Md. Ayub Mallick
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science,
University, Kalyani, Nadia PIN 741235
Vivekananda and Nivedita: Vedantic philosophy and method
Nivedita says that it is easy, as one reads this Letter, to see how he has been thrilled by the congruity of ancient Indian thought with modern science. “Our friend,” he writes, “was charmed to hear about the Vedantic prana and akasa and the kalpas, which, according to him, are the only theories modern science can entertain. Now both akasa and prana again, are produced from the cosmic mahat, the universal mind, the Brahma, or Iswara. He thinks he can demonstrate mathematically that force and matter are reducible to potential energy. I am to go and see him next week, to get this new mathematical demonstration. ” (Nivedita 1910, p. 173). Vivekananda tried to reorient the struggle for building a New India with Vedanta philosophy. To him, matter and thought are co-existent; both are products of nature, a third something, known as Brahman or Atman (Vivekananda, CW, Vol. 5, p. 323). Both matter and mind are really nothing but forces. Matter is changed into mind and vice versa. Mind is the refined matter and body the concretized mind. Therefore, nature is homogeneous (Vivekananda, CW, Vol. 6, pp. 245-46). Mind is the name of change, body is the name of another change and all these compose our universe. To him, Brahman or Atman or Nature is absolute and ‘time, space, and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen, and when it is seen on the lower side it appears as the universe.’ (Vivekananda, CW, Vol. 2, p. 123). Graphically, it may be presented as in Fig. 1.