The government of India has planned originally to celebrate year-long 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda from January 12, 2012 in India and abroad, while the Vivekananda Kendram, the Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari and other organizations have planned to celebrate it for one year from January 12, 2013. Consequently, now the 150th birth anniversary is being celebrated for two years from January 12, 2012 to January 12, 2014.
The celebrations are being used to spread in the world the message of spirituality in Vedantic vision of oneness, universal peace, unity and brotherhood. And for India, the theme is “Wake up Bharat, enlighten the world.”
For the celebrations, Chicago assumes special importance because it was here on September 11, 1893, Swami Vivekananda delivered his historic “Sisters and brothers” speech at the World Parliament of Religions. Chicago also assumes importance because it has been here that the Sri Ramakrishna Universal Temple has been recently constructed in Homer Glen fulfilling the wish of Swami Vivekananda.
The prestigious University of Chicago has also established a new visiting professorship in Indian studies to commemorate the legacy of spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda, supported by a $1.5 million gift from India.
The new chair enriches the university’s renowned program for the study of the Indian subcontinent and further research and teaching of India’s history and culture.
While Vivekananda Kendra, Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission and other institutions are currently engaged in various programs to connect with the celebrations, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), centers of Swami Vivekananda Vedanta Society located in various cities of the US and other countries are pursuing similar programs outside India.
B. Nivedita, Vice President of Vivekananda Kendra, who was on a tour of the US and was in Chicago recently, spoke to India Tribune.
She says that Swami Vivekananda during his address to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago gave self-respect, dignity and purpose to his motherland. On his return to India, he gave a rousing call to India “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.” That was the first wave of inspiration. The second wave of inspiration from the life and message of Swami Vivekananda was in the year 1963, when his birth centenary was celebrated by the whole nation with a great zeal. As a culmination of the celebrations, the whole nation joined together to erect a grand Vivekananda Rock Memorial on the mid-sea. As a natural sequel to it, Vivekananda Kendra, a spiritually-oriented service mission was started, which has today over 600 branches all over the country.
She says that now the grand celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Viveka-nanda titled as “Swami Vivekananda Sardha Shati Samaroh” is a great opportunity to take the third wave of his inspiring message – “Wake up, Bharat, enlighten the world.”
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