A Place where devotees gather to share inspiration.
"Holy Mother" painted by Swami Tadatmananda
Used courtesy of the Vedanta Society of Southern California
Giving New Meaning to American Independence
Swami Vivekananda himself has elevated the American Independence Day to spiritual significance by passing away on July 4, 1902. There can be no doubt that Swamiji knew about and honored this crucial event in America's history.
Two days prior to his death Swami Vivekananda had requested an almanac so he might, as according to Indian custom, choose and auspicious date for a journey. A bookmark marking July 4th was found in the almanac.
Many years earlier, the Master, Sri Ramakrishna had told Swamiji's brother disciples that when his work on earth was completed, the Divine Mother would remove the thin veil of maya by which she held Vivekananda to the world. Swamiji would then remember his true identity, and have the ability to choose when he would leave the body. After Swamiji's death, a brother recalled asking Swamiji in jest a few days before. "Well, brother. Do you you know who you are now?" The reply had been, "Yes."
One Fourth of July, in 1898, Swamiji had been traveling in Kashmir with some of his American disciples. In honor of the day, he wrote the poem, To the Fourth of July, which he read aloud at breakfast:
"To the Fourth of July,"
written by Swami Vivekananda, July 4, 1898.
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.
Swami Vivekananda believed that America has yet to realize the fulfillment of its highest ideals, but that that day would surely come. He gave nearly four of his nine years as a tremendous spiritual force to America, and for his vision of my country's future. Swamiji believed that countries as well as individuals had destiny and purpose, and that both India and the United States have something significant to contribute to civilization.
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Thanks so much for the reminder of how much Swamiji loved America, and how he taught us what we can be..strong, giving human beings.
For so long I found it hard to really understand what Swamiji's real lessons were...however over the last couple of years I have taken great strength from His teachings...i have lost 95 pounds since July 2003, and as a result have been able to stop insulin shots and almost all the meds i was taking for diabetes...so many times dring long bike rides and exercising when I really wanted to stop..i could hear, and feel Him saying..Keep Going...Keep Going..
All Mother!! Happy July 4--!
Location: san Francisco. ca. USA