11 January, Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi
Amma inaugurated the Swami Vivekananda Sarda Shati Samaroh, the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi. In her speech, Amma said “We have learned to fly like birds and swim like fish, but we have forgotten to how to walk and live like human beings. Today we have knowledge, but no awareness. We have information, but no discriminative thinking.”
Addressing the gathering of political leaders, religious leaders and other prominent figures in Delhi society, Amma stressed the need for India to live their lives based on the traditional values of which Swami Vivekananda was an embodiment: “In truth, many of the challenges faced by Sanatana Dharma have been self-created. We can blame others and point out the impact of globalization, foreign rule and other factors—and, perhaps, they can be blamed to a certain extent—but they are not the primary cause. The primary cause is our carelessness: we have failed to cherish and protect the invaluable wealth that is this culture.”
Furthermore Amma said that only a reawakening of values would avert future incidents like the one that took place recently in Delhi: “When our children are young and impressionable, mothers need to firmly tell their daughters, ‘You should be courageous. Never let anyone push you down. You should develop strength of heart.’ Similarly parents should teach their sons both the need to protect and to respect women. These days many men are like one-way roads; they need to become like highways, allowing women to also move forward alongside them. The government can change as many laws as it wants and make sentences for sex-offenders as strong as it wants, but unless we raise our children with these values, no real change will ever take place.”
Reflecting on Swami Vivekananda’s legacy, Amma said: “Even after another 150 years, the life and message of Swami Vivekananda will continue to carry the same significance as they do now. His life and his message will continue to inspire people because Swami Vivekananda was an individual whose character was a perfect blend of mental purity and vitality. His words have the power to awaken the spiritual potential inherent in humankind, the power to set it ablaze, and the power to raise those flames to the intensity of a forest fire. If Swami Vivekananda’s words are contemplated upon, they can help inspire a peaceful yet powerful spiritual revolution. Not an external revolution but an internal one—a transformation based on values.”
Amma shared the dais with many other great spiritual personalities and sadhus, including, Dr. Pranav Pandya, the head of the Gayatri Parivar; Acharya Lokesh Muni, a Jain Monk; Swami Ritambarananda of Sri Narayana Dharma Samgh; Swami Nikhilananda of Chinmaya Mission, and Mohan Bhagat. The other dignitaries also addressed the audience, giving inspiring speeches drawing from the life of Swami Vivekananda.
Before the program, Amma was welcomed to the venue by the organizers and many dignitaries had a chance to meet Amma before coming to the dais.
The program was officially started with Shanti mantra – Om Sahanavavatu. Amma was then introduced to the gathering by P Parameswaran, the director of Bharateeya Vichara Kendra. P Parameswaran addressed the crowd borrowing from Vivekananda’s words, ‘Bharat Jago, Viswa Jagavo’ – ‘Awake India, Enlighten the World’ expressing that this is the aim of these year long celebrations.
Amma addressed the audience in Malayalam and then she paused every few minutes to allow Swamiji to translate Amma’s words into English. Amma’s speech concluded to a thunderous standing ovation and before leaving the venue Amma briefly gave darshan some guests on hand, including LK Advani, and Nithin Gadkari.
The next day early morning Amma arrived at the Redfort to flag off the procession. Amma is the president of this Samaroah, which will have programs throughout the country during the entire year. Early in the morning of Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birthday, at a gathering of more than fifteen thousand, Amma arrived to a special venue erected just in front of the famous and historic Red Fort in the heart of Delhi. Amma shared the dais with many of the same dignitaries and Swamis that participated in the program the evening before in Siri Fort . With the dramatic backdrop of the Fort and India’s tri-colour flag flying high above, Amma’s message was read in Hindi by Br. Shubamrita.
All had assembled at the Red Fort to flag off a procession celebrating the birth of Swami Vivekananda. Hundreds of children dressed as Swami Vivekananda led the procession and before the started, they came to Amma seeking her blessings.