Vivekananda and AmericaHe who broke the barrier between East and West and placed the two on common ground is still a living force in both. His function was to bring in oneness where there was none before, by carrying the best of each to the other. The East had become lost by moving away from materialism; the West by keeping clear of spirituality. A happy marriage of the two, he deeply felt, was the supreme need of the world. Life without spirituality was as poor as life without material power. Hence he dynamised the East with the force of the West, and inspired the West with the ancient wisdom of the East.
It is foolish to think that he sailed for America to satisfy his mental curiosity. It is also an absurdity to believe that his feet touched foreign shores to make a noise in the world. No. It was Sri Ramakrishna's silent blessing that kindled the inspiration-fire of the beloved disciple to share his light with the soil and soul of America.
No country is superior to others in all spheres of life. Vivekananda with his deeply penetrating insight says: “As regards spirituality, the Americans are far inferior to us, but their society is far superior to ours.” He showed how a happy and true union could be effected between the other-world-loving Indians and the this-world-loving Americans: “We will teach them our spirituality and assimilate what is best in their society.”
Asia, Europe and America — each continent made a contribution of its own to the world at large. With the help of his spirit's vision, Vivekananda revealed the truth: "Asia laid the germs of civilisation, Europe developed man, and America is developing woman and the masses.”
It is an established fact that the women in America are the most advanced in the world, especially in the cultivation of knowledge. Vivekananda made a surprising observation:
Vivekananda's soul-stirring addresses inspired the audience to have faith in all the religions of the world, to hug the best in each religion. There was a magic spell of throbbing delight woven around his very name at the Parliament of Religions. He was the figure that dominated the world's gaze there. A report appeared in the Boston Evening Transcript of September 30th, 1893, about the great triumph of the Indian spiritual giant: “If he merely crosses the Platform, he is applauded, and this marked approval of thousands he accepts in a childlike spirit of gratification, without a trace of conceit.” The same paper on April 5th, 1894, had an irresistible recollection:
It is indeed only when we live in this truth that we can bask in the glorious Sunshine of the Soul that is Vivekananda.