Swami Vivekananda on Indian Culture

Swami Vivekananda (1863- 1902) laid stress on physical development as a prerequisite for spiritual development, which in turn leads to the development of the culture of the country. Swami Vivekananda dedicated his whole life to the great upward swing of humanity. He was indeed a social reformer. In his dynamism of thought human excellence should assert his birth right to be a man. The central theme of his inspiring speeches for the whole world was man— his growth, development and the fulfillment. He found that in spite of India’s rich heritage and strong cultured history, various problems like poverty, weakness and social evils existed in our country. For the past 1000 years various foreign invasions took place. So the Indians were exposed to cultures that were totally alien to them. Several attempts were made by the Indian rulers to give the Indians an administration, which was in consonance with the cultural heritage of the country.  Later, religions became an important part in the culture and places of worship became community centers. The innovations in religious thinking brought two popular beliefs in India, namely Buddhism by the Buddha and Jainism by the Saint Mahavir. Then there was a socio-religious shift or orientation in the Indian culture. Swami Vivekananda has pointed out that every civilization or culture has a particular life-centre, a dominant characteristic or trend.  According to him the life-centre of Indian culture is spirituality. By spirituality is meant a way of life oriented to the ultimate purpose or goal of life which is the realization of the Supreme Spirit or God. Swami Vivekananda once spoke of himself as a “condensed India.” His life and teachings are of inestimable value to the West for an understanding of the mind of Asia. In this paper it is an attempt to draw out Swami Vivekananda’s thoughts and discussion on Indian Culture and its contribution to world.

Gitanajlee Bora,  Research Scholar, Department of Philosophy, Gopinath Bordoloi Nagar, Gauhati University,  Guwahati, Assam 781014

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