One of the main purposes of yoga is to cultivate self-awareness and higher consciousness within an individual. It teaches us that there’s a soul inside every one of us, and that each soul has a lot of power. Yoga is a practice of mastering your mind, body, and soul, which helps us live our lives to their highest potential. When asked, “why is there misery in the world?” Swami Vivekananda, an inspiring yogi, answered, “It is all our own foolishness, not having proper mastery of our own bodies. That is all.”
This speaks volumes on Swami Vivekananda’s take on Yoga and its impact on the human experience. Today, yoga is practiced by people of all backgrounds for many reasons—to improve the flexibility of body muscles, alleviate pain, or even to provide a calming sensation amidst a chaotic day. However, before yoga’s spread across the world ,this practice was confined to Northern India, where it was first developed.
Swami Vivekananda played a pivotal role in introducing the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world. He toured for four years and traveled thousands of miles to spread his wisdom on Hindu philosophies such as ‘jnana,’ ‘bhakti,’ ‘karma,’ and ‘raja yoga.’ He worked hard to combine Indian spirituality with Western material progress.
He also started ‘Ramakrishna Mission,’ a spiritual organization forming the core of a worldwide spiritual movement called the “Ramakrishna Movement” or the “Vedanta Movement.” This registered society serves as a platform for people to carry out extensive educational and philanthropic work in India. Furthermore, this organization’s vision comes hand in hand with Swami Vivekananda’s lifelong mission to give everyone the gift of education and eradicate poverty.
Did you know his work has been praised by the New York Critic, where he was referred to as the “orator by divine right”? Swami Vivekananda has also played an influential role in the lives of many well-known luminaries. Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla, and Harriet Monroe are just a few of them. Moreover, in 2015 during a three-day visit to India, U.S. President Barack Obama mentioned Swami Vivekananda’s selfless act of bringing Hinduism and yoga to the U.S.
“Instead of succumbing to division, you have shown that the strength of India—the very idea of India—is its embrace of all colours, castes, and creeds. It’s the diversity represented in this chamber today. It’s the richness of faiths celebrated by a visitor to my hometown of Chicago more than a century ago—the renowned Swami Vivekananda. He said that “holiness, purity, and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character”— Barack Obama at the Siri Fort Auditorium, Delhi.
Swami Vivekananda took his last breath on the 4th of July, 1902. He passed away while meditating after teaching Sanskrit grammar and the philosophy of yoga to his students. Nevertheless, he has left a legacy behind him.
In India, the National Youth Day is celebrated annually on Swami Vivekananda’s birthday, the 12th of January. This day is honored by organizing speeches, recitations, youth conventions, and many other programs in schools and colleges all over India. Other than that, the Art Institute of Chicago has also reinstalled a plaque commemorating Vivekananda’s landmark speech outside Fullerton Hall.
Though Swami Vivekananda is not with us today, his literary works are still read globally by many who are interested. Famous publications such as “Vedanta Philosophy: An Address Before the Graduate Philosophical Society” and “Lectures from Colombo to Almora” still live in the heart of readers.
Understanding the concept of spirituality is vital in discovering your true identity, and yoga is a method of bridging the gap between you and your soul. Once you’ve reconnected with your soul, you become absolute because, in the words of Swami Vivekananda himself, “all wisdom and all purity are in the soul already, dimly expressed or better expressed — that is all the difference.”