A western admirer once described Swami Vivekananda as being ‘young in years but eternal in wisdom’. if you accept this ecstatic statement at this face value, it establishes the relevance of Swami Vivekananda’s philosophy today.
Vivekananda, original name Narendranath Datta, Datta also spelled Dutt, (born January 12, 1863, Calcutta (now Kolkata) died July 4, 1902, near Calcutta), is a Hindu spiritual leader and reformer in India who attempted to combine Indian spirituality with Western material progress, maintaining that the two supplemented and complemented one another. At the age of eight in 1871, Vivekananda was enrolled at Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s Institution and later at the Presidency College in Calcutta. He was exposed to Western philosophy, Christianity, and science. He had an interest in music both instrumental as well as vocal. He was active in sports, gymnastics, wrestling, and bodybuilding. He was also fond of reading and till the time he had completed his graduation from the college he had acquired a vast knowledge of various subjects
Swami Vivekananda’s inspiring personality was well known both in India and in America during the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth. The unknown monk of India suddenly leapt into fame at the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893, at which he represented Hinduism. His vast knowledge of Eastern and Western culture as well as his deep spiritual insight, fervid eloquence, brilliant conversation, broad human sympathy, colorful personality, and handsome figure made an irresistible appeal to the many types of Americans who came in contact with him. People who saw or heard Vivekananda even once still cherish his memory after a lapse of more than half a century.
Man-making — His mission
Swami Vivekananda’s relevance depends not on the nature of the problems we face but on the spirit with those problems have to be tackled. his stress on man himself, for, given the right kind of man, no problem need be daunting. ‘Man-making is my mission’, he used to say. Indeed, a country’s future depends upon its people-how good, intelligent and capable they are.
Character-building through Education
Character building is one of the main and fundamental objectives of education. In ancient times, education was for the formation of character.He considered character building to be the most important objective of education. He believed that religious, character and moral qualities should be inculcated in the students through education. It was his academic opinion and plan to develop the characteristic qualities in the students from the Upanayan Adi Sanskars at the beginning of the education and to reach the full
level through the entire code of conduct of Brahmacharyashram. To him, Man Acharya means a Guru whose conduct remains to be followed by all the disciples. Acharya means a living embodiment of the code of ethics. The Acharya teaches the children the rituals of Sandhya, Upasana, Snan, Achaman, Pranayama etc. The life and thoughts of the Acharya in the Gurukul remain a great source of character building of the disciples. The working people, who had long been neglected and had no access to education, should now receive special attention so that they could quickly overcome their initial drawbacks. He wanted education to reach out to them rather than they come to education. Swamiji believes that the contribution of parents in shaping the character of a child is
especially important. The work of the Acharya proceeds on its foundation. Parents as well as principals have a major role to play in the character building of the disciple – in the training of body, mind and soul.
The natural tendency of Vivekananda’s mind, like that of his Master, Ramakrishna, was to soar above the world and forget itself in contemplation of the Absolute. But another part of his personality bled at the sight of human suffering in East and West alike. It might appear that his mind seldom found a point of rest in its oscillation between contemplation of God and service to man. Be that as it may, he chose, in obedience to a higher call, service to man as his mission on earth; and this choice has endeared him to people in the West, Americans in particular.
In the course of a short life of thirty-nine years (1863-1902), of which only ten were devoted to public activities-and those, too, in the midst of acute physical suffering-he left for posterity his four classics: Jnana-Yoga, Bhaji-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, and Raja-Yoga, all of which are outstanding treatises on Hindu philosophy. Swami Vivekananda founded Ramakrishna Mission on 1 May 1897 for one’s own salvation and for the welfare of the world. In addition, he delivered innumerable lectures, wrote inspired letters in his own hand to his many friends and disciples, composed numerous poems, and acted as spiritual guide to the many seekers, who came to him for instruction. He also organized the Ramakrishna Order of monks, which is the most outstanding religious organization of modern India. It is devoted to the propagation of the Hindu spiritual culture not only in the Swami’s native land, but also in America and in other parts of the world.
Swami Vivekananda thus gave a spiritual basis to Indian nationalism. Vivekananda was an avatara , a divinely inspired and God-appointed leader, not only for Man in India, but also for the whole of humanity in the present age. In conclusion, Vivekananda was the most eminent figure among the democratic patriots of India.