Today – Jan 12 – is National Youth Day – the Birthday of Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Vivekananda – as many millions claim – is the ‘only one’ having no parallel. What is it that makes him so special?
In spite of being a forceful exponent of Hindu Dharma, Swami Vivekananda fascinates people from all over the world, cutting across religious affinity; national identity and racial affiliations. He has been so attractive that even the ‘non-believers’ love to read his speeches. The reason is only too obvious. His balanced approach to various issues and His genuine social concern not confined to any sect / division do the wonders.
The visionary look of His gracious face, the ‘piercing’ effect of His dark eyes, the ‘simple’ grandeur of His folded hands, the vigor and energy that His standing posture so effectively passes on … Swami Vivekananda is truly the embodiment of an iconic dynamism!
Only a very few in the history of Mankind do possess as much vitality and attraction in the physical appearance as Swami Vivekananda transmits. It is His very ‘appearance’ that compels one to go in search of His speeches and read them. And…, what an experience it would be when the reader gets to it!
Every single line of His speeches instills a sense of determination and instantly activates the reader driving him to the state of action. This – is the success of Swami Vivekananda.
A tortoise, a duck, a snail has its own quality – that of being slow. Similarly, an ant, a bee or a hare has a special quality too – that of being quick and fast. Being slow or swift is not bad or a fault by itself. But one should know when to be slow and when to be fast. The ‘secret’, the success, the solution lies in the ability to be selective and discriminatory in our approach.
Swami Vivekananda is only too precise in clearly bringing out the imperative need to be quick and fast since we just could not afford to be patient and dodgy any more. A young man with so much of energy in him can neither think like an elderly person nor must he act like a child.
Music is an effective tool. With it, one can stupefy or hypnotize the other. At the same time, with Music, one can motivate and activate others towards achieving lofty ideals. Swami Vivekananda thunders – “Our youth have become weak by listening to ‘soft music’. Are the trumpets not blown in our country? Are the drums not beaten?” We are stunned by the reality of this question that makes us speechless for a moment forcing us to think.
Let the lullabies and philosophies survive for the children and the elderly. They are not, for sure, meant for the youth. They are not born to nod their heads to everyone and for everything. They are born to lead by their actions. Yes, the world looks forward to the youth for action; nothing but action.
This participative action is the only path that Swami Vivekananda keeps advocating to the youth. “Let us all work hard, my brethren; this is no time for sleep. On our work depends the coming of the India of the future. “(speech at Ramanathapuram)
An air filled balloon shall not remain submerged in water; it will come up, come out on its own. The competence of the youth is like this one too. The compulsions of Life and the challenges of the world can never keep the youth enchained and enslaved. Swami Vivekananda firmly believes in it and so he places all his faith in the capability of the youth of India, of the world.
The advancement and growth of the youth must not remain stagnated. It should never get struck or stalled. The youth are meant to keep growing in every sphere in every single attempt. Once a target is reached, they are bound to raise the bar and strive for something higher. This is the only right and appropriate way of honestly following the words of Swami Vivekananda.
There is something else in the teachings of Swami Vivekananda that seems most relevant today. “Do not imitate”.
“It is not a civilized act to imitate others. I may wear the dress of a King; will that make me a King? By wearing the skin of a lion, a donkey can never become a lion. It is a cowardly act that would never fetch glory”.
Every youth should think own; should strive his own and should succeed on his own. He should take in to him all that the world teaches; that the society says; that the education imbibes. Yet, the ‘growth’ should be natural – exclusively his own.
Swami Vivekananda says – “You sow a seed into the soil; you give soil, air and water in plenty. It blossoms, grows into a plant, into a tree. Though it accepts all that we supply and all it needs to grow, does it become the soil, the air or the water? It only grows into a tree, refusing to be anything else. Let your growth be similar to it too. ”
Swami Vivekananda does not mince words while motivating the youth. For Him, to motivate is to activate. He asks – “instead of spending your energies in frothy talk, have you found any way out, any practical solution, some help instead of condemnation, some sweet words to soothe their miseries, to bring them out of this living death?” May this question of Swami Vivekananda go deep into us and end our sleep! May His words keep us awakened!
“This is the right time to decide your future. This phase of your life when you have vigor and force in every blood cell is the time to resolve and work. Keep working; this is the time for it.”
While Swami Vivekananda speaks in detail about Vedantha, about philosophy, about the Hindu way of life and the underlying principles of Hinduism found in plenty in everyday life of every Indian, His focus remains on driving the youth to run, to work, to perform. And in doing it, Swami Vivekananda excels like nobody else ever in the history of human race, in any part of the world.
This statement of Him in Chennai sums up everything – “one ounce of practice is worth twenty thousand tons of big talk”.
Author – Baskaran Krishnamurthy, Writer, Columnist & Income Tax officer, firstname.lastname@example.org