Kolkata: Swami Vivekananda and his beliefs have become more relevant for today's society which is under turmoil and suffering from social evils, say his followers and eminent citizens.

"His teachings are very much relevant today. In fact, they are the need of the hour considering the turmoil our society has been going through currently," Magsaysay Award-winning author Mahasweta Devi said on Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary.

"There are so many social evils and the way to eliminate them is to head the path shown by Swamiji - the path of compassion, brotherhood, humanity and, of course, love for the country," the author and social activist said.

The views of Mahasweta Devi resonated in those of another social activist Swami Agnivesh who called Vivekananda a "secular, spiritual leader". "He is relevant today as much he was during his lifetime. He was far ahead of his times in his beliefs and thoughts. In fact, in today's world the right way ahead is to follow his footsteps," Agnivesh said.

"It would be grossly injust to brand him just a Hindu spiritual leader. He was as much a social and a political leader. His preaching are as much about patriotism, social and political equality as about spiritualism. He could instill inspiration in all, be it freedom fighters, religious and spiritual people or the ordinary man. It is great tragedy that there still persists casteism, gender discrimination and communalism in our country," added Agnivesh.
Swami Smaranananda, vice president of Ramakrishna Mission - a philanthropic and spiritual organisation founded by Vivekananda, quoted a saying by the monk to show his relevancy in modern times.   
"Swamiji used to say: 'You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul'.

"If only people could follow this simple saying the world would be far better a place to live," Smaranananda said.


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