Swami Vivekanand is suddenly a villain. I find many quoting Swami Vivekanand to show how he was a beef-lover, Vedas hater, and had no consistent stand on any issue. Let me answer this briefly for serious Dharma lovers. I prefer to answer haters in a different tone and style.
1. Most controversial statements attributed to him come from works compiled by others from his ‘said’ speeches after his death. There are no written manuscripts available today. Hence these claims have no reliability. Some people in Ramkrishna Mission had even gone to court demanding separation from Hinduism. So we cannot trust them. What is important is that there are statements against beef, in support of Vedas also in his literature. They are in sync with his deeds and message, and hence more reliable.
2. Swami Vivekanand was not a Prophet. He was a Yogi. Yogi is one who uplifts himself through Sadhana to higher levels. Swami Vivekanand lived for only 39 years. His spiritual life began at age of around 20 when his life took a different turn after meeting Rama Krishna Paramhamsa. If you expect his views to remain same when he was 20 to when he was 39, then your expectations are inhuman. If you have been in that age, you know how your world-view changes and shapes up.
For Swami Vivekanand, that transformation was truly rapid. And that is where his success lies – in transforming himself from a confused agnostic to light of Bengal in such a small span of time.
Not only Swami Vivekanand. You will see such evolution of thoughts in every brilliant legend – Swami Dayanand being another classic example of same era.
So yes, there is evolution of thoughts. But there is no distraction. He was candid about his weaknesses and vowed to rise above them. And eventually set an example that prides us all. He may have said something about Vedas in his early era. That was the era of Max Muller. But then hailed Vedas as eternal source of perfect wisdom. He earlier believed, as was popular then in Bengal, that vegetarian diet was unfit though ideal. Later, he evolved to hailing vegetarian diet as the ultimate goal.
3. Many times the quotes are out of context. If you ask me is anger bad, I would say it is, if you frustrated with your constipation. But if you ask about dealing with cow-killers, I would say – unleash your anger on the rascals. It would be foolish to claim I have inconsistent views tomorrow. Know the context, know the person who is being addressed and then check for inconsistencies. You will find rarely, if any.
It is high time we value Vivekanand’s life as a model template to be Yogi from where we are. Do not split hair over one word here and there. It is most likely spurious. Or maybe his thoughts at one point in time. Value how he evolved.
And be courageous to disagree with what you must. The goal is to be honest to soul within, and not to a set of books published in 1906 under spurious situations.
I can say one thing – Agniveer represents Vivekanand’s Yogic spirit in action. Application of Vivekanand in today’s era. Join and discover the Vivek inside you. And have Anand.