In the last two centuries, no other individual has captured the hearts of the youth of Bharat, the way Swami Vivekananda did. He blew energy into Bharat which was indulging in self-loathe.
Sixty years after independence, India is still in the twilight zone of political turmoil, economic imbalance, social turbulence and ideological confusion. Though we claim to be the largest democracy in the world, more often than not our democracy in practice turns out to be acrimonious monocracy. Economically, statistics are trotted out to prove that we made enviable progress. But, in effect, the divide between the rich and the poor has increased enormously. Society is fast disintegrating into organized caste and communal groups reducing nationalism to a meaningless slogan.
Swami Vivekananda on his return to India, in his very first lecture reminded India that it was the message of Oneness that she had to give to the world. For that she would have to prepare herself. But how the Oneness is manifested in life? Not by just chanting of Vedas but by feeling for all those who are suffering and are in need of help. Unfortunately, the degradation that had come in the society due to various invasions was such that this Oneness was almost missing in the lives of those very people who were supposed to guide the society.
Swami Vivekananda had the unique advantage of knowing the East as well as the West. He had experienced Samadhi at the feet of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa who personified the spiritual sadhana of man through ages. Swamiji had the best of Western education, had digested all the philosophies including the theology of Christianity. Not only the knowledge but he also got intimately acquainted with the people both learned and uneducated, highly placed and humble folks in India and also in West.
Swami Vivekananda had to reply to the welcome at Calcutta, in front of the people where he was born and grew as a boy so his tone was different. Generally though the people feel proud if a boy from there place achieves something, still seeing him in a light as a great preacher etc becomes difficult. (It seems for the expenses of welcome given to Swami Vivekananda, the people of Calcutta arranged public speech of Swami Vivekananda on payment whereas in all other places the expenses were borne by the people.) Swamiji was very nostalgic when he spoke at Calcutta.
Swami Vivekananda on his return to India-7
The Protector of National Mission
Due to slavery of centuries, Indians had lost all the faith in themselves and were divided in many castes, regions, faiths etc. The nation had become immaterial, not ‘what connects us’ but ‘what divides us’ dominated our minds due to colonial education and British policy of ‘divide and rule’. The narrow-mindedness, possessiveness about one’s own creed was more important than the unifying principles of our culture. To lift them from this muck of selfishness and petty divisions and to take them to vision of oneness was a great task in front of Swami Vivekananda. He successfully attempted it.
Swami Vivekananda on his landing in India was overwhelmed with the enthusiasm, the unprecedented welcome given to him by people of India. India was all ears to listen to him. Swami Vivekananda too had become a conduit like a Rishi to receive and proclaim the great Truth about India. The first speech that he gave at Colombo has become like a Rashtra mantra from the great Rashtra-Drishta Swami Vivekananda. His language has a charm of Vedic poetry and appeal of universality of Vedic truth.
Swami Vivekananda was given a rousing, unprecedented welcome by the people of India. But the one who was welcomed had a great task ahead. Swamiji saw the accomplishments in the West as the beginning of the work in the East. Even the people who welcomed him knew to some extent that it was not just the triumphant return of Swami Vivekananda but it was also the beginning of the great task ahead.
How India saw Swami Vivekananda on his return to India, how she adored him, addressed him and viewed his work in West can be seen from the various welcome-addresses given to him. These welcome addresses were not just the formal greetings but the heart-pouring of Indians.