Swami Vivekananda gave a new meaning to the Hindu philosophy of tolerance. It was he who built the Ramakrishna Order to propagate the values of the Vedanta philosophy and to work for the spread of quality education and health care throughout the length and breadth of India. He brought religion to the centre stage and gave a new meaning to it. He also stressed the need for harmony among faiths.
LINKAGE POINT: His teachings continue to be of relevance in the following ways:
- 1. Swami Vivekananda’s teachings emphasize on the unity of all religions and the universality of spiritual truth. This message of tolerance and mutual understanding is particularly relevant in today’s world, where religious and cultural divisions are often a source of conflict and division.
- 2. Swami Vivekananda raised service of the poor to the level of worship. Such an environment demands reconciliation among human beings. This is the vision that is also reflected in Sustainable Development Goals and the vision of United Nations. Also, it is in line with the DPSPs enshrined in the Constitution.
- 3. He stressed on the importance of education and the need to develop a rational and scientific approach to understanding the world. He believed that education should be aimed at fostering critical thinking and independent thinking, and should not be limited to imparting mere knowledge. This can help individuals to overcome their own self-centeredness, and to live in a way that benefits others. His emphasis on education as a means to achieving personal and societal development continues to be relevant today in light of many developing countries who struggle with development and entrenchment of western ideals on one hand and economic relevance on the other.
- 4. He had seen how the West had won its battle against poverty through science and technology hence, he emphasized that the solution of the problem lay in science and technology. India must make wide use of Western science and technology to create an industrial revolution in the country was his message. This message is of utmost relevance today as new and emerging technologies shape the power dynamics at international level on one hand and impact each and everyone’s lives on the other.
- 5. He encouraged people to develop their own inner strength and to take responsibility for their own lives, rather than depending on others for guidance and support. This message is particularly relevant for young people today, who are often under pressure to conform to societal expectations and to chase material success.
- 6. Understanding Swami Vivekananda and his message is important for removing our fears to fight any injustice. To defeat casteism, economic inequalities and other social injustice like women discrimination, it is important to fight against these injustices with courage.
- 7. He emphasised on the women’s education and believed that it will lead to greater development of society as a whole. He also advocated the need to impart martial arts training to women. These teachings are very relevant considering the sexual crime against women, girl dropouts from school and also reducing female labour force participation.
- 8. He was one of the greatest individuals to highlight the importance of Indian spiritual traditions to the west. His teachings and efforts are a great repository of spiritual knowledge and they can serve as a beacon of light in solving contemporary problems of mental health and depression.
- 9. His ideas emphasising dialogue among faiths and justification for plurality of faiths and belief patterns are of great relevance in today’s strife-torn world.
His message of universal brotherhood and self-awakening is of much relevance as seen in the current backdrop of widespread political turmoil around the world. The world needs brotherhood to bring peace, there is no other ideology more proper than this. Vasudev Kutumbakam i.e. belief in the world as a family has become necessary in the growing era of protectionism and de-globalisation.