“Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be…They alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive“, with his golden words, the youth icon of 18th century ignited a spark in every soul in the world.
celebrates his anniversary as every year. But his words has not only encouraged youths but also inspired many phenomenal figures who tried to bring a change in the society. On the eve of 150th anniversary of Vivekananda, we have come up with some icons and interesting incidents and situations which have inspired them to walk on the way of mankind and bring a change in the world.
Vinayak Lohani-Founder of ‘Parivaar’
Vinayak Lohani, a B.Tech from and an IIM graduate from Calcutta founded a Dreamweaver organization called ‘Parivaar’, which takes care of children who are unsupported, children who can not afford education and healthcare.
This young man didn’t attend his placement process immediately after his post-graduation in IIM. It was the icon Swami Vivekananda who influenced him to do something for others. He says, “Swami Vivekananda has been the inspiration for me as he says that any work done with selflessness and purity, one can be sure that God’s par is behind that work, as there is nothing stronger in the world than a pure will… In a process of service, the server is the one who is benefitted the most, as he is going through a tremendous change”, as told to .
V. Muralidharan-Founder of ‘’
Sevalaya is a charitable organization on Chennai, founded by V. Muralidharan with his friends. Along with Swami Vivekananda, he was much influenced by Mahatma Gandhiji and Mahakavi Bharathiyar. This organization runs a free school for the children of their orphanage and the surrounding village; a free medical center; a free library; a goshala to protect & raise cows; and, an old age home for destitute senior men and women.
He says, Vivekananda says that “People who are poor and needs support, they are Gods. Even if a single animal in the World remains hungry, then what is the need of having religion and so many Gods. We want our children to learn everything and not just bookish knowledge. We want them to respect old people and animals as well.”
Sevalaya also have Old Age Home which provides shelter to poor and destitute old men and women, who have nobody to care for them and who cannot afford to go to institutions where they have to pay for their maintenance to spend their final years in peace and with dignity.
Mamoon Akhtar-Founder of ‘Sanaritan Help Mission’
Vivekananda once said, “There is no chance for the welfare of the world if the condition of women doesn’t improve.” With this thought in mind, a young lad Mamoon Akhtar from a basti of Tikiapara () initiated a self help group to empower women.
Mamoon had to leave his studies as his father couldn’t afford the fees, but his aim in life is to provide good education to the children of his locality. He says, “Every human being has equal rights and the right to education. Every woman should be trained and should be empowered.” The girls and women of his basti were not allowed to go out of their home for long, but now the situation has changed. Women work in this self help group and are self dependent, unlike before when they were dependent on their family and had no freedom.
All know the name Anna Hazare as one of the greatest social activist of modern India. With is firm determination and dream to see India as a corruption free nation, Anna has taken up many reforms one of which was to demand for the Lokpal Bill. Being a former solder of the Indian Army, Anna always dreamt of a better India.
But hardly few people know that this man of firm determination and strong moral values once went for committing suicide. Failed to find the answer to his human existence Anna got frustrated and wanted to end his life. Just before he was thinking to do so at a railway platform, Anna chanced upon a book on Swami Vivekananda. He kept on reading the book and finally realized the true purpose of human existence was to serve selflessly to his fellow humans.
Today, Anna is idolized as a genuine fighter against corruption and despite of being a 75 year man, is considered as the most respected youth icon.
Aditya Maheswaran, now a Marketing Manager at Cognizant, got associated with the Ramakrishna Mission to help the Youth Leadership Program in 2011. Being a management student, at that time it was more of an opportunity to attend an event than spirituality. But the monks dressed in saffron robes, oblivious to material needs and physical desires made him more curious.
He asked himself, “Who are they? Were they born different? Raised different? How do they manage to see the other side of the wall when we are still playing in our compound?” He was so influenced by the teaching of Vivekananda that he made a documentary. He says, “Great people can make you change your outlook towards life. Swami Vivekananda has done that to me.” (as Quoted by Wikipedia)
“Teach yourselves, teach everyone his real nature, call uon the sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, glory will come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that is excellent will come when this sleeping soul is roused to self-conscious activity”, Swami Vivekananda.
- Swami Vivekananda: Youth icon at 150 years (ktrmurali.wordpress.com)