by Swami Tadrupananda

This article was published in Prabuddha Bharata January 1971

      In one of Vivekananda's early visits, Sri Ramakrishna said to him :'Behold, in you is Shiva! And in me is Shakti! And these two are One!' 5
In a letter written to a brother-disciple, he (Swami Vivekananda) exclaimed, 'I am his (Sri Ramakrishna's) child, nourished by his heart's blood.' 10
According to the testimony of the Mother-guided Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda is 'Siva', born 'to bring spiritual consciousness to people', and 'to remove the miseries of mankind'.
What is this 'Siva-power', the power of the guru? It is the power of dispelling the darkness of ignorance which binds a soul to the body. Vivekananda meant power only when he said :
'When I stand on the platform, a Power comes over me which makes me feel as though by one word I could carry the whole audience of thousands across Maya and make them break the prison-walls of "I" and "Mine"!' 11

His listeners and disciples vouch for this enlightening power in him. Writing about his impressions of Swamiji's lecture on 'Vedanta' in Lahore, Swami Ram Tirtha says :
'The listeners were so deeply engrossed and it created such an atmosphere, that all idea of time and space was lost. At times, one acquired absolute realization of oneness between oneself and the cosmic Atman.' 12

Misery of man is an effect of ignorance. Misery is permanently removable only by getting rid of ignorance. Vivekananda by his guru-power helped men to get back their Atman-consciousness. Misery cannot co-exist with Atman-consciousness. More than this, Vivekananda, the saviour that he was, stood by the side of each soul. He held in a parental clasp, as it were, its trembling hands, assuring it with the words 'Don't fear'. Did not Sri Ramakrishna foretell that he would become the banyan tree under whose spreading shade millions of men and women, scorched by the misery of the world, would gather and find peace ?

We have in Madame Emma Calve, the celebrated singer, a typical example of how Swamiji removed the misery of human beings. She had met with a shattering domes¬tic tragedy which had left her heart-broken. She had even unsuccessfully attempted suicide. She came to know of Swamiji through her friends and met him. Without even looking at her, Swamiji spoke to her about her past, her present distraught condition, and how she should become happy and cheerful again. She was greatly puzzled and asked him how he could know all her past and inmost secrets of her life. Swamiji smiled and said, 'I read in you as an open book.' She later wrote about the effect of this interview:

'I left him, deeply impressed by his words and his personality. He seemed to have emptied my brain of all its feverish complexities and placed there instead his clear and calming thoughts. I became once again vivacious and cheerful, thanks to the effect of his powerful will.' 15

Even today, when you are scalded from within by the seething 'feverish complexities', you take up any collection of Swamiji's utterances and read a few. See how invariably the fever is assuaged and mental health restored. They give a shot in the arm, as it were, of strength and courage. To posterity his life and teaching have become the cooling shade of the banyan.
Vivekananda's guru-power is revealed to us, again, in his penetrative sayings. Scattered all over his Works, these sayings en¬compass every aspect of man and the universe. Especially, those which relate to religion, God, soul and spirituality are out¬standing. These sparkle with an inner luminosity often seen in the Upanishadic mantrams. Surely they are sparks flashed forth from the blazing core of his realizations.

Swamiji admitted the personal God, as is done by Vedanta. But the explanation he gave of this concept is original and pro¬found: 'Some imaginations help to break the bondage of the rest. ... The highest imagination that can break all the links of the chain is that of Personal God.' 19

As a breaker of bondage, he brought to everyone the gospel of the glorious Atman. In this he might stagger the ordinary man with the majesty of his utterance. But, all the same, he spoke out the dazzling truth without toning it down with dualistic dilution. 'Never forget', he exclaimed, 'the glory of human nature! We are the greatest God that ever was or ever will be. Christs and Buddhas are but waves on the boundless ocean which I am.' 21

… When Vivekananda speaks of Sadhana or spiritual striving, we almost catch a glimpse of his own intense struggles to realize the Truth. The practical hints and instructions strewn in his Works would be an illuminating and rewarding study for any aspirant after the higher life.
As an integral and indispensable part of Sadhana, Swamiji greatly emphasized meditation. He was himself a past-master in it from birth. Sri Ramakrishna's hawk-eye had detected it almost on their first meeting. Swamiji exhorts all to meditate in these inspiring words:
'Meditation is the one thing. Meditate! The greatest thing is meditation. It is the nearest approach to spiritual life— the mind meditating. It is the one moment in our daily life that we are not at all material—the Soul thinking of itself, free from all matter—this marvellous touch of the Soul!' 29

  5. His Eastern and Western Disciples : The Life of Swami Vivekananda, Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati, 1955, p. 61. 
10. The Complete Works, Vol. VI (1963), pp. 282-3 
11. His Eastern and Western Disciples: op. Vol. IV (1918), p. 150. 
12. Prabuddha Bharata, May 1963, p. 234. 
15. His Eastern and Western Disciples: op. cit. p. 351. 
19. The Complete Works, Vol. VII (1947), p. 97 
21. ibid. Vol. VII (1947), p. 76. 
29. ibid. Vol. V (1959), p. 253.