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Living in the World by Dying to the Self: Swami Vivekananda’s Modernist Reconfigurations of a Premodern Vedāntic Dialectic

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Peer-reviewed

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Article

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Abstract

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pThis article is an exploration of the dialectic of this-worldly activism and the practice of self-effacement in Swami Vivekananda’s discourses. He often exhorts his audiences to cultivate the vigorous strength to live courageously in the world on the basis of their spiritual conviction that they are rooted in the true self (jats:italicātman</jats:italic>) beyond all spatiotemporal limitations. The boundlessjats:italicātman</jats:italic>, to be realized by effacing the egocentric self, would become the imperishable source of their fortitude to live with fearlessness in a world of suffering. Since thejats:italicātman</jats:italic>is not constrained by the egocentric bounds of the “I”, to become recentered in its illimitable heart is to move towards a universal morality. Through this return to one’s imperishable center of existential gravity, one transcends fear and hatred of the “other” as a radically alien being. While his socioreligious worldview is imprinted with aspects of Advaita as formalized by Śaṅkara, he also occasionally endorses the theocentric visions of Rāmānuja and Madhva and declares that all these Vedāntic pathways point towards the effacement of the ego and the generation of fearlessness.</jats:p>

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Keywords

Swami Vivekananda, jivanmukti, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Sankara, Ramanuja

Journal Title

International Journal of Hindu Studies

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1022-4556
1574-9282

Volume Title

27

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC