Okay, that is the stuff we always say – remembering some great icon whenever his or her anniversary comes – whenever a landmark day associated with someone’s life and times recur.
But, in totality, in reality – the greats like these, they always matter – they always remain relevant – they always sound logical and ‘needed’.
Because evolution (of civilization) is an open-ended process that takes hues as times change – taking something new – going back to old ones – reworking and modifying on something already existing.
Evolution of civilizations is a never ending and ever resuscitating process – that is always old and always new. One can always find ways, reasons and premises to reminisce on things experienced back in life. Technology changes face of the world but technology, like imperialism, like democracies, is just another aspect that defines civilizations.
What remains always in the root – of humanity – of human societies – of human civilizations – spread across the world – since the dawn of the earliest human civilization – (and will remain so till the very last of us survive here) – is the fact that humanity is driven by the conscience of such greats who come to guide us in every age – and leave behind them an imprint of a conscious that shows us the light in difficult times – in times when we have questions – and more questions – in times when answers either don’t come to our thinking or fail to answer our questions effectively.
The problems that societies face, the issues that need answers in every age are basically same – how to be a good human being and how to let others live a dignified life that we aspire for ourselves.
This has been the basic tenet of human civilizations – this is something that we always arrive at after a dreaded, bloody war or after a prolonged spell of civil unrest or in the aftermath of a devastating terror attack.
It has remained so – since the early days – when we started organizing ourselves in groups from nomadic tribes – to formation of city states – to kingdoms – to countries – to modern day nations – and will always remain so.
And so will remain the conscience of greats like Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi or Gautam Buddha, or Lord Rama or Jesus Christ or Prophet Muhammad or Guru Nanak or countless other saints and sages or noble souls who have shown light to us by their teachings – teachings telling us varied aspects of life – but with the soul focus that how to become a good human being – that how to transcend your soul to the higher level.
It is not that I have read all teachings of Swami Vivekananda or Ramakrishma Paramhamsa. But I started feeling the pull of their words very early in my life. I used to visit Ramakrishna Mission in Varanasi and used to spend my time in book shop there. But one thing that I did not like was the elaborate ritual that was performed daily there to worship the Swami. Once I tried to sit through the session but found myself dilemmatic about the idea later on. The big grand temple of the Mission that I saw in Lucknow also gave me some uneasy feelings. But then it happens with all great names. Their followers justify their ill-placed logic with vivid reasons.
But what matters for the larger good of humanity – is the teachings of our greats who come to show us the path and who will be here to deliver us from the bad in the future. And remember, these greats never say to be blind in your faith. Be logical. Be rational. Feel, experience and follow – or don’t follow.
Swami Vivekananda’s life is its best manifestation. He initially did not believe in God the way his immediate society propagated the idea. He had his questions and doubts even he met Ramakrishna. His faith gradually transcended – from questions to completion.