So long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them.
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success; that is the way great spiritual giants are produced.
Half a loaf of bread is better than no bread at all.
I do not believe in a God or Religion, which cannot wipe away the widow’s tears or bring a piece of bread to the orphan’s mouth.
These inspiring words of Swami Vivekananda were what led to the founding of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM). The idea of educated young men coming together and contributing tirelessly and selflessly for the progress of India was the energy behind SVYM and its inception. Over the last 27 years, the idea evolved into concrete service projects and SVYM built hospitals, schools, livelihood initiatives and various social projects all over the state of Karnataka. Friends, members and well wishers carried this idea forward into the US and the UK, and independent centers emerged there. Looking back, one can justifiably feel proud that we have made a difference in the lives of the thousands that we came in contact with. While one cannot belittle our accomplishments and achievements, I feel that this is also the time for us to revisit this idea that led to our creation. Many years ago, we fondly called this idea the Viveka Spirit.
Growth, expansion and the need to survive as one of India’s leading NGOs has indeed shifted our focus towards more and more projects. We are now recognizing that organizational growth and the thriving of this idea need not be synchronous. Members subscribing to this concept of doing good wherever we are has now shifted to only engaging with projects that SVYM undertakes. The time has come for us to bring back the spirit of ‘Viveka’ into all that we do.
It is also time for us to re-engage with our own members – past and present, and get them to help foster this idea of community service being led and undertaken by qualified young professionals who are determined to build a strong, humane and equitable world order. This can be in the form of providing or provisioning basic human services, can be in any sector of human activity, can portray as excellence in whatever we are doing, can go beyond geographical barriers and finally bring fulfillment and enrichment into our lives. SVYM today needs to be the ‘Movement’ that it originally set out to be. It needs to be a welcome platform wherein any person can test out his ideas of service and sacrifice. It needs to go beyond the limitations that human ego can bring in, and beyond the restrictions that structures created by growth and organizational demands impose. It should be driven by what the society and communities need. Finally, it needs to be the melting pot where ideas are not only welcomed but ever encouraged. It is then and only then can a resurgent SVYM emerge and evolve itself into something that was originally conceived. Till then, we will continue to only be one of India’s Leading Development Organizations.
Now is the time for us to join hands and take this ever expansive and vibrant spirit of ‘Viveka’ forward and help shape SVYM into what it truly deserves to be in making this world a better place to live in.