Friday, May 6, 2011

The Wandering Monk Stands Tall

The Wandering Monk

"I consider that the great national sin is the neglect of the masses and that has been one of the causes of our downfall. No amount of politics would be of any avail until the masses in India are once more well-educated, well-fed and well-cared for."
— Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda statue at Cheluvamba Park, Mysore
This is one among the many other quotes by Swami Vivekananda, which decorates the backdrop of the majestic Vivekananda statue at Cheluvamba Park (Yadavagiri) on KRS Road in city.
In 1892, Swami Vivekananda came to Mysore for two weeks from November 9 to 24 and was the State guest of the then Maharaja Chamaraja Wadiyar. He stayed at the Niranjan Math in city prior to his visit to Chicago and the famous address at the Parliament of World Religions.
To commemorate his visit, the centenary celebrations were held for five days in 1992. A Citizen's Forum was set up to look after the programmes and from the total amount collected for the celebration, around Rs. 2 lakh was saved for installing the statue of the Swami.
This nine-and-half foot tall bronze statue was sculpted by renowned Kolkata sculptors G. Pal and Company. The location of the statue was designed for free by Mumbai's famous architect S.V. Kini and the Mysore City Corporation spent around Rs. 6 lakh on it.
The statue, unveiled by K.R. Narayanan, the then Vice-President of India, is presently being maintained by the Ramakrishna Ashram, Mysore.
One of the uniqueness of the place is that it houses not just the statue of Swami Vivekananda but also has some of his famous quotes both in Kannada and English engraved in the background. The statue, set up on an elevated platform resembling a rock, is surrounded by a pond full of lotus plants. The enclosure itself is a small park with a variety of colourful flowers enhancing the beauty of the serene place.
Other statues of Swami Vivekananda in a meditative pose are also located at the entrance of Sri Ramakrishna Vidyashala in Yadavagiri and at the entrance of the main temple at Ramakrishna Institute of Moral and Spiritual Education (RIMSE) on KRS Road.
Statue in front of prayer hall at RIMSE

Statue at Ramakrishna Vidyashala
The sculptor of the statue at the Vidyashala is Uhan Tin, a Burmese artiste. The statue has been carved from Caen Stone from England and the mantap is made of granite which has been designed by E. Ashir-vadam, an architect. The six-and-half feet statue was unveiled on Jan. 20, 1978 by L.K. Advani during the silver jubilee celebrations of the Vidyashala.
About the Swami: Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12, 1863, in Kolkata as Narendranath Dutta. He was the chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He is considered a key figure in the introduction of Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and America.
After the death of his Guru, Vivekananda became a wandering monk, touring the Indian subcontinent and getting first-hand knowledge of India's condition. He later sailed to Chicago and represented India as a delegate in the 1893 Parliament of World Religions.
An eloquent speaker, Vivekananda was invited to several forums in the United States and spoke at Universities and clubs. He also established the Vedanta Societies in America and England.
Later he sailed back to India and in 1897, founded the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. He died at an early age of 39 on July 4, 1902.

(Published in Star of Mysore dated May 6, 2011)


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