Nationalist Perspective (Swamy Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo)

19/04/2024 0 By indiafreenotes

Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo were two of the most influential figures in the nationalist movement in India, each providing a spiritual foundation to the struggle for independence. Their views, while grounded in Hindu philosophical traditions, emphasized the broader vision of an independent India and revitalized national pride and cultural identity among Indians.

Swami Vivekananda (18631902)

Swami Vivekananda, a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, is best known for his address at the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, where he introduced Hinduism to the Western world. His teachings and works emphasized the following aspects:

  1. Cultural Nationalism:

Vivekananda was a strong proponent of Indian cultural and spiritual identity. He believed that the true essence of India lay in its ancient Hindu traditions and that reviving these traditions was crucial for national renewal.

  1. Universalism and Tolerance:

While a staunch Hindu, Vivekananda preached the acceptance of all religions. His concept of nationalism transcended the barriers of caste, creed, and religion, which was a radical stance in the context of the socio-political environment of his time.

  1. Education and Social Reform:

Vivekananda advocated for widespread education as a means to national revival. He was particularly vocal about educating the masses, including women, and upliftment of the downtrodden, asserting that social reform was essential for national strength.

  1. Spiritual Strength and Self-Respect:

He emphasized building the nation through building the character of its people, promoting ideas of self-help and self-respect. His famous call to the youth, to have faith in themselves, was aimed at instilling a sense of pride and purpose among Indians.

Sri Aurobindo (18721950)

Sri Aurobindo was initially involved in the political struggle for Indian independence but later moved towards developing a spiritual approach to nationalism. His contributions are noted as follows:

  1. Political Nationalism:

In his early years, Sri Aurobindo was an outspoken critic of British rule in India. He was involved in revolutionary activities and was a prominent leader of the Nationalist movement before turning to spiritual and philosophical pursuits.

  1. Integral Yoga:

After his withdrawal from politics, Sri Aurobindo developed the practice of Integral Yoga, which aimed at the spiritual evolution of humanity and the manifestation of a divine life on earth. He saw this spiritual transformation as essential to the realization of true freedom.

  1. Spiritual Evolution and Nationalism:

Sri Aurobindo viewed the freedom struggle of India as a spiritual battle. He believed that India had a unique spiritual destiny that would contribute to the world, suggesting that India’s independence was crucial for the spiritual evolution of humanity.

  1. Vision of Human Unity:

Beyond national boundaries, Sri Aurobindo was a proponent of human unity. In his utopian vision, he saw a future where nations would transcend selfish interests for a greater collective existence, which included a unique role for India in guiding this spiritual evolution.


Both Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo provided a spiritual framework to Indian nationalism that went beyond mere political independence. They sought to inspire a cultural and spiritual resurgence that would redefine Indian identity and contribute to global civilization. Their teachings continue to influence spiritual thought and nationalist sentiments in India, highlighting the interconnection between spiritual growth and national strength.