Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y for Youth : Relevance of Swami Vivekananda to today's Youth

Previously I have written posts on some of the youth related matters of great concern - Youth to be engaged in Governance, vulnerability of Youth and their exploitation. Continuing  the focus on youth from there, today, I would like to discuss relevance of Swami Vivekananda (fondly called Swamiji) and his teachings  to the present generation and how they can get direction from his words in this contemporary, fast paced, changing world.  While few lines will not be sufficient to dwell on this subject and I plan to write a full blog later, today, I  would make an effort to put a concise summary of my thoughts.

 I do not ascribe Swamiji with any religious cult or put him at any higher pedestal for his religious teachings. To me, he is another noble man and a person very much like you and me with an ingrained value system and a burning passion of doing good to others.  Many of us can attain that level if we really want.

First point first. I would like to bring up is his health consciousness towards youth. The same is very much evident when he called out for youth to have muscles of iron and nerves of steel. He always encouraged people to take up football or any other games and to go to gymnasium instead of spending time on Gita. It is not that he undermined study of Gita but, in the context of youth, building physical health was equally, if not more, important than mental and spiritual health.  It does not need a mention that these thoughts exactly echo the concerns of un-healthy lifestyle in our children and youth. Medical experts, today, are always placing prime importance to involve children in more physical activities, drawing them out from their sedentary lifestyle.

Secondly, I consider Swamiji the first Indian to bring-up the concept of globalization in the mind of masses. While he did put India in world map through his famed Chicago address on Sept 11, 1893, he was very much open to imbibe the material benefits of west. He always used to visualize a world having synthesized the technological prowess of west with spiritual harmony of east. Today we witness how true this is and the way this thought is being lapped of by common people in both regions – east and west through Yoga, increased interest of ancient literature of India and to top it all, the Indian and eastern value system  in family and society are getting recognized all across.

Though he always encouraged this synthesis to happen, he also asked people to remain rooted to Indian culture with the self-belief that we are inferior to none –a much needed thought in today’s world.  Without the roots firmly grounded, we see how there are numerous distractions for our children and youth towards going astray in their social lives.

Swamiji said, “I pity them from the bottom of my heart, and point out to them that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written, in spite of resistance: ‘help and not fight’, ‘assimilation and not destruction’; ‘harmony and peace and not dissension.’ “
When we read and re-read the above few lines, the importance of tolerance and respect to another self with the deep belief on “As Many Ways- So Many Paths” does not need any further explanation.

I would like to conclude today’s discussion on his forward looking thoughts of creating a unique school system through Ramakrishna Missions. Without this, probably the whole Ramakrishna Math and Culture would have remained confined to just another religious cult like others. He could very well expand on the strong base of Ramakrishna ideology for doing increased good to the society through the arm -that is called Ramakrishna Mission. These schools are amongst the finest schools that our country is proud of producing many stalwarts in the all fields of life.

I request our young generation to explore more of Swamiji through “Complete Works of Vivekananda”. There are many a thoughts in those pages that we can take it up at our individual level as an inspiration.

Thank You.


  1. A very good post, Jayanta. Swamiji was indeed one of the most dynamic personalities to inspire and awaken a sleeping nation. And his work and message continues to do so till today and will continue to inspire generations of Indians. I just wish our mainstream education would have done more to not only disseminate but also apply and practice some of his teachings. It has been our successive governments' excessively narrow view on religion that sometimes puts even great leaders of humanity like Swamiji and Sri Ramakrisha into a religious mould. These people belonged to all religions or no religion...they were blessings straight from the Supreme to lead the humanity on a path of inner awakening. Sri Ramakrishna actually proved the equality of all religions by his own example. And it is from such a Guru that Swamiji found all his inspiration and motivation for all his work. What a great inspiration they can be for our country's youth. For the youth of the world, in fact. Thanks for writing about him.

  2. He is one of my favourite, and I love to read anything related to him... some of his quotes are very powerful... infact i began my challenge with his quote. thanks for sharing !

  3. a beautiful post of Swami Vivekananda and his views. I often used to visit Ramakrishna Matt and found it very peaceful.

  4. Such a visionary he was! He is truly inspiring and his teachings can be imbibed in all spheres and realms of our life! Thanks for sharing about Swami Vivekanand!

  5. Great post Jayanta . Swamiji indeed can be considered as the youth icon of our country. His teachings and his views towards life have the power to bring that very needed change among today's youths. It's a pity that his philosophy are not followed by us. Have you ever visited 'Belur Math" established by Swamiji ? If you ever be in Kolkata , do visit the place..its sanctity will bring peace to your mind...

    1. Thanks, Maniparna. I am a student of R K Mission school and colleges, visited Belur Math quite often...trying for last 20 years to imbibe a drop of dew from the big tree -Vivekananda- the good person he is.