Swami Vivekananda is the inspiration behind National Youth Day. In just 39 years, 14 of which were in public life, he filled the country with a thought whose energy is still felt today. Generations to come will continue to feel this energy.
One of India’s most important resources is the youth. Every fifth young person in the world is an Indian. It is due to this segment of the population that India’s growth rate has been the third-highest among the 13 major economies in the last five years. After the COVID-19 pandemic, India has emerged as a country that is full of possibilities in the race for development. Those among the youth who are associated with Swami Vivekananda’s ideas are preparing India for a leadership role on the world stage.
“Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.” This mantra of Vivekananda’s is as effective, relevant and inspiring today as it was in the days of colonialism. Now, India is ready to be a global leader. With the power of yoga and the energy that comes from spirituality, the youth of the country are impatient about giving direction to the world.
Swami Vivekananda’s lessons still inspire the youth: “Make a life’s aim and incorporate that idea into your life…. Think that thought over and over again. Dream it, Live it… that is the secret to being successful.”
His mantra for the youth is evergreen: “Until you can trust yourself, you cannot trust Allah or God.” If we are not able to see God in other humans and ourselves, then where can we go to find divinity?
Vivekananda caught the world’s attention with his ideas when he represented Sanatan Dharma in Chicago in 1893. A speech like the one he made then could not be made today. The themes in that speech included “Vishwabandhutva”, tolerance, cooperativeness, participation, religion, culture, nation, nationalism and the collective India-Indianness.
At the Parliament of World religions, Vivekananda said he is “from that Hindustan, which gives shelter to persecuted people from all religions and countries”. He also said that Sanatan Dharma is the mother of all religions. He was also proud that the land of India and the Sanatani religion had taught the world the lesson of tolerance and universal acceptance. It is the nature of the Indian soil to accept all religions as true. We were the first laboratory and protector of secularism.
He addressed the Parliament of World Religions as: “American brothers and sisters”. The eternal message of universal brotherhood was clear in his speech. The New York Herald wrote: “Hearing him (Swami Vivekananda) seems that sending a Christian missionary to a knowledgeable nation like India is foolish. Even if he only passes through the stage, the applause starts.”
Swami Vivekananda took forward the efforts made by other thinkers to reach the roots of Indian culture. This thinking makes him acceptable worldwide and establishes him as the spokesperson of Sanatan Dharma, a symbol of Hindustan and Hindustani culture. His inclusive thinking is reflected in the Narendra Modi government’s slogan “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”.
Swami Vivekananda taught the world that it is our duty to encourage all those doing good so that they can make their dreams come true.
His vision also gave rise to the idea of Antyodaya. Until the upliftment of the last poor person in the country is ensured, development is meaningless, he said.
Swami Vivekananda’s belief about God is tied to every religion. His idea of charity is at the root of Sanatan Dharma. Charity was a way of life for him. For Vivekananda it was important to connect everyone with this way of life. He said, “The more we come to help and help others, the more pure our heart becomes. Such people are like God.”
Swami Vivekananda combined thinking of different religions, communities and traditions. His thoughts inspire liberation from inertia. This is the reason Swami Vivekananda has no opponent in this country. Everyone bows to his ideas. In the 19th century, the spokesperson of Sanatani religion, who was called the “Cyclonic Hindu” due to his views, is still standing firmly on the world stage with his positive thinking. His ideas remain fresh and relevant.
The writer is Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism