Swami Vivekananda --- His connection with National Youth Day and World Brotherhood Day

A Great Soul

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Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda

12th January, 2011 was the 148th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. On that day the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh inaugurated a program held by the Ramakrishna Mission at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. It was the inaugural program of a wonderful plan of conducting a two year long project to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swamiji which falls on 12th January, 2013. The Ramakrishna Mission has planned to organize different types of program in two years such as: work to eliminate poverty, projects for integrated child development and children’s health by eliminating undernourishment. Other plans are empowerment of women, distribute books on Swami Vivekananda to various libraries and even conduct seminars on the contributions of Swamiji relating to Indian and international cultures at different national and international venues. The plan also includes a wish to produce a film on Vivekananda. Essay and drawing competitions relating to Vivekananda and his thoughts and much more are in the pipe line of celebrating the occasion was decided upon.

National Youth Day

In India, 12th January which is the birthday of Swami Vivekananda is also known as the National Youth Day. In 1984, the Government of India took up a decision to observe the birthday of Swamiji (12th January) as the National Youth Day. It was observed for the first time in 1985. I am sure; many would like to know that why Swamiji’s birth anniversary is named upon the youths while we all know that he was a saint. He was a great religious and spiritual teacher of India who took Hinduism to a global platform. Then, what inspired the Government of India to name it as the National Youth Day. Definitely, there is a great and deep connection between Swami Vivekananda and the youths. We can easily understand this connection if we read the following statement issued by the Government of India while declaring 12th January as the National Youth Day. The statement says:

“…. it was felt that the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youths.”

What made Vivekananda a Youth Icon?

Just imagine, a man born on 12th January 1863 and died on 4th July 1902 at the age of 39 which were the pre-independent years of India but still considered as the youth icon. A religious and spiritual teacher of his stature who let the world knew about Hinduism for the first time in the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. His first address, at the Parliament of Religions on 11th September 1893, as “Sisters and Brothers of America!” to a huge gathering of almost 7000 people received a standing ovation. He was not a fanatic Hindu but always advocated that religion should be used to enhance humanity. He believed that “All the religions are true”. He taught about God and what does the Hindu religion mean but never criticized any other religion because he believed in mankind which is the ultimate truth of the Hindu religion that which is preached in Vedanta and God is the supreme power. Vivekananda spread the message of brotherhood and his address on 11th September, 1893 named 11th September as World Brotherhood Day. Remember, he was only thirty years old but inspired the people world wide.

Swami Vivekananda never remained at one place but roamed about and always tried to help people in distress. While he travelled within India he noticed the poor state of the people and eventually his motherland, India. He was very disturbed and wanted the motherland to become independent. Teachings of Swamiji were always very inspirational. Whatever he said on any particular issue or told any story to explain a situation was extremely affirmative, encouraging and very motivating. The best part of his addresses and different statements which were meant for a particular section of people have evoked inspiration not only for that section of people but people at large. An invocation made by Swamiji to the youths of India for the independence of our motherland, India as: “What we want are some young men who will renounce everything and sacrifice their lives for their country’s sake.” worked as a wake up call to the youths of India during the British rule to join the freedom movement of India.

I quote few lines from a long list of inspirational statements by Vivekananda. They are as follows:

  1. “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”
  2. “He alone who is always awake to the idea of freedom becomes free.”
  3. “Nothing can give you freedom, if you have it not.”
  4. “The greatest sin is to think yourself weak.”
  5. “No action can give you freedom; only knowledge can make you free.”
  6. “Never lose faith in yourself; you can do anything in the universe.”
  7. “Whatever you think, that you will be: If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be.”
  8. “He who struggles is better than he who never attempts.”
  9. “We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.”
  10. “They alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.”


Swami Vivekananda's Highly Inspirational Messages to the Youths

Swamiji was always in search of real youth. By the word 'real youth' he never meant by those young persons who have reached that stage considering age and physical appearance. Rather his definition of a real youth is those who are young with full of energy, strength, intellect, and well built body. He always believed that the youths by age and physique if transformed into 'real youths' then they will break all the hurdles which come in the way of growth and betterment. Vivekananda expressed his extreme confidence about the transformation from youth to 'real youth' through his statement: "My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation; out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions."

