Swami Vivekananda: The Saint Poet is an Indian monk of Ramakrishna order who preached Hinduism and Indian culture in American society in the last decade of nineteenth century . He was a great philosopher , stupendous orator , and modern thinker of the world. He is the only man from India after Rammohan Roy who tried to unfold the great Indian cultural heritage before the people of the West . To keep it mind , Rabindranath Tagore once told Romain Rolland
, “If you want to know India, Read Vivekananda.”
Sri Aurovindo’s remarks about Vivekananda is also significant. He told:
” The going forth of Vivekananda, marked out by the Master as the heroic Soul destined to take the World between his two hands and change it, was the first visible sign to the World, that India was awake not only to survive but to conquer. ” Truly , Swami Vivekananda was the maker of modern India. Indian mass was awakened with the name of this great son of the soil.
¶¶ Swami Vivekananda was a great Saint and Philosopher. But we don’t know about another side of his personality ; he was a marvelous poet though he didn’t write more. Swami Vivekananda :The Saint Poet composed his poems in English language. Today I gonna to discuss about his poetic feelings in this blog.
¶¶ Swami Vivekananda was not a poet like conventional way . He was a poet like an ancient saint who felt the internal truth of the world through his inner eyes . The poet, in one sense, is the intense truth – seeker of the Universe. In true sense, the poet is also a Saint. He who notice the truth of the life and the world in his stream of consciousness and reveals it through his divine powers of imagination and magical poetic feelings ,actually he is poet.
In that sense, Swami Vivekananda is called to be a poet . From Brahma to insects are the alter where almighty God lives . God is everywhere. He who feels it , he is poet . Swami Vivekananda is a poet in that sense.
UPANISHAD & SWAMI VIVEKANANDA: Swami Vivekananda: The Saint-poet
¶¶ The hymns of Upanishads made a deep attraction to him . From his childhood he loved to recite poems. He read Milton’s “Paradise Lost ” at the very young age. Milton was his favorite poet . He recited the poem’s of Milton. Reading Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Byron , Shelly’s poems and literature was his favorite subjects. Once he wrote about the essence of Upanishads –
‘ There is no poetry marvelous like Upanishad. Even it is found in ‘Sanhita’ of Veda which is poetic. These writers of Veda and Upanishads are great poets . He thought that the internal truth can be had from the poems of this great saints of ancient India. How did he influenced with the hymns of Upanishads and became a poet , I shall extract a song from his collection:
” Lo! The sun is not, nor the comply moon, All light extinct; in the great void of space Floats shadow – like the image – universe.
In the void of mind involute, there floats , The fleeting universe , rises and floats , Sinks again , ceaseless , in the current “I”.
Slowly , slowly, the shadow – multitude. Entered the primal womb , and flowed ceaseless. The only current, the “I am ” , ” I am ” .
Lo ! ‘Tis stopped , ev’n that current flows no more , Void merged into void – beyond speech and mind ! Whose heart understands , he verily does .
¶¶ It was written in Bengali, his mother tongue . and rendered from it . The name of the poem is ” The Hymn Of Samadhi ” . The content of the poem is highly philosophical which he felt during his deep meditation . The poet talk about the state of mind in its inner world when the activities of the external world is absolutely stopped. It is called samadhi in Hindu religion. But it is obviously an incredible poem like mantra having a significant meaning of higher state of the spiritual mind .
¶¶ Swami Vivekananda was a fan of the epic and poetry of modern Bengali poet Mycheal Madhusudan Dutta . He was his ideal poet . Swami Ji was influenced by Upanishads and other ancient scriptures, by The great Poet Kalidas as well as Vaisnab Padabvali and modern English and Bengali poets . The Gita and Panchadoshi was also his favorite literature.
¶¶ He liked most the poetry of Wordsworth. One day in absence of English literature professor, the principal of this college Mr. William Heshty came to the class and discussed about the poem of Wordsworth . This was a poem of super natural phenomenon. In that context Mr . Hesty told that a man has been experienced such feelings who lived in Dakhineswar . Vivekananda, being inspired went there to meet him. This was first historical meeting with Sri Ramakrishna. He was also the poet of the poets .
