Vivek Oberoi to play Swami Vivekananda in web series

Actor Vivek Oberoi is all set to play India’s great spiritual guru Swami Vivekananda in the latter’s biopic. The film will be a web-series that will be streamed in three parts in one of the OTT platforms in India.

Swami Vivekananda’s life story has been made into movies quite a few times. The most prominent one is director G V Iyer’s Vivekananda (1998). The film saw Sarvadaman D Banerjee play the titular role of Swami Vivekananda while Mithun Chakraborty played his guru Ramakrishna Paramhansa. The latter won the National Award for Best Supporting Actor.

But this web series is the first time that Swami Vivekananda’s life will be explored in the digital space. As per sources, “the actor has been undergoing extensive research in order to get into the skin of the character and portray the evangelist accurately.”

Swami-Vivekananda-biopic

Sources also reveal that a lot of research has gone into the project, which is in the scripting stage currently. The shoot is expected to commence early next year.

This is Oberoi’s second web series after Inside Edge. This is also the second time that he will be playing a real-life character after Rakht Charitra (2011), where he played the gangster-turned-politician Paritala Ravi.

Not many people would know that the actor’s actual name is Vivek Anand Oberoi. He was named so since his parents were devout followers of the spiritual guru. But he dropped ‘Anand’ from his name out of respect for Swami Vivekananda.

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Why Christmas Eve holds importance for Swami Vivekananda followers?

Christmas Eve (24 December) is celebrated all over the world as the day before the birth of Jesus Christ. But the day holds special importance for the followers of Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Swami Vivekananda.

It was on 24 December 1886 that Swami Vivekananda, who was then Narendra Nath Datta, and his group of brother disciples attained Brahmacharya (Monasticism) in Antpur in West Bengal. They then formed the Ramakrishna Math in Belur, which is famously known as the Belur Math.

Christmas Eve is celebrated in every Ramakrishna Math in India and outside to commemorate the Brahmacharya of Swami Vivekananda and others. It was from this day onwards that they took up the task of spreading humanitarian and spiritual values to the society.

Christmas-Eve-Ramakrishna-Math

Generally, a priest from a church is called upon on this day at the Maths. The Jesus Aarti then takes place in front of the picture of Jesus Christ surrounded by sweets and eatables like cakes.

“Swami Vivekananda and fellow Ramakrishna disciples took Bramhacharya on December 24. Swamiji cited the example of the greatness of Jesus and his renunciation. But he and the rest did not know it was the Christmas Eve. They came to know about it later, said Swami Shrimohanananda during the 2014 Christmas Eve celebrations at the Mumbai branch of Ramakrishna Math.

10 Swami Vivekananda quotes for youngsters

Swami Vivekananda was known as the Youth Icon of India. Hence, his birth anniversary, 12 January, is celebrated as National Youth Day in India. He is known for giving motiovational, enlightening and powerful quotes on various topics in order to strenghthen people.

So, it is obvious that he has given lots of quotes and comments for the youngters or the youth.

Swami-VivekanandaHere are 10 quotes by Swami Vivekananda for youngsters:

– My Faith is in the Younger Generation, the Modern Generation, out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like Lions.

– Youth is the best time. The way in which you utilize this period will decide the nature of coming years that lie ahead of you.

– Brave, bold people, these are what we want. What we want is vigor in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel, not softening namby-pamby ideas. Avoid all these. Avoid all mystery.

– The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.

– Youth means to place your firm confidence in yourself and exercise your hopeful determination and resolution and willing good intentions in this beautiful task of self-culture.

– My hope of the future lies in the youths of character, intelligent, renouncing all for the services of others, and obedient – good to themselves and the country at large.

– All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.

– Strength is life, Weakness is Death.

– Be a Hero. Always say, ‘I have no fear’.

– Take risks in your life. If you win, you can lead. If you lose, you can guide!

Swami Vivekananda’s inspiring thoughts on India

Swami Vivekananda is one of the greatest spiritual gurus of the world. But he is also who can also be called a ‘Patriot Monk.’ His love, admiration and respect for his motherland shines brightly through volumes of his teachings.

Here are some of his inspiring thoughts on India on the occasion of Republic Day:

– I am proud that I am a countryman of yours. You the descendants of the sages, you the descendants of the most glorious Rishis the world ever saw. Therefore have faith in yourselves, be proud of your ancestors.

swami-vivekananda– Shall India die? Then from the world all spirituality will be extinct, all moral perfection will be extinct, all sweet-souled sympathy for religion will be extinct, all ideality will be extinct; and in its place will reign the duality of lust and luxury as the male and female deities, with money as its priest, fraud, force, and competition its ceremonies, and the human soul its sacrifice. Such a thing can never be.

– Once more the wheel is turning up, once more vibrations have been set in motion from India, which are destined at no distant day to reach the farthest limits of earth. Believe, believe, the decree has gone forth, the fiat of the Lord has gone forth – India must rise, the masses and the poor are to be made happy.

Also read: 10 Swami Vivekananda quotes for youngsters

– India will be raised, not with the power of the flesh, but with the power of the spirit; not with the flag of destruction, but with the flag of peace and love, the garb of the Sannyasin; not by the power of wealth, but by the power of the begging bowl

– Let us all work hard, my brethren; this is no time for sleep. Do not figure out big plans at first, but begin slowly, feel the ground, and proceed. Up, up, the long night is passing, the day is approaching, the wave has risen, nothing will be able to resist its tidal fury.

– Let her New India arise – out of the peasants’ cottage, grasping the plough; out of the huts of the fisherman, the cobbler, and the sweeper. Let her spring from the grocer’s shop, from beside the oven of the fritter-seller. Let her emanate from the factory, from marts, and from markets. Let her emerge from groves and forests, from hills and mountains…

– Arise and awake and see her seated here on her eternal throne, rejuvenated, more glorious than she ever was – this Motherland of ours.

How Swami Vivekananda attacked communalism, casteism, class division in one go

The following incident is taken from the book, Swami Vivekananda: The Friend Of All. It’s published by Swami Sarvabhutananda. The incident is presented on the occasion of his 154th Birth Anniversary (January 12, 2017).

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It was 1891. Swamiji was staying at Mount Abus as a guest of a Muslim lawyer. He invited him saying, “If you would condescend to live with me, I shall feel myself greatly blessed. But I am a Mussalman. I shall, of course, make separate arrangements for your food.” Swamiji didn’t hear a word of that.

swami-vivekananda-wallpaperOne day, Jagmohanlal, the Private Secretary of the Raja of Khetri, came to the lawyer’s bungalow and was quite surprised to see Swamiji, a Hindu sanyasi, there. Unable to conceal his wonder, Jagmohanlal said to Swamiji, “Well, Swamiji, you are a Hindu monk. How is it that you are living with a Muslim?”

Swamiji, who couldn’t stand any differentiation on the basis of religion and caste, sternly replied, “Sir, what do you mean? I am a Sanyasin. I am above all your social conventions. I can dine even with a Bhangi. I am not afraid of God because He sanctions it. I am not afraid of the scriptures for they allow it. But I am afraid of you people and your society. You know nothing of God and scriptures. I see Brahman everywhere, manifested even through the meanest of creature. For me, there is nothing high or low. Shiva Shiva!”

Also read: Why Christmas Eve holds importance for Swami Vivekananda followers?

Every word of Swamiji rained fire while Munshi Jagmohanlal stood mesmerized before his towering personality.

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The above incident conveys a lot more than it seems. On the surface, it speaks about Swami Vivekananda’s intolerance to religious division. But from what he told Jagmohanlal, we also get to know about his opposition to any sort of casteism, especially from the line, “I see Brahman everywhere…”

Also read: 10 Swami Vivekananda quotes for youngsters

Similarly, by saying, “But I am afraid of you people and your society,” and “For me, there is nothing high or low,” he has also revealed that social class doesn’t exist for him. And he did walk his talk. This is evident from the incident where he happily accepted food from a person belonging to the so-called lower caste outside a railway station in Rajasthan.

This and many other such incidents from his life clearly show his forward and liberal thinking even more than 100 years ago.

By: Keyur Seta

Short Story: What is the true meaning of worshiping God?

By: Keyur Seta

People worship various Gods in various ways. There are innumerable theories and beliefs as to how to worship God and what pleases him/her the most. Some go through various austerities while others believe in saying a silent prayer for few seconds. But what exactly is the meaning of true worship? What pleases God the most?

Have a look at the following two scenarios and decide for yourself:-

1)

Mr X is a super-rich industrialist, living in the plush Cuffe Parade locality of south Mumbai. His family, which consists of his wife, two kids and mother, has access to all the luxuries one could imagine. His kids go to the most expensive school in the city. Buying new clothes, gadgets, accessories and what not is a continuous process for them. His family just needs a reason to throw parties that cost lakhs of rupees.

Mr X’s family is also very religious. They have a chamber in their apartment where they perform religious activities twice daily, without fail. His family religiously follows and celebrates all holy days and festivals as per the religious calendar. They are also seen embarking to holy places at least 4-5 times each year. Needless to say, they spend a bomb in religious activities too.

2)

Swami-VivekanandaLiving in the Girgaum area of south Mumbai, Mr Y hails from a simple middle-class family. He is a bank executive in a bank while his wife works with an insurance company. Naturally, their income falls in the average category. Their only child goes to a normal private school. Although Mr and Mrs Y believe in God, they aren’t ritualistic. They hardly visit places of worship and never go for holy trips.

Despite the fact that they don’t earn handsomely, the couple has been saving money since a year to contribute to the needy farmers of the Marathwada district, who are committing suicide due to drought and debt. They also involve themselves in various social issues selflessly whenever they get a chance.

