In jail, I read the complete literature of Swami Vivekananda. One thing which impressed and amazed me very much was that Swami Vivekananda left his home and all worldly affairs to attain salvation but after travelling the whole of India for four years and seeing the poverty of our country, gave up the idea of Moksha too. On the rock of Kanyakumari, he made a historical announcement -"O Lord! I do not want salvation till every human being of my country is not free from hunger: And let me be born again and again to serve my motherland." Not only this, he called upon all the countrymen to forget all the Gods and Goddesses for sometime as the poor countrymen are the greatest Gods and Goddesses and their service is the highest worship. He gave the Mantra of DRIDARA-NARAYANA.
A veteran, intelligent, great leader and a great visionary Shanta Kumar is a former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and a former cabinet minister in Government of India. Born in a village in the foothills of Dhauladhar mountain ranges of Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, Shanta Kumar joined politics in 1953 when he was hardly 19 years and was arrested during Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee's Kashmir Andolan. Shanta Kumar started his public life as village panch of his village panchayat. He was elected to the Panchayat Samiti, Zila Parishad, Vidhan Sabha and then Lok Sabha. He also represented India in United Nations as a member of Parliamentary delegation in 2011. With a political career spanning more than five decades, he was founder member of Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Shanta Kumar was jailed in emergency and remained in Nahan Jail for 1 9 months.
In 1977 he became the first-ever non-congres Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. Presently, he is the National Vice-President of Bharatiya Janata Party and Member Parliament (Rajya-Sabha) from Kangra (H.P.). His first tenure as Chief Minister is remembered as Paaniwala Mukhya Mantri and for innovative Antyodaya Yojna for poor. During his second tenure as Chief Minister, he introduced private sector participation to expolit the vast potential in power generation and tourism the state had. As Union Food and Rural Development Minister, he poineered the Antyodya Anna Yojna, Hariyali, Swajaldhara schemes which continue to be as popular as ever even after the change of governments both in Himachal and at the centre.
Shanta Kumar is the head of Vivekananda Medical, Research Trust, which has set up a naturopathy centre KAYAKALP and a 55 bedded hospital in Palampur.
A prolific writer, Shanta Kumar has writtenY1 books in Hindi. His widely read books are : Dharati Hai Balidan Ki, Himalaya Par Lal Chhaya, Deshbhakat Sanyasi : Vivekananda, Lajo, Kaidi, Man Ke Meet, Jyotirmayi, 0 Pravasi Meet Mere, Mrigtrishna, Krant Abhi Aduri Hai, Deewar Ke Us Paar, Rajneeti Ki Shatranj, Tumahare Pyar Ki Paati and Vrinda, Bhrashtachar Ka Kadwa Sach, Badalate Yug, Badalte Chintan & Manzil Abhi Door Hai.
I had written this book on world renowned Swami Vivekananda 40 years ago in Hindi. I am grateful to the esteemed readers who appreciated whole-heartedly the first edition of the book. Many editions of the book have been published till today. On this occasion of republication of the book in English, I once again recall the inspiration behind writing this book.
In 1967, I had contested the State Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and lost. My first election and my first defeat. Disappointment and sadness was natural. I had started my law practice only three years ago. However, my heart was not in the court rooms. Small courts, small cases pertaining to land disputes and petty quarrels. The malpractice of producing false witnesses and fabricating false evidences. All this was sufficient to make me sad within three years. Then came the elections. When it was decided that I would be contesting the elections, my heart had a new hope "...I will win...new field of work...could bid farewell to the court". But dreams are not always fulfilled.
After my defeat in the elections, apart from the disappointment of defeat, there was also the issue of starting the practice once again. I could not find a way out.
I have been greatly influenced by the Bhagvada Gita and Swami Vivekananda from the very beginning. Whenever there had been difficulties in my life, I had sought solace in these great works. I decided to spend some peaceful days with Swamiji's literature all alone and completely involve myself in his teachings. My wife, Santosh, had gone to her parent's house and I was all alone. I stopped going to the court. The moment I started reading Vivekananda's literature, I felt a new hope, a new enthusiasm.
On the third day, a thought came into my mind to write a book at the first instance on Swamiji's life. I had already read a great deal on his life. I had studied the whole literature. I decided to concentrate all my energies in writing about his life and teachings then I would decide on the next course of action. I managed to complete the book within a couple of days.
I left the practice and joined politics full time. Swami Vivekananda is the architect of modern India, and also has been my source of inspiration from my childhood. I have read his works many times and have always tried to follow his ideals.
Today, when the nation has not only to address economic and security issues, but also the most important issue concerning the national character, Swami Vivekananda's life stands out as a beckoning light for today's youth who would be shaping up India's future. This book has been written keeping in mind the relevance of Vivekananda's ideals in the present situation.
It is not the subject of this book to analyse Swamiji's deep philosophical thoughts and his life's profound experiences. It is an attempt to portray Swamiji's patriotism in simple and lucid language. His life has been depicted in short paragraphs and essays so that the youth, and particularly the student community, can gain insights into his great life.
Three new chapters have been added in this book. I have not only studied Swami Vivekananda but tried to live up to his ideals throughout my personal as well as public life. The chapter "My Master -- My Guru" is the story of the practice of his ideals in my life.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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