Thursday 16 May 2024

Discovering India With Swami Vivekananda

 – Dr. M. Lakshmi Kumari (Yuva Bharati, 50th Year Special Commemorative Volume, Jan. 1993)


Three things are necessary to make every man great, every nation great:


1       .Conviction of the powers of goodness.

2       Absence of jealousy and suspicion.

3       Helping all who are trying to be and do good".

- Swami Vivekananda.

One of the first signs of demoralization in a nation is the loss of faith of its people in the Power of Goodness. Vivekananda Bharat Parikrama, has been able to restore, to a great extent, people's faith in the power of goodness. And that could indeed be a very good beginning for all-round national regeneration.

How swiftly one year has passed, since the Vivekananda Bharat Parikrama hit the roads with its contingent of 50 youths in 9 vehicles, preaching the gospel of salvation, of social raising-up, of equality, of help, as Swamiji himself had wanted, a hundred years back. The 347 days' journey through 13 States, discovering the glory and grandeur of Mother India, absorbing the warmth of the hospitality of our brethren, getting enriched through the glimpses of the cultural diversities that were spread before us and being assured again and again of the Unity of thought that bind us together as a Nation, has been a pilgrimage beyond comparison. Never in the history of our nation has such a 'yatra' been undertaken, with no selfish, or communal or political motive, but meant only to spread the Character- Building, Man-Making and Nation- Building ideals of one of the greatest Masters our nation has ever produced, so that our youth and our nation may shed their mood of despondency and emerge stronger and brighter. This Vivekananda Bharat Parikrama would remain in the minds of those who collaborated with it, witnessed it and took to it as one of the most positive youth movements ever conceived of in our country.

The 347 days of the Parikrama are etched in our lives in the form of a sacred rosary of beads to be counted again and again, each day with its memory of Truth manifested, values upheld, trust repaid and above all love returned a hundredfold. The sum total of all these is the reassurance we received and we could give, of the need to be ever convinced of the power of goodness.

With a budget estimate of over a crore, but having resources nowhere to match it, with hardly any manpower, or powerful men behind, the Vivekananda Bharat Parikrama placed its trust only in the power of goodness of our people, irrespective of caste, creed or other affiliations; and it was amply rewarded, thus re-establishing our faith, in these difficult, critical times, in the nation's highest ideal Satyameva Jayate.

Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains collected together and collaborated to make Vivekananda Bharat Parikrama a grand success. Our heads bow down to the innumerable brothers and sisters of all communities who rallied round us, paid homage to Swami Vivekananda, honoured the Parikrama team and extended to us their warm hospitality. That made our board and lodging and travel so very pleasant and comfortable that all the time we were made to feel the truth of Sri Krishna's words - (nahi kalyanakrit kashchit durgatim tata gachati).

Vivekananda Bharat Parikrama which started from Calcutta on 12th January and culminated at Kanyakumari on 24th December '92, passing through thirteen States in the East, North, West and South, had naturally to pass through the different climatic conditions of the country - from winter through spring and summer to winter again. Nowhere did the acuteness of the winter cold, summer heat or torrential rains lay us and create any hardships or unbearable physical discomforts. The officials of the government of the universe, worked in unison with the Parikrama party, keeping the Sun bright in winter, dim in summer checking the clouds from wanton display and creating always conditions best suited for travel.

This was indeed a matter of great amazement, leading to soul-filling satisfaction, to our well-wishers, especially in Rajasthan and Gujarat, who were all the time acutely anxious of the heat and dust which would accost `Swamiji' as he visited those areas. We could well experience and get assurance from what we read in the Puranas and Scriptures that even cosmic forces are always benevolent to those who work selflessly for Lokahita. Strange indeed are the ways of the Lord. Only through surrender can we understand the mystery behind it all.

Hundreds and thousands of men and women working without jealousy and suspicion', proved through their team- work that given an ideal and an ideal way of working, we can all, effortlessly move forward, onward and Godward. The precision, the discipline and efficiency with which the reception and other arrangements were carried out by youthful groups of young men and women with elders giving them shade of protection belied the generally held views on the rashness of the youth, generation gap, inability of people to work as a team and so on. Where the goal is clear and clean and the path, one of selfless dedication, we can all still work wonders and bring alive the Vedic ideal.

sam gacchadhvam sam vadadhvam sam vo manāamsi jānatām |

devā bhāgam yathā pūrve samjānānā upāsate ll 

samāno mantraḥ samitissamānī samānam manaḥ saha cittameşām| 

samānam manntramabhimantraye vah samānenavo havişä juhomi ||

 samānī va akutiaḥ samānā hṛdayāni vah samānamastu vo mano yathavassusahāsati ll

It is time we shed our pessimism and positivised our life which has become a mere lack-lustre existence. A simple way to do this, is 'helping all who are trying to be and do good'. Vivekananda Bharat Parikrama could set in motion this chain reaction and lakhs of people, young and old, became involved in this wonderfully positive programme. The news media which were skeptical in the beginning had to shed their prejudice as day after day Swamiji and his chosen few moved from city to city, village to village, spreading this new message of hope, unity and universal brotherhood. That there has not been one single negative comment or observation by the newsmen from anywhere in our country, all this year and time speaks volumes of the quiet and efficient way which the Vivekananda Bharat Parikrama moved about spreading Swamiji's message of the 'potential divinity' in each man and the need to 'manifest it'.

No wonder that somewhere along this sacred Parikrama we heard someone welcoming us with these words - "There are presently only two positive things happening in our country - Chanakya serial on our TV and the Vivekananda Bharat Parikrama on the road (The Chanakya serial was still on in our national telecast at that time.) Blessed indeed are those who have been a part of the Vivekananda Bharat Parikrama which has provided the golden key to unlock the doors to India's future glory.

All glory to the Great Master.

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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