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Looking For Swami Vivekananda
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Indian community in the USA is wealthy, prosperous, educated, sometimes dynamic and perhaps complacent. We read of discrimination against our fellow members of the community by the majority population more so everyday. Things such as “Sikh beaten up on NY sidewalk” are becoming commonplace. We have been practicing traditions of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and all other practicing religions of India. Temples, Mosques, Churches and other religious institutions and our people of various backgrounds routinely come under attacks for the way look or what we practice.
Our community leaders are well connected with the local politicians, local charities, local religious institutions, local communities they live in and contribute handsomely to the local and national causes. Be it political, charitable or religious causes the community leaders are well published in the media for their good deeds. What is missing is their collective voice in raising the Indian community to be recognized as another ethnic community that coexists with the rest of the US population. I am sure the immediate reaction to my point will be where has this guy been? And why does he question the leaders? Aren’t the leaders doing enough to help safeguard the community? No I don’t question the leaders, but simply the efforts to bring Indians in the mainstream of the USA.
Social integration is a bigger issue today than it was 20 some years ago for us Indians. I know it as a fact. As the numbers in our community expands there are more and more associations, groups, gatherings and media outlets. They primarily cater to the particular group of people, which it self is a limiting the energy and intellect of our overall community to a specific group. The regional associations and sometime multiple associations that represent the people from various states of India, are not involved in the overall Indian community, except when there is an appearance to made if a national figure comes into town. They are seldom aware of what the associations that represent other communities are doing, are what issues that each of them are facing. USA has a wide spectrum of Indians, and they are continuously challenged to integrate into the communities they live in. The community elders can help if they invest a little more effort to bring the issues into a daily debate with their high powered connections, political affiliates and the Indian associations themselves.
While I read the daily reports on Indians facing discrimination, I was wondering why we don’t have a leader who represents our larger Indian community. My thoughts went to the teachings of Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) spoke at the World Conference of Religions held from 11th - 27th of September 1893 in Chicago. He was seen as the most influential and powerful speaker to attend the gathering. His words of wisdom continue to be inspirational to one all.
Just to get some perspective here are some of his teachings.
I am persuaded that a leader is not made in one life. He has to be born for it. For the difficulty is not in organization and making plans; the test, the real test, of the leader, lies in holding widely different people together along the line of their common sympathies. And this can only be done unconsciously, never by trying."
When you are doing any work, do not think of anything beyond. Do it as worship, as the highest worship, and devote your life to it for the time being.
Mind and Thought:
Mind is like a lake, and every thought is like a wave upon that lake. Just as in the lake waves rise and then fall down and disappear, so these thought-waves are continually rising in the mind stuff, and then disappearing but they do not disappear forever. They become finer and finer, but they are all there, ready to start up at another time when called upon to do so.
God in Us
I wish that everyone of us had come to such a state that even when we see the vilest of human beings we can see the God within, and instead of condemning, say, "Rise, thou effulgent One, rise, thou who art always pure, rise, thou who art beyond birth and death, rise, thou almighty, and manifest your nature.
I call on all the leaders and members to start embracing the practices that will make us truly a part of the place we live in. I call on the Swami to once again inspire us. Let the leaders of the community make it a common practice to endorse harmony and tolerance. If our current leaders are not up to it, let us find within ourselves to find the teachings of the Swami. Let us integrate and prosper in peace.
Research is from the Internet and books on the Swami. I took the Picture of the Swami’s temple on July 10, 2004 around 5:00 PM from Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago campus, which has a beautiful Mandir for Swami Vivekananda.
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