Swami Vivekananda had immense faith in the power of youth.
In a short and sweet life of 39 years, five months and 22 days he blew energy into an India which was steeped in slavery and self-loath. Vivekananda urged the youth in particular to connect to the eternal power of their soul. In order to achieve this, the young, the strong, the healthy and the ones with sharp intellect should focus their thoughts and pursuits onto a new channel. He redefined the word `atheist’ when he declared that as per the new religion, an atheist is one who does not believe in himself, not necessarily the one who does not believe in God.
Demographically, India was very young. Nearly 78 per cent of India’s population was less than 40 years old. Swami Vivekananda repeatedly asked the youth to focus their collective energies towards nation building. He indicated that he would radically change the Indian society if he could get some ten or 12 boys with the faith of Nachiketa.
On another occasion he said that if he could get one hundred ‘believing’ young men he would revolutionise the entire world.
One of his writings asks the youth to focus on the three `H’s - ‘Heart’ to feel for the poor and the marginalised, ‘Head’ to think and `Hands,’ which would convert thoughts into deeds.
He urged the youth to have a pure purpose, stick to truth, banish fear and doubt and surge ahead in life with the intensity of a forest fire.
He wants our youths to emulate an oyster. It is believed that an oyster waits for the rain that falls when the star Swati is on the ascent. When that happens it comes to the surface, receives a drop of rain and recedes to the depths to develop a pearl.
Live for others
‘They alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive,’ he observed. “It is better to wear out than rust out,” he said advising the younger generation to work, work and work till the goal is reached. Swamiji was one among the early visionaries who saw an invisible bridge between Indian and Western cultures. He interpreted Hindu scriptures and philosophy to the Western people in an idiom they could easily comprehend. Thus they were at ease with science and technology on the one hand and humanism on the other and there was no quarrel between the two.
Perhaps the best tribute to the life and mission of Swami Vivekananda in one line was paid by Rabindranath Tagore. Talking to another Nobel laureate, Romain Rolland, Tagore said, “If you want to know India, study Vivekananda.”