Wednesday 3 December 2014

Swami Vivekananada’s Eknath (The Birth Centenary of Mananeeya Eknathji Ranade The Founder of Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra)

Eknath Ranade as a young college student in Nagpur in 1930s turned to Swami Vivekananda to understand Sanatana Dharma in the context of the religions in the world. He wanted to ably reply to many objections that were raised in his college against Sanatana Dharma. He could so well put forward the subject that his Bible teacher was overwhelmed. Destiny had a still greater plan in this episode. Swami Vivekananda had said, ‘We want …fiery young men and women …intelligent and brave, who dare to go to the jaws of Death, and are ready to swim the ocean across. Do you follow me? We want hundreds like that, both men and women. Try your utmost for that end alone.’

The call of Swami Vivekananda ‘to dedicate one’s life for nation’ captured young Eknath’s heart strengthened his thought of dedicating his life for the country. He dedicated his life as a Pracharak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Working in various capacities in Sangh, Eknathji, as he was called, since then, could feel the pulse of the society. He became a master organizer.
The Grand Memorial
As the Birth Centenary of Swami Vivekananda was approaching, Sangh gave him the responsibility to bring out a book compiling the message of Swami Vivekananda. As Eknathji set himself for it, once again the call of Swami Vivekananda stirred him. As providence would have it, he was entrusted the responsibility of getting permission for the proposed memorial of Swami Vivekananda on the mid-sea Rock at Kanyakumari. This was the Rock where Swami Vivekananda had meditated in 1892 and had taken the momentous decision of going to America for representing the Sanatana Dharma in the Parliament of Religions. 
There were many obstacles for raising a Memorial to Swami Vivekananda on that Rock at Kanyakumari. Eknathji dedicated himself full-time for this work. With his great organizational skills and the support from various organizations and the people of the country, a grand memorial came up just within a span of 6 years at Kanyakumari.    
Vivekananda Kendra
Eknathji felt that apart from the Memorial for Swami Vivekananda in granite, there has to be a vibrant Memorial for Swami Vivekananda in the lives of young men and women who would dedicate their life for service of the nation. Thus after the completion of Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Eknathji started Vivekananda Kendra, a spiritually oriented service mission, in 1972. Through Vivekananda Kendra, Eknathji appealed to the young, graduate men and women to dedicate their life.
Swami Vivekananda had said, “A hundred thousand men and women, fired with the zeal of holiness, fortified with eternal faith in the Lord, and nerved to lion’s courage by their sympathy for the poor and the fallen and the downtrodden, will go over the length and breadth of the land, preaching the gospel of salvation, the gospel of help, the gospel of social raising - up -- the gospel of equality.” Eknathji ably took this call of Swami Vivekananda to the young men and women. Those who responded to the call were trained and sent over the length and breadth of our land as envisaged by Swami Vivekananda.
Thus, in far away corners of our country like Andamans, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam, Kashmir etc along with various main cities of our country, these young dedicated men and women went to serve the people, to organize the service-minded people in the society to start Kendra centers. Though Eknathji left his body in 1982, the message of Swami Vivekananda that he had put in action in the form of Vivekananda Kendra today has work in total 810 places in 22 states and 4 Union territories.
One Life One Mission
Swami Vivekananda had told that each nation has a message to deliver, a mission to accomplish, a destiny to fulfill. India has to guide the world in spirituality; in making man realize his divine nature. When we are born in India our mission in life is always linked to the mission of our motherland. The ultimate destiny of man is to realize one’s divine nature and to reach that ultimate destiny man must plan his each life as milestone in that direction. Mananeeya Eknathji used to say what better plan can we have than work in an organized way to make India deliver her message in the interest of goodness of humanity. Each life should be thus focused on the chosen goal. He used to say ‘One Life One Mission’. It is this powerful message of Eknathji which is selected as the motto for the celebration of his Birth Centenary.

The Birth Centenary of Eknathji Ranade: Mananeeya Eknathji Janma Shati Parva
Swami Vivekananda’s Eknath thus even today motivates many young men and women to dedicate their life in the cause of nation. This year happens to be the Birth Centenary year of Mananeeya Eknathji Ranade. As the destiny would have it, the Birth Centenary of Mananeeya Eknathji Ranade would be celebrated after the mega celebration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda across the country.

During the Birth Centenary celebrations of Eknathji Ranade to be celebrated as Mananeeya Eknathji Janma Shati Parva from 19 November 2014 to 19 November 2015 following programs would be taken up
1. Safal Yuva – Yuva Bharat: This massive program to take the call of service of Swami Vivekananda to the youth would be in four phases. i) Yuva Samparka: Thousands of youth would be contacted to motivate them to strive for success by acquainting them about the dynamics of success through the story of Vivekananda Rock Memorial. ii) Yuva Sammelan:  500 Youth Conventions would be organized throughout the country iii) Yuva Prashikshan: Youth would be trained to take up a service activity iv) Yuva Seva: For six months these youth would render the service to the needy
2. To Start Vivekananda Kendra Academy for Integrated Culture, Yoga and Management – VK AICYAM - at Bhubaneshwar for the Janajatis of the Eastern Region as was envisaged by Eknathji
3. To have a Janajati leaders convention at Kanyakumari
4. To strengthen Vivekananda Kendra- the organization started by Eknathji by having enrichment of Karyakartas by training them at various levels so that more branches can be opened in the remote regions of our country.
5. To bring out literature on Vivekananda’s Eknath
To put these into action six aayams like Sahitya, Prashikshan, Karyakram, Vyavastha, Navnirman and Srujan are organized.
Your contribution matters
We appeal  all to join in this effort by contributing your time, energy and money so that we realize the vision of Swami Vivekananda, “One vision I see clear as life before me: that the ancient Mother has awakened once more, sitting on Her throne rejuvenated, more glorious than ever. Proclaim Her to all the world with the voice of peace and benediction.”

