[Editorial Analysis] An abiding inspiration

Mains Paper 1: History
Prelims level: Swami Vivekananda
Mains level: Important Personalities

Context:

• Swami Vivekananda’s birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day in India every year on 12 January.
• He is the inspiration behind National Youth Day. In just 39 years, he filled the country with a thought whose energy is still felt today. Generations to come will continue to feel this energy.

Swami Vivekananda:

• He was born in Kolkata on January 12, 1863, as Narendra Nath Datta. From an early age, he nurtured an interest in Western philosophy, history, and theology, and went on to meet the religious leader Ramakrishna Paramhansa, who later became his Guru.
• He remained devoted to Ramakrishna until the latter’s death in 1886.
• In 1893, he took the name ‘Vivekananda’ after Maharaja Ajit Singh of the Khetri State requested him to do so, changing from ‘Sachidananda’ that he used before.
• He also wrote ‘Raja Yoga’, ‘Jnana Yoga’, ‘Karma Yoga’.
• He took forward the efforts made by other thinkers to reach the roots of Indian culture.
• He the famous Hindu spiritual leader and intellectual from the late 19th century.
• He is known to have introduced the Hindu philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the West.
• HE was the first person to make the world realise “the high spiritual content and exalted glory of Hinduism”.
• He preached ‘neo-Vedanta’, an interpretation of Hinduism through a Western lens, and believed in combining spirituality with material progress.
• He was accepted worldwide and was the spokesperson of Sanatan Dharma, a symbol of Hindustan and Hindustani culture.
• His belief about God is tied to every religion. His idea of charity is at the root of Sanatan Dharma. Charity was a way of life for him. For Vivekananda it was important to connect everyone with this way of life.
• He represented Sanatan Dharma at the Parliament of World religions in Chicago in 1893. The themes in that speech included “Vishwabandhutva”, tolerance, cooperativeness, participation, religion, culture, nation, nationalism and the collective India-Indianness.
• He died on July 4, 1902, while he was meditating. Vivekanda’s contributions to Indian religious thought is celebrated till date. Subhas Chandra Bose had once remarked that Vivakanda was the “maker of modern India.”

Highlights of his speech:

• Hindustan gives shelter to persecuted people from all religions and countries.
• Sanatan Dharma is the mother of all religions.
• Land of India and the Sanatani religion had taught the world the lesson of tolerance and universal acceptance.
• It is the nature of the Indian soil to accept all religions as true. India was the first laboratory and protector of secularism.
• Eternal message of universal brotherhood

Ramkrishna Mission:

• He formed the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 “to set in motion a machinery which will bring noblest ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest.”
• He established the Belur Math in 1899, which became his permanent abode.
• Goals of Mission: Based on the ideals of Karma Yoga, with its primary objective to save the poor masses in India.

Role of youth in India:

• One of India’s most important resources is the youth. Every fifth young person in the world is an Indian. It is due to this segment of the population that India’s growth rate has been the third-highest among the 13 major economies in the last five years.
• After the COVID-19 pandemic, India has emerged as a country that is full of possibilities in the race for development. Those among the youth who are associated with Swami Vivekananda’s ideas are preparing India for a leadership role on the world stage.

Relevance of Swami Vivekananda:

• His mantra “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached” is as effective, relevant and inspiring today as it was in the days of colonialism.
• Now, India is ready to be a global leader. With the power of yoga and the energy that comes from spirituality, the youth of the country are impatient about giving direction to the world.
• 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. His such inclusive thinking is reflected in the present government’s slogan “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”.
• He taught the world that it is our duty to encourage all those doing good so that they can make their dreams come true.
• He combined thinking of different religions, communities and traditions. His thoughts inspire liberation from inertia.
• In his honour, the government of India in 1984 declared his birthday as National Youth Day.
• Vivekananda needs to be understood more meaningfully. His engaged religiosity can help create a spiritually enriched, egalitarian society.

His inspiring quotes to youth:

• “Make a life’s aim and incorporate that idea into your life…. Think that thought over and over again. Dream it, live it… that is the secret to being successful.”
• “Until you can trust yourself, you cannot trust Allah or God.”
• “The more we come to help and help others, the more pure our heart becomes. Such people are like God.”
• “It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body, to cast it off like a worn-out garment. But I shall not cease to work. I shall inspire men everywhere until the whole world shall know that it is one with God.”

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT, consider the following statements:
1. The scheme will provide a financial cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family for in-patient care and surgical procedures.
2. Treatment is limited to government and private hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir only.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: A

Mains Questions:

Q.1) Swami Vivekananda’s thought is as relevant to India’s future as it was in its past. Critically examine the statement.

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