1.The secret of the charm of young people towards Swami Vivekananda:
Swami Vivekananda fascinates every young man. I have not seen one young man up till now, who having known a little about him, having read a few pages about him, can resist loving him. Swamiji fascinates everybody irresistibly, and why ? First of all, there is a tremendous physical charm in him. He is a picture of eternal youth, a picture of tremendous strength and fearlessness. Look into his eyes.There is an unspeakable language.
Everybody keeps wondering, what is inside that person ? If the picture is like that, how was the living man ? You may soon discover that his fascination is not in his physical charm. There may be more physically beautiful men in the world. You do not like to look at their pictures for a great length of time. But you never become tired to look at Swamiji’s picture. What is the secret ?
The secret is his unbounded love. His love which through his eyes reaches your heart and soul and inspires something very noble within you, which you have not known before. And behind this love is his perfect holiness.And behind that again is his complete spiritual illumination. And there is something more. Those of you who have read the life of Sri Ramakrishna would know that before passing away he transmitted into Swami Vivekananda (Naren) all his spiritual powers.
Besides that everybody sees in him a picture of the dream of his own self-fulfillment. There is in him also the picture of the perfection a man can attain.
[The Dream of his own Self-Fulfillment: i.e. the possibility of becoming the 'Knower of Brahman'! ‘knower of Brahman’ involves realization of one's true nature as Sat- Chit-Ananda.The Bliss of Brahman, which is experienced through the non-duality of existence and is the bestower of Freedom. ‘Brahmavid Brahmaiva bhavati' – he who knows Brahman became Brahman’ (Mundak. U. 3.2.9) He who knows the Bliss of Brahman, whence all words together with the mind turn away, unable to reach it—he never fears. ]
2. What was the reason for Sri Ramakrishna's special love for the youth? :
Even Sri Ramakrishna himself, when he first met Naren, was utterly fascinated by him. At the very first look he knew his great potential and he knew what for he was born.When Naren came to him he was eighteen. He was only twenty-three when Sri Ramakrishna passed away. Many elderly and learned persons used to come to Ramakrishna, but he transmitted his powers to a young man. And he gave all the legacy he had, he gave the leadership of the band of the younger generation as his main standard-bearer among his followers. It is not that to any elderly person he had not given any of his powers or he had not showered his grace upon them. But, where the dynamic part of the mission was concerned he choose Naren as the leader.
Why did he choose Naren as the leader ? Sri Ramakrishna himself explained why he placed so much trust on young boys. He said: ‘Why am I so fond of the boys? They are like unadulterated milk ; only a little boiling is needed. Moreover it can be offered to the deity. But milk adulterated by water needs much boiling. It consumes a large quantity of fuel. The boys are like fresh earthen pots, good vessels in which one can keep milk without any worry. Spiritual instructions
arouse their inner consciousness without delay. But it is not so with the worldly-minded. One is afraid to keep milk in a pot that has been used for curd. The milk turns sour.’
3. Where are the roots of Akhil Bharat Vivekananda Yuva Mahamandal?
If you ask, Where are the roots of this character-building movement, or where is the root of this Vivekananda Yuva Mahamandal ?
Then I will point out : This love of Sri Ramakrishna for young boys, this trust which Ramakrishna placed on young boys. I should also say that his love and trust have devolved upon you. And this is the root for certain, if you search for a spiritual root of this organization. Remember this. What a tremendous love and trust ! And whose love and trust are these ? You know, millions in the world worship Sri Ramakrishna as God incarnate. And God’s love has devolved upon you. His trust has fallen on you.
It is a matter of unspeakable joy, shining glory, and beatific pride to have this trust of the Lord on you. And how much should you be conscious of the responsibility you carry along. That does not mean that you should feel that you are getting crushed. But your heart should be emboldened, you should be enthused to think that so much is given to you by the Lord himself without your knowing even.
4. Swami Vivekananda's Will (Bequest)-'चरैवेति चरैवेति ':
Coming to Swami Vivekananda also we find the same thing. In his famous letter dated 20 August 1893, even before appearing at the Parliament of Religions, he wrote to Alasinga, bequeathing his legacy mainly to the youth :
‘The hope lies in you - in the meek, the lowly, but the faithful. Have faith in the Lord [i.e अवतार वरिष्ठ bhagvan Sri Ramakrishna में श्रद्धा अर्थात आस्तिक्य बुद्धि); no policy, it is nothing. Feel for the miserable and look up for help - it shall come.
