National Youth Day

Next Friday, 12 January 2024

National Youth Day (Hindi: राष्ट्रीय युवा दिवस), also known as Vivekananda Jayanti and Rashtriya Yuva Diwas, is celebrated every year on January 12. This day is observed to celebrate Swami Vivekananda's birth anniversary. Swami Vivekananda was a spiritual leader, social reformer, philosopher, monk, youth leader, and disciple of Shri Ramakrishna. 

Swami Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Dutta on January 12, 1863, in Kolkata. 

Swami Vivekananda's birthday was chosen as the National Youth Day in India because it was believed that his ideals and philosophy could be a source of inspiration for the youth of the nation. 

Swami Vivekananda

National Youth Day 2024 Celebration

  • Ramakrishna Mission centers all over the world celebrate National Youth Day every year with much fervor. Aarti, devotional songs and dance, motivational speeches, and meditation are some of the customs followed on this day.

  • Schools, colleges, and other educational institutions also celebrate National Youth Day since this day is dedicated to inspiring and motivating the youth. The celebration includes speeches and lectures on Swami Vivekananda, essay competitions, recitations, conventions, and so on. 

  • National Youth Day has a theme every year. In 2023, it was 'Viksit Yuva- Viksit Bharat' (Translation: Developed Youth - Developed India)The theme for 2024 is yet to be announced. 

National Youth Day History

In 1984, the Government of India decided to celebrate January 12 as National Youth Day. Thus, the first celebration took place the following year, that is in 1985. Thus, 2024 will mark the 40th National Youth Day. 

Early Life of Swami Vivekananda 

Born as Narendranath Dutta in a well-to-do Bengali family in Kolkata, Swami Vivekananda's life was comfortable. His father Vishwanath was an advocate in the High Court of Calcutta while his mother Bhubaneswari Devi was a traditional housewife. She was deeply religious and often narrated the tales of Ramayana and Mahabharata to the young Swami Vivekananda. 

Much like other children of his age, Swami Vivekananda was a playful and energetic child. However, he was also immensely interested in meditation. He joined the prestigious Presidency College but left it after a year. In 1884, when he appeared for his BA examination, his father passed away suddenly. 

Meeting With Ramakrishna

It was in 1881 that Swami Vivekananda met Ramakrishna in the house of Surendra Nath Mishra. Ramakrishna had invited him to Dakhineshwar, an event that completely transformed Swami Vivekananda's life. The latter decided to meet Ramakrishna to pose the critical question to which he had been desperately trying to find an answer- Has he seen God?

All his queries and thirst for knowledge finally ended when Ramakrishna answered his question:

"Yes I see him just as I see you here, only in a much more intense sense."

Since then, Swami Vivekananda kept visiting him in Dakhineshwar and each more and more of his quests were solved. Both of them had grown quite closer and Ramakrishna's inclination and love towards Swami Vivekananda was now as clear as the day. 

Death, Poverty, and Spiritual Awakening

One of the most dreaded times came when Swami Vivekananda's father passed away suddenly, leaving him and his family with no resources. He went door to door of offices in search of a job but of no use. He finally came to his guru Ramakrishna and asked him to pray to Goddess Kali for the financial stability of his family.

However, Ramakrishna asked him to pray to the goddess himself. Swami Vivekananda's spiritual enlightenment further heightened when he was unable to pray for material possessions. He completely devoted himself to a spiritual life and became a disciple of Ramakrishna. 

Swami Vivekananda became a devoted spiritual teacher and social reformer after the death of his guru in 1886. He traveled around India for five years to preach the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta. Later on, he also traveled abroad across Europe and America to expose the Hindu philosophy to the West. 

Swami Vivekananda also founded Ramakrishna Mission in 1897, a philanthropic organization dedicated to the upliftment of the people. Currently, the organization has around 274 branches worldwide. The spiritual leader finally breathed his last on July 4, 1902. 

Inspirational Quotes by Swami Vivekananda

"You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul."

"Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin; to say that you are weak, or others are weak."

"All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark."

"If you are really my children, you will fear nothing, stop at nothing. You will be like lions. We must rouse India and the whole world. No cowardice." 

"Bear in mind, my children, that only cowards and those who are weak commit sin and tell lies. The brave are always moral. Try to be moral, try to be brave, try to be sympathising."

Interesting Facts About Swami Vivekananda

  • Swami Vivekananda's grandfather was also a monk who chose the spiritual life over his material life. At the age of 25, he left home right after the birth of his son and Swami Vivekananda's father Vishwanath. 
  • Swami Vivekananda was a very generous person and always gave alms to the poor who appeared at his door. Due to this, he was often locked up in the room but that didn't stop him as he used to throw things down the window.
  • A palmist had told Swami Vivekananda much earlier in his life that he would become a sanyasi. 
  • Swami Vivekananda was initially against image or idol worship which was practiced by Ramakrishna. 
National Youth Day
National Youth Day

National Youth Day - Next years

Sunday, 12 January 2025

Monday, 12 January 2026

Tuesday, 12 January 2027

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