s Idol and realised that it wasn’t the Idol, it was Maa Herself. Vivekananda prostrated Himself in front of Maa and asked for Her Love, Strength, Wisdom, and to be able to see and hear and feel Her all the time. He returned happily to His Master, and told Him all. When reminded that the young Man hadn’t asked for wealth and comfort, Ramakrishna sent Vivekananda back to the Temple to ask for material comforts. Again the young Man asked Mother for Her Grace, Wisdom, Renunciation, Her vision…everything but hard cash. So again He was sent, and once again He asked for spiritual stuff and nothing about money. Eventually He realised that the Master made Him forget about worldly things every time He prostrated Himself in front of Her. The Master then promised only one thing, material comfort was no longer in the destiny of the young Man’s family but they would be able to keep body and Soul together.
But the Master was so tender that once He asked a wealthy disciple if the man could assist Vivekananda’s family financially. Vivekananda got to know about this, and was very heartbroken and upset. The Master told Him, ‘My Naren! I can do anything for You, even beg from door to door.’ Vivekananda was so moved that a few days later told one of His fellow brother disciples, ‘The Master made me His slave by His Love for Me.’
Vivekananda spent six years with The Master. Now The Master’s time had come to leave the body. In 1885, Ramakrishna began to suffer from a throat problem which was diagnosed as cancer. He was asked to rest and not go into a trance but The Master did not listen. Vivekananda along with fellow brother disciples took care of The Master. Once there was a rumour that the cancer was contagious and many of the disciples were scared of being infected. Vivekananda took the disciples and a plate that had left over food along with the Master’s saliva, Vivekananda happily ate the left over’s and all.
The devotees and caretakers were convinced that all was well. Vivekananda was a born leader and it was obvious He would carry on The Ramakrishna Mission work.
In these last months with The Master, Vivekananda once asked for liberation and The Master scolded Him, saying that liberation was a selfish act, a personal act, while spirituality was an act of service and seva. Vivekananda cried profusely. How times had changed! He saw God in Ramakrishna and He saw The Mother in Him too. He knew that only selfless love and service to all was what both His Master and Maa Kali seek from Him. From that day He said damn to His personal liberation. He would serve and bring more and more into the family of Oneness. He longed for merger but a merger where He could continue to serve. He wanted to bathe in Her Radiance. He cried for it now, as His Master had predicted earlier.
Ramakrishna initiated a number of boys into the monastic life, and thus The Master, while His body throbbed dimly, with the cancer spreading, laid the foundation of the Ramakrishna Order of monks which Vivekananda would spread across the country and abroad. Vivekananda saw how the cancer was eating into His Master and yet how unaffected The Master was to the pain. He knew The Master had reached a stage where He only identified with The Spirit and not with the body.
Once Vivekananda pleaded with The Master to tell Maa to cure Him or at least ease the pain so that He could swallow some food. Ramakrishna refused, but He could never refuse Vivekananda for long. So He shut His eyes and prayed to Maa Kali. ‘I told Maa that I could not swallow any food on account of the sore in my throat, and asked Her to do something about it. But the Mother said, pointing to you all, “Why, are you not eating enough through all these mouths?” I felt so humiliated that I could not utter another word.’
Vivekananda continued with His mediation wanting to realise the state of True Reality and Complete Oneness. He wanted to experience the state of Samadhi. The Master refused to entertain such a request. One day Vivekananda while meditating entered the state of Samadhi. He experienced the state of Oneness and became one with The Light.
When He regained consciousness He could only feel His head but not the rest of His body. One of the disciples realising the strangeness of the situation went rushing to The Master. Ramakrishna listened somberly, not surprised, and after a while told the disciple in a soft voice, ‘Let him stay in that state for a while; He has teased me long enough for it’.
Vivekananda after a while, regaining all senses of His body, went to The Master. Ramakrishna looked at Him and smiled and told Him that He had experienced The Radiance, Love, Compassion and Oneness with The Mother. He had experienced the Highest Form of Consciousness. He would keep the key to this door. Only when Vivekananda was certain He can complete His work would Ramakrishna give Him the key to unlock this Door and experience this state of Oneness forever.
Ramakrishna then revealed to the other disciples that a day would come when Vivekananda (He always called Him Naren or Narendra) would give up His body out of His own will, and that is when He would realise His true essence and being. “I have prayed to The Divine Mother to keep away from Him the Knowledge of the Absolute and cover His eyes with a veil of maya. There is much work to be done by Him. But the veil, I see, is so thin that it may be rent at any time.”
Then one day Ramakrishna called Vivekananda to sit by His side. The Master was stick and bones. A small heap of bones, all shrunken, but still He glowed and still He went through all the pain calmly. He went into a deep meditation and so did Vivekananda. The Latter then felt a great force of Energy enter Him and He became unconscious. When He regained consciousness Ramakrishna Paramhamsa told Him that He had transferred all His powers to Vivekananda and that now The Master was like a beggar, a wandering sadhu, a Fakir with nothing with Him. He told Vivekananda once again that only after His work was over would He drop His body.
A few days later Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, the Child like Guru, the One within whom Mother Kali resided, called out to Maa Kali thrice and went into Samadhi.
He showed Himself twice to Vivekananda. Once just a few days after His Samadhi, where He showed Himself in all His glory. The second time He showed Himself twenty one times to Vivekananda, when Vivekananda had got infatuated by another Guru and wanted the Guru to initiate Him as a disciple. Ramakrishna appeared before Vivekananda twenty one times till Vivekananda realised His folly. Had The Master ever refused to give His boy anything?
Vivekananda spent His life spreading the message of The Universal Religion and Oneness all over the country and the world and created Ramakrishna Mission.
Every waking moment He strived to spread Oneness, serve the poor, feed them, educate them, but most important of all, to help and make them realise the Godhood within each one of them. He travelled to America and The United Kingdom and ate with Maharajas and the untouchables.
He tolerated no nonsense of hypocrites and was scared of nobody. He served and He served till His body began to give in. He suffered from thirty one ailments, insomnia, liver, kidney, migraine, diabetes and heart ailments. But He continued to strive to work for the poor and the upliftment of the Soul.
As predicted by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Vivekananda when He was tired and realised that the work will go on, with or without Him, went into a state of Samadhi.
He was very clear that He was Ramakrishna’s disciple. Told one and all that whenever Ramakrishna decides to take birth again, He would reappear, as whenever The Master would come to Mother Earth, He got along His People with Him.
Work always brings dirt with it. I paid for the accumulated dirt with bad health. I am glad my mind is much better for it. There is a mellowness and a calmness in life now, which was never before. I am learning now how to be attached as well as detached — and mentally becoming my own master…. Mother is doing Her own work. I do not worry much now. Moths like me die by the thousands every minute. Her work goes on, all the same. Glory unto Mother!…
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha