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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 12 January, 2023

  • 5 Min Read

Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda

Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda

Every year on January 12th, Swami Vivekananda's birth anniversary is commemorated as National Youth Day.

About Swami Vivekananda:

  • On January 12, 1863, he was born in Calcutta to a Bengali family and was given the name Narendranath Datta.
  • In his honor, the Indian government designated his birthday National Youth Day in 1984.
  • He had an early interest in Western philosophy, history, religion, spirituality, and theology.
  • He was well-versed in a variety of disciplines and would meditate in front of representations of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
  • He encountered the religious leader Ramakrishna Paramhansa, who became his Guru and to whom he remained committed until his death in 1886.
  • After Maharaja Ajit Singh of the Khetri State requested it, he changed his name to 'Vivekananda' in 1893, from 'Sachidananda' previously.
  • Raja Yoga (1896), Karma Yoga (1896), Bhakti Yoga (1896), Jnana Yoga, My Master (1901), Lectures from Colombo to Almora(1897).
  • He was instrumental in reviving Hindu spiritualism and establishing Hinduism as a revered religion on a global scale.
  • His message of international brotherhood and self-awakening remains pertinent, especially in light of the current global political crisis.
  • The Ramakrishna Mission engaged in different forms of social services, such as establishing and operating schools, colleges, and hospitals, disseminating practical Vedanta doctrines through conferences, seminars, and workshops, and launching relief and rehabilitation work throughout the country.
  • In 1893, he introduced Hinduism to the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago.

Contributions and Importance:

  • He was one of India's greatest spiritual leaders, inspiring the country's youth to be better by living a pure life and setting an example for the rest of the world.
  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had named him the "Maker of Modern India".

Emphasis on Indian Philosophies:

  • He was instrumental in bringing the philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the West.
  • Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline that originated in India. The term "yoga" is taken from Sanskrit and means "joining" or "uniting," indicating the unity of body and consciousness.
  • Swami Vivekananda proposed that education was the key means of empowering the people in order to restore Indian society.
  • Vivekananda advocated for a national transformation based on the concepts of 'tyaga' or sacrifice and 'seva' or selfless service, which he saw as the most important parts of shaping the lives of young people.
  • Swami made the point that this manner of living is what might be called a 'spiritual quest'.
  • His vision of India was of a reformed society built in strength, love, and service and motivated by dignity, freedom, and uniqueness.

New Theory of Ethics:

  • He presented a new theory of ethics and a new moral standard based on the inherent purity and oneness of the Atman.
  • He defines ethics as a system of behaviour that enables a person to be a good citizen.
  • On the spiritual foundation of the Vedantic Oneness of existence, he worked to promote peace and universal brotherhood.
  • One of his most significant contributions is his concept of religion as a universal experience of transcendent Reality shared by all humanity.
  • This universal perspective liberates religion from superstitions, dogmatism, priestcraft, and intolerance.
  • The specific kind of devotion he proposed for the Indians was service to man as the visible manifestation of the Godhead.

Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Raja Yoga are all forms of yoga.

  • In his works, Swami Vivekananda discussed the four paths to liberation from worldly pleasure and attachment.

Karma Yoga:

  • Emphasizing the value of work, Swami Vivekananda stated that God can be achieved via work. Karma-Yoga teaches how to work for work’s sake, unattached to the results. A Karma Yogin works out of her nature as she feels it is the right thing for her to do and that is the sole objective of her work. “Whatever you do, let that be your worship for the time being.

Bhakti Yoga:

  • According to Bhakti Yoga, love is a necessary component of all human beings. It teaches how to love without hidden motivations. It teaches how to love bereft of any ulterior motives. “All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying,” said Swami Vivekananda.

Raja Yoga:

  • Raja Yoga provides a psychological pathway to oneness with God. This Yoga emphasises that in order to get information, we must adopt a technique known as focus. “The more this power of concentration, the more knowledge is acquired. The stronger the power of concentration, the better will that thing be done.”

Faith in oneself:

  • He emphasises that the ideal of faith in ourselves is of the greatest help to us as 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.” One has to know that all knowledge, power, purity, and freedom are in oneself.

Education:

  • He emphasised the importance of education in the regeneration of India and called for character-building education.
  • According to him, a nation advances in proportion to the diffusion of education among the populace.
  • He was adamant about educating women and the lower classes.

Role of Swami Vivekananda in Social Reforms:

Swami Vivekananda, worked in different fields as he was very much inclined to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa of selfless work for mankind and humanity.

Social Reforms for women Upliftment:

  • Swami Vivekananda held high for the rights of women and gloried them. He promoted women’s Upliftment and was deeply concerned about the right of women and the oppression against them.
  • According to Swami Vivekananda women had the power to build a nation and shape the Future thus should be given proper education.
  • He considered women as “Shakti” the ultimate power.

Social Reforms on Religion:

  • Swami Vivekananda was highly influenced by Vedantic philosophy and was one of its great admirers. Though he considered Hinduism as the mother of all Religions, he also believes in monotheism- the concept of all God. He believed that all religions teach “PEACE, HARMONY, HUMANITY, through different ways but with one common goal”.

• Social Reforms on Education:

  • Swami Vivekananda’s educational aspect was based on inculcating education as the fundamental right of all masses and believed in mass education.
  • He was a modern thinker and tried instilling modern and western Education in women, rights of education for lower sections of society and all.
  • He paid more attention and focus on instilling Technical and industrial training as considering the economical prospect of the masses.

Swami Vivekananda On India’s Cultural History:

  • Swamiji took great pride in India’s cultural history in the past. For him, Ideal India would be one that is for the masses. It means an India free of poverty, removal of illiteracy, dignity for all, human liberty, and freedom from all monopolies with a socially strong and culturally sound country. These were all inspired by his Vedantic ideas. He stood against feudal and colonial oppression.

Foundation of Ramakrishna Mission – Its Purpose and Objectives:

  • The Ramakrishna Mission was established with the main goal of serving Mankind by Swami Vivekananda. It was established in 1897 in Belur.
  • The ultimate goal of the Ramakrishna Mission is “Atmano Mokshartham Jagat Hitaya Cha” which means soul salvation can be attained by serving Mankind selflessly and unconditionally.
  • The Ramakrishna mission taught and encouraged the Vedantic philosophy and worked for instilling the spiritual aspect in society.
  • It worked towards carrying the philanthropic work at the time of natural disasters/calamities such as famine, earthquake, flood, epidemics, pandemics, etc., and other natural calamities.
  • Swami Vivekananda has worked with sheer sincerity and got success in establishing this mission not only in India but also setting up its branches out of India as in England, Germany, Switzerland, and other European countries.
  • To propagate the harmony of all religions as Sri Ramakrishna’s preachings taught that all religions through different pathways but ultimately lead to the same goal of serving mankind and Humanity.
  • To impart the Gurukul system of Education where the Educational Institutions serve as Home to the Gurus and students and build a harmonious relationship between them.

Way Forward

  • Swami Vivekananda’s teachings of Vedantism and Philanthropic ideas not only inculcated the Indian youth to work for the welfare of society but also instill in them feelings of sacrifice, and love for the country.
  • Swami Vivekananda’s representative figure in Chicago gave him immense popularity as a monk and open the gates of India to the western world and made India find its presence in the world.
  • In his life journey he traveled from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, mixed up with all classes of people, and treated them with humility and love, thus making a great place in their hearts and leaving a great mark and footprint in human history.

Source: The Indian Express


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