I have traveled twelve years with this load in my heart and this idea in my head. I have gone from door to door of the so-called rich and great. With a bleeding heart I have crossed half the world to this strange land, seeking for help.
The Lord is great. I know He will help me. I may perish of cold or hunger in this land, but I bequeath to you, young men, this sympathy, this struggle for the poor, the ignorant, the oppressed. Go now this minute to the temple of Parthasarathi, and before Him who was friend to the poor and lowly cowherds of Gokula, who never shrank to embrace the Pariah Guhaka, who accepted the invitation of a prostitute in preference to that of the nobles and saved her, in His incarnation as Buddha - yea, down on your faces before Him, and make a great sacrifice, the sacrifice of a whole life for them, for whom He comes from time to time, whom He loves above all, the poor, the lowly, the oppressed. Vow, then to devote your whole lives to the cause of the redemption of these three hundred millions, going down and down every day.’ That is what he commanded the younger generation.
5.The Training: [Shri Ramakrishna- Vivekananda 'Leadership Training' in Vedanta Tradition.]
This is the tradition which has devolved upon you all who belong to this Yuva Mahamandal. So what type of training should you have ? The training must be for man-making. It is not as if any other person is going to make you. It is self-man-making. Others will provide you information, enthusiasm, help, and guidance. When you are in error they will help you out of it. But the main part in this self-man-making is to be played by you. What is necessary for that is an understanding of what you are about. And enthusiasm for what you have undertaken to do.
So first you have to learn well what you are expected to be like through this man-making scheme. What really Swamiji wanted you to be like ? You have your free will ; and after exercising your best thought you have chosen this ideal for your life. Nobody has forced you, nobody has dragged you here. It is out of your own free will that you are here to allow yourself to be fashioned, out of your own choice, according to an ideal which fulfils all your aspirations.
In the hymn which you sing, you have said : We will speak one thing, we will follow one path, we will all be united. But how can all be united ? How can we all speak one thing? There are so many things in the world, so many ideals. It is only possible to speak in one voice, to follow one idea, if it fulfills and at the same time transcends all the smaller things of life. Therefore, in the highest ideal only all can unite, all can have one voice. Anything lesser than the highest will not fulfill the needs of everybody. And there is such a thing in the world which can fulfill the needs of everybody. This is called Dharma.
6.What is Dharma ?:
Dharma is expounded by many persons who want to discourage Dharma in diverse ways. But our ancient teachers taught Dharma to be helpful for the advancement of everyone. What helps everyone in safeguarding his self-development, what helps one abstain from hurting others - in other words, what helps everyone in attaining self-fulfillment - that is Dharma.
Now, that indeed must fulfill the highest self-interest of every single person in this world. It will not do only to fulfill your aspiration, your interest or your relatives’ interest, or your family’s interest, or your clan’s interest, or your own political party’s interest, or even your country’s interest. No. It must fulfill every single human being’s interest in such a manner that he may attain his whole self-fulfillment in this world; and this is the highest in which all can unite, can meet, all can speak in one voice, because everybody’s highest aspiration will be fulfilled there.
Swamiji, therefore, placed before us the highest ideal; nothing less than the highest ideal will do for us. And all the quarrels, all the problems in the world, which you face today or you have to face some time when you grow up, arise because we are not following the highest ideal of life.
7.The Highest Ideal: [To make life meaningful, develop the ability to exercise the discretion of the mind. ]
Now, therefore, we must know what the highest ideal of life is, and how we can progress towards it. First, Swamiji emphasizes that you must have physical fitness. He went so far as to say that through football you will reach your ideal of life better than by hearing of an ideal which you cannot comprehend. Whatever is necessary for developing the potential of your physical strength has to be part of your training. And it is a part of your programme.
But suppose you are as strong as a bison or a bull. What does it matter ? With a bull’s brain and a bull’s strength if you go about in society, how does it help you or the society ? Therefore, it is important that along with having your physical fitness you must have a trained mind. In a trained mind you should develop all the potentials of your mind. The mind has got tremendous potential beginning from the capacity to smash an atom on the one hand, up to realizing the Atman, on the other. Everything man has attained through concentrating the powers of his mind. Unless you have mental power, your physical power will take you nowhere.
In your mind you have the powers, by developing which you have the capacity to control your physical power. But even your mental power will not take you very far. By exercising mental powers people are devising weapons which are self-destructive to human civilization. Therefore, you need a higher faculty of your mind by which you can discriminate between what is good for you, what is good for your neighbor, and what is good for all - and what is not good for
8. Spiritual Awakening-'Under His Training!': ( Under The 'Leadership Training' in Sri Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Vedanta Tradition.)
