Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached – Swami Vivekananda
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” - Swami Vivekananda
Man who knew infinity, who revitalised Hinduism within and outside India. His teachings inspired people from all ages from Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Jamsetji Tata, Max Müller, Nikola Tesla, Anna Hazare, to Narendra Modi and many more all over the globe. In India, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint and his birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day in India.
I my previous blogs I have often shared stories and examples from the life of Vivekananda. A preacher, a singer, a painter, a wonderful master of language, a poet and more, Vivekananda was a complete artist, and when it comes to write specifically about him I feel even oxford dictionary will fall short of words. Therefore, to make readers know more about him I have attached his full biography along with this blog and write as little as I can.
Born into an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta, Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality. He was influenced by his guru, Ramakrishna, from whom he learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self; therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind. After Ramakrishna’s death, Vivekananda toured the Indian subcontinent extensively and acquired first-hand knowledge of the conditions prevailing in British India.
During his travels all over India, he was deeply moved to see the appalling poverty and backwardness of the masses. He was the first religious leader in India to understand and openly declare that the real cause of India’s downfall was the neglect of the masses. The immediate need was to provide food and other bare necessities of life to the hungry millions. For this they should be taught improved methods of agriculture, village industries, etc. It was in this context that Vivekananda grasped the cause of the problem of poverty in India; owing to centuries of oppression, the downtrodden masses had lost faith in their capacity to improve their lot. It was first of all necessary to infuse into their minds faith in themselves. For this they needed a life-giving, inspiring message. And to seek help and improve the image of India in the rest of the world it became important to represent India in the Parliament of the World Religions, Chicago, United States.
He was so knowledgeable that even Professors from Harvard would admire his wisdom. He was the same person who was once ridiculed and rejected from speaking in the Parliament of the World Religions in Chicago. Seeing his knowledge and precision an acquaintance allowed him a ticket to represent India at the 1893 Parliament of the World Religions in the United States. His speeches at the World’s Parliament of Religions held in September 1893 made him famous as an ‘orator by divine right’ and as a ‘Messenger of Indian wisdom to the Western world’. And thereafter it was no looking back for Vivekananda; soon people all across the world started recognizing India like never before and invite Vivekananda and his peers to share their insurmountable knowledge. After the Parliament, Swamiji spent nearly three and a half years spreading Vedanta. Vivekananda conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe.
Turbulent time makes great leaders, as Swami Vivekananda said, “In a day, when you don’t come across any problems – you can be sure that you are traveling in a wrong path.” And when you are on the right path you will often find people trying to sabotage you.
His teachings played an important role in the lives of people all over the world, as he gave the glimpse of hope to India that we can achieve anything and everything if we wish to, he taught Karma yoga to the world in more scientific way and made India gain recognition in the rest of the world. Just in case, when Subhas Chandra Bose was sixteen years old, he saw darkness, despair, and decline engulfing India, he lost almost all hope in the impoverished India but ‘the angel of hope’ had appeared in the form of ‘the saintly Vivekananda,’ that kept him fighting for the betterment of the nation.
Today people all over India are celebrating his birth Anniversary and as I mentioned above, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint and 12th, January is celebrated as National Youth Day in India. Therefore on his birth anniversary, I urge that you all read about his struggles, hardships, achievements and most importantly his much-admired journey from India to America.
“Life has never been a cakewalk for anyone, no matter how deep your pockets are. People with unflinching passion, positive & never giving-up attitude are always celebrated. Believe in yourself.”
Click to read his full biography: Swami Vivekananda