Swami Vivekananda set the motto of Ramakrishna Math
and Mission as
“aatmano mokshaartham jagat hitaaya cha”, which means
“For one’s own liberation and the world’s welfare”.
This is a very wonderful concept. These words can be understood
from two stand points. From the stand point of the goal, this
motto indicates the symbiosis between “peace” and “prosperity”.
From the stand point of the means, this motto indicates the
symbiosis between “spirituality” and “service”.
Peace and Prosperity
Indian Philosophy defines four goals of human life, called
Purushaartha. They are
Artha – Security – What is necessary for the very survival
Kaama – Pleasure – All other pursuits
Dharma – Law – Restrictions on Artha and Kama to ensure that
they are sustainable and well distributed to everyone
Moksha – Liberation – Permanent freedom from sorrow, which can
come only through renunciation of desire
The first three – Artha, Kaama and Dharma – are together called
“Hita“. They indicate sustainable and well distributed prosperity
in the society.
The last one – Moksha – indicates the unshakable internal peace
of the individual. The Upanisads and Bhagavad Gita stress time
and again the idea “tyaagainaike amrutatva maanushuhu” –
“Immortality comes to man only by renunciation”. Renunciation
means renunciation of desire for pleasure, possessions, power, etc.
Thus, Swami Vivekananda adds a clarification to these goals of life.
The clarifies that “Hita” is for the sake of the society and
“Moksha” is for the sake of the self.
The professional job we do, the wealth we earn, the charity we give, the
house we build, the food we cook, the prayer we make, the knowledge we
seek and all other pursuits should be for the prosperity of the society
and spiritual upliftment of ourselves. These two goals complement each
other and give the overall results.
Prosperity is an external goal for the sake of the society.
Liberation is an internal goal for the sake of the self.
Our entire life is the means to these.
Spirituality and Service
Another way to look at this is as “spirituality” and “service”. Service
to the society is the means for spiritual progess of the individual.
Spiritual progress of the individual in turn becomes the basis for his
service to the society.
The scriptures advice that spiritual knowledge should be given only to
a person who approaches reverentially and specifically for the knowledge.
Spiritual knowledge should be given only to a person who comes asking
for peace of mind. On the other hand, prosperity should be given to people
without asking. We should go voluntarily and help people to become
Social service should be rendered by going out in search of the needy,
without waiting for them to come and ask. Spiritual knowledge should be
given only to people who come in search of it.
Thus Swami Vivekananda gives a very interesting line of thought by the
words “aatmano mokshaartham jagat hitaaya cha”.