This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007

 

Swami Vivekananda’s vision of man and his excellence: a psycho-philosophical approach

R. Lekshmi — Govt. College for Women, Trivandrum

 

Man is the central pillar of the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. Man manliness, man-making-these were the constant mantra on his lips. He exemplified man in his universal dimension, which expressed itself in concern for him everywhere, and in every field of his life. His approach to man,  individuality, human nature, human excellence etc. are at once Psychological as well as philosophical that it helps one to understand the problems, limitations and failure of human life and to find out immediate but fruitful solutions for them. This paper mainly intends to make a study on Swami Vivekananda’s analysis of man, and his development. In his view, an ideal man is one who is having an integrated personality. A man may be intellectual, devotional, mystic or active but what is needed is not one – sided development but the combination of all the above in one man. Vivekananda has thrown a new light on individuality. The “individual” is one that which cannot be divided. The real individuality is not the idea that we are Mr. so and so but that I am He. We are not individuals yet for there is no individuality except in the infinite. Vivekananda points out the Western type of human excellence based on human dignity, self-confidence, strength and social welfare, which concentrate on the external development of man. But he also points out the Indian concept of human excellence, which concentrates on the inner spiritual development of man. Synthesizing the best elements of the two, Vivekananda proclaims the secret of true human excellence in terms of the combination of ‘manliness (Western) and spirituality (Indian).  Man thinks that he is the body or mind and identifies himself with the apparent individuality. He is ignorant of his powers and possibilities. He develops a false sense of ego and suffers terribly from insecurity, restlessness, and confusion caused there from. Lack of courage, unsteadiness of mind, lack of will power and perseverance, failure to examine oneself, lack of self-restraint, selfishness, - all these lead to unending problems and arrest the development of personality. A harmonious development of every aspect of the individual with firm faith in one’s infinite spiritual nature. Developing body of perfect health and strength, mind with clarity and control, intellect as sharp as razor, will of steel, heart full of love and sympathy, life dedicated of the common weal and realization of the true self. Developing self-confidence, courage, truth, perseverance, concentration of the mind, positive attitude towards life- these are some of the beautiful ideals of Swami Vivekananda which can help in the total development of man.

Email the author, Dr. R Lekshmi, at lekshmi51@yahoo.co.in