President Ram Nath Kovind led the nation on Sunday to pay tributes to one of the greatest spiritual leaders of India -- Swami Vivekananda -- on his birth anniversary.
Vivekananda's birth anniversary is observed as National Youth Day in the country.
Kovind tweeted: "Homage to Swami Vivekananda on his birth anniversary. In honour of this great scholar, monk and visionary who inspired generations, especially the youth, we commemorate this day as #NationalYouthDay. May Swami Vivekananda's life & deeds continue to inspire us in years to come."
Homage to Swami Vivekananda on his birth anniversary. In honour of this great scholar, monk and visionary who has inspired generations, especially the youth, we commemorate this day as #NationalYouthDay. May Swami Vivekananda’s life & deeds continue to inspire us in years to come— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) January 12, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: "Swami Vivekananda lives in the hearts and minds of crores of Indians, especially the dynamic youths of India for whom he had a grand vision."
Swami Vivekananda lives in the hearts and minds of crores of Indians, especially the dynamic youth of India for whom he has a grand vision.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 12, 2020
Today, on Vivekananda Jayanti and National Youth Day I am at the Belur Math, including the room where Swami Ji meditated. pic.twitter.com/UeWQkUk94C
Vivekananda was the chief disciple of the 19th-century mystic Ramakrishna Paramhansa and founder of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is also regarded as the one who introduced Hinduism to the world through his speech at Chicago on September 11, 1893 when he addressed Parliament of the World's Religions.
"I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth," he said.
Here is the full text of Swami Vivekananda's speech:
Sisters and Brothers of America,
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world. I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.
My thanks also to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honour of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration but we accept all religions as true.
I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation.
I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, and which is every day repeated by millions of human beings:
As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which people take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.
The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita:
Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach them; all are struggling through paths which in the end lead to Me.
Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.
(With Inputs from IANS)