National Youth Day was observed on 12 January 2017 to mark the 154th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The day is observed with an aim to recognise the ideals and teachings of Vivekananda and project him as a role model for the Indian youth.
In 1984, the Union Government declared that 12 January, i.e. the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda will be observed as the National Youth Day. His birthday has been celebrated as the National Youth Day since 12 January 1985.
On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his tweet said, “We offer salutations to the great Swami Vivekananda & remember his powerful thoughts & ideals that continue shaping the minds of generations’.
• Born on 12 January 1863 in an aristocratic family in West Bengal, Vivekananda was an Indian monk and a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian spiritualist Ramakrishna. His original name was Narendra Nath Datta.
• He is India’s foremost social reformer, thinker and philosopher.
• As a representative of India, he introduced the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world.
• He is also credited with raising interfaith awareness and providing recognition to Hinduism among other major religion of the world.
• He is also considered as a source of inspiration that created a concept of nationalism in colonial India.
• He was the founder of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission.
• He is recognised in the world mainly due to his speech at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893 where he introduced Hinduism to the world. He is perhaps best known for his speech which began, "Sisters and brothers of America".
Contributions of Swami Vivekananda
Social Sphere: In 1897, he established Ramakrishna mission to take up social work in the fields of healthcare, education and welfare. He is one among few of his times, who condemned the social inequalities prevalent in the society on the name of religion. He also preached for the emancipation of youth and women empowerment.
Religion: Provided a rational interpretation to the scriptures. He also condemned the oppressive caste system and rituals and preached service to man is service to god. For this purpose of spreading the religious message, he established the Ramakrishna Math in Belur in 1987. The Math was founded with twin ideals of self-realisation and service to god.
National Movement: his influential speeches and writings motivated the masses and leaders of the national movement. He also emphasised on self-reliance in the political sphere. His thoughts influenced the freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Aurobindo Ghose and Rabindranath Tagore.
Influence: He inspired Jamshedji Tata to establish the Indian Institute of Science, one of India's best-known research universities. Tata was influenced by his thoughts when they together travelled from Yokohama to Chicago, which was Vivekananda's first visit to the West in 1893.
On the same line, he also inspired Rock Feller who established the Rockefeller foundation. The foundation annually presents the Raman Magsaysay award.
Literature: His speeches and lectures given across the world have been compiled in form of books. His main work, Raja Yoga, consists of talks he delivered in New York. Some other important works of Vivekananda includes Sangeet Kalpataru, Lectures from Colombo to Almora, Vedanta Philosophy: An address before the Graduate Philosophical Society and My Master among others. Some of his inspirational quotes
• 3 GOLDEN RULES from Swami Vivekananda: Who is helping you, don’t forget them. Who is loving you, don’t hate them. Who is believing you, don’t cheat them.
• Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually and spiritually, reject as poison.
• Talk to yourself at least once in a day… Otherwise, you may miss a meeting with an excellent person in this World…
• You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.