Swami Vivekananda

  • IASbaba
  • January 14, 2023
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  • January 12 2023 marks the 161st birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda
  • It is observed as National Youth Day.
  • His message of love, compassion and universal acceptance is as relevant today as it was when he first delivered it over a hundred years ago.

Swami Vivekananda:

  • Named Narendra Nath Datta, Swami Vivekananda was an Indian monk who is known for his intellectual contributions to the field of religion.
  • A chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Vivekananda is known to have introduced Hindu philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the western world.
  • He is remembered as the founder of the Ramakrishna Mission and the Ramakrishna Math.
  • His best known presence in the West is his speech at the Parliament of the world’s religions in 1893 where he introduced the basic concepts of Hinduism to an international audience.
  • After this session at Chicago, Vivekananda toured around several parts of USA and UK, spreading philosophies on religion.
  • The aspect of Hinduism that Vivekananda represented is known as ‘neo-Vedanta’ which is an interpretation of Hinduism through a Western esoteric lens.
  • He died on July 4, 1902, while he was meditating.
  • Subhas Chandra Bose had once remarked that Vivekananda was the “maker of modern India.”


  • Raja Yoga
  • Karma Yoga
  • Meditation and Its Methods
  • Vedanta: Voice of Freedom
  • Lectures on Bhagavad Gita
  • My India: The India Eternal
  • Powers of The Mind
  • My Master
  • Essentials of Hinduism
  • Living at the Source
  • My Idea of Education
  • Work and Its Secret
  • To the Youth of India
  • Pearls of Wisdom
  • Women of India
  • Life after Death
  • The East and the West
  • Religion of Love

About his teachings:

  • Spiritual primacy is the central theme of Vivekananda’s teachings, through which human beings can succeed in every sphere of their lives.
  • Reason he premises his philosophy, ideas and life work on the premise of reason and urges people, especially the youth, to never let go of reason.
  • Three instruments of knowledge that he propounded are
  • instincts, reason, and inspiration
  • Vedantic Humanism
  • There is only one Self in the universe. There is only one Existence. The entire universe is a manifestation of the absolute One.
  • Religious acceptance was important and not tolerance because tolerance comes out of a superiority complex.
  • The most desirable path for self-realisation was the selfless service of man.
  • Each and every chore of your life should be done with divinity.
  • External rituals of religion are of secondary importance but the spiritual essence of a religion should be preserved and accepted.
  • Divinity within ourselves
  • He asserted that each soul is potentially divine and the goal of human beings should be to manifest this divinity within, which can be done by controlling nature, external and internal.
  • Means of attaining Moksha from worldly pleasure and attachment
  • Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga
  • Karma Yoga
  • Emphasising the importance of work, he said that God can be attained through work.
  • A lot of people fritter away a great amount of their energies because they are oblivious to the secret of work
  • Karma Yoga teaches how to employ to the maximum advantage all our energies in our work.
  • Karma-Yoga teaches how to work for work’s sake, unattached to the results.
  • Bhakti Yoga
  • Bhakti Yoga teaches that love is a vital element of all human beings.
  • It teaches how to love bereft of any ulterior motives
  • All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction.
  • Raja Yoga
  • Raja Yoga opens up the psychological way to union with God.
  • More the power of concentration, the more knowledge is acquired.
  • For example, a chemist who works in her laboratory, concentrating all the powers of her mind, bringing them into one focus, and throwing them onto the elements; the elements stand analysed and thus her knowledge comes.
  • Faith in oneself
  • All knowledge, power, purity, and freedom are in oneself
  • If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be
  • Not shy away from taking responsibility for their actions

Significance of his teachings:

  • He emphasised on the importance of Religious acceptance
  • He emphasised that religion is a topic of experience and peace can only last if people understand the real meaning of religion, practise it in their daily lives and feel one with it.
  • He preached that the essential unity of all human beings can be realised are unconditional love for all, judicious detachment, and expansion of self through service of fellow humans despite any sectarian difference
  • He taught to not shy away from taking responsibility for one’s actions
  • Education was the primary means for empowering the people – to equip people for the struggle for life, to bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion.
  • His vision also gave rise to the idea of Antyodaya – Until the upliftment of the last poor person in the country is ensured, development is meaningless.
  • Swami Vivekananda combined thinking of different religions, communities and traditions to inspire liberation from inertia.

Way forward:

  • Government of India sanctioned a “Value Education Project” of the Ramakrishna Mission to help to inculcate in children a moral compass and a value system against the tide of commercialism and consumerism that is sweeping our societies.
  • The Government has embarked on the mission of building a united, strong and modern India to fulfil the vision of the great thinkers like Vivekananda.
  • Such as “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat”, following the principle of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”.

Source Indian express


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