contributor in Social Work in India
M.A. Social Work in Child Rights
Swami Vivekananda, known in his pre-monastic life
as Narendranath Datta, was born in an affluent family in Kolkata. His father Vishwanath Datta, was a successful attorney with interests in a wide range of subjects, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with deep devotion, strong character and other qualities. A precocious boy, Narendra excelled in music, gymnastics and studies. By the time he graduated from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. Born with a yogic temperament, he used to practise meditation even from his boyhood, and was associated with Brahmo Movement for some time.
First, in modern India, it was Vivekananda who first emphasized that our everyday lives would become more meaningful only when spiritualized. It was in this spirituality that he re-discovered, as it were, India's message to herself and to the world. For Vivekananda, this spiritual self-realization led to people more fully realizing their own potentialities. Especially in the context of a colonized society like that of 19th century India, this was tantamount to men and women locating greater self-belief in themselves.
Second, even though the Swami rejected political praxis and West inspired social and religious reforms, his essential message was the empowerment of the people: through education, collective thought and action but above all, realizing he underlying unity of all human existence. In the Hindu tradition, ascetic detachment from the world had been criticized even before Vivekananda but it was he who first actively joined the idea of individual renunciation to committed social service. In this sense, he gave new meaning or signification to the very idea and institution of sanyas. 3
Third, there is the love that Vivekananda consistently exhibited for the socially marginalized and oppressed. He could be equally at home in poor homes and princely quarters, be sumptuously hosted by the rich and the powerful and also share the coarse chapatti of a scavenger or share the hookah with a cobbler. It is he, who even before Gandhi, reinvented and effectively used the older religious idiom of God especially residing in the lowly and the poor (daridranarayan).
Vivekananda anticipates in yet another aspect and that lies in his prioritizing social amelioration to political work. He insisted on first closely acquainting himself with the people of India before he launching any schemes of social or political work. Through this he hoped to understand pressing contemporary problems, to energize a nascent nationhood and to restore to man, his innate dignity and self-confidence. 'Man-making, as it has been often said, was Vivekananda's first mission.
There are some contemporary relevance inasmuch as the Swami's project absolves the state from invariably taking the first step towards bringing education, enlightenment and progress to the common man. In his perception, the movement had to originate in the common people and benefit such themselves. Vivekananda always insisted on grass-roots reforms, not agendas imposed from above of which the common man had little or no understanding.
It was the Swami's consistent desire to bring back India's pride of place in the assembly of nations, as a civilization which, notwithstanding momentous historical changes, had yet retained subterranean threads of commonness and unity. At the same time, Vivekananda fully believed in universality, cosmopolitanism and compassion. As he saw it, mutual kindness and compassion between man and man was more important than that coming from a distant God
New View of Man: Through science and technology man has attained great prosperity and power, and modern methods of communication and travel have converted human society into a ‘global village’. But the degradation of man has also been going on apace, as witnessed by the enormous increase in broken homes, immorality, violence, crime, etc. in modern society. Vivekananda’s concept of potential divinity of the soul prevents this degradation, divinizes human relationships, and makes life meaningful and worth living. Swamiji has laid the foundation for ‘spiritual humanism’, which is manifesting itself through several neo-humanistic movements and the current interest in meditation, Zen etc all over the world.
Swamiji’s most unique contribution to the creation of new India was to open the minds of Indians to their duty to the downtrodden masses. Long before the ideas of Karl Marx were known in India, Swamiji spoke about the role of the labouring classes in the production of the country’s wealth. Swamiji was the first religious leader in India to speak for the masses, formulate a definite philosophy of service, and organize large-scale social service.
The Ramakrishna Mission: Vivekananda was deeply hurt to see the appalling poverty and backwardness of the countrymen. He found people starving for days and there are no food and shelter for them. He also found that, despite of poverty, the masses clung to religion. One thing became clear to carry out his plans for the spread of education and for the uplift of the poor masses, and also of women, an efficient organization of dedicated people was needed. Few years later, he founded one of the world's largest charitable relief missions, the Ramakrishna Mission.
Why I am Inspired by him…..
Vivekananda was a man of Vision, He saw India futures in the youth and also inspired them to protect the socio-cultural. He Inspired youth to be spiritual, patriotic and honest towards the development of the nation.
He re-defined Religion and spoke about the service to the poor's to serve themselves. He defined as a purest form of serving the cultural and spiritual needs of human being with honesty, knowledge and happiness.
He developed a new relation between East and West with a new thought of modernization with spirituality . He promoted India culture and its contribution to the world as an cultural brand ambassador.
He promoted education and human development with holistic
development of spirituality, modernity and society.
He gave the meaning to Social Service to be connected with the happiness and “Adhyatam” in the modern India.
In India of modern times, We need inspirations and motivation to create a social change across the world. As I see, Vivekananda was alone who shared a great message of brotherhoodness and unity across the countries with spirituality as a great essence . He said: In every one of you there is the power of God; the God in the poor desires you to serve Him. This message inspired the youths and the society in a most pervasive way. Vivekananda speeches inspires us in service of one nation in diverse way and sacrifices. He alone imparted the dignity and respect of nationhood among its men.
“They alone live who live for others, the rest are more
dead than alive”