Santanu Nandi Purkayastha
(The writer is PGT, Biology, Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya (NEEPCO), Umrangso. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
On Januaruy 12, 1863 Swami Vivekananda was born to Viswanath Dutta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi in Kolkatta. He was named Narendra Nath Dutta. From his childhood, Narendra Nath showed extraordinary thinking, brilliance and great courage and never accepted anything to be correct unless he found out the facts by himself.
It was under the guidance of his Guru Ramakrishna Paramhamsa that his energy was channelized towards religious beliefs, Vedas, Vedanta and Indian Philosophy. Gradually Narendra Nath started taking interest in Vedas and Sanskrit and within a short period of time he developed mastery over the areas. After the death of his Guru Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, he started Bharat Parikrama as a wandering monk. He travelled all the direction of India and made people enlightened with his knowledge. He made everybody understand Vedas in a simple way. Meaning of all the Vedas became clear even to a layman as the wandering monk cited the examples from practical application.
It was Mharaja of Khetri who confirmed him the title of Vivekananda. People were highly moved by his ideas, intellect, and knowledge in Vedanta.
Swamiji became restless and to find solution to such problems, he mediated in the mid sea rock away from Kannyakumari for three days and three nights that was on December 25, 26 and 27, 1892. He hit upon a plan to spread the message of India to the world and to raise the sufferings millions of his country to their past glory. Only thing that Swamiji wanted was to rejuvenate India and to put mother India in her earlier throne of Glory.
By that time a news spread that world parliament of religion was all set to be held in America and people of India mainly South Indians found Swami Vivekananda to be correct representative for Hinduism. Even though Swamiji declined at first but later on he had to accept the people's request. Religion when he pronounced the idea "We believe not only in universal tolerance but we accept all the religions to be true", the vision for next generation was laid.
Swamiji stayed in the west for long years both in America and the UK where Swamiji developed thousand of disciples who were eager to know Vedanta from him. Swamiji who went from India empty handed was able to establish Vedanta Society in the USA, with a large number of followers.
In 1897 Swamiji returned to India. He had to arise and awake a Nation which 'felt like a slave, under the shadow of the British and the west.'
In the year 1985, Indian Government declared 12 January as National Youth Day.
If we summarized Swami Vivekananda's teaching, philosophy and work we find that-
Swami Vivekananda was a True Indian from the core of his heart; he was above all sorts of society division like, caste, community, language or religion. He considered himself only as Indian and made others also feel proud of themselves as Indian.
That time itself Swamiji stressed for Women Education and later on, this dream was fulfilled by his disciple sister Nivedita, who opened a school for girls in Kolkatta. Swami Vivekananda said, "Women must be put in a position to solve their own problems in their own way. No one can or ought to do this for them".
Swami Vivekananda advocated that development of a country rests in the development of Science. So, he put forward his opinion to Jamshedji Tata regarding the scientific research while they were in a voyage from Japan to Chicago. Swamiji wanted to combine scientific and technological achievement of the west with the asceticism and humanism of India. Jamshedji liked his proposal and accordingly The Indian institute of Sciences came into existence.
He also challenged the worst side of Hindu religion and said "Astrology and all these mystical things are generally signs of a weak man" and also made it clear that instead of spending whole day in worshipping God, people need to serve the poor, needy and downtrodden. Serving men is serving God. Worshipping the God if done for 10 minutes to one hour is sufficient to keep the rituals intact.
Swami Vivekananda's teachings and Philosophy is very much relevant today. A number of problems that the nation is facing today can be solved through his teachings. Swamiji's life and speeches are capable enough to develop in anybody the patriotic feelings and in return the person is bound to contribute in nation building.
Let me conclude with one of his quotation "If there is one word that you find coming out like a bomb from the Upanishads, bursting like a bombshell upon the masses of ignorance, it is the word Fearlessness."