Swami Vivekananda

  • IASbaba
  • January 13, 2022
  • 0
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(Sansad TV: Itihasa)

Jan 6: Swami Vivekananda https://youtu.be/yX975BFgl1A 


  • GS-1: Modern Indian history
  • GS – 4: ETHICS

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda was one of the most important thinkers of our times. He was responsible for liberalising Hinduism in 19th century India, he encouraged interfaith tolerance, and he helped introduce the philosophies of the Vedanta and yoga to the west, and dedicated his life towards uplifting oppressed classes. His modern yet spiritual approach towards life, and his profound teachings, made him an icon among the youth. 

  • An ardent disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India.
  • He pushed for national integration in colonial India, and his famous speech remains as the one that he gave in Chicago in 1893 (Parliament of the World Religions).
  • In 1984 the Government of India declared that 12th January, the birthday of Swami Vivekananda, will be celebrated as National Youth Day.

The life and ideas of Swami Vivekananda are immemorial. They continue to inspire generation of people – IMPORTANT FOR ETHICS & ESSAY

“Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”. 

  • He said “Hold on to the ideal, if you fail a thousand times, try it one more time”. Thus, he had tremendous belief in the self-effort and the ability of an individual to reach any goal through hard work.
  • Today people are looking to earn big money through short cut methods and least amount of hard work. It is important to learn this that true success required tremendous effort and perseverance.

“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.” 

  • This inspires us to work for the upliftment of poor and downtrodden. 
  • He believed that every Indian must work hard to uplift the millions from the clutches of poverty and superstitions.

Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success, and above all, love

  • These ideas of his stressed on the importance of virtues which are essential for success and happiness.

“Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true”

  • Truth is multi-faceted. 
  • Truth remains true from the point of view of the observer but may be seemingly false from other’s point of view. 
  • There has been a perpetual fight of perspectives and will always be as long as truth is concerned. 
  • There is no black or white but shades of grey.

Karma Yoga and Niskama Karma

  • In this he emphasized the selflessness of an individual in all his endeavours.
  • Today, when the world around us engulfed in acts of sheer selfishness, his teachings can show a new path.


  • Swami Ji always said that ‘lack of education’ is the root cause behind all problems in India.  
  • Swami ji believed that education should be freed from the stranglehold of the upper class and spread to every section of the society. 
  • He also had a vision for the kind of education that the people of India needed. He was not in favour of just career-oriented education. He talked about ‘true education’ that will make your character besides boosting your self-confidence. 
  • Unfortunately, that kind of education is not available today and given the risk of automation and poor job growth rate in India, gaining true education, as defined by Vivekanand, would surely help youth of today to excel in various fields.

Views on Oppression of underprivileged section of society

  • Swami ji said that we talk of highest Vedanta but do not even think about the oppressed classes. 
  • We trample them and crush them. 
  • That’s why he said that we need to give them back their self-respect, their lost individuality. Allow everybody to move forward.

Women emancipation

  • Swami Ji was in favour of allowing women to take their own decisions. He emphasized on the women’s education and believed that it will lead to greater development of society as a whole. 
  • He also advocated the need to impart martial arts training to women so that they could defend themselves. He always cited examples of Rani Lakshmi Bai, Padmini and Ahalya.  
  • Considering the girl drop outs from school and also reducing female labour force participation we need to make an effort to make women part of our development story.

Respect for culture and belief is necessary

  • One day, a Britisher commented that the Indian dressing style was ‘uncivilized’.  
  • Swami Vivekananda replied, “In your culture, cloth builds a man but in our culture, character builds a man’. This story became very famous the world over, showcasing Swami Vivekananda’s deep understanding of the world. 
  • Culture, traditions and beliefs make every community unique. And our own reasoning about their significance, importance enables us to help clear others’ doubts, perception or ideas.

The historic Chicago address of Swami Vivekananda

On September 11, 1893, Swami Vivekananda delivered his famed speech at the ‘Parliament of the World’s Religions’, garnering a full two minute standing ovation and the moniker of ‘cyclonic monk of India’.

  • He was considered a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India and bringing it to the status of major world religion in the late 19th century.
  • His address in the World “Parliament of Religions” at Chicago in 1893 drew the world’s attention to the ancient Indian philosophy of Vedanta.
  • Message of universal brotherhood: “As the different streams mingle their water in the sea, different paths which men take, various though they appear, all lead to the same god”. Today the world realizes that to bring peace, there is no other ideology more proper than this. Vasudhev Kutumbakam – i.e. belief in world as a family has become necessary in growing era of protectionism and de-globalisation


Swami Vivekananda’s nationalism is deeply rooted in Indian spirituality and morality. His nationalism is associated with spiritualism. 

  • He linked India’s regeneration to her age-old tradition of spiritual goal. He said, “Each nation has a destiny to fulfill, each nation has a message to deliver, each nation has a mission to accomplish. Therefore, we must have to understand the mission of our own race, the destiny it has to fulfill, the place it has to occupy in the march of nations, and the role which it has to contribute to the harmony of races”. 
  • He contributed immensely to the concept of nationalism in colonial India and played a special role in steering India into the 20th Century.

Through his reforms, Swami Vivekananda brought a remarkable change in the society. His work, thoughts, ideas gave a new direction to the masses. 

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. “Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand do so. If not fold your hands, bless your brothers and let them go their own way.” – Swami Vivekanand (150 words).
  2. What contribution did Swami Vivekananda make in awakening the spirit of nationalism in India? Discuss.
  3. Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true. Elucidate.
  4. “Every work has got to pass through hundreds of difficulties before succeeding. Those that persevere will see the light, sooner or later.   ‘-Swami Vivekananda.  (Answer in 150 words)

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