So, the question arises as to who exactly is worshiping God here? Family X or family Y?

You decide.

Actors Nana Patekar and Makarand Anaspure have been selflessly working towards the cause of farmers of Maharashtra. They have been contributing from their own pocketss despite not being rich. They have started an NGO called NAM Foundation.

You can contribute any amount that suits you by following the following method:-

Send in your amount to “NAM Foundation”

SBI Current account no. 35226127148

IFSC Code no. SBIN0006319

SWIFT Code no. SBININBB238

 

“If a stray dog of my country remains without food, my religion will be to feed and take care of him. All else is either non-religion of false religion.”

“He who sees Shiva in the poor, in the weak, and in the diseased, really worships Shiva. And if he sees Shiva only in the image, his worship is but preliminary.”

– Swami Vivekananda

5 inspiring incidents from Swami Vivekananda’s life

Swami Vivekananda’s birthday, which falls on January 12, is celebrated as National Youth Day in India. When Narendra Nath Datta was born on this day in 1863, who would have imagined him to become one of the brightest enlightening lights the world has seen?

Even 153 years after his birth and 114 years after his death, Swami Vivekananda’s messages and teachings continue to inspire people not just in India but world over, especially the youth. Swami Vivekananda’s life is full of amazing incidents. Therefore, these incidents are not mere incidents but an ocean of positive enlightenment.

On the pious occasion of the 153rd Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, let’s have a look at the 5 most enlightening and inspiring incidents from his life.

1) At Mount Abu Swami Vivekananda stayed with a Muslim lawyer who invited him saying, “If you would condescend to live with me, I shall feel myself greatly blessed. But I am a Mussalman. I shall, of course, make separate arrangements for your food.” Swamiji didn’t hear a word of that. When being asked by a visitor, “Well, Swamiji, you are a Hindu monk. How is it that you are living with a Muslim? Your food might, now and then, be touched by him.”

(READ: How Swami Vivekananda attacked communalism, casteism, class division in one go)

Swamiji, who couldn’t stand any differentiation on the basis of religion and caste, sternly replied, “Sir, what do you mean? I am a Sanyasin. I am above all your social conventions. I can dine even with a Bhangi. I am not afraid of God because He sanctions it. I am not afraid of the scriptures for they allow it. But I am afraid of you people and your society. You know nothing of God and scriptures. I see Brahman everywhere, manifested even through the meanest of creature. For me, there is nothing high or low. Shiva Shiva!”

Swami Vivekananda 2

2) Once Swamiji was given a rousing reception at a railway station in America as he got down from the train. A Negro porter went forward to shake hands with him saying: “Congratualations! I am extremely delighted that a man of my race has attained such great honor! The entire Negro community in this country feels proud of you!’ Swamiji eagerly shook hands with the porter and said warmly, “Thank you, brother!” He refused to deny he was a Negro.

Also read: Swami Vivekananda’s quotes on fearlessness

When asked why he didn’t reveal that he wasn’t a Negro, he angrily replied, “What? Should I rise at the expense of other? I was not born for that!”

Swami Vivekananda Statue

3) Once, Swamiji was having a lengthy trek in the Himalayas. He found an old man extremely exhausted and standing despairingly at the foot of an upward incline. The old man said to Swamiji in frustration, “Oh, sir I don’t know how I am going to cross it; I cannot walk any longer; my chest will halt.”

Also read: Why Christmas Eve holds importance for Swami Vivekananda followers?

Swamiji said, “Look down at your feet. The road which is under your feet is the road that you have crossed over and is the same road that you see beforehand you; it will quickly be under your feet.” These words inspired the old man to continue his onward trek.

Swami Vivekananda - Youth_2

4) When Swamiji was traveling across India, he came across a cobbler, who was looked down upon due to his profession. Therefore, the cobbler too felt the same about his profession. Swamiji tried igniting self-respect in him saying, “Your profession is very noble. It is only because of you that people are able to roam around without feeling the heat of the earth.” These words had a magical impact on the cobbler and he instantly developed self-respect for his work. No work is lowly!

Swami Vivekananda Message

5) During his voyage across India, Swamiji once halted at a railway station in Rajasthan, where he used to preach his message to eager listeners. However, three days passed by and nobody offered him any food. A cobbler noticed this and expressed his desire to offer him food. But he was scared since he belonged to a lower caste. However, Swamiji, who was against the notion of caste, happily accepted food from him.

Also read: 10 Swami Vivekananda quotes for youngsters

Some people, having noticed this, condemned Swamiji for accepting food cooked by a cobbler. To this, Swamiji angrily replied, “You people claim to be gentleman and boast of your high caste; what is more shameful that you condemn this man for being from a low caste. Can you overlook the humanity he has just shown and despise him without feeling ashamed?”

Vivekananda- Parliament of religons