Today is Swami Vivekananda’s 153rd Birth Anniversary. This day is celebrated as Swami Vivekananda Jayanti.. According to the English calendar or the generally used Indian Calendar, Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863.
Named as Narendra Nath Datta by his parents, he was born in Bengal and underwent a transformation as an Indian Hindu monk by being the chief disciple of the 19th-century saint Ramakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world.
Swami Vivekananda is ‘the man born for the redemption of India’, said the then prince of Mysore. His association with Mysore is worth recollecting. He visited Mysore for 3-4 weeks in November 1892 and as a young monk established a close relationship with the then king of Mysore Chamarajendra Wodeyar and it’s Dewan.
In a letter written to the Maharaja from Chicago, Swamiji wrote, “My noble Prince, this life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.”
In 1984, the Government of India declared and decided to observe the birthday of Swami Vivekananda (12 January, according to the English calendar) as a National Youth Day every year from 1985 onwards. To quote from the Government of India's communication, 'it was felt that the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth.
“Raja Yoga” is a book by Swami Vivekananda about the path of Raja Yoga. The book was published in July 1896. It is one of the most well known books by Vivekananda, who also wrote books on Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga.
According to him, the goal of Raja Yoga is how to concentrate the mind, how to discover the innermost recesses of our own mind and how to generalize their contents and form our own conclusions from them. In order to obtain the goal, practice is absolutely necessary. The appendix contains the translation of the Patanjali Yoga Aphorisms. This is one of the recommended books of study to students of TTC at Aananda Yoga India Shala, Mysore.
He said, ‘The ultimate goal of all mankind, the aim and end of all religions, is but one---re-union with God, or, what amounts to the same, with the divinity which is every man's true nature. But while the aim is one, the method of attaining it may vary with the different temperaments of men. Both the goal and the methods employed for reaching it are called Yoga, a word derived from the same Sanskrit root as the English "yoke", meaning "to join", to join us to our reality, God.’
‘As every science has its methods, so has every religion. The methods of attaining the end of religion are called Yoga by us, and the different forms of Yoga that we teach are adapted to the different natures and temperaments of men.’
‘The utility of this science is to bring out the perfect man, and not let him wait and wait for ages, just a plaything in the hands of the physical world, like a log of drift-wood carried from wave to wave, and tossing about in the ocean. This science wants you to be strong, to take the work in your own hand, instead of leaving it in the hands of Nature, and get beyond this little life. This is the great idea.’
On time take for Yoga, he says, “This is no child's play, no fad to be tried one day and discarded the next. It is a life's work; and the end to be attained is well worth all that it can cost us to reach it, being nothing less than the realization of our absolute oneness with the Divine.”
We at Aananda Yoga India Mysore on his birth anniversary salute this great son of India.