¶¶ Vivekananda composed only 21 poems both in English and Sanskrit . He wrote a poem in Sanskrit. But his prose is very placid and also poetic. Specially his letters are full of poetic sublimity and rhetoric.
¶¶ Swami Vivekananda wrote his first poem in America before Chicago Religious Conference . He was then a unfamiliar monk . ‘O’r hill and dale and mountain range’ is his first poem (1893). Merry Luis Bark , The Western researcher of Swami Vivekananda, discovered this poem and published it in her book “Swami Vivekananda and the West: New Discovery “.
Another researcher of Swami Vivekananda ,professor Shankari Prasad Basu translated this poem in Bengali (Sanman O Siddhi ). Swami Ji had to face a lot of obstacles and pain , but by virtue of struggle he overcame all these incidents and reached the ultimate goal ,the ‘perfection’ which is the destination of a religious monks. This is the content of the poem ” ‘O’r hill and dale and mountain’. He expressed the pain and suffering of a devotees ,though it was his personal feeling. He wrote :
” Like a child in the wildest forest lost I have cried and cried alone. Where art thou gone my God my love. The echo answered gone .”
Next suddenly he got calling from the eternal ‘One’ who is our almighty Mother or Father. This feelings are as follows : ” Till one day midst my cries and groans Some one seemed calling me A gentle soft and soothing Voice. That said. ” my son ,” ” my son ” .
¶¶ ” The song of the free ” (1895) and ” The song of Sannyasn ” ( 15 the July ,1895) are the beautiful poems composed by Swami Vivekananda which are undoubtedly the wealth of English literature. He was a follower of Vedanta. The great spiritual guru of India, Shankaracharya inspired him in course of his spiritual journey. He modernized it according to time and space. And tried to connect with life.
VEDANTA AND SWAMI VIVEKANANDA :
Vedanta do not only effective in the secret of the forest, it is also effective in our daily life. Man can practice it scientifically in every activity of life. Without struggle, you can not achieve any great deed in life, or attain the goals of life. After untiring efforts and struggles, Swamiji attained the Truth. The life of Sannyasin is not a bed of roses. Swami Vivekananda had to face enormous troubles and pains to reach the platform of The Chicago Religious conference.
He wrote this poems seven days before the beginning of Parliament of Chicago. His dream was to attend the Parliament and it was going to be fulfilled. Despite all his sufferings he had achieved the goal which his Master , Sri Ramakrishna gave his shoulders that Naren will teach .
Besides , one can see God after mammoths struggling. In fact, sorrows and sufferings are the companions of a devotee . But ultimately he will come nearer to light . He will face the Truth, the eternal , infinite One “The Brahman” . The Brahman have no form , He is timeless and formless, but He is many – from Brahman to tiny insects. Again He is within us . It’s immortal.
” The cloud puts forth its deluge strength. when lightning cleaves its breast, when the soul in stirred to its inmost depth Great ones unfold their best . ”
We have to embrace the pain and suffering . It’s natural phenomenon in life. So we have to fight against it . And after a stupendous suffering ,the the Truth reveals.
” Let eyes grow dim and heart grow faint And friendship fail and love betray , Let fate its hundred horrors send And clotted darkness block the way .”
This way is tedious and full of sufferings, but gradually the faithful devotees though this course of journey must reach to Him . We then have to face to face and enlightened, illuminated.
” All natures wear one angry frown To crush you out… still know, my soul , you are divine, …..March on and on , Nor right nor left but to the goal !
……………………………………………… The books do stop in wonder mute To tell my nature ; – I am he ! ” ‘Swo Aham’ or ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ , that means , I am Brahman! Therefore,
” Before the Sun , the Moon , the Earth , Before the stars and comets free. Before e’ en time has had its birth I was, I am , and will be ! I am beyond all sense, all thought , The witness of the Universe ! “
Therefore, the feelings of Shankarachriya and the feelings of Vivekananda are same . So it’s the feelings of Addwaitya . God is One . …………. ” Not two or many, I’t is but one , And thus in me all ones I have , I can not hate , I can not shun My self from me – I can but love !