It’s National Youth Day today. That is Swami Vivekananda’s birthday. As we read and re-read Swami Vivekananda’s writings, we are left amazed. He is so relevant even today, not only for the youth, but entire mankind. I wonder such a modern man walked on the face of earth way back in the 19th century. He is often a father, a guide, a friend to the country and the whole world.
Swami-ji on religion
Swamiji wrote years back: ‘The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.’ So more than a century back, Swamiji had such a modern an outlook and now we fight in the name of religion. Shame on us, isn’t it?
Swami-ji on love
Nowadays it is a fashion to discuss love. Everybody talks of love, yet in the columns of newspapers we read of divorces, marital discord every day. Swami Vivekananda wrote: ‘Is not your husband God, your child God? If you can love your wife, you have all the religion in the world. You have the whole secret of religion and Yoga in you. But can you love? That is the question. You say, “I love…. Oh Mary, I die for you!” But if you see Mary kissing another man, you want to cut his throat. If Mary sees John talking to another girl, she cannot sleep at night, and she makes life hell for John. This is not love. This is barter and sale in sex. It is blasphemy to talk of it as love.’ So here we can take the lesson of true love from Swamiji. We talk day and night of God and religion—so of love. Making a sham of everything, without understanding what love is.
Swami-ji on tolerance and feeling
We speak of tolerance but rarely do we feel for others. What Swami Vivekananda wrote: ‘You may talk doctrines by the millions, you may have sects by the hundreds of millions; but it is nothing, until you have the heart to feel. Feel for them as your Veda teaches you, till you find they are parts of your own bodies, till you realise that you and they, the poor and the rich, the saint and the sinner, are all parts of One Infinite Whole, which you call Brahman.’
Be not afraid
We see people around stressed and fearful, it is the endless traffic jams on the roads of the city, sometimes it is work pressure, difficulties of life and so much more. Here Swamiji just takes the role of a father and says, ‘Be not afraid, my children. Look not up in that attitude of fear towards that infinite starry vault as if it would crush you. Money does not pay, nor name; fame does not pay, nor learning. It is love that pays; it is character that cleaves its way through adamantine walls of difficulties.’
Swami-ji on politics
Now, we make politics out of everything be it at work, club or anywhere we go. What the Swami says: ‘I will have nothing to do with cowards or political nonsense. I do not believe in any politics. God and truth are the only politics in the world, everything else is trash.’ I think we need to implement this in our lives to make the world a better place to live in.
Without doubt, the more we learn about Swami Vivekananda, the more reasons we discover to love him.