Today is national youth day, the 150th birthday of Swami Vivekananda. It is a bit ironic that a Sanyasin ‘s birthday is celebrated as youth day given the distrust with which holy men are viewed by youth these days. Even the genuine ones, if any, often appeal more to the older ones.
But I personally feel Vivekananda was a class apart and his cool dude kick ass attitude would appeal even to the youth of today. Vivekananda was one who inspired in me a lot of respect for the life of the monk and it saddens me to see so many comments against holy men on Facebook and twitter. To give a counter view of sorts, I present in the form of five 55 fictions (an entire story told in 55 words, an exercise for fiction writers to practice brevity of words), glimpses from the life of a genuine holy man.
It was already thirty minutes past time. Everyone was getting restless. When would they see this famous Indian monk? The organizers were tense. Where was he?
Then they saw him: walking majestically taking measured steps. They rushed towards him to bid him make haste.
He calmly replied, “You live in time. I live in eternity.”
He refused to listen to the song of a courtesan.
But her song still wafted to his distant ears. She sang of the touchstone that turns a holy iron idol as well as a butcher’s knife to gold without discrimination.
That opened his eyes. True saints know no discrimination.
He returned and begged her forgiveness.
The furious bull charged towards him. The calm man however did not bat an eyelid.
It changed its mind at the last minute.
Later, sharing his thoughts while facing the bull, he said, “I was calculating the speed of the bull and how far I would be thrown off by the impact of the collision.”
The king scoffed at the Hindu practice of worshiping idols, “The stupid people think that God exists in the stone idol.”
Vivekananda asked the orderly to bring a portrait of the king’s father. He requested the courtiers to spit at it. None Complied. “The stupid courtiers think your father exists in the painting,” he said.
A young man was not getting peace of mind through meditation.
Vivekananda inquired how he meditated.
“Within a dark room with all doors and windows closed,” he replied.
Vivekananda said, “If you truly want peace of mind, open all the windows and doors, go outside, and serve the living Gods: the poor and the suffering.”