Today is the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, one of the most inspirational figures in human history. Among his many accomplishments, two stand out.
He introduced his Guru Sri Ramakrishna’s concept that all religions are but paths to the same eternal goal to the world at large. It is a timely reminder of a simple message of tolerance at the face of religious and communal sentiments sweeping through the world.
His second major achievement was spreading the notion of Karma Yoga – service to humanity in his interpretation – as an easy and pragmatic path to fulfillment. The concrete, entrepreneurial manifestation of this philosophy is the Ramakrishna Mission, India’s largest NGO. It operates globally and works on social projects ranging from primary and secondary education, to vocational training, to a variety of economic and social development issues.
Swami Vivekananda was a modern thinker, pragmatic and entrepreneurial. Here are some of his messages that are particularly appealing to people like us:
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”
“You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.”
“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”
“The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.”