Today, Jan 12th is National Youth Day. This day commemorates the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. This year marks the 154th birth anniversary. Swami Vivekananda’s teachings are relevant for everyone but they are very much applicable to the youth of India.

He lived a very short life (he died at the age of 39). But in that short span, he achieved things that people can’t achieve even in a hundred years. He single handedly put India on the world map. He opened the doors of the western world to Indian philosophy and Hinduism. If the world now knows about Vedas and Vedanta, the entire credit goes to Swami Vivekananda. The enquiry of the western world of our Yoga, Puranas, Shastras, and our culture started only after the iconic Parliament of World Religions in Chicago in 1883. He was only 30 years old at that time.

He received a standing ovation for two minutes when he addressed the gathering with “Brothers and Sisters of America”. In this speech there he spoke of India as “the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasins, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance, of and universal acceptance”.

His teachings hold good for young people of every generation to come. Here are a few of his popular quotes. If we can live and inspire others to live by at least two of these principles, we will be uplifted both spiritually and physically.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.

Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being.

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you. Depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.

Truth can be stated in thousand different ways, yet each can be true.

Our duty is to encourage every one 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.

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

The vedanta recognizes no sin, it recognizes only error. The greatest error says the Vedanta, is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature and that you have no power and you cannot do this or that.

The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified and God will reside there.

Condemn none. If you can stretch out a helping hand then do so. If not, fold your hands, bless your brothers and let them go their way.

As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to God.

These are just a few of the quotes that I relate to. His teaching are applicable to every human on this earth forever.