So, by the side of your physical strength you have to develop your mental power, power of discrimination, and over and above that something higher, which is called spiritual awakening. If you simply move about in this little world where you suppose that the body-mind complex is the ultimate reality, you have not known what vastness lies behind this apparent entity.
You may say, I don’t know about it. What does it matter ? You do not know many things. You have to hear and learn from those who know better. And they have said about it and Swamiji has found it for us. As you all know, at one time of his life,Swami Vivekananda himself was not a complete believer in the existence of God. He challengingly asked Ramakrishna, with a mind which was scientifically trained, ‘Is there a God ? Have you seen Him, sir ?’
Sri Ramakrishna said, ‘I have seen Him and you can also see Him.’ And under his training when Swamiji himself saw God, then only he accepted the fact of God.
This fact of God is the ultimate reality or the highest fact of life, without
knowing which whatever you do in life in this world, you can never solve the problems of the human civilization. So, it is also necessary that as a part of the
training we must have something to do with what is called spiritual awakening. Our teachers say, if you believe them, in every human being there is the potential, whether you know it or not, for the highest self-development.
When you know or Realize this -"एकं, सत विप्राः बहुधा वदन्ति" , you know that what 'you' are and the 'ultimate reality' of the universe are the same. (
This may be a far cry for you. You may say that you do not understand this. But it does not matter if you do not fully understand it. Yet it is good enough to have the information that this is also a dimension of the whole human personality. So in your training you have to develop the horizon of your mind, you have to develop the keenness of your intellect, and besides you have to learn what is called the control of the mind.
9. Harmonious Development:[3'H 'Complex Harmonious Development: Auditorium, Kitchen, Toilet, field duty training.]
It is the mind with which one has to work in the world. And in this mind you must allow the highest thought to enter. Do not shut your mind. No matter from where they come, thoughts should be allowed to come from all directions. But there should be a power of discrimination by which you will dedicate your loyalty to certain thoughts which show you the way to self-development.
You have already made a great choice of your life that you will follow the teachings and ideals set forth by Swami Vivekananda. And as you grow older and the horizon of your mind increases, you will know that you have not made a wrong choice. You will bless the day when you made this choice out of contending ideals, which might have been presented to you, because Swamiji has given an ideal which fulfills the highest needs of all, leading to the self-fulfillment which is within you. And this highest self-fulfillment demands that you cultivate all your faculties - physical,mental, and spiritual.
That is, you have to cultivate your hand, your head, and your heart in a harmonious manner. Our young boys do not know to dirt their hands. If some-one is a son of a father who earns a few thousand rupees, he does not know to lift a bucket of water, or to sweep the floor of his room, or to wash his clothes. You must learn to do some work with your hands, even what you call menial work. It is a very dignified probation of life to serve oneself. For how could those, who do not serve themselves, serve others ?
10.Twin Ideals: [Model leader's twin ideals - 'BE and MAKE', is for all would be Leaders be a Householder or a Sannyasin? "Bloom Were You Are Planted"]
Swamiji said: Have these two ideals before you. First, work for the highest
self-development of your own and whatever comes on your way, leave them aside gently and proceed onward. But suppose you reach the summit of your self development and all your brothers, all your countrymen, grovel in dust and poverty! What does it matter then?
Therefore, Swamiji said: As you move forward, take along all your brothers with you. Service, therefore, must form an indispensable part of your idealism in life. These two things - self development for self-fulfillment and taking others along - are the tasks of any grown-up, thoughtful, and idealistic young man. You are such young men. And you have chosen this twin ideal out of your great love for this.
You should, therefore, willingly accept whatever is given to you here as a task, as a duty, and also participate in the programme of the training center during the days you are here with all your heart, attention, and love. And after you go home, remember what you have learnt here and try to grow in that way all the days before you come to the next training camp. The organizers will have then no end of their joy, when they find you again with a more blooming face, your more developed personalities, your greater understanding of Swamiji’s words and ideals. What is necessary for that is, when you go back home, along with your academic studies, you should also study a little of Swamiji’s thoughts. Never neglect your academic studies or the work you are supposed to do.Some of the boys, when they take up some ideal, the first thing they do, they neglect their academic studies. But you must remember, it is a world of hard competition. Unless you work with your brain and hand and make a good mark in any sphere you are, you cannot make your living even. Therefore, don’t take that training from anywhere, which teaches you to neglect your duty. It will smoother your future.
What is called Svadharma by Sri Krishna in the Gita (3/35) is very important.
