Answers to FAQs | For the VIDEO: “Why Did Swami Vivekananda Die So Young?”

Enclosed below are the answers to a few commonly asked questions, concerning the video Why Did Swami Vivekananda Die So Young?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. If Samadhi means giving up the body, then how come Lord Buddha managed to live so long?
2. Should not the elephant which has a BIGGER body, have a greater consciousness than us?
3. Are there forms beyond human that can embody a higher consciousness?

Question 1: If attaining to Samadhi means leaving the body, then how come Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha and Sri Aurobindo managed to live so long?

After watching the video “Why Did Swami Vivekananda Die So Young?” some viewers have arrived at the erroneous conclusion that attaining to Samadhi – the state of Infinite Consciousness, necessarily implies giving up the body. This is not the case.

My purpose in making the video was to reveal the fact that Swami Vivekananda did not die a natural death (one over which he had no control); rather he, out of his own volition, chose to keep his consciousness confined to the finite plane, in order to complete his work on earth. Later when this work was finished and there was no more need to restrict himself to the earth plane, Swamiji let his consciousness expand back towards the infinite sat-chit-ananda state and voluntarily gave up his body in Samadhi.

With this view, I had included a brief overview of the Samadhi process, for the purpose of enhancing understanding. However, Samadhi in itself is an extremely vast topic with many nuances and one fact about it, which was not included in the video is that at the point of Samadhi, great incarnations such as Swamiji, have the ability to exercise a choice – either stay permanently immersed in Samadhi and as a consequence give up the body, or come down from that state to the earth plane in order to help humanity forward.

Many advanced yogis such as Lord Buddha, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo and Pandit Shriram Sharma, after attaining to Samadhi chose to come down to the earth plane of finite consciousness, for the purpose of completing their work.

In fact about Sri Ramakrishna, it is famous that he deftly switched back-and-forth between the two planes of infinite and finite consciousness.

Often at the mere hearing of God’s name, Sri Ramakrishna would enter into Samadhi. But rather than stay permanently immersed in the ocean of infinite consciousness (sat-chit-ananda); after some time, the great sage would on his own accord return back to body consciousness, so as to fulfill the Divine Mother’s plan of re-awakening India by spreading the light of Vedanta.

This was true even in the case of Swami Vivekananda. For Swamiji had first attained to Nirvikalpa Samadhi when he was just a youth in his early twenties. But he too transitioned down from this state, to do the work of the Divine Mother. After Swami Vivekananda’s first experience of Samadhi, Sri Ramakrishna had said to him:

“Now the Divine Mother has shown you everything. This realization (of Samadhi) like the jewel locked in a box, will be hidden away from you and kept in my custody. I will keep the key with me. Only after you have fulfilled your mission on this earth will the box be unlocked, and you will know everything as you have known now.” (Source: Vivekananda – A Biography by Swami Nikhilananda).

For this reason, even after attaining to God-realization (Samadhi), Swami Vivekananda travelled west to preach the message of religious peace and harmony.

But by his late-thirties, Swamiji’s work was nearing completion. He had accomplished all the goals that his guru had set out for him. As a consequence he had great difficulty keeping his highly purified mind anymore engaged in mundane day-to-day worldly affairs. The natural tendency of his mind, to revert back to the Samadhi state was increasing. Put another way, his soul was once more expanding towards the infinite sat-chit-ananda consciousness state. It was for this reason that Swamiji confided to his brother disciple Swami Abhedananda and said “my soul is getting bigger and bigger, any day it may burst this cage of flesh and bone.”

Concerning Swami Vivekananda’s voluntary death, there are two more points of significance:

  1. About 4 years before giving up his body, in the summer of 1898, Swami Vivekananda visited the holy shrine of Amarnath, where he received the boon of “Amar” – “death at the time of his own choosing” from Lord Shiva Himself. (Source: The Master as I Saw Him by Sister Nivedita, page 61.) (Free Book!)

  2. A week before the end in 1902, Swamiji bade a disciple to bring him the Bengali almanac (Panchang calendar). He was seen several times on subsequent days studying the book intently. After his passing away the brother monks realized that Swamiji had been debating about the auspicious day he would throw away the mortal body. Sri Ramakrishna too had consulted the almanac before his death. (Source: Vivekananda – A Biography by Swami Nikhilananda).

Question 2: If Consciousness requires a body to express itself, then should not the Elephant which has a BIGGER body, have a greater Consciousness than us?

In the video I have said…”As the soul of the ant expands (develops), it manifests for its purposes a better body, say that of a cat.”

By these words I did not mean a better body in terms of size, but rather I was referring to a body which is equipped with a better mind and brain to allow for greater manifestations of the underlying consciousness.

In the evolutionary chain, a higher consciousness manifests itself in the form of greater degree of self-awareness, greater intelligence and greater emotional and moral development (love, courage, empathy etc.). For the proper expression of these qualities an equally sophisticated mind and brain are essential.

So as we move up from plants, animals to humans, no doubt the body develops, but far greater still is the mental and emotional development, which at present times is in the highest amount in humans.

Therefore even though an elephant has a much bigger body than us, it does not have a higher consciousness. An elephant for example cannot wonder about its place in the universe, mainly because its brain and mind are not as developed as ours.

So in conclusion:
An expanding consciousness does NOT imply that the body has to keep getting bigger. This is not a linear relationship, because the chief instrument through which consciousness expresses itself is through the mind and brain.

Question 3: Are there forms beyond human that can embody a higher consciousness?

Yes there are, because human beings are not the final step in the evolutionary chain. There are stages and forms beyond human, capable of expressing an even higher consciousness. However at the present time, these forms have not evolved on earth.

One thing to remember is that even if such forms were manifest on earth, they would still represent only intermediate states. Beings embodied in these higher forms would still have to evolve to the final goal of attaining to the infinite consciousness. Only then will they be freed from the evolutionary cycle of birth and death.

Here are the various stages of manifestation of consciousness:

By Pulkit Mathur, The Spiritual Bee

If after reading the above answers, you still have further questions…feel free to email me.

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