Swami Vivekananda had a specific mission and his message was for all humanity. In his world-view, there was no fear, no sinner and no distinction of caste, creed, race or gender. His heart welcomed all and he became the shelter for all.
On the occasion of Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary which fell on January 12, 2013, the Ramakrishna Mission started a three-year-long celebration, with a series of lectures, events and programmes in remembrance of the leader’s inspiring philosophy that has motivated thousands for more than a century.
But if you do not find the time to attend the seminars and lectures, but are keen on learning out the world leader’s life, the Mission has built a world-class exhibit on his life and teachings at a museum inside the Ramakrishna Ashram, near R K Ashram Metro station. Titled Swami Vivekananda: A Prophet of Harmony, the exhibition was inaugurated by HH the Dalai Lama September last.
Metrolife spoke to Swami Shantatmananda, secretary, R K Mission. “We wanted to do something permanent for people to come and learn more about Swami Vivekananda. We have been getting a very good response, mostly from school students who come and visit the museum as part of their curriculum.”
The monk’s teachings were based on peace, love and harmony, which are nowadays nowhere to be found. “There will always be two forces in the society and one always trying to conquer another. This is the basic nature of a human being. There will be communal forces and we need to be tolerant enough to surpass them all,” he explains softly. “The basic issue is that the country has not taken the teachings of Vivekananda seriously. That is why we are trying to engage a lot of students because they will eventually build the nation and the main focus of the celebration is youth and their potential to bring about positive changes in the society. The challenge lies in controlling the barbaric nature and to develop the country economically.”
The musuem has an electronic flipbook which narrates various stories about Vivekananda. Using graphic panels, multi-touch digital displays, dioramas, paintings, interactive computer programmes put up by the National Council of Science Museum, the exhibit is based on the inputs provided by the R K Ashram trust. But, the highlight is a 15.02 minute 3D film, 9/11: The Awakening showing Swami Vivekananda’s historic speech at the Parliament of Religions.