"All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that" – said Swami Vivekananda, the great spiritual leader and social reformer.
It is interesting to know what Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose wrote about Swami ji: "He harmonized the East and the West, Religion and Science, Past and Present. And that is why he is great. Our countrymen have gained unprecedented Self-respect, Self-reliance and Self-assertion from his teachings."
Narendra Nath Datta or Naren, as Swami Vivekananda was known before finally resolving to live like a true monk in the year 1886, was born in erstwhile Calcutta on 12th January, 1863 in a well-to-do family. His life was very eventful. He was intelligent, meritorious, strong, sensitive and curious. Besides studies, Naren was very good in sports and music. He graduated from Calcutta University and was successful in acquiring good understanding of various subjects including History and Philosophy. He lost his father at the age of 21.
From his early childhood, he had spiritual inclination. As such, he started practising yoga and meditation since his school days. Later on, he associated himself with Brahmo Samaj Movement for a brief period. In November, 1881 he came in contact with his spiritual Guru, Sri Ramkrishna in Dakshineswar near Calcutta. Naren became his true disciple and finally become a monk. Sri Ramkrishna passed away in August, 1886.
Swami Vivekananda started his journey to see and know the real Bharat as a wandering monk in 1988 and travelled extensively for almost five years in different parts of the country thereby having first-hand experience of the ground realities prevailing in British ruled India. He reached Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) and sat on deep meditation on Rock Island at Kanyakumari from 25th to 27th December, 1892. This place is now well-known as Vivekananda Rock Memorial.
In 1893, he went to America and addressed the delegates in the "Word’s Parliament of Religions" in Chicago. His address was historic and was widely acclaimed.
Swami Vivekananda founded "Ramkrishna Mission" in May, 1897 and also got a big plot afterwards in Belur on the banks of Ganga near Calcutta, now famous as "Belur Math".
His thoughts were based primarily on his first-hand experiences of life and hence extremely inspiring for all strata of people across the world. Let us take this opportunity to enjoy his views on certain important subjects:
Our sacred motherland is a land of religion and philosophy- the birthplace of spiritual giants - the land of renunciation, where and where alone, from the most ancient to the most modern times, there has been the highest ideal of life open to man. This is the motherland of philosophy, of spirituality, and of ethics, of sweetness, gentleness, and love. These still exist, and my experience of the world leads me to stand on firm ground, and make the bold statement that India is still the first and foremost of all the nations of the world in these respects. …. Study the history of the whole world, and you will see that every high ideal you meet with anywhere had its origin in India.
Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making, assimilation of ideas. ... The real education is that which enables one to stand on his legs. …. The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion - is it worth the name?
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. …. The great thing is to have faith in oneself, even before faith in God. The whole world has been made by the energy of man, by the power of enthusiasm, by the power of faith. … Arise, awake and stop not till the desired end is reached. …. Our duty is to encourage everyone in his struggle to live up to his own highest ideal, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the truth.
Swami Vivekananda left this world on 4th July, 1863 at the age of just 39 years. Notwithstanding, he left the most indelible mark on the hearts and minds of millions of people both in India and abroad both by his thoughts and deeds.
Brief Introduction of Milan Sinha: Worked in senior positions in financial sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. A post graduate in Chemistry from Patna University and also a graduate with Economics.