04 February 2014

Hiren Mukherjee On Swami Vivekananda

Hirendranath Mukherjee
Image source: FrontLine (Fair use)
Hirendranath Mukherjee (Bengali: হীরেন্দ্রনাথ মুখার্জী) or Hiren Mukherjee (Bengali: হীরেন মুখের্জী) (November 23, 1907 – July 30, 2004) was an Indian Bengali communist leader and politician, lawyer and academic. He won five consecutive Lok Sabha elections from the Calcutta North-East constituency in 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967 and 1971. A detailed biography of Hirendranath Mukherjee is available at Wikipedia, the topic of our this article is Hirendranath Mukherjee's quotes and comments on Swami Vivekananda.

Hiren Mukherjee told—
It is a blessing that we had only lately in our midst, in the cruelly inhibited conditions of foreign subjection, a truly great soul like Vivekananda, never a recluse but always with his leonine strength of character in the midst of his people . . . the monk whose heart bled for his people so that he gave his all for his country’s recovery, self-assertion, and yearning, never wholly stifled, for fulfilment. This is why one like me, a sceptic and atheist to whom the ardent assumptions and ecstasies of belief are alien, salutes this tremendous man of faith and of action who gave back to his stricken people the long-lost pride in their manhood. This is why to dive into Vivekananda's life-story is to discover by no means just an archive but an arsenal of ideas, of instruments for refashioning ‘the human condition’ in our ancient country. . .

In his wisdom and his wit Vivekananda could be homely, but he could soar to the heavens even as his feet were planted on our Indian earth. In his meditations he could reach transcendental realms, but to him, as to the Atharva-Veda rishi, Ayam lokaþ priyatamaþ (‘this, our world, is dearest of all’) and to his fellow-humans he could truly say, as some of our finest old injunctions stress, that ‘his mother was Parvati, his father was Mahesvara, that all men were his brothers, and that the three worlds were his home.’ It was, thus, that in his own unique way Vivekananda could, if any one person did, give a vibrant unequivocal, people-oriented colour to subject India’s nationalism and will ever be remembered as one of the supreme figures in the annals of our freedom struggle. . . .  He knew too keenly that subject India had been debilitated and rejuvenation of her strength was imperative.  . . . He did say, of course: ‘We must conquer the world through our spirituality and philosophy. There is no other alternative, we must do it or die. The only condition of [Indian] national life, of awakened and vigorous national life, is the conquest of the world by Indian thought.’

It was this man who actively inspired a whole host of national revolutionaries in the ‘Swadesi era.  . . .No wonder the sedition (Rowlatt) Committee Report (1918) affirmed that Vivekananda had an important influence on those who created a big, pro-freedom tumult in the first decade of the century. That influence continued and pervades whatever is forward-looking in the national scene even today.

Vivekananda pre-eminently was a Prophet who could ascend, in contemplation, to what he sensed as the highest human end — the saint’s thought processes must be unique — and yet returns to insert himself in the sweep of time in order to reshape forces of history and create, if one can, a new world. Here is the shinning quality distinguishing Vivekananda. . . .Vivekananda. . . will always be with us, as a great and gorgeous liberator, a man with whom indeed we can match our mountains and the sea.


  • Vivekananda and Indian Freedom by Mukherjee, Hiren, Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata, 2005, pp.4, 6, 19, 21, 24, 32-33

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