Who is Swami Vivekananda (A Short intro)
Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) was an Indian monk, Self-realized master and one one of the most celebrated and inspirational spiritual leaders of India.
He was not only a great spiritual personality; but also a genius thinker, a passionate patriot (he worked hard in eradicating poverty from this country), and a heroic role model for millions of youth.
How Swami Vivekananda Attained Enlightenment
Swami Vivekananda had undergone many spiritual experiences and extraordinary visions during his life time, that are beyond the comprehension of logic-driven people.
This post contains his enlightenment experience (as explained by himself) and also include a few other wonderful events from his life.
👉 Also read- Swami Vivekananda on Idol Worship.
Vivekananda’s Doubt about the Truth of Nonduality
Knowing Naren’s (Swami Vivekananda’s former name was Narendranath Datta, calling him, for short, Narendra, or more endearingly, Naren) inherent nature, his Guru Shri Ramakrishna instructed him in monistic Vedanta, which teaches that the individual soul and Brahman are identical.
One day, Naren told Hazra (a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna) about Vedantic non-dualism and his unwillingness to accept it.
“Can it be,” he said that the water pot is God, that the drinking vessel is God, that everything we see and all of us are God?” Naren laughed scornfully at the idea, and Hazra joined in.
While they were laughing, Ramakrishna came up to them. “What are you two laughing about?” Ramakrishna asked Naren affectionately.
👉 Also read- How to Understand the Supreme Lord (Krishna)?
Swamiji Enlightenment Experience
… Then, without waiting for an answer, he went into “Samadhi” (a superconscious state of intense concentration and bliss achieved through meditation) and touched Naren.
Swami Vivekananda’s experience about enlightenment (his own words): “At the marvelous touch of the master, my mind underwent a complete revolution. I was aghast to realize that there really was nothing whatever in the entire universe but God. I remained silent, wondering how long this state of mind would continue.”
“It did not pass away all the day. I got back to home, and I felt just the same there: Everywhere i saw was God. I sat down to eat, and I saw everything- the plate, the food, my mother who was serving it, and I myself- everything was God and nothing about God.”
” I swallowed a couple of mouthfuls and then sat still without speaking. My mother lovingly asked me, “Why are you so quiet? Why don’t you eat?” That brought me back to everyday consciousness, and I began eating again.
“But from then on I kept having the same experience, no matter what I was doing- eating, sitting, lying down, or going to college. It was a kind of intoxication that I can not describe!”
If I were crossing a street and saw a carriage coming towards me, I didn’t have the urge to get out of its way for fear of being run over; I would ordinarily.”
Swamiji said to himself: “I am that carriage. There is no difference between it and me.” During that time, I had no sensation in my hands or my feet.”
“When I ate food, I felt no satisfaction from it, it was as if someone else were eating. Sometimes i would lie down in the middle of a meal and then get up again after a few minutes and go on eating.”
Thus, it happened on those days that I would eat far more than usual, but this never upset me. My mother became alarmed. She thought I was suffering from a terrible disease. “He won’t live long,” she would say.
“When the first intoxication lost some of its power, I began to see the world as through I were dreaming. When I went for a walk around Hedua, or Cornwallis Square (now Azad Hind Bagh), I would knock my head against the iron railing to see if they were dream-railing or real ones.”
“The lost of feeling in my hands and feet made me afraid that I was becoming paralyzed.”
That overwhelming intoxication did not leave me for some time. When I did last return to normal consciousness, I was convinced that the state I had been in was a revelation of a non-dualistic experience.
And then I knew that what is written in the scriptures about this experience is all true. From that time on, I had no doubts about the truths of nonduality.
👉 Also read- If God is everywhere why do we need temples?
An Intense longing for the highest spiritual experience
Day by day, Narendra practised spiritual disciplines with unabating intensity. Sometimes he felt an awakening of a spiritual power that he could transmit to others.
One night in March 1886, he asked his brother disciple Kali to touch his right knee and then enter deep meditation. Kali’s hand began to tremble; he felt a kind of electric shock!
Afterwards, Narendra was rebuked by Sri Ramakrishna for frittering away spiritual powers before accumulating them in sufficient measure.
He was further told that he had injured kali’s spiritual growth, following the path of dualistic devotion, by forcing upon the latter some of his own non-dualistic ideas. The master added, however, that the damage was not serious.
Narendra had enough of visions and manifestations of spiritual powers, and he now wearied of them. His mind longed for the highest experience of non-dualistic, the nirvikalpa samadhi, in which the names and forms of the phenomenal world disappear. And the aspirant realizes total non-difference between the individual soul, the universe, Brahman, or the Absolute.
He told Sri Ramakrishna about it, but the master remained silent. And yet, one evening, the experience came to him quite unexpectedly.
He was absorbed in his usual meditation when he suddenly felt as if a lamp were burning at the back of his head. The light glowed more and more intensely and finally, burst!
Vivekananda was overwhelmed by that light and fell unconscious. After some time, as he regained his normal mood, he could feel only his head, not the rest of the body.
In an agitated voice, he said to Gopal, a brother disciple who was meditating in the same room, “Where is my body?” Gopal answered: “Why Naren, it is there. Don’t you feel it?”
Gopal was afraid that Vivekananda was dying and ran to Sri Ramakrishna’s room. He found the master in a calm but serious mood, evidently aware of what had happened in the room downstairs.
After listening to Gopal, the Master said, “Let him stay in that state for a while; he has teased me long enough for it.”
👉 Also read- What is Krishna consciousness?
For some time, Narendra remained unconscious. When he regained his normal state of mind, he was bathed in an ineffable peace.
As he entered Sri Ramakrishna’s room, the latter said: “Now the mother has shown you everything. But this realization, like the jewel locked in a box, will be hidden away from you and kept in my custody. I will keep the sky with me.“
“Only after you have fulfilled your mission on this earth will the box be unlocked, and you will know everything as you have now.”
The experience of this kind of samadhi usually has a most devastating effect upon the body; incarnations and special messengers of God alone can survive its impact.
By the way, Sri Ramakrishna asked Naren to use great discrimination about his food and companions, only accepting the purest.
Later the master said to the other disciples: “Narendra will give up his body of his own will. When he realizes his true nature, he will refuse to stay on this earth.“
Very soon, he will shake the world with his intellectual and spiritual powers. I have prayed to the Divine Mother to keep away from him the absolute knowledge and cover his eyes with a veil of Maya.
There is much work to be done by him. But the veil, I see, is so thin that it may be rent at any time!
Sixteen years later; (on 4th July 1902), after successfully completing all his valuable works that are beneficial for generations to come, Swami Vivekananda consciously left his body (as predicted by his Guru) meditating and merged with the Absolute.
Experience is the only teacher we have. We may talk and reason all our lives, but we shall not understand a word of truth, until we experience it ourselves.– Swami Vivekananda
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