National Youth Day Special

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.


Subhorup Dasgupta said...

Vivekananda's writing made a deep impact on me as a young person. As a Bong, I had fair access to authentic biographical details, and what amazed me was the blend of rationalism and Hindu spirituality that permeated not only his writing but his living too. He was revolutionary in the most important realm - the realm of being human. Had occasion to revisit his short booklet sized pieces during many critical times, and it never failed to fill me with courage and determination. Your tribute is perfect, and embodies Vivekananda's motto of seizing the moment and jumping into action.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks Subhorup. Glad you feel I paid a good tribute. This man's greatness is so much that it is almost impossible to really do justice to him. You are lucky to be a Bengali. Many of the great thinkers of India I admire are Bong - Vivekananda, Ramkarishna and the whole group, Tagore, Aurobindo, Ishwar Chandra Vidhyasagar etc.

Harikrishna said...

Vivekananda is truly the epitome of Indian youth! I have read some of his works, his biography and they all gave me a hint how to lead a life! By serving others and an inside awakening! Practice what you preach, a known saying! He had been the true example of this! Once in Varanasi, long before he had his spirit awakened, he was running to escape from the monkeys which were chasing him! An unknown saint like man came before him and shouted at him. "Are you weak? Don't run away from them! But stand before them and they will run away!" HE stopped, turned back and stood against them. Those monkeys ran away and thus born his strong, brave character! Hail Vivekananda! And the 55 fictions are amazing especially the king one!

C Suresh said...

That was indeed a superb tribute and a well-written set of 55s as well! Kudos, TF!

Ashwini C N said...

I did have the benefit of reading a few of Vivekananda's sayings. I love his spirit and attitude. Thanks for sharing this.

Zephyr said...

That was a short and crisp tribute to one of the most charismatic spiritual and national leaders of our country. his teachings have stood the test of time and are relevant today as when he had uttered them over a century and more ago.

Rachna said...

Sadly I haven't read much on Vivekanand, but I think I should. Nice tidbits you shared.

umashankar said...

Thank you for the inspiring post, TF. And thank you for making Swami Vivekananda sound cool. Generation Z won't touch an uncool swami with a barge pole.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks Hariskrishna and good to know you been reading Vivekananda literature. They are indeed inspiring.I know the monkey story and there is one tiger story too. But I did not mention them as the message was more or less the same as the bull story.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks Suresh. Glad you like the 55 fiction. They are a very good practice for crunching words. Anyways everyone says you already have the talent and you may not need it.

T F Carthick said...

Glad you liked the, Ashwini. All his literature is really worth a read.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks, zephyr. He is one of those whose teachings transcend time.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks, Rachna. You must read them. Even after 100 years, his ideas will look radical even today. And everything is completely logical.

T F Carthick said...

Glad you liked it, umashankar. Every generation younger people like only cool radical folks, not the conventional preachy types.

Rickie said...

How cool! I have never cared much for this whole 55 word fiction thing (considering that when I sit to write, I can never seem to keep it short!) but these stories were great!
Are these fiction pieces or have you adapted real Vivekanand stories into this form? I was a bit unclear.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks, Rickie. They are real stories. But I saw no value add from my side telling them again as it is or copy pasting them from somewhere else on the net. So I tried to retell them in the 55 fiction form.

Maliny said...

Swami Vivekananda is the epitome of sanctity and spirituality in its purest sense . . I have been keeping track of articles about him on journals and newspapers for the past one week . . truly insiring his attitude and strength of opinion . .

In awe at how you managed to sum up his stories in a 55 Fiction module ! wonderful job :)

indu chhibber said...

Today's Godmen leave scant room for respect but swami jee was a class apart.His sermons were truly rational & not at all conservative or steriotyped.

Bikram said...

I have not read much on him but reading this I do wish and hope todays youth can somehow relate to him and his views and like him do something about it.

good stories and you have put them very nicely .. thank you so much.


T F Carthick said...

Thanks Maliny. Good to discover you too are so passionate about Vivekananda.

T F Carthick said...

Yes, indeed, Indu.

T F Carthick said...

Glad to have introduced you to Vivekananda, Bikram. Glad you liked the stories.

Diwakar Narayan said...

Brilliantly put..and I loved reading those 55 fictions and feeling proud of it.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks a lot, Diwakar.

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