I plead to the youths on the National Youth Day, on January 12 that follow the words of Swamiji to get to your goals. Be inspired by his words: "Stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny." He always wanted the youths to discover their inner strength. He never gave importance only to that knowledge which is gained from books but also knowledge from practical experience and wanted the youths to face the different challenges of life by their own inner strength that means a self confidence. In this regard he conveyed his opinion in these words: "All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak. Stand up and express the divinity within you."

As I have mentioned above that to learn about India more deeply Vivekananda went on journey to different parts of the country. During this tour he got completely disturbed by the plight of his countrymen in various places. The fragile condition of the youths shattered him a lot. In this connection he gave a strong message to the youths whose ill health shocked him: "First of all, our young men must be strong. Religion will come afterwards. Be strong my young friends; that is my advice to you. You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of the Gita. These are my bold words, but I have to say them, for I love you. You will understand the Gita better with your biceps, your muscles, a little stronger. You will understand the mighty genius and the mighty strength of Krishna better with a little of strong blood in you."

Thus, the few quoted messages of Swami Vivekananda which were addressed to the youths of this country ask the youths to come out of all the poor conditions in their personal lives as well as do something good for their motherland, India. Vivekananda was a great social and religious reformer of India but the most interesting trait he had shown was that he never gave importance to religion before inner self, country and awakening of men.

Are we following Swamiji today?

The above written quotations of Swami Vivekananda must have inspired you then imagine he had delivered many more which are equally motivating. In his days they were inspirational but if we go through them now, in this luxurious world, then too those sayings seem to be very relevant.

At present, Anti Corruption movement has substituted Freedom Movement but how many youths are leading it. The members who are fighting against corruption to them I pose a question, how many belief and follow the sayings by Vivekananda from their heart. As for example: “What we want are some young men who will renounce everything and sacrifice their lives for their country’s sake.”

Though in the 21st century, but still India is facing many evil traditions in the society which can be easily eliminated by the support and protest by the youths such as dowry system and dowry death, illiteracy, communal conflicts, killing of girl child, honour killing, domestic violence of all types and many more. Alas! It is increasing day by day.

Youths of Today

The path which the Indian youths are following is a serious concern, I feel. Definitely, many are successful but what about the majority in the whole country. The top level students are focused and successful but the mediocre ones? The focus is also used in a very narrow sense. Earning huge money, living a luxurious life, reaching a top slot, become richer and more powerful individual are the ultimate thought process of the youths, but, is it for this Swamiji awakened us?

He said “live for others” but why the number of old age homes is increasing? Even so many aged citizens are living alone in their residence and the worst part is the criminals are taking the advantage of it and many aged citizens are getting murdered too. This is not the end even the aged members of the family are ill treated by the earning youths. Sometimes it leads to domestic violence too against the aged people. The successful youths are spending money exorbitantly in pubs and clubs while the number of homeless and poverty stricken people is increasing too and even gets killed while sleeping on the pavements due to the rash driving by the youths. We have people unlimited with torn clothes, no warm clothes, no medical care but the youths are blind towards them. The fast speed of technology has made them self centred.

The mediocre students are busy in settling their own requirements because they are so much burdened as everything is so expensive. They lack strength to fight these curses. Then, what happened to the awakening messages of Swami Vivekananda? It seems, these messages are only found in the books now and not in real life.

Everyone has a role to play

Just naming a day as National Youth Day will not serve the purpose. It is not only the duty of the Ramakrishna Mission to enlighten the youths of India through their different awakening programs but the government, high profile people as well as teachers and guides must work together for an overall enlightenment of the youths. It is not a matter of one day or a single motivating speech on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Let all who understands a little bit of Vivekananda can come up with the awakening process in their own way. For example: The parents can definitely try to awaken their children by explaining the awakening messages of Vivekananda. I am sure one day the children will respond positively.

Wake up! People of the World

Why to talk about the youths of India only? Vivekananda who received the standing ovation at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago on 11th September in 1893 due to his famous address: “Sisters and Brothers of America!” is seemed to be forgotten by the people of the world. 11th September is celebrated as World Brotherhood Day and Swamiji always preached a lesson of brotherhood then why racial killings, murders in the name of religion, enmity and so on are in the rise.

The whole world is giving a miss to his awakening. His inspirational statements and speeches are heard in the seminars and discussions but it is very low in action. Are we waiting for the rebirth of Vivekananda to awaken ourselves? Can’t we all refresh ourselves as we refresh our computers and put the thoughts of Swami Vivekananda in action for a better world to live in? Let Indians celebrate the National Youth Day in true sense and not for the sake of it. The youths of India will definitely rise and awake if all the seniors follow Swamiji in honest form. Let us all try in our own way and pay tribute to this great soul in true sense and make a meaningful National Youth Day.