Thursday 14 August 2014


Of all the spiritual seers in the history of humanity Swami Vivekananda is unique. His was a mission set in a condition almost utterly negative all around. India was colonized by the British. Colonialism was seen as not just a political conquest but also as  a socio-economic conquest and more importantly as a spiritual conquest of India by the West. The Western Imperialism justified and positioned itself as a civilizing mission of the dark-skinned pagan ‘Hindoos’. On the other side India was suffering from the internal problems caused by social stagnation. Many social evils had crept into the age old society and culture. The downtrodden people were ruthlessly exploited and women were suppressed. Superstitions flourished in that fertile ground of social injustice. Sectarian fanaticism also divided the Hindu society. Most of the educated Hindus accepted the Western propaganda that there is nothing of worth in Indian culture and spirituality. They surrendered their mind and soul to the British worldview – in social, economic and spiritual spheres. Conversion was rampant and Hindus often remained unconcerned about the decline of their society and degradation of their religion and culture. It was in such a situation that Swami Vivekananda arrived with his mission of awakening Indians to the real eternal India.

When that unknown wondering monk from the colonized nation and demonized culture stood up and addressed the people of the then most prosperous of the Western nations, United States, as ‘Sisters and Brothers’ he virtually declared the proclamation of universal brotherhood. From that blessed moment of September 11, 1893 to his Mahasamadhi on 4th July 1902 –not even a decade- Swami Vivekananda transformed the history of humanity, as none did ever before. He not only made India arise from the forceful sleep imposed on her by the imperial powers but he also made the world listen to the authentic spiritual voice of India. 

Swami Vivekananda dialogued with the best minds of the global humanity as an equal.  He seeded the cream of global humanity with new concepts and visions. He showed an Indic way of viewing humanity, nature, divinity and the cosmos. His insightful vision into subjects as varied as cosmology and sociology reveals an astonishing genius rooted in Indian spirituality. In his interaction with the famous physicist Tesla, Swamiji forged Sankhya and Vedanta into epistemological tools for the exploration of future physics. The impact of his interaction with biologists at Paris Science Fair is yet to be studied in its full dimension. But we do know that influential system thinkers like Peter Kropotkin, Patrick Geddes and Vladmir Vernadsky, whose works are today considered as the basis of holistic scientific framework, were influenced by the words and writings of Swami Vivekananda.  Surely it was the phenomenon of Swami Vivekananda that also made Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose declare the truth of Advaita in that undefined border realm that organically connects the physical with the physiological.  It should be remembered that the creative synthesis of science and spirituality that Swami Vivekananda so naturally initiated, is something about which even today the West has not come to terms with. 

…Take one of the most material sciences, as chemistry or physics, astronomy or biology — study it, push the study forward and forward, and the gross forms will begin to melt and become finer and finer, until they come to a point where you are bound to make a tremendous leap from these material things into the immaterial. The gross melts into the fine, physics into metaphysics, in every department of knowledge.
The fact these words were uttered by Swami Vivekananda decades before double-slit experiment and Schrodinger’s cat, shows how rooted in Indic spiritual philosophy Swami Vivekananda was able to foresee the way the physical sciences would evolve.        

In India Swami Vivekananda inspired millions of Indians to realize the depth of their roots and the heights of their civilizational growth. He showed India that the genius of her spirituality fulfills an urgent need of the ailing humanity. It is not for herself but for entire humanity that India has to arise as a vibrant nation. For this he pointed out that the resources have to come from within. India’s ascent in the world history has to be achieved not through brute force and vanquishing of others as in the case of European nations. It has to be achieved through the processes of peace and benediction which come not from a debasing self-negation but from a majestic inner strength that bases itself on the Self.  

The Ganga of Vedanta was then imprisoned in the lofty towers of the worldly aristocracy wearing the garb of spirituality. It was more an interesting pastime of wordplay for the high born. But Swami Vivekananda was the Baghiratha who made that life-giving Ganga descent into the valley of common people. The Vedic wisdom was hidden by the Asuric forces of social stagnation under the chaotic waters of dead ritualism and inhuman casteism and as a divine Avatar Swami Vivekananda brought that wisdom before the light of all humanity. Vedanta is the need of the hour Swamiji said not just for the consumerist expansionist diseases of the west but also for the downtrodden masses of India as the spiritual basis of emancipation. He thundered:
This is the dictate of Indian philosophy. This oneness is the rationale of all ethics and all spirituality. Europe wants it today just as much as our downtrodden masses do, and this great principle is even now unconsciously forming the basis of all the latest political and social aspirations that are coming up in England, in Germany, in France, and in America. And mark it, my friends, that in and through all the literature voicing man’s struggle towards freedom, towards universal freedom, again and again you find the Indian Vedantic ideals coming out prominently.                

This then is the message of Swami Vivekananda – freedom from all fetters for all humanity and creative synthesis of all knowledge towards the Universal Oneness. By starting from the neglected quarters of Indian villages to the people suffering at the base of the pyramidal structures of the West the liberating nectar of Vedanta has to be taken so that the planet can live as one family. 
Aravindan Neelakandan