Now, great teachers do not always think things out with the brain, as we do. They are really the soul of humanity, not just a small fragment of it. They represent vast sections of mankind, not merely of the present age but also of future ages, even a little of the past. In themselves they represent the aspirations and the understanding of a vast number of men and women, millions and millions of human beings. When a world teacher says, I want food’, it is as if millions of hungry people through centuries and centuries were crying out through his voice for food. It is enough that he has said I want food’; he does not have to think about it. He has spoken, and he is not just one person, he is a million human beings. Swami Vivekananda once said, I am man incarnate.’
He used to feel himself at one with man. And he felt that in this age millions and millions of men and women will be lifted to their native dignity. The masses have been trampled under. A handful of people have lived in comfort and in dignity in past ages, while millions have slaved for this handful. Now the time has come when these millions will have their day. Strength will come to them, confidence will come to them, a sense of freedom, a sense of self-respect will come to them. They will enjoy the things of this world, they will enjoy the things of the intellect, and they will reach towards the things of the Spirit. This is the age for these millions and millions of people.
The Swami did not want them to have only a higher standard of living central heating, wonderful clothes, plenty of vitamins, a nice library to go to, nice recreation grounds, so that the more leisure they have the more worthless they become, because they have not learned the use of time either they spend their leisure time indulging in hobbies or they spend it in acquisition. Such things may give them a little satisfaction but do not make them any better: they do not discover any profound truth thereby. The Swami didn’t want that. Of course he wanted people to have a decent living, a decent house and some enjoyment. But he wanted them very soon to rise above that material level to the dignity of their own inner being, spiritual dignity. He wanted even the common man to rise to that dignity; he did not want anyone to stop half way. He wanted all men and women in the East and in the West to rise towards that. That was his aspiration. Therefore one of his great teachings was, Go from door to door, the door of the poor as well as the rich, of the young and the old, of the learned and the ignorant; and to everyone say, You are infinite, you are eternal. In you is the infinite power. You are free. You are divine.’He wanted us to teach this truth to everyone, to tell them all that they are divine. That is what he meant by worshipping man as God.
If you say, That is rather a high philosophy for the common people to understand’, his answer was that man is divine and so when you call him God he responds. He does not have to go through learned tomes of philosophy to be convinced of his divinity. If he were not divine, all these learned tomes would only mislead him; but if he is divine, he doesn’t have to be given any argument. He has only to be told the truth with a sincere voice not from the lips alone, but from the heart. That is what is wanted. If I have not experienced that truth within myself, my voice would not carry conviction to anybody else. But if I have felt this truth of the eternity, the immortality, the vastness, the wonderfulness of my own being, if I have felt I am the fearless one, the free one and that whatever the external conditions might be, nothing in the entire universe, gods, or men or devils, would be ever able to affect me if I have felt this truth, then my voice will have a ring which will awaken the echo of this same truth in the hearts of others. And Swami Vivekananda wanted us to go with that truth from door to door and tell it to everyone.