One minute read. Written by a grade 7 student
Today is National Youth Day, which is the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. His birthday was declared National Youth Day because “the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth Day.” On this day many events are organised in schools and colleges – there are speeches, essay-writing competitions, music etc.
Who was Swami Vivekananda?
Swami Vivekananda, whose birth name was Narendra Nath Datta, was a Hindu monk. He was very influenced by his guru, Ramakrishna who taught him that God was found in all human beings. Vivekananda (as well as other disciples of Ramakrishna) took vows of sannyasa and gave up all worldly pleasures (like material things). He toured India far and wide and was disturbed by the poverty in the country. He then set upon a mission to educate the people on ways to improve their lives, their economic condition and also gave them spiritual knowledge to strengthen their faith.
In 1893, Vivekananda attended an event called the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago. This was the first World’s Parliament of Religions and here Swami Vivekananda represented India and Hinduism. Delegates from all over the world joined this Parliament. One of Vivekananda’s most memorable speeches was at this Parliament. Vivekananda’s speech was praised by the Parliament’s President John Henry Barrows, who said that Vivekananda had a great influence over the entire audience. After this Vivekananda received a lot of attention in the press and was called “cyclonic monk from India”. Newspapers like the New York Herald wrote of him saying “Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation”.
Post the Parliament, Swami Vivekananda conducted hundreds of lectures and classes, spreading beliefs of Hindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe.
As a young boy, Narendranath showed great inellect. He excelled in his studies and was also good at sports. By the time he graduated from the college, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects. He was extremely well read and had read extensively, not only on Hindu philosophy and scriptures (like the Bhagvad Gita and the Upanishads), but he was also very well versed in western philosophy, history and spirituality.