Beautifully carved statues on the dais, and beautifully carved statues in the audience. The way you are sitting like a statue with rapt attention itself indicates that India is awakening. People go and sit for entertainment, but when they sit for any spiritual discourse, you find half of them dozing, their heads down, or half the time they are somewhere else. But, the attention with which we are all here indicates that we are moving in the right direction.
Swami Vivekanandji, has left the youth of this country with a dream. And when we carry this dream in our hearts, there is no other way than progress for the country. If you find lack of progress in this country in 200 districts from about 612 districts, it is because the Ramakrishna Mission has not reached there. If Naxalism or other violent activities are happening in some areas, it is because they have not had proper schooling.
You know when Kiran Bedi retired, it brought relief to many people. You can’t say she is a retired officer. There is no retirement for her. Now she has bounced back with an even bigger area of action. Today I see of all the prizes I give, five out of six are girls. Girls have really great emotive power, because they are charged and they can charge up the whole environment. They can inspire people. And if each woman of this country can come out of their comfort zone, they can bring a lot of change. When Kiran spoke of ‘comfort zone’, it felt as if she was giving an Art of Living discourse.
Swamiji’s life was such an inspiration. For Swamiji to be what he was, the unseen force behind it was Maa Sharada Devi. And the way she said a few things here and there and changed his whole outlook towards life is unprecedented.
On the 9th of this month, just three days back, I was in Calcutta with the Ramakrishna Mission Swamis. The dedication with which they are carrying on the mission all these years through all the tough situations is remarkable. We work very closely with the Ramakrishna Mission in Arunachal Pradesh. The hospitals, the schools and the Art of Living volunteers all work together. They face several challenges there without an iota of regret, anger or hatred. The endurance they have shown through the tough situations and hard environment is something remarkable and that needs to be replicated in this whole country.
Activism needs to correlate or combine itself with the spiritual serenity. That is what we find in Annaji also, isn’t it? He is a deeply spiritual person at the same time he is not sitting and thinking, let everything happen. Let God do all the work and let us sit and enjoy. This is not the thing. God in you is asking to do this work.
I will tell you a story: Adi Shankara, who was the propounder of the Advaita philosophy said, ‘Everything is temporary, everything is changing, everything is maya’ So once he was walking and there was a mad elephant coming behind his back. So when the mad elephant started chasing him, Adi Shankara started running. Then somebody said, ‘This is all maya. You said the elephant is maya, everything maya, why are you running?’
Do you know what Adi Shankara said? ‘If the elephant is maya, my running is also maya.’
If you are confronted with a tiger in your dream, you need a dream gun to shoot the tiger. You can’t take a real gun and try to shoot the tiger.
Life is a complex gift to us. Life is a gift; we shouldn’t say it is a punishment.
Life is a gift, but very complex. It’s a complexity of infinity and the finite world. Peace and dynamism, love and action, silence and service.
You know, this nation is indebted to the Sanyasis of the Ramakrishna Mission, for they have carried on their mission in all these years, and have given pure Vedantic teachings and the bhajans.
There is a saying in Sanskrit, ‘Kavya Shastra Vinodena Kalo Gachchhati Dhiimatam’ The intelligent spend their time with poetry, with fun, with dedication, for a cause and make the wisdom lighter.
Hearing it one should not feel that they can't put it to practice. Knowledge is that which can be easily applied in life and which is useful.
Many of the superstitions and myths that had taken firm root in our nation and religion were removed and dismissed by Swami Vivekanandji, in much the same way as separating sugar from sand. For this the youth of our nation are deeply indebted to him.
Today, I am saying this with great enthusiasm and joy that we should all feel duty-bound to realize this dream of Swamiji's. We should save this country from corruption. Where sense of belongingness ends, from there corruption begins.
What does spirituality mean? It means bringing a sense of belongingness. Whoever we look at should feel like our own. With this broad perspective and a heart that does not break easily - nowadays peoples’ hearts break very easily over very small issues - a strong heart, an open mind, and a will to take any job to completion. For a hundred and fifty years Swamiji has been a source of such inspiration to the nation and to our youth and he will continue to be an inspiration.
If you see, a person's qualities are reflected in his followers, and the sacrificial and peaceful mindset with which the Sanyasis of the mutt are raising the call for revolution in the country is exemplary. They are establishing a strong foundation of duty, non-violence, truth and justice.
I would venture to say that out of all those who have studied in such mission schools, not one can or has participated in a non-violence program. If anyone has, he would be totally unique.
I can say with complete confidence that in schools and colleges if one is able to establish a foundation of duty, knowledge, faith and devotion, then life attains balance, and society gets reformed.
Go and ask some of the most corrupt of corrupt persons where they have been educated. Many of them studied in government schools where morality is kept at a distance. I am not saying that all those who have studied in government schools are immoral, not that! We should not place everyone in the same category. That would be a mistake. In sages and saints also you will find many such things in this country.
So we have to see how we can make every situation useful and uplifting for the country, for the Self and for the world.
Now, many people say that for one who is a Vedanti or a Sanyasi, all countries are the same, then why should they raise their voice for patriotism towards the country? It becomes limiting when we say, 'My country!' I say the whole world belongs to us.
Patriotism or the dedication for a nation will in no way become an obstacle for your universality. You should never think our universal consciousness will be obstructed by patriotism. Swami Vivekanandaji set the best example of how you can be universal, and at the same time have desh bhakti (patriotism).
Daiva bhakti (devotion to God), desh bhakti and guru bhakti (devotion to the master) these three are not separate, these three are one and the same. It is from God that this world has arisen, and the universe is God. God and Nature should not be considered as two separate entities. That is the unique specialty of this country that rivers, mountains, trees, cows, calves, dogs, all are considered the manifestation of God.
'Ya Prakriti Leenasya Yap parasya Maheshwaraha' One who is dissolved in nature is Maheshwara, is God. We should be sympathetic towards the environment, and desh bhakti and daiva bhakti should not be considered two separate things.
So with awareness and passion we should work to take the country forward, and take this resolution today of fulfilling Swami Vivekanandaji's dream of an India that is glorious, and an India that is the spiritual leader of the world.
This is the responsibility of all of us sitting here, those of us who are youthful in age and mindset. Many of you are youth by age and many others are youth by spirit, and I want you all to be taking this sankalpa today. Remind yourself of this great dream that you have been given by Swami Vivekanandaji to see a very beautiful, prosperous and just India.