Ever since I was a teenager, I have tried to understand Swami Vivekananda at various stages of my life through his writings and through those of others who have attempted to capture his majestic and impactful life. At every stage, his words and his life have moved me and conveyed a message which was relevant to a given phase or which answered questions that occurred to me then. This doesn’t mean I am remotely spiritual or that I have lived up to the values he preached and embodied; it only means that Swamiji’s profound and powerful thoughts are capable of moving even spiritually uninitiated and imperfect individuals.
Swamiji’s first-hand and acute diagnosis of what ails Bharat and the treatment it needs have always arrested me the most as a layperson. In fact, his teachings on Vedanta through his lectures on the subject reveal that Swamiji’s take on Vedanta could serve as a key foundational building block for an Indic Renaissance i.e. the rejuvenation of Bharat as a living civilization which still has a lot to offer to the world. I believe so because Swamiji’s Vedantic worldview exhorts us to put faith in ourselves first and to realise that all knowledge and divinity are within us and are merely waiting to manifest. This is precisely the treatment the doctor prescribed for the Indic civilization in its direst hour of self-doubt. Swamiji’s recognition that Vedanta is not merely an ideal but is firstly practical and must be practical, is what strengthens the case for its relevance to civilizational resurgence.