Quest For God by Swami Vivekananda as a poetic piece is a part of a letter, a song of the sanyasin which he felt while writing to, communing with through a letter and there is something of unexpected friendship and love and acquaintance expressed through thanksgiving and something as that he has got out of the Mercy and Blessings of the Divine Providence which it pours over from time to time and the poem under our perusal is an expression of the same. Quest for God as the title is suggestive of the main poetic crux of the poem which he delves deep and dwells upon to expound. How our quest after God? Where is God? How the realization of it? The heart is the temple of God and He is around us. He can be seen blessing you only after tryst with the Divine; it all depends on your sadhna; how you approach the Divine. God is in the Heart of hearts. The ananda of sadhna only a sadhaka can feel it.
Man has been searching Him ever since and He keeps eluding and the search will continue unto the last, this is what forms the core content of the poem Swami Vivekananda has composed.
Where did he not search Him, in the hills, dales, mountains; churches, temples, mosques; the Vedas, the Bible, the Koran? But the searches led to him nowhere, of no use turned they out to be. He searched for Him in vain. All his searching and loitering turned it out to be futile. God is not where you search Him.
Just as a child lost in wilderness, he went missing, searching Him. He cried and wailed, but the answer came to nought. A strange silence pervaded it all. Where was that love gone? Where was it love lost?
The search led him to different places and lands, mountain ranges and forest tracts. He started searching him with intense quest and penance. He meditated upon, did the penance for. He sought for His Divine Mercy, which is ever present in the great sadhaks, mystics, saints, seers and bhaktas. Day after day passed it, year after year which but he could not feel it. Time hung it heavy upon. By the banks of the Ganges, he marked the waters gushing by. There came a time when all the troubles seemed to be over. Finally, he got the response, the sadhna got illumined and the answer came it indirectly with the assertion that He is everywhere, He is by him. His Holiness is writ large in everything; He is in silence; He is in the beauties and works of Nature. A man should have the eyes to see it.
It took years and years in accomplishing rigorous sadhna, austere penance in to be enlightened and one day finally the Voice of God seemed to possess him, endowing him with the metaphysical light, the mystical flashing of it ordaining it otherwise. The voice seemed to creak, “My son, I am here, here, by you!”. “My love, I am here, I am here, by you!”, the voice seemed to resound as thus, and it was his infinite pleasure to feel the presence.
Where is God? None can say it. God can just be felt, His Divine Providence. He can never be proved. He is the Soul of the souls whose sweetness is it in all. God is in self-realization, the realization of the Self, which is in you, in me, in us. God is the Greater Self, the Over Mind, the Over Soul, the Over Spirit. Whose spirit is it in Nature? Who has made all the things? Whose light is in it in the moon? Why are the moon orbs so silvery? Whose brightness is it in the sun? How the world of Nature so fresh, so lovely and so wonderful? Whose light is it in the morning that comes? How the silence and mystery of the eve fall? How the bird songs and notes?
Over hill and dale and mountain range,
In temple, church, and mosque,
In Vedas, Bible, Al Koran
I had searched for Thee in vain.
Like a child in the wildest forest lost
I have cried and cried alone,
"Where art Thou gone, my God, my love?
The echo answered, "gone."
And days and nights and years then passed
A fire was in the brain,
I knew not when day changed in night
The heart seemed rent in twain.
I laid me down on Ganges's shore,
Exposed to sun and rain;
With burning tears I laid the dust
And wailed with waters' roar.
I called on all the holy names
Of every clime and creed.
"Show me the way, in mercy, ye
Great ones who have reached the goal."
Years then passed in bitter cry,
Each moment seemed an age,
Till one day midst my cries and groans
Some one seemed calling me.
A gentle soft and soothing voice
That said 'my son' 'my son',
That seemed to thrill in unison
With all the chords of my soul.
I stood on my feet and tried to find
The place the voice came from;
I searched and searched and turned to see
Round me, before, behind,
Again, again it seemed to speak
The voice divine to me.
In rapture all my soul was hushed,
Entranced, enthralled in bliss.
A flash illumined all my soul;
The heart of my heart opened wide.
O joy, O bliss, what do I find!
My love, my love you are here
And you are here, my love, my all!
And I was searching thee -
From all eternity you were there
Enthroned in majesty!
From that day forth, wherever I roam,
I feel Him standing by
Over hill and dale, high mount and vale,
Far far away and high.
The moon's soft light, the stars so bright,
The glorious orb of day,
He shines in them; His beauty - might -
Reflected lights are they.
The majestic morn, the melting eve,
The boundless billowing sea,
In nature's beauty, songs of birds,
I see through them - it is He.
When dire calamity seizes me,
The heart seems weak and faint,
All nature seems to crush me down,
With laws that never bend.
Meseems I hear Thee whispering sweet
My love, "I am near", "I am near".
My heart gets strong. With thee, my love,
A thousand deaths no fear.
Thou speakest in the mother's lay
Thou shuts the babies eye,
When innocent children laugh and play,
I see Thee standing by.
When holy friendship shakes the hand,
He stands between them too;
He pours the nectar in mother's kiss
And the baby's sweet "mama".
Thou wert my God with prophets old,
All creeds do come from Thee,
The Vedas, Bible, and Koran bold
Sing Thee in Harmony.
"Thou art," Thou art" the Soul of souls
In the rushing stream of life.
"Om Tat Sat Om." Thou art my God,
My love, I am thine, I am thine.
All the scriptures sing of Hs Glory. All the creeds and sects originate it from there. He is what He is in essence. God is there in the mother’s kiss of the baby. He is there in the innocent laughter of the child. The tryst with sadhna, what to say it about the Light Divine illumining the soul in sadhna? None can say it where this quest will lead to.
This was part of the letter written by Swamiji on Sep. 4, 1893 to Prof. J.H.Wright of Boston who introduced Swami Vivekananda in the Parliament of Religions.