2013 was Swami Viveknanda’s 150 birth anniversary. I have a very special relationship with the Ramakrishna Mission that he setup. There was a large poster of his, cut from a calendar, that dad had in Dehu Road and then in Shillong, we would regularly go to the Ramakrishna Mission near Laitmukrah. My first glimpse of the Tantra dance was at the temple behind RK Mission in Shillong and I also participated in my first ever, outside school, recitation competition at the RK Mission. I recited a few lines from The Geeta and got my first feedback saying the verses had to be sung in a certain metre 🙂
Then Amar Chitra Katha happened and I discovered Ramakrishna Paramahansa and Swami Vivekananda through them. I still have the small quotation booklets with quotes from Swami Vivekananda. Once we left Shillong, my interest in the RK Mission dimmed a little and then in six years I was married and Krishnan and I discovered Osho, thanks to SriHari. Once Osho happens, you don’t really get past him, because he is Oceanic and has spoken so much about so many people… There is no getting past. Besides that, his intelligence is unparalleled and very difficult to get past. Yes am a devotee, fanatic and can’t let go of Osho.
Swami Vivekananda is still very special. He did come back into our lives briefly when we had the bookshop in the form of his quotes, that had been made into greeting cards. When we shut down the bookshop I had safely kept aside nine of these cards and then when the scanner came home, I immediately scanned these cards because their messages are so awesome. Have used some of these as a farewell gift, as part of the training programs I delivered and they always have an impact. So, my series on Vivekananda will be nine posts with my interpretation and stories connected to each of his quotes, my way of offering tribute to the great man.
Here goes the first card/quote on acceptance …
We all are in the race to become great men and women … But in the process of running we forget to be just men and women, which in itself is a great thing. If we could be real men, there would be no eve-teasing, no rapes, no marital abuse, no dowry deaths, no female infanticide and no lewd encounters. If we could be real women, there would be no special treatment for boys, girls would be just as much doted upon, no dowry deaths, no limits being imposed on the girl child, education for both girls and boys, careers would flourish and we won’t accept abuse.
There is another side to this is, just being human is being great. Greatness is always in comparison, if only one man is left in the whole of the universe, it doesn’t matter what he does or says or behaves, he can neither be great nor terrible because there is no comparison. The fact is, each of us is just that type of unique human being, so no comparison is really possible. Nature or God has made a unique thumb impression for each of us, even identical twins do not have identical thumb impressions ! How much more does Nature have to prove to you, that you are incomparable. So stop comparing and just live upto your potential and deliver the purpose that you came to deliver.
The third message I take from this quote is … Do not copy anyone. Each of us can learn from anyone and everyone, but you don’t become like anyone except yourself. While mimicking and copying is the greatest form of flattery, in reality you should not be “like” someone else, because “you” have to become “you”. In the corporate world, conformity is expected and the famous blue suits of IBM is one way of driving the equality message – but nothing and nobody in Nature is equal. Flowers don’t copy each other, or animals don’t. While Monkeys, our closest relatives, do mimic and copy what you do, your actions is all that they copy, not who you are. Why do we have such a tremendous need to copy and become “like” someone else ?
Meditate on this quote and do share your perspectives on this. Would love to have a discussion.