Swami Vivekananda, an Inspirational Personality

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Comments 31 comments

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Beautiful tribute to Swami Vivekananda. I read his autobiography years ago and I have high attributes towards his principles. Jai Ho!

Voted up as useful, Shampa!


rambansal profile image

rambansal 4 years ago from India

A person who could not save his health and life, what inspiration he can give. Just indulge and get lost..


mathira 4 years ago

Swami Vivekananda, the pride of India, superb hub about him.


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Hello Ruchira and Mathira,

Thanks for appreciating this hub.I am happy that we still pay respect to the great soul like him.

Hello Mr. Rambansal,

Life is in the hands of God, I suppose. A suggestion for you: Why don't you write to the Government of India in protest of making Swami Vivekananda an inspirational icon? Think over it and think again before you speak against someone great. It is a democratic country and we all have a right to protest someone's attitude and theory but I don't think we should have an intention to humiliate someone as a person.

God Bless!


rambansal profile image

rambansal 4 years ago from India

For those who think that life is in the hands of god, I have nothing to say. As far as government actions are concerned, powers are often misused - Mayavati, the UP CM is putting up her own statues all over the state.


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Hello Mr rambansal,

Your life and death seems to be in your hand and in that case an ordinary person like me have nothing to say.

Thanks for your thought regarding governments action as well as the example you have cited. I feel, humiliating Swami Vivekananda is little too much.

God Bless!


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 4 years ago from India

Beautiful hub! You have done extensive reading about Swamiji. Great work!


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 4 years ago from Guwahati, India

Hi My Dear ShampaSri,

India having 570 states if I have not mistaken achieved Independence in 1947 and Sarder Ballob Bhai integrated almost all the states into Indian Union. But many years before Swamiji dreamt of the present India. So to say Vivekananda was the real architect of present India. Those who are speaking against Vivekananda they are failing to visualize his spirit of vision. He was not only a pride of India but a spirit of love of humanity for mankind. I congratulate you for the wonderful hub you presented here expressing your thought for Indian youths. Thank you once again.


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Hello thumbi7,

I love to be appreciated, thanks. Doing an extensive reading about Swamiji is not my cup of tea. I am an ordinary person so I have understood him very little. Understanding him completely is out of my reach. Yes, I admire him a lot. Thanks again for liking it.


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Hello Mr. Roychoudhury,

I am honoured that you read my hub. I am happy to receive your comment and that too with an appreciation. Thanks a lot.

Speaking against great men is always a fashion. So it's better to ignore and take care of our own belief. Thanks again.


shivam 4 years ago

It's been a couple of months of this debate but fortunately i came to see these comments.Sandhaya jee i love your last word "Speaking against great men is always a fashion" practically correct and the person who dnt have such logic and knowledge who always make some great persons down, to nod their head's up.


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Thanks, shivam


vims003 profile image

vims003 4 years ago from india

Hi shampa sadhya really it is a nice hub.he was having wide vision on human life,our nation and society.He is really an inspiration for us.


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Hello vims003,

It is really true that Swami Vivekananda had a strong vision about India having a character but had a very short life to implement it in a powerful way.

Thanks for appreciation.


Manjunath bannur 4 years ago

hi,

i believe if we follow at least 50% of the things what vivekanada has preached us,we will become successful person.Shampa it really good article.


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Thanks, Manjunath bannur


sachin ankale 4 years ago

hello shampa sadhya, its great hub,, really swami vivekanand is an icon for us means for our youth..


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Hello sachin ankale,

Thanks for appreciating my hub. I indeed believe that Swamiji's influence is great.


Vaishnavi Sridhar profile image

Vaishnavi Sridhar 4 years ago from Chennai, India

Hello Madam !!!!

I have just crossed my 21 and a starter of web writing..Truly inspirational work .. Good message to youth !!! Happy to see our people here.. Keep going :)


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Hello Vaishnavi Sridhar,

Though you are only 21 but your opinion is very matured one. Thanks for praising my work with keenness. Definitely loved your comment and pleased to have it in my article. Sorry for being late in replying.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

New information and I so much enjoyed learning more on Swami Vivekananda, you open the minds of the new generation on this one.


