The art of writing letter is an art form seldom picked up at present to express feelings, opinions or to initiate discussions. In that respect, the work by Dr. Sanjay Mukhopadhayay serves dual purpose – it helps in exploring the ‘humane’ side of Swami Vivekananda and at the same time, it reminisces to the lost art of letter writing. Mukhopadhyay refers to 576 letters written by Swami Vivekananda in his book ‘Chithipotrer Alokey Swamiji’ to unearth the flesh-and-blood Narendranath Datta who is often overshadowed by his spiritual avatar Swami Vivekananda.
National Youth Day 2023: Understanding Swamiji through his letters
On ‘National Youth Day’ to commemorate the 160th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, Mukhopadhayay’s book ‘Chithipotrer Alokey Swamiji’ was launched at Brainware University in the presence of Hon’ble Chancellor Phalguni Mookhopadhayay; Dr. Sankar Gangopahyay, Vice Chancellor; Swami Puruseshananda Maharaj (Ramkrishna Math, Barasat) and Dr. Sudipta Narayan Roy (Chairman, AYUSH National Task Force (ASSOCHAM) and MD, Powell Group. Brainware University has also published the book.
The programme at Brainware University primarily aimed at exploring Narendranath Datta, the person in flesh-and-blood. With this objective, Vivekananda Study Circle was also inaugurated on the same day. “The primary objective of the Vivekananda Study Circle is to awaken the intuitive spirit among us. Our aim will be to discuss the works and ideals of Swamiji and to implement it in our contemporary education system. This will benefit our students and faculty members,” said Dr. Bhakti Bhusan Barik, Professor and HOD, Brainware University and President, Vivekananda Study Circle.
National Youth Day 2023: Understanding the flesh-and-blood Swamiji
While addressing the gathering, Hon’ble Chancellor Phalguni Mookhopadhayay recalled how his fascination towards Swami Vivekananda evolved with time. “Swamiji stories were not appealing to us in school because they only highlighted the ‘spiritual’ Vivekananda that hardly interested us in that age. We went to college during the turbulent times of the Naxalite Movement where politics and cinema formed a major portion of our discussion rather than Swamiji,” he added. He continued, “About 30-35 years ago, I met Swamiji scholar Shankariprasad Basu in New Jersey who introduced me to a ‘humane’ Vivekananda,” said Hon’ble Chancellor Phalguni Mookhopadhayay while addressing a gathering on National Youth Day.”
The author Dr. Sanjay Mukhopadhayay also echoed the voice of Hon’ble Chancellor in his speech. He said, “Let us all keep aside the monk persona of Swami Vivekananda and concentrate on Narendranath Datta, the person.” Dr. Mukhopadhayay explored the intuitive nature of Swami Vivekananda since childhood who was full of courage and asked questions at every opportunity – a social reformer who was against superstitious beliefs, casteism and blind faith.