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.