From our Special Correspondent
Silchar, Jan 12: Braving heavy fog and chilly cold of the early morning, hundreds of boys and girls as well as elderly persons belonging to different cultural and literary organizations joined the long procession with the photographs of Swami Vivekanda and Sister Nivedita starting from the rsingtola ground went round the main streets of this town to converge in the campus of Ramkrish Mission Sevashram at Jhalupara. It was the observance of the 156th birthday of Swami Vivekanda and 150th birthday of Sister Nivedita as well as the 34th tiol Youth Day.
Leading the procession was Swami Asthandaji Maharaj, secretary, Ramkrish Mission Sevashram of Silchar, along with other monks. The procession looked vibrant and colourful with children dressed as Swami Vivekanda and his selected inspiring messages blaring out of the mikes fitted with the two wheelers and trucks. The entire town woke up to see the procession and the will and determition of youths in particular to pay their hearty tributes and homage to the great spiritual sage and saint and his disciple.
Swami Asthandaji Maharaj addressing the assembly at Mission compound said Swami Vivekanda, known as rendrath Datta, was an Indian Hindu monk and the chief disciple of Ramakrish. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion. He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India, and contributed to the concept of tiolism in colonial India. Vivekanda founded the Ramakrish Math and the Ramakrish Mission.
Maharaj ji added to say he is perhaps best known for his speech which began, “Sisters and brothers of America ...,” in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893. Born into an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta, Vivekanda was inclined towards spirituality. He was influenced by his guru, Ramakrish, 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. In India, Vivekanda is regarded as a patriotic saint and his birthday is celebrated there as tiol Youth Day.
Sister Nivedita, born Margaret Elizabeth Noble, was a Scots-Irish social worker, author, teacher and a disciple of Swami Vivekanda. She spent her childhood and early days of her youth in Ireland. From her father, and her college professor, she learned service to mankind is the true service to God. She worked as school teacher and later also opened a school. Sister Nivedita met Swami Vivekanda in 1895 in London and travelled to Calcutta, India in 1898. Swami Vivekanda gave her the me Nivedita, meaning ‘Dedicated to God’, when he initiated her into the vow of Brahmacharya on 25 March 1898. Nivedita had close associations with Ramakrish Mission. She was also very intimate with Sarada Devi, the spiritual consort of Ramakrish. She devoted her rest of life after leaving her motherland to the cause of the people of India.