A few days ago, I was interacting with our D.Ed students in the Personality Development program that they were having. Many of them wanted to know how the SVYM emblem had evolved. This is something that I have not shared with too many people and I felt that it would be appropriate to write about it now.
It was Feb 1986 and we had just completed celebrating our first anniversary in December 1985. I was sitting with Swami Achalanandaji whom I had got to know only in the past few months. But still, I felt that I had known him all my life. We enjoyed such a wonderful relationship – it was not just that of a guide and mentor; it was also something I would cherish all my life and not actually be able to describe, as words are normally not adequate to describe such special relationships. We were discussing our existing emblem, which was the map of India with the upper portion (which is the area of Jammu & Kashmir) being the face of turbaned Swami Vivekananda. The national flag of India was placed diagonally across. Without realizing that we could not legally depict the national flag (it was not legal in those days), we had included it in our emblem and the same was also registered.
Swamiji and I were having a chat on the need to change our emblem and the fact that it needed to reflect the philosophy behind our work. Swamiji felt that it should also carry the message that I had gathered from reading Swami Vivekananda’s books and how it related to the ideal of service. An uphill task and we started talking about it. After a few days, Swamiji invited an artist who was asked to draw what I would describe.
I explained how I was touched with the message of service as outlined by Swami Vivekananda in his book on Karma Yoga. The three hierarchical levels of service – physical, intellectual and spiritual. We represented these by the grains of paddy (Physical service), the book (Intellectual service) and the lotus (Spiritual service) sitting on the top. Our Indian culture and philosophy was represented by the Amrutha Kalasha (of Dhanavanthri). To give our emblem an international feel, we had the staff of Hermes included. This would also denote medical service, as primarily we were all medical students then. By selflessly performing service at the physical and intellectual level to mankind, we hoped to bring in sunshine in their lives. By doing this with no expectations of any kind, we also hoped that we would all grow and mature spiritually. As the organization was started in Mysore, Swamiji felt that the name with Mysore along side needed to be included.
Sri Ramakrishna’s words ‘Shiva Jnane Jeeva Seva’ (service of god in man) was to be our motto henceforth instead of ‘working for a better tomorrow’ (which was incidentally the slogan of State Bank of Mysore then). The artist faithfully drew a few drafts and brought it to us a few days later. After more discussions and redrafting, the final emblem as it exists today evolved.
– Balu (firstname.lastname@example.org)