A Place where devotees gather to share inspiration.
"Holy Mother" painted by Swami Tadatmananda
Used courtesy of the Vedanta Society of Southern California
With the conjunction of the passing of Swami Vivekananda in 1902, on the anniversary of America's independence, so many feelings arise within me.
It is believed that Swamiji chose July 4th purposely, because of his love and faith in our potential. Sri Ramakrishna had given Swamiji the boon of being able to choose the date on which he might withdraw from the body, once his work on earth was completed. Swamiji had often expressed his love for America and his belief that this young, immature and arrogant, Nation would one day awake to its true calling, and realize the fulfillment of its own high ideals. He even wrote a poem "To the Fourth of July."
Behold the dark clouds melt away,
That gathered thick at night and hung
So like a gloomy pall above the earth!
Before thy magic touch, the world Awakes.
The birds in chorus sing.
The flowers raise their star-like crowns--
Dew-set, and wave the welcome fair.
The lakes are opening wide in love
Their hundred thousand lotus-eyes
To welcome thee, with all their depth.
All hail to thee, thou Lord of Light!
All welcome new to thee, today.
O Sun! Thou sheddest Liberty!
Bethink thee how the world did wait,
And search for thee, through time and clime.
Some gave up home and love of friends,
And went in quest of thee, self-banished,
Through dreary oceans, through primeval forests,
Each step a struggle for their life or death;
Then came the day when work bore fruit,
And worship, love, and sacrifice,
Fulfilled, accepted, and complete.
Then thou, propitious, rose to shed
The light of Freedom on mankind.
Move on, O Lord, in thy resistless path !
Till high noon o'erspreads the world.
Till every land reflects thy light,
Till men and women, with uplifted head,
Behold their shackles broken, and
Know, in springing joy, their life renewed.
Dear Swamiji. We have not yet awakened. Instead, we seem to have plunged into deeper darkness. You said that one's freedom may not hurt another, and that if it does, then we are not free. In the name of this false freedom (greediness for wealth and power), we are inflicting pain upon ourselves and upon the world.
Help us, Swamiji, to arise from this deepening ignorance and break the ties of bondage.
Help "every land reflect" the light of God's love. Let the time that you spent in America, nearly half of your nine years as teacher and prophet, not be in vain.
May the light of your faith and blessings shine brightly on this auspicious day!
Location: San Diego, California, USA