In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and destruction of others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written inspite of resistance:
‘Help and not fight’, ‘Assimilation and not destruction’, ‘Harmony and peace and not dissension’.
Swami Vivekananda’s plea to the world made it clear that God is beyond location or place or time. Sun shines over all followers of different religions Hindus, Christians, Mohammedan or others. He recognised divinity in every man and woman. This divinity should help humanity to realise its true divine nature by unity of head and heart. Religion deals with truths of metaphysical world just as chemistry and other natural sciences deal with the truth of the physical world. Religion will not regain its old power until it can face change in the same spirit as does science. Its principles may be eternal, but the expression of those principles requires continual developments. He delivered the precise message of vedanta to the world community, particularly to the West. East and West interacted for the first time and Vedanta’s philosophy found acceptance in the West also.
In ‘Vedanta and its application to Indian life’, Swami Vivekanand said: Strength, is what Upanishads speak to me from every page. This is one great thing to remember, it has been one great lesson I have been taught in my life. Strength it says, O men, be not weak. Are there any human weaknesses? There are say the Upanishads, but will more weaknesses heal them, would you try to wash dirt with dirt? Will sin cure sin? Ay, it is only literature in the world where you find the world, abheh (fearless), used again and again in no other scriptures in the world. The whole world can be vivified, made strong, energised through them. They will call with trumpet voice upon the weak, the misreable, and the down-trodden of all races, all sects to stand on their feet and be free. Freedom- physical freedom, mental freedom, and spiritual freedom are the watershed of the Upanishads(Complete works, Vol. III 8th edition.237-38)
Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore combined the philosophy of Vedanta with the Western Philosophy. He said:
None shall be turned away from the shores of this vast sea of humanity that is India “Day and night, thy voice goes out from land to land, calling Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains round thy throne, assemble to Parsis, Musalmans and Christians. Offerings are brought to thy shrine by East and the West, to be woven in a garland of life, thou dispenser of India’s destiny, Victory, Victory, Victory, to thee.”
In Gurudev’s Gitanjali, The philosophy of the Abheh (fearless) and united world order inspired East and West equally tempered in the science and spirituality.
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high:Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depths of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection: Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into dreary desert sand of dead habit; Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action; Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake (Gitanjali-35)
Father of nation Mahatma Gandhi said:
“We are in new age, an age of the emerging world society one society, that is what is beckoning to us on the horizon. Prophets and seers have spoken to us as one family on earth. We are children of the same parents and therefore belong to one family,”
Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in Discovery of India:
“We have to revive the passion for truth and beauty and freedom which give meaning to life and develop afresh that dynamic outlook and spirit of adventure which distinguished those of our race who, in ages past, built out house on these strong and enduring foundations. Old as we are, with memories stretching back to the early dawn of human history and endeavour, we have to grow young again, in tune with our present time, with irrepressible spirit and joy of youth in the present and its faith in the future.”
In India,because of the recognised freedom of mind, however limited in practice, new ideas are not shut out. They are considered and can be accepted far more freely than in countries which have more rigid and dogmatic outlook on life. The essential ideals of Indian culture are broad-based and can be adapted to almost every environment.
The above is the extract of an authorised extract from the book Soul of India, authored by Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj