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ARTICLE : Swami Vivekananda and the youth of India

Posted By Ashok V Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
Wed, 15 Jan 97 18:46:39 EST

Title : Swami Vivekananda and the youth of India
Author : R L Pathak
Publication : Free Press Journal
Date : January 13, 1997

The nation observed the birth centenary of Swami Vivekananda
recently to commemorate the great visionary. (Pandit Nehru called
him "the greatest son of India")

Swami Vivekananda undertook a long March traversing through hundred
of cities, thousands of villages and meeting millions of people en
route only to inspire them to 'strive to their utmost to remove
their miseries and sufferings of the downtrodden.'

The Swami, who undertook the historic March in 1890, took about two
years to complete it at Kanyakumari on December 24,1892. During
this march, swami Vivekananda discovered that the millions of our
countrymen were reeling under appalling conditions of starvation
and poverty which moved him beyond expression. He then realised
that it was "futile to preach religion amongst them without first
trying to remove their poverty and sufferings."

His Bharat Parikrama commenced in July 1890 when he left Baranagore
monastery. He delivered his famous Chicago address on September 11,
1893 and returned to India in 1897. Nearly seven thousand
representatives from all over the globe had gathered on the
historic occasion.

Swami once told Sister Nivedita that "Social life in the West is
like a peal of laughter but underneath it is a wail. It ends in a
sob. Here in India, it is sad and gloomy on the surface but
underneath are carelessness and merriment. The West has so much to
learn from the East and vice-versa. The future has to be shaped by
a proper fusion of the two ideals."

Born on January 12, 1863 in Calcutta, Swami Vivekananda loved the
youth instrumentally and the young people in turn, reciprocated his
gesture doubly. He had infinite trust and reverence for the youth,
because he strongly felt that the future of the country rested in
their hands.

The youngsters on their part were convinced about his sincerity of
purpose and absolute selflessness as also his erudition,
intellectual powers, scientific temper and to cap it all his
fearlessness to face the worst, which instantly endeared him to the
young folk.

Romain Rollan once said: "Vivekananda's words are great music,
phrases in the style of Beethoven, stirring rhythms like the march
of the Handel choruses." Vivekananda's call to the youth did not
merely come from his lips but from the depths of his soul. He felt
that the future of India largely depended on the response he would
get from the youth to his exhortations. That is why he said, "let
India arise!"

Swami Vivekananda believed that it was "Onward for ever! Sympathy
for the poor, the downtrodden, even unto death - this is our motto.
Onward brave lads! Have faith in the Lord, no policy, it is
nothing. Feel for the miserable and look up for help - it shall
come... I bequeath to you, young men, this sympathy, this struggle
for the poor, the ignorant, the oppressed."

Swami Vivekananda injected patriotism in the veins of the youth of
the country by his magically impressive words. He said, "When we
want are some young men who will renounce everything and sacrifice
their lives for their country's sake."

After worshipping Goddess, Kanyakumari, he swam across the ocean
where the goddess did penance standing on one foot for union with
Lord Shiva. Sitting alone on the rock he meditated for three days
on Past, present and future of India. This meditation culminated in
the proclamation, "The best way to serve and seek God is to serve
the needy, to feed the hungry, to help the fallen and friendless,
irrespective of caste or creed."

The magnificent Vivekananda Rock Memorial stands as a spiritual
lighthouse for thousands who visit Kanyakumari and silently express
their gratitude to the great saint who revolutionised the concept
of nationalism and service of mankind as the only means to
self-realisation.


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