Youth Your Duty
We can give others only what we have, whether health, money, emotional sensitivity or intellectual brilliance. Youth are no more children, nor have they the frenzied responsibilities of adulthood; they are at a stage where they can mould history. All the revolutionary changes for progress have been made by youth, but in order to do this, they must know history; the mistakes made and the changes brought about in the past. They must have the knowledge, the tight judgment, and the capacity to plan. The old gang of cronies and bandicoots who have been wielding power will neither allow them to change anything, nor will they themselves do anything new. The old will follow the old orthodox methods. Since they lack the capacity to absorb changes, it is but natural that they can neither see new ideas, nor implement maintaining the status quo in whichever field they are: religion, science, politics, or whatever, and thus stagnation sets in. If the youth follow orthodoxy slavishly and do not carve out new possibilities, they are doomed to frustration, and then to the escapism of excessive indulgence in physical and mental exertion. They try to exhaust themselves in wasteful dissipation of physical, mental, psychological and intellectual energy—smoking, drinking, drugs and loud noise in the name of music.
Is there a way out? The answer is that they have to go through planned study. It is not enough just to imbibe what is given by the media, because that is not knowledge, but only modulated propaganda. The youth must learn to judge for themselves from their own convictions and then have the courage to live up to them. Their plans and vision must come from within, based on their own understanding of the world, their patriotism, love for the society and loyalty to the country, not necessarily to the government. Even one such leader can bring about a great change. Youthful vigour and intelligence must not be allowed to go in the wrong direction.
The present has been created by the past, and the future will come out of the present. Unless the youth of today are vigilant, dynamic and smart, the nation and with it their future, will sink. All powerful governments become tyrannical, as supreme power corrupts supremely. Today, youth can change this, as they have the poor of vote, the power to choose their leaders. They do not have to follow the politicians blindly; rather they should lead the politicians by the nose—that is true democracy. Till now, they have not thought for themselves; they have not cultivated social awareness; they have been thinking only of physical comforts.
When I was in Japan, where an average young man works for 10 to 12 hours a day because he is committed to the job allotted to him. Happiness comes from fulfilling that commitment. Once the youth are thus inspired, how can that country not grow? In Japan, labour and management work together, with a nominal difference of 10 per cent in their pay. At the age of 32, the working span of a managerial candidate is looked into. Promotion, which can mean even a 100 per cent jump, comes only if it is deserved. They can then go to any height, and no one grudges them this deserved rise. The habit of hard work, of pouring out the best, is also ingrained in them by this time. This is sensible socialism!
Youth has to get geared up to work, to acquire, and having acquired, to distribute—for a healthy nation. Corruption, the naked display of selfishness in cancerous personalities, will go only when youth opposes it—not by ‘goondaism’, the noisy ‘mobism’ of the universities, or the guns of the terrorists, but by organised disciplined planning and the courage of conviction in implementing these plans. First acquire knowledge, judge for yourself, then learn to sit together to take decisions, to carve out the future. You must get inspired by an ideal or an altar, and then dedicate yourself to it. This altar need not be religious; it may be professional, social or economic. Whatever your field, excel in it and give it your best. You must take the nation to a new sunrise, but not with guns; it is no enemy we have to fight…
If the youth sit back in the present, they will meet Karna’s fate as the wheel that is stuck sinks more and more into the mud. If Karna is to survive, he must lift the wheel of the chariot, using not only his own strength, but also invoking the blessings of his Guru. If Karna had invoked Parasurama’s grace, perhaps, he would have pardoned and his curse revoked!
India is a wonderful country, culturally beautiful, spiritually strong and geographically blessed. What a variety of people we are, but one bond keeps us together—the bond of Hinduism, like a string holding a row of pearls. The young Arjunas of today must rise to the call and do their duty to get this great nation on the move again, not by disintegrating and destroying—no progress is possible that way—but by expressing the glory of Hindu consciousness in the beauty of their actions. Please think…
By Swami Chinmayananda
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