Sunday 28 April 2024

Vivekananda Kendra Calling

  Closing Ceremony of Life-Workers' Training Class - A Report and an Appeal

Today is, indeed, a great day. The first batch of life worker-trainees of Vivekananda Kendra, after their initial training of about six months, is now ready for being deployed to various places in the country for undergoing the next phase of their further three year training, namely, equipping themselves with practical experience in social service. This batch is a small group of sixteen young graduates and postgraduates, among whom two are women. As per conditions that had been prescribed for their selection, they are all bachelors and are below thirty years of age. Again, according to other requirements, they are free from any family commitment and are prepared to go to any part of the country for doing such work of social service as may be assigned to them. For seeking admission in this first batch of life worker- trainees, a few hundred aspirants had written to us, but only about a hundred out of them were found to satisfy all the conditions laid down for their preliminary selection and were called for interview. Even among these hundred, only the present sixteen appeared to be of the right motivation and of the positive spiritual urge in them for service, and were consequently finally selected for this, training course. They are from different parts of the country, namely, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Out of the total training period of three and a half years prescribed for the prospective life-workers of the Vivekananda Kendra, this initial six-month course for them at Kanyakumari has been designed specially with a view to strengthening the trainees' urge for social service and initiating them into such subjects as relevant to the uplift of the downtrodden and the general well-being of the people. Thus, while their training consisted in the study of 'major Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, Yogasanas, Pranayama, methods of meditation, elementary Sanskrit, history, our cultural heritage and lives of leading prophets of the world, it also included study of backward communities and the ways and means of their social and economic uplift, first aid, community development and elements of anthropology and sociology.

The training class was conducted under the guidance of our President, Prof. P. Mahadevan who himself taught history to the trainees. Besides other stalwarts, namely, Prof. R. B. Athawale, Shri P. Vaidyanathan and Shri P. N. Gopalakrishnan who taught Sanskrit, Music and Yogasanas, respectively. We had the unique privilege of having in our midst eminent persons as visiting teachers for fixed durations. Prominent among them are Shrimat Yogacharya Janardan Swami of Nagpur, Shrimat Swami Ranganathananda of the Ramakrishna Mission, Shrimat Swami Chidananda, President of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, Shrimat Swami Chidbhavananda of Ramakrishna Tapovanam, Tirupparaitturai, Tiruchi, Dr. S. B. Varnekar of Nagpur University, Ayurveda Chakravarty Pandit Ramnarayan Shastri of Indore, Dr. M. C. Batra, Principal, Bombay Homoeopathic Medical College, Bombay, Shri Devendra Swaroop of D. A. V. College, Delhi and Kumari Bhargavi Devendra as well as Kumari Toyajakshi Devendra, Social Welfare and Educational Officers respectively of the Tamil Nadu and Central Governments.

These trainees will hereafter be deployed to various regions, especially backward areas, to enable them to equip themselves with practical experience in social service. These regions will include Andamans, North Eastern Region, Chota Nagpur area, Andhra Pradesh and the State of Jammu & Kashmir. After the completion of three years of their actual work in various fields, they will be considered fit for being finally accepted as life-workers of the Vivekananda Kendra. Thereafter, they would be free to take to married life, if they so choose. In either case, the Kendra has undertaken the responsibility of looking after their temporal wants and ensuring them simple but contented living, so as to enable them to devote their entire time and energies to the work of service assigned to them by the Kendra. Fresh batches of life-workers will be selected, trained and deployed every year to the needy areas. Though dastardly deed and who was accorded by the British people, the honour of a hero and savior of the Empire. The horror, the grief and the trauma of the nation's soul could not be forgotten and has gone into history as one of the blackest spots on the British escutcheon. Time heals the most grievous wounds by casting the veil of forgetfulness over it. The Jallianwala Bagh outrage remained unavenged by all peaceful and constitutional methods which our leaders explored earnestly, but in vain. But one man remembered the ghastly memory of it in his life through the years and long meditated how he, a single unaided individual, could settle this score with the hated enemy so as to " cry quits " on that issue. Like one possessed by the spirit of the furies, Sardar Udham Singh watched and waited for his turn and twenty years after, he shot Sir Michael O'Dwyer dead on March 13, 1940. With that act of faith, he felt that he had vindicated the indomitable spirit of our country and declared that he would walk to his gallows with the happiness of a bridegroom going to meet his beloved bride. There is bound to be a certain amount of difference over the rightness of the conduct of Sardar organise or carry out the tasks entrusted to them. As the number of such workers is bound to increase year after year, the funds will also be needed in greater and greater measure with the passage of time.

In this we look to the common people of our country who had, indeed, willingly borne the main financial brunt of the First Phase of the Memorial Plan. As you may be aware, 30 lakhs of people from all over the country, together, contributed nearly 80 lakhs of rupees through their small donations, out of a crore and 18 lakhs we received, so far, towards the first phase. We appeal again to the common man. Even to such of them as can spare just a rupee a month, we appeal to place in our hands, annually, that valuable treasure of Rs. 12. We hope to meet our recurring expenses from the funds thus received from such people donating to us, annually, contributions varying from minimum Rs. 12 to any higher amount, depending upon the monetary resources of each. This is the patronage we bank upon for the sustenance and growth of our movement. Initially, during the next twelve months we aspire to build up a patronage of one lakh such persons from all over the country. They will be enrolled as patrons of this movement. Even corporate bodies, including trusts, are invited to join this body of patrons. I broadcast this appeal to our countrymen on this occasion.

 - Eknath Ranade (Yuva Bharati, Special Commemorative Volume, 1974, April)

कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

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