Date of Meeting: Sunday, 19th March, 2023
Time: 3.30 to 6.30 pm.
Venue: Vivekananda Cultural Centre, Chennai
Class lead by: Swami Shashishikhananda
Organizer: Mr. Sathish
Compirer: Mr. Jayavel
VYF Members Present: Refer Appendix ‘A’
Start Time: 3.30 pm
Apologies: Mr. Karpurasundarapandian
B. Bhajans: Ramakrishnan and Hemanth
C. Quotations of Swami Vivekananda: Sugendan and Ramki
D. Reading of Swami Vivekananda Works: Karma Yoga
English – Ramki
Tamil – Ramakrishnan
E. Introductory Speech by Brahmachari Vanishachaitanya
Welcoming of all volunteers to the event.
Who is a volunteer? It is a person who does an activity out of his own will which he feels will benefit others in a positive manner. As we do voluntary service, we get joy and bliss. The more we do, the more we get. Hence, let us be volunteers in the true sense of the term. Let us also become soldiers of Swami Vivekananda.
F. Special Talk by Swami Ishapremananda
‘Shiva Jnane Jiva Seva’, said Swami Vivekananda. It is actually so. Do you know in what context?
Shiva Kumar (VYF): Each is the manifestation of the lord.
Maharaj: How will you see everyone as God? You need to understand and have the conviction that the Lord is within yourself. You must have that conviction and confidence about this idea when doing service. Only then can you give your full attention when doing service. Swami Vivekananda Himself has said this. Confidence itself is God. Then you will be ready to do any work, however difficult it may be. You will not have any discrimination.
Before joining the Math, I joined Vivekananda Balaka Sangha in 1980 which was started by Swami Yatishwarananda in Bangalore Ashrama as a volunteer. In 1984, Yuvaka Sangha was started and I joined there. Hence you too can contribute to Bala Mandir. You will get an idea of how you can serve the Math and the society. Whoever joined, became future leaders.
Who is a youth? Those who have enthusiasm in them are youth.
Yuvaka Sangha, was very systematic. Every detail used to be checked. There used to be a separate hall for Balaka Sangha. There was never any discrimination among volunteers regardless of their background.
My first duty during Jayanti time, when I joined as a volunteer, was to look after the footwear stand. The Monk, who was incharge of Yuvaka Sangha, taught us to look at the footwear of the devotees who came to the Math as that of the Lord’s own padaraksha and to not treat them casually. That changed our attitude and mentality. Even after joining the Math as a Brahmachari, at the training center, one of the first lessons that we were taught was the seva mano bhava – i.e. service mentality. One must be able to do whatever the type of work given.
In Bangalore Ashrama, there used to be more than 200 volunteers every Sunday.
Actually, this youth forum was not started by myself or another Swami, but it was started by Sri Ramakrishna Himself. Just look at His disciples. All of them were youngsters. Swami Vivekananda had great hope on the young men of Madras. Hence, we need a strong youth forum here.
I hope that this youth forum will develop and become strong. I wish that you all serve not only yourself, but others also.
G. Honouring of Volunteers
Shri Saravanan is presented with a memento for his long and dedicated Hospital Service by Swami Ishapremananda.
H. Tea and Refreshments
I. Group Discussion:
Entire audience was divided into 2 groups and each were given 15 minutes time to discuss the past, present and future of VYF.
One member from each group came forward to summarize what was discussed in their group.
Few points that were discussed are as follows:
The need to make Vivekananda Youth Forum Online.
If the Monk who is in charge of VYF changes or the batch members change, then the members associated with them also tend to leave.
Tours to nearby Math and Centres outside Chennai used to be conducted regularly.
Participation in Jayanti by VYF needs to be increased.
More volunteers need to be ready for conducting Vivekananda Junior Forum.
It is good that Young India Arise Programme has been conducted in 47 schools till now.
Planning for conducting Young India Arise in colleges from the next academic year.
J. Talk by Swami Shashishikhananda
Conducting this event was a very good plan and positive step for VYF. Whoever may be the person in-charge of VYF, the idea and the mission of VYF does not change. It is like river Ganga, which is flowing constantly. In the case of Ramakrishna Math too, the ideals of Math and Mission does not change. It is based on rock-solid foundation of moral and ethical principles.
RK Math devotees and volunteers command a separate respect in society. Why is it so? It is due to their dedication and complete commitment to service activity they undertake. Society needs such people. If you ask what the duty of VYF volunteer is in society, it is not any particular service activity in hospital or school. It is upholding righteousness and promoting righteousness. Good things must be passed on to the next generation. We volunteers show to the people who are righteous, devoted to duty and good-natured that we are there for them.
Ordinary people cannot understand the idea of selfless service. The idea of helping others without any gain or return is very rare in society. Swami Vivekananda has said ‘Unselfishness is more paying, only people have not the patience to practice it.’ We get some joy or happiness through unselfish work. That is one of the main reasons we do voluntary service. A VYF volunteer creates a positive atmosphere and displays his spirit of selfless service wherever he is in society. How can a VYF volunteer can go to the next level apart participating in VYF activities? He needs to start practicing these ideas in our daily lives and work.
Swami Vivekananda has said ‘They alone live who live for others. The rest are more dead than alive.’ Selfish people are dead people. They are dead to the world and to themselves. They ignore and neglect the Satchidananda Atman inside them. The idea that the same God which is in me is in others must always be in the minds of volunteers. Or else, a VYF member is no better than others. Of course it is difficult, but we need to discriminate between pleasure and goodness.
One who can go to the beach salutes you and goes. Why? It is because, you can do something which he could not. You salute some aged Sanyassin. Why? It is because he has lead a life of renunciation for such a long time which others generally couldn’t.
Society is watching VYF. They look up to you people who know about Swami Vivekananda’s ideas. VYF members are the messengers of Swami Vivekananda. Those members who went to schools and gave speeches about Swami Vivekananda on National Youth Day this year must have certainly produced this impression in the minds of the audience: ‘If he is like this, then how must have Swami Vivekananda been?’. It is the work of VYF to pass the ideas of Swami Vivekananda to the next generation.
If you don’t know about the ideas of Swami Vivekananda, then it is understandable if one is leads a slavish and ordinary life. However, it is bad if one continues to live as the same previous person even after having heard, read and studied Swami Vivekananda’s ideas. One must lead a life of righteousness to the extent possible. The Lord has sent us here to lead a rightful and moral life, and so let is lead such a life.
K. Announcements and Upcoming Events:
1. In the coming week, there are important events on three days. It is requested that each volunteer participate at 3 hours per day.
2. Regarding the WhatsApp Group, please be active in it.
3. VJF was started last year and has successfully completed 1 year. It has given us very positive results.
4. A ‘Personality Development Programme is planned for a period of 10 days in Jaigopal Garodia school in Kolathur. Each volunteer can spend 2-3 hrs.
L. Vote of Thanks: Jayavel
Date of next VYF Meeting: 2nd April, 2023
Timings: 10.30 am – 12 noon