Sub-subject: Renewal of Hinduism - Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda. Syllabus:
Sample of the Sub-subject: Hinduism: Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda
Sub-Subject Description: Sri Ramakrishna.
In the 19th century, under the full British domination, several spiritual wise started a profound renewal of Hinduism in India, complaining even of some of their traditional values, e.g., abolishing the system of castes and ultimately converting Hinduism into a religion with a strong ethical base (Hindu Civilisation).
Three figures are fundamental in this renewal: Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, and Mahatma Gandhi.
Sri Ramakrishna (Gadadhar Chattopadhyay, 1836 - 1886) is one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the humanity in the recent centuries. His message of peace (Ahimsa) and especially that all religions are valid (Principle of the Harmony of Religions); they are different paths to God are laying the foundations for a new global ethic.
The important message of “Sri Ramakrishna” about the Harmony of Religions and tolerance that derives from it, should be a fundamental component of a global ethic.
It is crucial to point out that Ramakrishna not said that all religions are equal, nor that it was necessary to create a global religion.
He recognised the differences between religions but revealed that, despite these differences, all religions lead to the same ultimate goal, and therefore all are valid and rightful. This point of view is today
known as “pluralism”: Sri Ramakrishna is its principal author.
“The same God was revealed, incarnated in Christ, speaking through the Prophet Muhammad, or like Vishnu the Preserver or Shiva the Finisher.”
From this mystical experience, derived the beautiful teaching of the essential unity of the higher religions, so it is known as the “prophet of the harmony between religions.”
“God has made different religions to suit the different aspirations, times, and countries.
All doctrines are only so
many paths, but a path is by no means God Himself
Take a bow and worship where others kneel, for which so many have paid a tribute of veneration, the good Lord should, as it is all compassion.
The Saviour is the messenger of God. So whenever there is any waning of religion in any part of the World, God sends His Saviour there. It is one and the same Saviour that, having plunged into the ocean of life, rises up in one place and is known as Krishna, and diving again rises in another place and is known as Christ.
Everyone should follow his religion. A Christian should follow Christianity; a Muslim should follow Islam, and so on. For Hinduism, the old way, the way of the wise Aryans is the best.”
Many Hindus even consider him a divine incarnation. For Mahatma Gandhi:
“Ramakrishna was an incarnation of divinity. Their words are not those of a mere learned man, are the pages of the book of life. They are Revelations of their experiences. Ramakrishna's life has been a lesson of Ahimsa (non-Violence). Their love knew no boundaries, geographical or otherwise. May his divine love be an inspiration to all.”
The Malian Ahmadou Hampaté Bá (Muslim) is an excellent example of the Sri Ramakrishna principle.
The great British historian Arnold Toynbee, one of the pioneers in the West to understand this vision of Sri Ramakrishna, wrote:
“The principle of non-violence of Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Ramakrishna's testimony to the harmony of religions: here we have the approach and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together into one family.”
Swami Vivekananda (1863 - 1902), was a monk (Hinduism) and the major disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in the Western, the revival of Hinduism in India as well as in the development of the idea of nationalism in colonial India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission.
In the first Parliament of the World's Religions (Chicago 1893), Swami Vivekananda gave a speech still remembered today and considered essential in the dialogue between religions:
“I am a Hindu. And I feel fine. The Christian should be a good Christian. The Muslim a good Muslim.
Hinduism cannot live without Buddhism, and Hinduism not exists without Buddhism.”