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The  first  Statue of  Swami Vivekananda  in  South Africa,  will be unveiled at the  Ramakrishna  Centre of  South Africa in  Durban on Sunday, 11 September 2016 by  His  Holiness  Srimat Swami Suhitanandaji Maharaj, General Secretary of the Worldwide Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission. The Ramakrishna Order of Monks is the largest Hindu Monastic Order in the world with over 1800 monks. Swami Suhitanandaji will be visiting South Africa and Zambia from 9-20 September 2016. In addition to the unveiling of the statue of Swami Vivekananda, he will also be inaugurating the Joint Celebrations of the 75th Anniversary of the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa and the 150th Birth Anniversary of Sister Nivedita at the Ramakrishna Centre Headquarters and its branches.

The date of 11 September 1893 represents a historic milestone in the life of Swami Vivekananda, on this day he spoke at the Parliament of Religions to an audience of more than 4000 men and women representing all the organised religions – Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Jainism, Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, etc. No sooner had he addressed the assembly as “Sisters and Brothers of America” than a great wave of enthusiasm went through the audience. They rose to their feet with shouts of applause, as if they had gone mad. For two full minutes he attempted to speak, but the wild enthusiasm of the audience would not allow it. Others had addressed them in the customary manner but the Swami had touched the deepest chord of their heart by discarding formality and stressing the kinship of all people expressing the emotion of universal brotherhood. Swami Vivekananda on his return to India after his travels in America and Europe, together with his brother monks (the 16 apostles of Sri Ramakrishna) founded the Ramakrishna Mission on 1 May 1897.

At the threshold of his youth Narendra, later to become Swami Vivekananda, had to pass through a period of spiritual crisis when he was assailed by doubts about the existence of God. It was at that time he first heard about Sri Ramakrishna from one of his English professors at college. One day in November 1881, he went to meet Sri Ramakrishna who was staying at the Kali Temple in Dakshineshwar. He straightaway asked the Master a question which he had put to several others but had received no satisfactory answer: “Sir, have you seen God?” Without a moment’s hesitation, Sri Ramakrishna replied: “Yes, I have. I see Him as clearly as I see you, only in a much intenser sense.” Apart from removing doubts from the mind of Narendra, Sri Ramakrishna won him over through his pure, unselfish love. Thus began a guru-disciple relationship which is quite unique in the history of spiritual masters. Narendra now became a frequent visitor to Dakshineshwar and, under the guidance of the Master, made rapid strides on the spiritual path. At Dakshineshwar, Narendra also met several young men who were devoted to Sri Ramakrishna, and they all became close friends.

Making an objective assessment of Swami Vivekananda’s contributions to world culture, the eminent British historian A L Basham stated that “in centuries to come, he will be remembered as one of the main moulders of the modern world…” Swami Vivekananda’s vision of an ideal human personality was the harmonious development of the faculties of feeling, thinking and willing—heart, head and hand: “heart to feel, brains to conceive, hands to work.” He wanted this man-making programme particularly for the youth of our country so that we would have strong, energetic, young men and women, sincere to the backbone, of impeccable character and unimpeachable integrity. He wrote: “What I want is muscles of iron and nerves of steel, inside which dwells a mind of the same material as that of which the thunderbolt is made.”

Sister Nivedita’s 150th Birth Anniversary is being observed around the world. She born Margaret Elizabeth Noble in Ireland in 1867, became one of Swami Vivekananda’s foremost disciples and contributed greatly to the Freedom Movement and the upliftment of women in India.

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Words of Wisdom

"They alone live who live for others. The rest are more dead than alive." - Swami Vivekananda

"Japa (i.e. the repetition of the name of God) leads to perfection" - Sri Sarada Devi

"Not even the God's can harm my children" - Sri Sarada Devi

"He finds God quickest whose concentration and yearning are strongest" - Sri Ramakrishna