Original Research - Special Collection: Holiness

Analysis of water-related metaphors within the theme of religious harmony in Swami Vivekananda’s Complete Works

Suren Naicker
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3431 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3431 | © 2016 Suren Naicker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 April 2016 | Published: 02 December 2016

About the author(s)

Suren Naicker, Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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This article focuses on the metaphors employed by Swami Vivekananda. The aim was to explain otherwise abstruse philosophical principles within the Hindu school of thought, with especial emphasis on Swami Vivekananda’s version of Advaita Vedanta, which maintains that there is no duality of existence despite the appearance of such. Using conceptual metaphor theory as a framework, and corpus linguistics as a tool, the metaphors used in Vivekananda’s Complete Works have been explored and it is concluded that he more often than not draws on the water frame to explain concepts. This is contrary to mainstream Western religions, which seem to employ primarily the family frame to conceptualise God metaphorically; this is not so within Vivekananda’s Hinduism – though he does use the said frame. Hence, Vivekananda’s water-related metaphors are analysed here under various themes, and parallels are drawn between Christian mysticism and Vivekananda’s Hinduism, showing that there are significant similarities between these two influential traditions.


Water-related metaphors; Swami Vivekananda; Complete Works; Advaita Vedanta


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