Every culture has a world-view or even a package of world-views, and that is as true of twenty-first century America as of any other time and place. The American view of the world rests primarily on the developments of European civilization, which derive in large part from the ancient Semitic and Greco-Roman cultures. These are the foundations of what we call modern Western civilization.
When I visited Brazil the first time, several years ago, a friend there said to me, “Swami, do you know that we have a Ramakrishna Mission in Brazil?”
I was really surprised to hear that. The Ramakrishna Mission is an Indian-based religious and philanthropic organization with several branches outside India, but at that time there was none in Brazil.
The mind plays a most crucial role in human life. An individual's real strength lies not in his muscle but in the tranquility of his mind. Tranquillity is vital not only for his or her survival, but also for success and fulfillment in any walk of life. It is the source of his or her power, creativity, and self-confidence. It is as important for a saint or a mystic as it is for a scientist, an artist, an engineer, or a workman.
Swami Vivekananda’s composition ‘Hymn to Sri Ramakrishna’, sung during evening prayers by thousands of devotees around the world, is special in many ways. It is a prayer that addresses the impersonal aspect of Sri Ramakrishna and, from the literary point of view, it is an acrostic poem in which the first syllables of every line, put together, form the powerful mantra om namo bhagavate ramakrishnaya.