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 3 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Hello DDE,

I am a great admirer of Swami ji and so when I receive a comment like this on an article written on him then it makes me happy. Thanks a lot for your motivating comment.


rumanasaiyed profile image

rumanasaiyed 3 years ago from Sharjah, UAE

"The greatest sin is to think yourself weak" is the best line I have learned through your article.

Voted up Useful and Pinned!


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 3 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Hello rumanasaiyed,

Thanks for the praise. Actually, I too learnt a lot while writing about Swami Vivekananda and hope to follow them in my life.


Rdx 2 years ago

Vivekananda's speeches are inspiring. However after reading many scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, I see so many differences b/w them and Vivekananda's teachings.

Vivekananda may be inspiring to the people but he was a hidden atheist who challenged our beliefs in other ways. For ex, he had said playing football takes one nearer to God than reading Gita. He made no effort to protect cow which is so holy in our dharma. He gave no respect to cows and ate beef when he went to foreign.

So we should be really careful in following such people. He is to religion what Nehru is to politics. They simply give big quotes without following them.


shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 2 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA Author

Hello Rdx,

I am really sorry to know your thought on Vivekananda. I know very little about Swamiji but one thing I would like to say about him is he was a great follower of humanity. In our religion we must understand that human being must be more respected than cows. He always suggested that every religion has some good points so I don't agree to the fanatic Hinduism. Eating beef does not make a sadhu like Vivekanada less pious than the people with all sorts of superstitious belief. Eating habit is one's personal choice and I feel it has nothing to do with religion. I may sound a little harsh but I feel we must first rise to such a position then criticise the great personalities. You may differ with one's thought but it is very awful to criticise without understanding the personalities in totality.


Honeysuckle 23 months ago

I love these arictles. How many words can a wordsmith smith?


युद्धवीर सिंह लांबा “भारतीय” 23 months ago

Swami Vivekananda: The forerunner of Indiana renaissance and youth icon of India”

“Swami Vivekananda’s Birthday: National Youth Day on 12th January, 2014.

Author : Yudhvir Singh Lamba Bharatiya

Swami Vivekananda, the great Indian philosopher, great patriotic, philanthropist and social reformer was born at 3 Gour Mohan Mukherjee Street, Kolkata on Monday, 12 January 1863, during the eve of Makara Sankranti festival. He was the eldest son of Vishwanath Datta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi. His father Vishwanath Dutta was an attorney of Calcutta High Court. His mother Bhuvaneshwari Devi was housewife.

Narendranath joined the Metropolitan Institution of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in 1871 and in 1879 he passed the entrance examination for Presidency College, Calcutta. He passed the FA Examination (Higher Secondary, Class XII )from the General Assembly (now Scottish Church College) and graduated from there in 1884. In November 1881, one day Narendra went to meet Shri Ramakrishna in Dakshineshwar. He asked him a question, which he had asked to several others but had received no satisfactory answer, "Sir, have you seen God?" Without a moment's hesitation, Shri Ramakrishna replied with smile, "Yes, gentleman I have. I can see Him as clearly as I see you." Narendra’ s spiritual guru Ramakrishna died on 16 August 1886.

Shri Ajit Singh, Maharaja of Khetri in Rajasthan gave name of Swami Vivekananda, to Narendra. Vivek literally means “intelligence” or knowledge whereas Anand stands for bliss or joy.

Swami Vivekananda, an inspiration to the youth is best known for his inspiring speech beginning with “sisters and brothers of America”, through which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions at Chicago in 1893. No doubt Swami Vivekananda is an eternal source of Inspiration to the Modern Youth in India.

American newspapers reported Vivekananda as "the greatest figure in the parliament of religions" and "the most popular and influential man in the parliament".

The New York Herald noted, "Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation". The New York Critique wrote, "He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them". The Boston Evening Transcript reported that Vivekananda was "a great favourite at the parliament... if he merely crosses the platform, he is applauded".

Swami Vivekananda delivered an interesting lecture at the Graduate Philosophical Society of Harvard University on 25 March 1896. Subsequently, after his impressive and knowledgeable lecturers, he was offered the Chair of Eastern Philosophy at both Harvard University and Columbia University but swami Vivekananda declined the offer by saying he is a Sannyasi.

The 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda was celebrated throughout the year all over India on January 12, 2013 as he played an effective role in spreading Hinduism in world and helped restore a sense of pride amongst Bharatiya and especially Hindus.. The main objective behind these celebrations was to propagating philosophy, ideas and teachings of great national youth icon Swami Vivekananda among the youth.

