Swami Vivekananda and Human Excellence

On 12th January 2010, on the occasion of the birthday of Swami Vivekananda, celebrated by the Government of India as the National Youth Day, Samskrita Sangha at Indian Institute of Science had organized a talk by Swami Paramasukhananda, a monk from Ramakrishna Math, Ulsoor, Bangalore. Here is an outline of the talk titled “Swami Vivekananda and Human Excellence”.

The world and India has seen several saints and prophets. When almost all of them talked about God, Swami Vivekananda insisted on man. The main theme of his lectures, private talks, writings, letters, etc. was Human Excellence. He wanted every human being to manifest the best qualities in all spheres of life. The best examples of the ideal that he presents are Swami Vivekananda himself and Sri Krishna.

The person who has achieved the utmost excellence in his life is a man of harmony. Krishna presents a vivd picture of such a man at several occasions in the Bhagavad Gita. In his personality and life, we see harmony between pair of opposites like gentleness and fearlessness, renunciation and service, faith and rationality, meditation and work, etc. Usually we meet two kinds of noble people – the meditative introverted renunciate and the ever active social worker. A harmony of both of these in the same person is the epitome of Human Excellence.

Human Excellence can be broadly classified as Social Excellence and Spiritual Excellence.

Social Excellence requires three qualities – (1) Knowledge of ways to uplift mankind, (2) Capacity to put the knowledge into practice, and most importantly, (3) Strength of conviction. Conviction (shradda) is the most important factor and is the seed of all good action. Conviction is of three things – (1) Conviction in the potential of oneself, (2) Conviction in the power of goodness, (3) Conviction in the potential of the world and society.

There have been several people of great achievements in  Social Excellence. But ultimate fulfillment in life will come only from Spiritual Excellence. This is having the true knowledge about oneself as the pure Consciousness, ever unattached and beyond all cause-effect relationships.

Swami Vivekananda was a perfect blend of Social and Spiritual Excellence. By following his teachings, we also can strive to inculcate these concepts in our life and attain both these aspects of Human Excellence.

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