Just as only an athlete understands another athlete, so also, only great men truly understand other great men.Let us have a look at what some of the great men of India have had to say of Swami Vivekananda
Rabindranath TagoreIf you want to knowIndia, studyVivekananda. In himeverything is positiveand nothing negative.
Sri AurobindoWe perceive Vivekananda’sinfluence still workinggigantically, we know not wellhow, we know not well where, insomething that is not yet formed,something leonine, grand,intuitive, upheaving that hasentered the soul of India and wesay, ‘Behold, Vivekananda stilllives in the soul of his Mother andin the souls of her children.’
Bal Gangadhar TilakTwelve centuries ago Sankaracharyawas the only great personality, whonot only spoke of the purity of ourreligion, not only uttered in wordsthat this religion was our strengthand wealth, not only said that it wasour sacred duty to preach thisreligion in the length and breadth ofthe world—but also brought all thisinto action. Swami Vivekananda is aperson of that stature—whoappeared towards the last half of the19th century.
Mahatma GandhiI have gone throughVivekananda’s worksvery thoroughly, andafter having gone throughthem, the love that I hadfor my country became athousand-fold.
Jawaharlal NehruRooted in the past and full of pride inIndia’s prestige, Viveka-nanda wasyet modern in his approach to life’sproblems and was a kind of bridgebetween the past of India and herpresent. . . He was a fine figure of aman, imposing, full of poise anddignity, sure of himself and hismission, and at the same time full ofa dynamic and fiery energy and apassion to push India forward
Swamiji was a full-bloodedmasculine personality —and a Netaji Subhasfighter to the core of his Chandra Bosebeing. I can go on for hoursand yet fail to do the slightestjustice to that great man. Hewas so great, so profound, socomplex. If he had beenalive, I would have been at hisfeet.
Vinoba BhaveVivekananda not only made usconscious of our strength, he alsopointed out our defects anddrawbacks. . He taught us: ‘The sameSoul resides in each and all. If youare convinced of this, it is your dutyto treat all as brothers and servemankind.’ . . . The word ‘Daridra-narayana’ (God manifested in thehungry, destitute millions) wascoined by Vivekananda andpopularized by Gandhiji.
C. RajagopalachariSwami Vivekananda savedHinduism and saved India. Butfor him we would have lost ourreligion and would not havegained our freedom. Wetherefore owe everything toSwami Vivekananda. May hisfaith, his courage and hiswisdom ever inspire us so thatwe may keep safe the treasurewe have received from him.
R.C. MajumdarThough an ascetic,Vivekananda was a patriotof patriots. The thought ofrestoring the pristine gloryof India by resuscitatingamong her people thespiritual vitality which wasdormant, but not dead, wasalways the uppermostthought in his mind. . .
Dr. S. RadhakrishnanIf there is any call whichVivekananda made to us, it is torely on our own spiritual resources.. . Man has inexhaustible spiritualresources. His spirit is supreme,man is unique. . . . He told us: ‘Donot be led away by the appearances.Deep down there is a providentialwill, there is a purpose in thisuniverse. You must try to co-operate with that purpose and try toachieve it.
Before closing this presentation, let usrecall that every year 12th January, SwamiVivekananda’s birthday (according to Englishcalendar), is celebrated as the National YouthDay all over the country. In 1985, whiledeclaring this, the Government of Indiaaffirmed ‘the philosophy of Swamiji and theideal for which he lived could be a greatsource of inspiration for the Indian youth.’
Are the youth listening? Listening to Swamiji’s eternal call reverberating through more than hundred years? He said:‘My faith is in younger generation, the modern generation. They will work out the whole problem like lions. . .’
‘Arise, awake andstop not till the goal is reached!’