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1. Swami Vivekananda

1.1 Ramakrishna Mission

  • The Mission, founded by Vivekananda in 1897 is a humanitarian organization which carries out medical, relief and educational programs.

  • Two main purposes of mission are to spread the teachings of Vedanta as embodied in the life of the Hindu saint Ramakrishna (1836–86) and to improve the social conditions of people.

  • The ideals propagated by the mission include work as worship, the inherent divinity of every soul and the harmony of religions.

  • This year marks the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s address at Parliament of the World's Religions in 1893 held in Chicago.


1.2 About Swami Vivekananda

  • He was one of the prominent Hindu leaders who carried the Indian philosophies to the West including Vedanta and Yoga.

  • His teachings and philosophy stressed on different aspects of religion, youth, education, faith, character building as well as social issues pertaining to India.

  • He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India.

  • He was a disciple of Ramakrishna, from whom he learned of the Divine and spiritual part of oneself as well as the importance of kindness and service to mankind.

  • Some of great literary works of Swami Vivekananda are Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, My Master, Lectures from Colombo to Almora.

1.3 Philosophy on Nationalism

  • Vivekananda played a major role in the growing Indian nationalism in the late 19th and the 20th century, encouraging many Indians with his success and appeal in the west.

  • Swami Vivekananda’s nationalism is deeply rooted in Indian spirituality and morality. He linked India’s regeneration to her age-old tradition of spiritual goal.

  • Unlike western nationalism which is secular in nature, Swami Vivekananda’s nationalism was based on religion


1.4 Advaita Vedantism

  • Advaita Vedanta is a non-dualistic school of Hinduism with its roots in the Vedas and Upanishads which recognizes one reality and one God.

  • Swami Vivekananda was a great lover of Vedantic philosophy and he spread Advaita Vedanta to the west via the Ramakrishna Mission.

  • He presented karma, bhakti, jnana and raja yoga as equal means to attain moksha, to present Vedanta as a liberal and universal religion, in contrast to the exclusivism of other religions, which is life blood of the Indian people.

  • He galvanized the National Spirit by exposing the British policy of profiteering in complete disregard to the Indian interests and taught people to get rid first of self-inflicted bondages and resultant miseries.

  • Like Vivekananda, Aurbindo Ghosh and Mahatma Gandhi also realized that religion and spirituality are in the veins of Indians and worked for India’s unification through awakening the force of religion and spirituality.


1.5  Philosophy on Religion

  • His philosophy was assimilation of ideals prescribed in all religions and he believed that all the religions of the world have the same value and importance.

  • He told that though the paths are different for different religions but the goal is same.

  • He attached great importance to the unity of all religions and their fusion into one universal religion.

  • Swami Vivekananda represented India and Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions (1893) in Chicago.

  • Swami Vivekananda said in his speech ‘not only tolerate other religions, but positively embrace them, as truth is the basis of all religions.’

  • He spoke about tolerance and universality of India’s spiritual traditions. He denounced narrow-mindedness and fanaticism.

  • He promoted with equal zeal the idea of the equality of all human beings.


1.6 Philosophy on Education

  • Swami Vivekananda laid the greatest emphasis on education for the regeneration of our motherland and a nation is advanced in proportion as education is spread among the masses.

  • According to him “education is the manifestation of perfection already in man and that what a man ‘learns’ is really what he ‘discovers’ by taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge.”

  • He advocated a man-making character-building education.

  • He said that education must make the students self-reliant and help them face the challenges of life.

  • He believed if young boys and girls are encouraged and are not unnecessarily criticized all the time, they are bound to improve in time.


1.7 Relevance of Swami Vivekananda’s philosophy

  • The message of Swami Vivekananda promoting spiritual integration of the nation and world on the basis of universal brotherhood and goodwill becomes all the more relevant in these times.

  • It has the potential to avert wars ensuring peaceful co-existence of individuals and nations.

  • Several Government schemes like ‘Start Up India’, ‘Stand Up India’, Atal Innovation Mission schemes as are based on his philosophy that the future of India lay in the hands of youth.

  • The philosophy of 'Ek Bharat-Shrestha Bharat' is the essence of Swami Vivekananda's.

2. Pingali Venkayya

About Pingali Venkayya

  • He was a freedom fighter who was the brain behind designing of our National Flag – Tiranga.

  • He also served in the British Army in South Africa during the Anglo Boer war in Africa and during this time he met Mahatma Gandhi.

  • Between 1918 and 1921 Venkayya relentlessly campaigned for having our own national flag in every session of Congress. He even published a book in 1916 with over 30 designs.

  • He was a nationalist, an ardent believer of Gandhian principles, linguist and a writer.

  • After Venkyya returned from South Africa, he stated researching about farming and cultivation of cotton which earned him the nickname of Patti (cotton) Venkayya. He was also known as Japan Venkayya and Jhanda Venkayya.

August Art and Culture

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