The entire nation is celebrating January 12 as the National Youth Day or Yuva Diwas. This day marks the 158th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the revolutionary who changed the way the world looks at India.
Born in 1863 in a Bengali family as Narendra Natha Datta, Vivekananda was an intelligent child excelling in athletics, studies, and music. During his youth, he was an atheist. He met Swami Ramakrishna who lived in Dakineshwar near Kolkata and became his chief disciple where his spiritual journey began.
After Ramakrishna’s demise, Vivekananda took Sanyasa and embarked on a journey across India. During his travel, he was shocked to see the sight of poverty that was prevailing in the masses, to eradicate poverty he started the Ramakrishna foundation which aimed at religious, economic, and financial upliftment.
His name is recorded in history as the greatest scholar who believed in the service of humanity as his supreme religion.
It was the year 1893 which became annus mirabilis, Swami Vivekanandan made international headlines for his fluent speech in Chicago where he delivered his master’s message to the world. His speech earned him a standing ovation in the world’s parliament. he introduced the Indian philosophy of Vedanta and yoga to the western world.
Here’s an excerpt from the speech
Sisters and Brothers of America,
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects. My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion that has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance.
His speech was well received by the westerners and caused him to spend his next three and a half years in USA and UK spreading his master’s message of Vedanta.
After returning to India in 1897 Vivekananda gave a series of speeches which upsurged a movement of religious and spiritual awareness. Later the same year he started the Ramakrishna mission which gave various types of social service including running hospitals, schools, colleges, rural development centers, and hostels and also does relief work.
Swami Vivekananda believed that through education, the real qualities hidden inside a person could be brought out. But today, a temple of education has been encroached upon by the ‘Tukde-Tukde gang’. If only these students understood the real meaning of education, they wouldn’t have raised slogans opposing the unveiling of Swami Vivekananda’s statue.
The greatest achievement of Swami Vivekananda’s life is that he made the world feel the power of India.