Swami Vivekananda was a scholar, spiritual leader and a philosopher. The man, who put India on world’s map and introduced the empathy and love put forward by Hinduism to the world’s forum through his speech “My brothers and sisters of America” at the World Parliament of Religion in Chicago in 1893, was an intellect.
Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary is declared as National Youth Day. The original youth icon. Somebody who continues to inspire generations. Although there are many things to learn from the lives of great people of the past, rarely do we know how to implement the lessons. To make it easier for you, we have first listed five wonderful lessons from Swami Vivekananda’s life and ways to imbibe them in our own.
Lesson 1: Humility is a precious virtue
I recollect the many inspiring bedtime stories my dad read to me. One such incident happened when Swami Vivekananda was in England. While conversing, Swami Vivekananda corrected his friend’s English. The friend retorted that English was his mother tongue and hence, could not be corrected.
Swami Vivekananda smiled and humbly responded, “I know the use of language because I have learnt the language while you have picked the language.” Listening to this witty reply, the friend was left overwhelmed.
This is one of innumerable incidents where Swamiji impacted society with his brilliance, knowledge, logic and a sense of compassion.
There are times when people retort and ask us questions, especially when we correct them. In such times, humility in our answer can help lighten the situation and save the bond from breaking. Remembering Swami Vivekananda’s this story can help us be aware of our replies, without losing the balance or getting offended.
Lesson 2: Curiosity is essential in life
Swami Vivekananda always had a quest to know whether God really exists? The query made him restless. But Ramakrishna answered his question. He said, “Yes, I have seen God.”
Though his physical appearance and simplicity did not appeal to Swami Vivekananda initially, but later it was Ramakrishna who gave him answers. He told Swami Vivekananda, “I have seen God just as I am seeing you right now. God is in every human, you just need is an eye to find him,” and Swami Vivekananda was convinced.
We must strive to get the best and holistic answers to ease out our curiosity about life. Curiosity about higher truths of life has transformed many lives. Remember, appearance can be deceiving!
Lesson 3: Compassion and kindness are ever golden
One day Swami Vivekananda’s mother asked him to give her a knife. Swami Vivekananda brought the knife and held the sharp side of the knife and gave the covered side to his mother. The mother at once got impressed with him and told him he was ready to work for the welfare of society. He asked his mother the reason for her thoughts. She replied: The way you handed me the knife, holding the sharp side in your hand preventing me from getting hurt, exhibited his compassion and kindness. It is said she further asked Swami Vivekananda to have the same care and compassion for all the people and the society.
Many a time, we exhibit small acts of kindness around our loved ones and friends. We can encourage human values by praising their good qualities, thus enabling them to continue doing good in society. Also, compassion and kindness is inherent in each one of us.
Lesson 4: With prayer, we can sail through any situation
When Swami Vivekananda’s family was in a crisis, he asked Ramakrishna to pray for them. Listening to this, Ramakrishna suggestion was that he visited the temple and pray himself. Swami Vivekananda visited the temple thrice. However, he instead asked for discretion (viveka) and dispassion (vairagya). This marked the beginning of his spiritual life.
In turbulent times, our prayer defines our virtue. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says that you will not be given strength, but the opportunity to be strong. Similarly, you will not be given faith, but an opportunity to have faith. Thus, asking for the right thing in prayer can bring great depth in the way we lead life and help us invoke the inner strength to sail through the storms.
Lesson 5: Work for preserving unity
Swami Vivekananda went to the World Parliament of Religions as a representative of the Hindu religion. It was a prestigious platform to put forth the right understanding and the fundamentals of Hinduism. In the parliament, there were many eloquent speakers who had come well-prepared for their respective speech.
When Swami Vivekananda’s turn came, he addressed the audience as ‘sisters and brothers of America’ which became very popular. His way of speaking connected with the audience.
With our words, we can make people feel comfortable in our presence or repel them. Having purity of speech is a prerequisite if we want to build and sustain cordial relations in this world, especially in the corporate world. Warm and kind words have a great potential to strike the chord of brotherhood and oneness in people.