Swami Vivekananda’s Nirvana Divas, or the date, for English only audience, on which Swami Ji left for the other world, reminds us of his herculean task that he wished, after him, his successors and disciples will carry away. He single-handedly reminded us Indians of our forgotten roots and giant civilisational goals that we have to fulfil and our ancient riches from which we should take courage and inspiration. However, how many of us even read his words today? He had multiple and deep expectations from the youths of India. How many of us even try to understand what he expected from us? I will take the opportunity to produce some of the moving lines from the wonderful literature that Swami Ji produced in his speeches, writings, discusses and letters. I hope these lines will remind our youths of their actual goals. Also, you can feel the remarkable refinement of the lines which make Swami Vivekananda stand tall in terms of literary qualities as well.
In an interview to The Hindu, published in 1897, Swami Vivekananda talked about his plans to bring equality in the society and to educate everyone with ‘secular’ knowledge with the word’s connotation being ‘equal’, unlike modern connotation which brings too many conundrums with itself. Read his words carefully how much he values the contributions of youth and how he hopes that young people can change anything in no time…
“It will, of course, have gradually to be worked out. But if there are enough self-sacrificing young fellows, who, I hope, will work with me, it can be done tomorrow. It all depends upon the zeal and the self-sacrifice brought to the task.” page number 213, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol. 5
However, he could never have the comfort of working with the youth prowess of India in full and, unfortunately for us, his plans did not come to the point of execution because of his demise at a very early age. Swami Ji had great hope from the young people and he always believed that youths will be the future of India, a country which has too great a past to be compared to any other nation in the world. He always valued youth’s participation and called upon young men and women to join him.
“Brave, bold men, these are what we want.” page number 278, The Complete Works, Vol. 3
Addressing an assembly of people at Triplicane Literary Society, Madras (modern Chennai), Swami Ji uttered these wonderful words, giving a clarion call to the youths of India to be ready for the civilisational battle ahead, ideologically and also physically, if required. Likewise, Swami Ji’s most famous, perhaps, a line that inspires millions of youths across the world, goes like this:
“Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.”
This line was widely used by Swami Vivekananda in most of his speeches and writings to inspire the youths of India. He used this line from Katha Upanishad and made it very popular among youths across the world. Beauty in the arrangement of the lines and the long straight line that covers the entire message to reach the aim without having any pitstops in the way are not only wonderful aesthetically but also very energising in the true sense.
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“All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak. Stand up and express the divinity within you.” 284, The Complete Works, Vol. 3
Look at the force that these words generate when you begin reading the extract. Swami Ji says that everything in terms of power lies within you and you don’t have to depend on anything externally. Express what’s within you. Express the divinity that lies within you and you can access the power unprecedented and do anything that you want to do. However, Swami Vivekananda also reminds the youths of their responsibility towards Mother India, Bharat Mata, and tells them that there is nothing superior to seeing the country and the countrymen. Everything else comes second to your selfless service to the nation and youths must come forward to take this responsibility.
Are we ready to take the challenge? Are we ready to fulfil what Swami Ji expected us to do? These are the questions that we young people have to ask ourselves tonight and tomorrow morning and repeat it every night and day unless our answers reverberate a “YES” chant and we take it on!
Written by Amit Mishra for Indian Book Critics