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Nation celebrates Swami Vivekananda's birth anniversary
Nation celebrated Swami Vivekananda's (1863-1902) 150th birth anniversary as 'National Youth Day' on 12th January. He is best known for his inspiring and now famous speech beginning with 'Sisters and Brothers of America,' while speaking on Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions held in Chicago in 1893.

BORN AS Narendra Nath Datta in a Bengali family of Calcutta (now Kolkata), he became a monk and introduced Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world and contributed immensely to raising interfaith awareness in his short span of life.

He was a disciple of Ramakrishna from whom he learnt the profound principle of spirituality that ‘all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self and hence, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind'.

Vivekananda toured the Indian subcontinent and western countries extensively and conducted hundreds of public discourses, private lectures and classes to disseminate tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States.

He summarised the Vedanta's teachings as follows: “Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal... This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details.”

Here are his five quotes which I like the most:

- We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.

- All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.

- 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.

- 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.

- Our duty is to encourage everyone in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth.

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