National Youth Day is celebrated on 12 January on the occasion of Swami Vivekananda’s birthday. Government of India declared this day as National Youth Day in 1984 and since 1985 the day is observed every year.
Swami Vivekananda, one of India’s greatest spiritual and social leaders. He was of the views that with ‘muscles of iron’ and ‘nerves of steel’, youth can bring social change in society. Future lies in the hands of our youth, what they think, how they act and where they spend their eternal energy makes the society liveable in real sense.
As per Census 2011, Youth (15-24) comprises of one-fifth of the total population, which is expected to claim their share to about 35% by Census 2021. The responsibility of the Nation’s progress is on their shoulders.
Swami Vivekanand (1863-1902)
- Born as Narendra Nath Datta, in an affluent Hindu family in Kolkata to Vishvananth Datta, a successful attorney and Bhuvaneshwari Devi
- He studied at Calcutta Metropolitan School; Presidency College, Calcutta
- His guru was Ramakrishna Paramhansa
- He founded Ramakrishna Mission (1897), Ramakrishna Math, Vedanta Society of New York
- He believed in the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta
- His literary works include: Raja Yoga (1896), Karma Yoga (1896), Bhakti Yoga (1896), Jnana Yoga, My Master (1901), Lectures from Colombo to Almora (1897)
- He died on 4 July 1902 at Belur Math, Belur, Bengal. His memorial is at the same place.
Teachings of Swami Vivekananda
- Strength, strength it is that we want so much in this life, for what we call sin and sorrow have all one cause, and that is our weakness. With weakness comes ignorance, and with ignorance comes misery
- Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be
- Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success, and above all, love.
- It is love and love alone that I preach, and I base my teaching on the great Vedantic truth of the sameness and omnipresence of the Soul of the Universe
- We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.
- This is the gist of all worship – to be pure and to do good to others.
- My ideal, indeed, can be put into a few words, and that is: to preach unto mankind their divinity and how to make it manifest in every movement of life.
- If you have faith in all the three hundred and thirty millions of your mythological gods, and still have no faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you. Have faith in yourselves, and stand up on that faith and be strong; that is what we need
- So long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them
- Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.
By all means and methods, he is very righty renowned as the greatest teacher of all times. He emphasised his teachings on various aspects be it, religion, faith, education, spirituality, humanity, etc. A man with such high thinking and yet simple living can be a lesson to all of us in this world of today. His teachings are very much in need today and will be accepted till eternity.
Lessons Youth must follow
Humility: Whoever you are, whatever your qualifications are, no matter how much money you have, or how are highly you think you are accepted in a society, it won’t matter a bit if you are not modest enough to accept that there can be a person better than you in all aspects or maybe a few.
Being grounded and treating people with warmth, keeping aside your arrogance/pride makes you a human worthy of living.
Curiosity: Curiosity might have killed the cat, but being curious about the right and real things in life can make you achieve those heights in life you ever dreamed of. We must strive to always search for the answers that are holistic in approach. Half information can be dangerous, but having the wrong information can be fatal.
Looks can be deceiving, always look for more if in doubt.
Compassion/Kindness: In this world of cruelty and misinformation all around us at all times, we are always surrounded by negativity. The way we talk to people has changed; we are in a hurry to get things done. We do not see if our actions are causing problems for others. We have stopped praising people for their good qualities and deliberately pinpoint the drawbacks if any.
A little bit of compassion and any act of kindness, be it big or small can change the whole course of living in society. This should be inherent in each one of us.
Respect for Culture: Being modern is the need of the hour. With the world connected on our fingertip, the latest trends and fashion reach to us in no time. The world is one and we are a family. But what stands us out and make us unique are the distinguishable characteristics.
Swami Vivekananda once replied to a Britisher, “In your culture, cloth builds a man but in our culture, character builds a man’.
Culture, traditions, beliefs make a community unique. The more we reason its significance in our daily lives the more we get to understand the importance of it.
Humour: Intelligence, wit has the ability to convert every conflict into humour. It’s not always necessary to fight your enemies, peers with your hands when your mind can do the job. One who can intelligently sway the conversation to his favour without even saying a foul word is the one who stays ahead of his/her counterparts in every battle.