How Swami Vivekananda’s ideals influenced Prime Minister Narendra Modi


PM Modi turns 72 Here's how he motivated Indians through his slogans - Reuters
When the NDA came to power in 2014, riding what the media and analysts called the Modi-wave, Narendra Modi’s people skills came to the fore, and how! The masses found it relatable. His social shrewdness, coupled with excellent oratorical and interpersonal communication skills, and the uncanny ability to lead without appearing dogmatic were qualities that had rarely been seen together, especially in Indian politics. The reason is that the one Modi idolizes was an embodiment of all these qualities. Time and again, Prime Minister Modi has repeatedly said that his inspiration came from Swami Vivekananda.
Inspiration for youth, Swami Vivekananda’s birthday has been celebrated as National Youth Day every year on January 12 since 1985. When announcing it in 1984, the government said that ”it was felt that the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great inspiration to Indian youth.’

The Prime Minister has said in the past that the speeches and life of Swami Vivekananda had a profound influence on his mind. The famous philosopher’s awe-inspiring utterance inspired young Narendra Modi to dedicate his life to service. It was the beginning of a journey of inner discovery. It started at the Ramakrishna mission, where Modi lived with monks as a teenager and was able to spend time in Swami Vivekananda’s room. Moved by the works of Swami Vivekananda, Modi began to study the philosopher’s life and works. Young Narendra Modi was a voracious reader and by nature a curious young man. He began to collect Swami Vivekananda’s quotes in his diary – an exercise he would dutifully adhere to for years to come.

In fact, when he was only 16 years old, Narendra Modi decided in 1966 to undertake sanyasa at the Ramakrishna mission ashram in Rajkot of Gujarat, much like the young Narendranath – the name of Swami Vivekananda before he became a monk. Perhaps the uncanny resemblance of their names was also an attraction for the young Narendra Modi who was more drawn to being a philosopher at that age, rather than the leadership role he would assume in the years to come. .

However, the course of his path of self-discovery was changed by Swami Atmasthananda – then Head of the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram in Rajkot, and the one who was to become the 15th President of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission – who greatly influenced Modi’s thoughts on serving people. He allegedly told young Modi that “sanyasa was not for him and his work was among people and not in isolation”.

While sanyasa was not for him, Swami Vivekananda continued to be a philosophical influence on Modi, who has now channeled his efforts into arousing national pride. A motivated Narendra Modi was attracted by the spread of Swami Vivekananda’s message. He regularly discussed the philosophy and contributions of the monk with young people and regularly incorporated the ideals of Swami Vivekananda into his political and public life. He carried the monk’s messages during his travels abroad, and people from the Indian diaspora in countries around the world were often drawn to Modi to discuss the ideas and teachings of the saint.

As a leader, Modi organized the 45-day Ekta Yatra from Kanyakumari in 1991, to spread the message of national unity and integrity as proclaimed by the revered monk. Two years later, in 1993, he was invited to attend the Global Vision 2000 convention in Washington DC, with 10,000 delegates from 60 countries. It was for the centenary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda’s famous speech to the World Parliament of Religions which the monk gave in 1893. The speech, as Modi has repeatedly said, inspired him more than most things . It is this awe-inspiring enunciation of India’s ancient values ​​and cultural ethos by Swami Vivekananda that underscored India’s philosophical acceptance of truth guiding every religion.

Besides, Modi had also organized a youth conclave during the centenary of Swami Vivekananda’s speech in Chicago. During the conclave, youths, accompanied by a marching band, marched with Indian flags waving high.

The passion for spreading the life of Swami Vivekananda and his message was to continue in Modi’s life even as he became the Chief Minister of Gujarat. On the anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s speech in Chicago, the then Gujarat CM Modi performed a huge Swami Vivekananda Yuva Vikas Yatra across the state, starting on September 11, 2012.

His passion has been recognized by world leaders like former US President Barack Obama, who presented Prime Minister Modi with the rare copy of the book – The World Congress: Religions at the World’s Columbian Exposition – commemorating Swami’s speech Vivekananda at the 1893 World Summit of Religions.

To date, Prime Minister Modi has spread Swami Vivekananda’s message even as he strives to emulate the monk’s ideals in his life.


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