Today is Swami Vivekananda’s 149th birthday. On this auspicious occasion, may we all draw inspiration from his divine words and life.

Given below is mainly the extract of Jawaharlal Nehru’s speeches delivered during the birth centenary celebration of Swami Vivekananda.

Rooted in the past and full of pride in India’s prestige, Swami Vivekananda was yet modern in his approach to life’s problems and was a kind of bridge between the past of India and her present. 

Many of my generations were very powerfully influenced by Swami Vivekananda. I think that it would do a great deal of good to the present generation if they also went through Swami Vivekananda’s writings and speeches, and they would learn much from them. There was fire in his heart- the fire of a great personality coming out in eloquent and ennobling language – it was no empty talk that he was indulging in. He was putting his heart and soul into the words he uttered.

Swami Vivekananda influenced powerfully the minds of many in India and two or three generations of young men and women have no doubt been influenced by him. If you read Swami Vivekananda’s writings and speeches, the curious thing you will find is that they are not old [but remain ever fresh].    

Swami Vivekananda was one of the great founders of the National Modern Movement of India. A great number of people who took more or less an active part in that Movement in a later date drew their inspiration from him. Directly of indirectly he has powerfully influenced the India of today. I think that our younger generation will take advantage of this fountain of wisdom, of spirit and fire that flows through Swami Vivekananda.

Men like Sri Ramakrishna and men like Swami Vivekananda are great unifying forces, great constructive geniuses of the world not only in regard to the particular teachings that they taught, but their conscious and unconscious influence on it is of the most vital importance to us. His was a kind of nationalism which automatically slipped into Indian nationalism which was part of internationalism.

Swami Vivekananda was one of those persons, who belonged to our ancient culture, knit the country together and inspired a new life into the people and awake the country from slumber. His voice was not momentary, although it was suited for the occasion, and rose from the heart of India. During the brief period of his life, not only did he win the hearts of the people of India, but also of the entire world.

I express the hope that the people of today, of tomorrow – our countrymen, particularly our children and young men – will keep before them the example and memory of Swami Vivekananda and learn from his writings and his life.

SOURCE: Ramakrishna and Vivekananda By Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
                  [Published by Advaita Ashrama]

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