Monday 2 September 2019

2 Sep 1970 : Vivekananda Rock Memorial Inaugurated

The Rs. 1 crore – 20 lakh Vivekananda Rock Memorial, a magnificent homage of a grateful nation, was inaugurated by the Rashtrapati, Mr. V.V. Giri, here today amidst reverential scenes on the occasion of the 77th anniversary of the Swamiji's historic speech in the Parliament of Religions at Chicago.

Extolling Swami Vivekananda as one, who combined in himself the "many dimensions of a philosopher, saint, patriot, thinker and reformer"' the Rashtrapati exhorted the people to practice to the extent possible what he had taught them if the monument was not to remain just a stone structure.

Mr. Giri, Called upon the people to fight parochial and divisive forces and follow the teachings of Swami Vivekananda – truth, humanism, universality of religion and selfless service "Swami Vivekananda's teachings are of special significance now when we are on the cross – roads of destiny", he said.

The Rashtrapati said that Vivekananda insisted on every individual acquiring character, and integrity and performing selfless service. He rightly said that the primary task was to develop individual character and if individual character was developed the character of a nation should remember every day in their lives.

The Rashtrapati said that the problem of human suffering and inequality between man and man, had no doubt recent decades, the affluence of a few and the misery of the many had become sharper and more acute. Swami Vivekananda, during his lifetime, strove to understand the causes of human suffering and inequality. His solution was to purify the mind of man.

"More lip sympathy to noble values will not take us far. They have to be matched by positive and concrete action", Mr. Giri said.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr. M. Karunanidhi, who presided, said that the memorial would be "a sentinel guarding not only our frontiers, but also our culture and tradition". The Swamiji's gospels, he said, were always gospels of salvation, social elevation and equality for everyone".

In his welcome address Shri D.N. Sinha, Retired Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court and the President of the All India Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee, narrated as to how Swamiji came to be associated with the Rock and exhorted the people to take a pledge that they shall not forget the great message of Swamiji and that they shall work unceasingly for its fruition.

Shrimad Swami Veereshwarananda, President of Ramakrishna Mission and Mutt, Belur also blessed the occasion by delivering his benedictory speech.

Explaining the significance of this Memorial, Shri Eknath Ranande, Organsing Secretary of All India Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee, said "Just as the Bodhi tree, a more ordinary tree before, became the source of inspiration to millions after the Gautama Buddha meditated under it and received divine illumination, this Vivekananda Rock has a special significances in his life. It was here that he, in his deep meditation, got a vision, urging him to go abroad to give India's message of Universal Religion to the world and also to work for the regeneration and rebuilding of India." He also empasised another important aspect of this Memorial, namely, that the  money collected for the construction of this memorial came from the common mass of people – peasants, laborers, students, mine – workers, Constables etc. – and again it went into the pockets of poor stone – cutters, stone chisellers, fishermen who transported the stones, and the wonderful artists and artisan of Tamil Nadu. People, for – gotting all the barriers of party, caste, religion etc. come forward to contribute to this mighty national endeavor. People and Governments of all states in India have contributed to this cause. So far an amount of nearly Rs. 91 lakhs have been collected for this Rs.1 crore – 20 lakh project.

Shri K.R. Sundarajan, Secretary of the All India Committee read out the message received for the occasion.

On behalf of the Vivekananda Memorial Committee, the Rashtrapati honoured the Sthapathi, Mr. S.K. Achari, Who designed and built the memorial structure and Mr. N.L. Sonavdekar, Assistant lecturer of Sculpture, J.J. School of Arts, who made the bronze statue by covering them with 'Ponnadais'. Mr. S.K. Achari was also presented a silver mandapam as a memento and Mr. Sonavdekar an image of Nataraja.

Dr. S. Natesan, the Vice – President of Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee proposed the vote of thanks.

Earlier the Rashtrapati came by helicopter from the rest house on the mainland to the sea – girt rock, the last bit on the land's end on India, meditating on which Swami Vivekananda hit upon a plan to lift the country out of the morass through the twin paths of renunciation and service. Mr. Giri was received by Mr. M. Karunanidhi, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Shri Eknath Ranade, Organising Secretary of Memorial Committee and many other distinguished persons who had reached the rock earlier by motor boats.

The Rashtrapati was also accorded a "Poornakumha" reception at the rock.

The Rashtrapathi then declared the memorial open by applying the "Prasadams" (Sandal Paste) received from the holy shrines in Prui, Dwaraka, Badrinath, Rameswaram and Kanyakumari on the massive teakwood doors of the main mandapam.

(Vivekananda had visited these shrines during his wanderings as a "Parivrajaka"  with a staff in hand all over the country from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, which lasted from 1890 to 1893).

As soon as the doors with carved frontage were thrown open, the imposing eight – foot bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda inside the Mandapam gripped the attention of everyone. The Rashtrapathi walked towards the statue, bowed before it and applied the "prasadam' on it.

Mr. Giri visited the "Shripada Mandapam", which houses the symbolic foot – mark of Devi kanya (parvati). After spending 15 minutues on the rock admiring the exquisite pieces of traditional Indian architecture, the Rashtrapati returned by helicopter to the meeting venue in the mainland, where several thousands of people had gathered in the vicinity of the Kanyakumari Temple and the Gandhi Mandapam for the inaugural function.

Earlier in the Morning, the memorial has consecrated by Shrimad Swamy Veereswarananda, President of the Sree Rama Krikshna Mission. Shrimad Swamy Chinmayananda, Shrimad Swamy Chidbhavananda and prominent Sanyasins of Ramakrishna as well as members of Chinmaya Mission Participated in the consecration ceremony.

-The main theme of my life is to take the message of Sanatana Dharma to every home and pave the way for launching, in a big way, the man-making programme preached and envisaged by great seers like Swami Vivekananda. - Mananeeya Eknathji

विवेकानन्द केन्द्र कन्याकुमारी (Vivekananda Kendra Kanyakumari)
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