स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेयः परधर्मो भयावहः।।3.35।।
Therefore Karma Yoga is better than Jnana Yoga. For, it forms one's own duty, since it is natural to one and easy to perform, and though defective, is free from liability to interruption and fall. Jnana Yoga, on the other hand, though performed well for some time, constitutes the duty of another, as it is difficult to practice for one conjoined with Prakruti. It is therefore liable to interruption. For a person who lives practicing Karma Yoga - which is his duty because he is qualified for it - even death without success in one birth does not matter. For, in the next birth with the help of the experience already gained in the previous birth, it will be possible for him to perform Karma Yoga without any impediments. Jnanan Yoga is fraught with fear because of the possibility of errors for anyone who is conjoined to Prakrti. It is another's duty, on account of it being not easily adoptable by him.
Similarly in Gita 18/45- स्वे स्वे कर्मण्यभिरतः संसिद्धिं लभते नरः।
Commentary This is the division of labour for which each caste is fitted according to its own nature. The duty prescribed is your sole support? and the highest service you can render to the Supreme is to carry it out wholeheartedly? without expectation of fruits? with the attitutde of dedication to the Lord. This will surely lead you to the Supreme. All the impurities of the mind will be washed away by the performance of ones own duty and you will be fit for Selfknowledge.स्वे स्वे कर्मणि Each devoted to his own duty in accordance with his nature (Guna) or caste. It is impossible to attain Moksha by works alone but works purify the heart and prepare the aspirant for receiving the divine light.The attitude of worshipfulness is prescribed for work.
Similarly Gita 18/48 says- सहजं कर्म कौन्तेय सदोषमपि न त्यजेत्।
Commentary: सहजं= Born with, oneself born with the birth of man.सदोषम = Faculty for everything is constituted of the three Gunas.All undertakings Ones own as well as others duties.
So, one should not relinquish one's works, understanding that they are natural, are easy to perform and not liable to negligence. Such thoughts coupled with the idea that there are imperfections in them should not lead you to abandon them. The meaning is that though one is fit for Jnana Yoga, one should perform Karma Yoga only. All enterprises, be they of Karma or Jnana, are indeed enveloped by imperfections, by pain, as fire by smoke. But still there is this difference: Karma Yoga is easy and does not involve negligence, but Jnana Yoga is contrary to this. ]
You may be a clerk, you may be a student ; wherever you are, give your best loyalty and service. Otherwise, you are not a follower of Swamiji. A Swamiji’s follower will give his best in any station of life. He may be a sweeper, he may be a general, he may be a professor, but he must give his very best there itself. Until you give your very best where you stand, you cannot give your best where you will stand.
Bloom Where You Are Planted (1 Corinthians 7:20–24) [God has placed you here for a purpose, Whatever it might be; Know He has chosen you for it And labor faithfully. —Anon.You are never in the wrong place to serve that God, whom ignorant people say -Human !] This thought is very important.
11.Take Care of Thoughts:
Thought is the germ of your action.There is a saying : Sow a thought and reap an action; sow an action and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a character; sow a character and reap a destiny.
Therefore, thoughts are very important in training. Highest thoughts, which are able to produce good ideas and create our beautiful life, must be accepted in toto. And you must see that your mind does not play tricks with you. Honesty must permeate the whole life -mind, words, and action. You must be a new type of people.
[ Under The 'Leadership Training' in Sri Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Vedanta Tradition, we receive 24 Character Qualities as healthy thoughts.] Your friends will perhaps call you fools. Everybody is copying in the examination hall and you are trying to remain honest. You must have that character, that courage to stand. You must face the consequences and say: Yes, I am a follower of Swamiji. I cannot do this. I will be honest to myself, to the teacher, and to my destiny.
Those who will not study well will not do well in their examinations. How can they face their future and greater examinations in life? How can they prosper there? Thus you see a seed of thought may bring about so much change in your future. And such thoughts, germinal thoughts, primarily important thoughts, which can build up life, you get in Swamiji’s teachings. So study them. Swamiji says: take a few ideas and make them your life and character.
And Sri Ramakrishna said: It is very easy to say the notations of the tabla by the mouth, but it is difficult to bring them by the hand. Therefore, it is important you should try to take that the few thoughts you learn here into the stream of your life and grow accordingly. When you understand what you are about here, you will bless this day and try to spread the idea to others, calling them to share the glad tidings you are in; your lives will be transformed. It is a great blessing before us all that this movement is on. And you are really blessed that you have responded to the call of the great Swamiji.