US to join celebrations of 150th Vivekananda anniversary

web61CHICAGO: If India is set for celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the Indian monk who came here 100 plus years ago and won over Americans with his charming personality and his expounding Indian philosophy, the Indian Americans in this country are not far behind.
Indian Americans in Chicago, that was the destination of Swami Ji, are gearing themselves for the event. They had the gracious presence of Ms Nivedita Bhide, vice president of Vivekananda Kanyakumari Kendra (VKK), who has come here to meet, greet and energize Indians by giving them more insight into the way celebrations are planned in India.
Ms Nivedita had a series of meetings with the volunteers and also decided to meet ethnic Indian media before leaving for New York and back to India. At a news briefing here, she said that the best way to celebrate Swamiji’s birth anniversary would be to spread his message of love and unity for mankind. She was in the US with the avowed objective to push up this mission of Swamiji.
She said that Swami Vivekananda Sardashati Samaroh (SVSS) had set up 41 regions in India each with a working committee. They plan to extend it further by setting up village level committees across India in each state of the Indian Union. She explained the five-fold dimensions of the celebrations focusing on educating youth, women, villages (janajatis, that is different groups of people who needs the services.) SVSS is working through Seva, Swadhyaya, Suraksha and Swawalamban i.e. service, self-study, vigilance and self-dependency under different programs, such as Seva Week or Seva Months.
Delineating the functions and services of each unit, she said that the objective of Yuva Shakti Aayam is to awaken and canalize massive youth power waiting to be exploded, especially in the context of impressive economic growth in India. Weekly or monthly the volunteers will go to interior places in order to spread the message by house to house contacts. Vivekananda Swadhyaya Mandalas will organize essays and other intellectually stimulating competitions, samuhika surya-namaskaras and “Awake Bharat Marathon events” promoting physical development of the youth.
With the help of Samvardhini Aayam the SVSS will encourage the participation of women in all walks of life to respect and enhance the nurturing capacity of women by promoting conventions in different areas like, Shakti Sammelana, Dampati (conjugal) Sammelana, Youth development camps (Kishori Vikas-girl students) by inviting leading women to discuss and present issues through symposiums in various vocations and professions.
She said the Gramayana Aayam (Village development schemes) will organize villagers to involve in the total development of their personal as well functional competency through harmony, satsang, service and shrama-samskara camps with such activities as Vivekananda Vatikas, Kirtan, Katha, pravachan and exhibitions on various topics.
Through Asmita Aayams for people living in forests and interior villages the SVSS will arrange medical camps, sports and games, competitions, conferences, focusing on encouraging literature, music, story-telling, and learning history. Whereas the focus of these activities will be on the entire society requiring education on all aspects of village (vanavasi and farmers) the main target will be to promote Yuva Shakti through public lectures, yoga training and conducting seminars and symposiums on the life and letters of Swami Vivekananda

On international level, the motto of the SVSS is Universal Peace through Yoga and Dharma by almost repeating the local activities on international stage through seminars, lectures and mass Surya Namaskara in different cities of US, UK Australia and Canada.
Nivedita Bhide, who is currently on tour of the US, had joined VKK as its life-warder in 1977.
She is responsible for the training of Jeevanvratis (dedicated full-time workers) which include training of the teachers of 65 Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalayas, co-ordination of Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture, Guwahati. She is a regular faculty in All India Yoga Shiksha Shibirs and All India Spiritual Retreats conducted at Vivekanandapuram, Kanyakumari.

Surendra Ullal
India Post News Service

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