How to be youth?

I addressed the students of Navodaya School in Doddabalapur near Bangalore. They had organized an elocution competition in connection with the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The topic was Swami Vivekananda as the inspiration for Indian youth. Here is a brief outline of the talk: Youth does not indicate the age of the person. A person can be youthful throughout life if he or she follows some principles. Without these, the person cannot be considered as youth even at an young age.

  1. Self-confidence: Youth should always be confident and optimistic. Never be overwhelmed by any situation. As a sentient person, you are always greater than any situation in life. Be thankful to God for the blessings that you have got. Build on your strengths.
  2. Moral strength: Self-confidence is possible only by living a highly moral life. Moral life means these:
    1. Satya – Truthfulness – Be honest to the core. Be truthful even if you have to go through great inconvenience, pain or loss.
    2. Ahimsa – Kindness – Never intend harm to others. Help others as much as possible.
    3. Aparigraha – Simple living – Lead a simple and austere life with high thinking.

    You may not be able to succeed in following these without some failures. Whenever you fail, get back and try to follow them. Try not to fail, but do not worry too much about failures.

  3. Original: Each person is unique. Be inspired by great people. But do not give up your originality. Like a plant that takes water, minerals, air, sunlight, etc and grows into only itself, take all the good inputs and become the best yourself.
  4. Fearless: Take risks in life. Be adventurous. Foster curiosity. Be creative.
  5. Cheerful: There will be problems in life. But that does not mean that you should not be cheerful. Face all problems cheerfully. That itself will solve half the problems.
  6. Purpose: Have a purpose in life. The best purpose is to be helpful to others. Aim to be rich. Aim to be powerful. Aim to be famous. But, all those aims should be for helping others. Even your schooling is so that you can be more useful to the society. Have this as your one purpose in life. You can lead a fulfilling life.
  7. Balance: Have a balanced development of 3Hs
    1. Head (Jnana shakti) – Develop intellectually. Have a scientific temperament. Be well-informed. Think logically.
    2. Heart (Iccha shakti) – Develop emotionally. Feel for others. Involve in arts, music, literature, etc. Learn to feel and appreciate subtle emotions.
    3. Hand (Kriya shakti) – Develop skills. Learn to do things of your own. Organize some event. Learn to coordinate a team to get something done.

Make a note of this list and try to review it often to see if they are following and developing all of them. If you make sure to have these as a part of your life, you will be youthful till the last moment of your life. Your life will be satisfying to you and also beneficial to the society.

For each of these points, there are incidents in the life of Swami Vivekananda. I told them a few of them and gave them the home work to read the life of Swami Vivekananda and try to find the matching incidents for the others.

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