After speech in World’s Religions at Chicago in 1893, many men and woman of west were influenced by Swami Vivekananda and became his disciples. Among them the name of Margaret Elizabeth Noble (later known as Sister Nivedita) is above all. Margaret Elizabeth Noble was a Scots-Irish social worker. In November 1895 Margaret Elizabeth Noble met Swami Vivekananda who had come from America to visit London. Margaret Elizabeth Noble travelled to Calcutta in 1898 and on 25 March 1898, Swami Vivekananda formally initiated Margaret in the vow of Brahmcharya and gave her the name of "Nivedita", the dedicated one.

During his Washington visit in 2014, President Barack Obama gifted Prime Minister Narendra Modi a rare book, The World's Congress: Religions at the World's Columbian Exposition- on the 1893 summit of world religions where Swami Vivekananda made a mark.

Revealing this on twitter, Modi said it was a gift he would cherish forever. The book is a 1200 page collection of the best papers and speeches at the gathering - including the Swami's speech, 'the Indian man who introduced Hinduism and yoga to the United States and spread a message of religious tolerance around the world', said a note accompanying the book. "This gift celebrates Swami Vivekananda's valuable contribution as a bridge between India and US and honors our two nations' shared traditions of pluralism and diversity'.

Nobel Laureate in Literature for Gitajali in 1913, Rabindranath Tagore told Romain Rolland, "If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In him everything is positive and nothing negative." Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, popularly known as "Rajaji, the first Indian Governor General of India said "Swami Vivekanand saved Hinduism, saved India. Subhash Chandra Bose, generally known as Netaji has wrote "Swami Vivekanand is the maker of modern India" The Indian nationalist extremist leader, poet, and philosopher Shri Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950) regarded Vivekanand as his spiritual mentor.

It is well known that the Government of India had declared to observe the National Youth Day every year on the birthday of Swami Vivekananda on 12th of January. It was decided by the Government of India in order to inspire all the youths of country towards the philosophy of Swami Vivekananda and his ideals. The birthday day of the great Philosopher Swami Vivekananda is celebrated as the National Youth Day in India from 1984.

Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports of India decided to observe 2013 as the year of 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Govt. of India has also issued of 5 coins to commemorate the occasion of "150th Birth Anniversary of great thinker Swami Vivekananda"

Sh.Tutu (Utpal) Sinha made a film The Light: Swami Vivekananda is a bilingual (Bengali and Hindi) as a tribute to Swami Vivekananda on his 150th birth anniversary. The movie was produced by produced by Tri Colour productions private limited and released on August 23, 2013. The film was dubbed in 18 languages. Sh. Deep Bhattacharya played the role of Swami Vivekananda

Four postage stamps released on Swami Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary. The Department of Posts (DoP) India Post released four special postage stamps and the First Day Cover on Swami Vivekananda on his 150th birth anniversary. These stamps have been brought out by India Post to commemorate the 150th Birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda whom the world acknowledges as great visionary, philosopher and thinker.The department has already released two stamps on Vivekananda in 1963 and 1993. Further special stamp has also been released on Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Tamilnadu in 1996.Sri Lanka post has also issued a special stamp on Vivekananda in 1997.

Many famous books written by Swami Vivekananda and published during his lifetime such are

Karma Yoga (1896), Raja Yoga (1896 [1899 edition]), Vedanta Philosophy: An address before the graduate philosophical society (First published 1896), Lectures from Colombo to Almora (1897), Vedanta philosophy: lectures on Jnana Yoga (1902).

It is also a matter of immense pleasure that On November 11, 1995, the stretch of Michigan Avenue that passes in front of the Art Institute was formally conferred the honorary name "Swami Vivekananda Way".

He died at a very tender age of just 39 years on the 4th of July 1902. He lived young and died young — he lived for 39 years, five months and 24 days. Uttisthata Jagrata Prapya Barannibodhata a Sanskrit Sloka taken from Katha Upanishad meaning in English Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached. Swami Vivekananda used the Sanskrit sloka so widely in his speeches and lectures.

Teachings of great philosopher Swami Vivekananda were more relevant today than when he had addressed the conference in 1893 in Chicago where


Christina 23 months ago

You're on top of the game. Thanks for shiarng.


ishika 23 months ago

Thanx for thinking this much for us!!!


DDE profile image

DDE 23 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting and informative.

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