Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 9:35AM
Vedanta Society of St. Louis

Swami Vivekananda’s Contribution to the Present Age

by Swami Satprakashananda

Hardback. 249 pages. ISBN 0916356582


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Swami Vivekananda formed a bridge between the East and the West, and between traditional and progressive cultures. An insightful comparison of Vivekananda, Buddha, and Shankara, and a classified survey of Vivekananda’s teachings are included.

Satprakashananda has taken pains to show how Swami Vivekananda has improved upon, and added new dimensions to, and elaborated and synthesized and suitably modernized, the ancient wisdom transmitted down the ages . . . . The book is a treasure of idealistic thoughts and inspiring flashes of soul, revealing Vivekananda’s many facets. . . .Persons who yearn to study the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda phenomenon and understand its true worth will gain much by going through this well-written and powerfully presented treatise.
- Vedanta Kesari

In the pages of this book Swami Satprakashananda presents in a systematic manner Vivekananda’s words and deeds . . . it sheds light on the central theme of his universal message of divinizing humanity.
- Prabuddha Bharata (Awakened India)

  1. Introduction: The Unification of the World - How?
  2. The Buddha, Sri Sankaracarya, and Swami Vivekananda
  3. The Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Vedanta Movement
  4. Swami Vivekananda’s Universality
  5. A Classified Survey of Swami Vivekananda’s Message
  6. (Supplement) Swami Vivekananda’s Brother Disciple, Swami Brahmananda, as a Spiritual Teacher

Appendix A: The Buddhist Scriptures
Appendix B: The Vedic Scriptures
Appendix C: Folk Festivals in India
Appendix D: The Origin and the Restoration of the Handwritten Manuscript of Swami Vivekananda’s "Song of the Sannyasin"
Appendix E: How a King Became a Saint

Chapter IV - Swami Vivekananda’s Universality

A distinctive characteristic of Swami Vivekananda is the comprehensiveness of his vision. He is remarkably universal. His thought is universal, his love universal, his message universal, his life-work universal. He stands up for mankind in general, without distinction of race or nationality, creed or culture, sex or age. He has in his view all types and grades of human beings, takes into account the various aspects of human life, and dwells on the basic problems of human existence. He sees the divine self of man and looks upon the human form as the very symbol of the Divinity. In Vivekananda the universal spirit has found a loving, dynamic, and all-encompassing expression, which is rarely to be found elsewhere. In his scheme of life there is no inherent conflict between faith and reason, between science and religion, between poetry and philosophy, between action and meditation, between social and monastic ideals. His plan is to lead each and every individual at whatever level, or in whatever sphere of life, to the highest goal, to the realization of his innate perfection, along his own line of development. As expressed by Swami Vivekananda:

Take man where he stands and from there give him a lift.

Like all other great teachers of religion, Swami Vivekananda has a special interest in man’s spiritual life, which leads to the highest Goal; yet he has included in his plan of human regeneration the seekers of the temporal values as well as the seekers of the supreme Good. The search for the temporal regulated by ethical principles leads to the search for the eternal regulated by spiritual idealism. The one is preparatory to the other. The Vedic religion consists of both the ways. They are called respectively pravrtti-marga, the path of activity characterized by desire and nivrtti-marga, "the path of detachment or renunciation." While stressing the second, which is the direct way to the ultimate Goal, Swami Vivekananda has shown due regard for the other way as well. Says he:

What can be a greater giver of peace than renunciation? A little ephemeral worldly good is nothing in comparison with eternal Good; no doubt of that. What can bring greater strength than sattva guna [serenity of mind conducive to spiritual knowledge]? It is indeed true that all other kinds of knowledge are but ‘non-knowledge’ in comparison with Self-knowledge, but I ask–how many are there in the world fortunate enough to gain that sattva guna? . . .
Article originally appeared on Vedanta Society of St. Louis - A Branch of The Ramakrishna Order of India (
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