Swami Vivekanand has said ‘A few heart-whole, sincere, and energetic men and women can do more in a year than a mob in a century’
Youth is the foundation of any nation; hence, the development of a nation is completely dependent on their growth. As Swami Vivekananda has said, youth is the power-bank of a nation that needs to be channeled for success and prosperity. However, it can’t be just any youth who builds the foundation but only the ones with strong hearts and cultural values.
As swami Vivekanand says: “A brave, frank, clean-hearted, courageous and aspiring YOUTH is the only foundation on which the future NATION can be built”
Unfortunately, in the current age, youth are being exposed to multiple threats that not only divert them from their real goals but also gradually rupture the foundation of the nation. Modernization has brought the effects of Western culture, pushing the youth into the dark pit of obscenity, pornography, drug abuse, depression, hateful minds, and cultural degradation. To shield them from this degradation, a cultural revolution that can aid in their holistic development is the need of the hour.
Youth: Spine of the nation
Youth is undoubtedly the most dynamic and vibrant segment of the population in any country. In Bharat, youth, adolescents, and children constitute the core of its 1.4 billion population. Furthermore, 27% of the nation’s population falls within the 15–29 age group. Bharat is also home to the world’s largest number of adolescents (10–19 years old), totaling 253 million.
The surge in the youth population presents multiple unique and interesting possibilities for a nation’s future, encompassing economic growth, social mobility, and the creation of a more inclusive and diverse cultural fabric. Therefore, it is essential that they are engaged in holistic development, focusing not only on education but also on overall personality development. This should include participating in various community drives and volunteering services to broaden their horizons and instill the human qualities of kindness and empathy.
Threats to modern day youth
Young people are very tender and can be easily molded. Individuals at a young age tend to adapt to what they see or observe around them. For this reason, they are highly influenced by their surroundings. Nowadays, youth are becoming victims of various challenges, including violence, unemployment, cultural degradation, anger issues, drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, and many other concerns. It is also observed that the youth become susceptible to dangers and may even pose problems to themselves and their communities. Let’s explore some of the main threats that contribute to these degradations.
Adverse effects of Media and Internet
Technology is said to be a boon, but it comes with some consequences too. As society has advanced, it has made the internet and media accessible to all. Obscene TV channels, cinema, pornographic literature, and other media have become readily available to the youth. The free internet has opened up a whole platter of obscenity, violence, and bad habits that impact young minds. This exposure is depriving young students and undermining their character, self-restraint, and morals.
Western: A Hedonistic Culture
The blind following of Western culture is another threat to today’s youngsters. They are influenced by some of the ill practices of Western culture, which only puts them deep into the pit hole of moral breakdown. Valentine’s Day celebration is one such event that holds no significance but is blindly followed by youths, causing their cultural degradation in the name of love.
Modern Education: Misguide in Disguise
The present education system, a legacy of the British colonial regime, is completely indifferent towards moral values. Consequently, today’s students begin leading an unrestrained and indulgent life even as bachelors. They indulge in fashion, impure eating, immoral behavior, bad company, vulgarity, cinema, etc., thereby experiencing a gradual degeneration. They are becoming weak and lustful. Their unfortunate condition reflects a lack of awareness regarding the significance of Brahmacharya.
Marketing Strategies: Pits for Downfall
The world today is focused on earning profits, even by selling items that contribute to harm. Alcohol, pan masala, and fancy luxury items are among the products sold for huge profits, resulting not only in the degradation of character but also in deteriorating health. Youth are easy targets for such products, influenced by advertisements, movies, and social media, making them adopt these products easily.
They tend to imitate so-called fake ideals, copying what they see in these fancy campaigns. It is due to such influences that they get trapped in bad habits. Human trafficking, drug addiction, and alcohol consumption are other adverse effects of these influences. Drinking alcohol among youths is a major concern in many countries. Worldwide, more than a quarter of all people aged 15–19 years are current drinkers, amounting to 155 million adolescents.
Depression and anxiety rank among the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents, and suicide is among the leading causes of death in people aged 15–19 years. Half of all mental health disorders in adulthood start by age 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. Furthermore, over 176,000 homicides occur worldwide among youth aged 15–29 years each year, constituting 37% of the total number of homicides globally.
Divine inspiration and guidance to youths
Most of the threats to the youth can only be handled by counteracting them with solutions that not only help fight these threats but also nurture cultural values. This is only possible by giving youths proper direction and preventing their destruction by Western influence. Visionary Hindu Saint Shri Asharamji Bapu has been instrumental in guiding the youth on the path to righteousness. He initiated a series of events, associations, discourses, and literature that served as a source of inspiration for the masses. He represented India in the World Religious Parliament held in Chicago in 1993.
Over the past several years, countless youths have made amazing progress in the vicinity of Asharamji Bapu, and they continue to do so even today. It is said that company matters a lot for the development of an individual; hence, having good company is key to success. Similarly, good literature, good practices, and yoga elevate one’s growth and success.
However, in today’s technology-driven era, it is very challenging to find all of these things in one place. To make this rare opportunity accessible to the youth, the following initiatives have been in place for years under the sacred inspiration and guidance of Asharamji Bapu.
Establishment of Yuva Sewa Sanghs: It is continuously working to provide youths of the country and those abroad the benefit of divine spiritual guidance, social service, and self-improvement. For today’s youth, the youth association becomes a medium to understand the Indian culture and learn the art of improving life accordingly. Besides, it plays the role of a true well-wisher and an excellent guide in the lives of the youth to move ahead on the path of progress with morality, tolerance, and strong self-confidence.
Tulsi Pujan Diwas: It is noteworthy that during the period from 25th December to 1st January, to bid farewell to the year, incidents such as the consumption of alcohol, intoxicants, suicides, destruction, and unethical acts by young people occur frequently due to blind imitation of the Western culture. To get rid of all these serious problems of mankind, Tulsi Pujan Diwas was initiated nationwide in 2014 under the sacred inspiration of the revered Saint Shri Asharamji Bapu. It is celebrated every year on 25th December.
Parents Worship Day: Bapuji believes that love is innocent and unites with God. It should not be conflated with lust or desires; instead, it is an eternal feeling that can help one reach spiritual excellence and contribute to the growth of others as well. With a clear vision – he aimed to protect the younger generation by instilling cultural values, strengthening parent-child relationships, and preventing blind adherence to Western influences. To counteract the adverse effects and obscenity caused by Valentine’s Day, and to revive cultural values and the eternal love of parents, Visionary Saint Shri Asharamji Bapu initiated the celebration of Parents Worship Day (Matri Pitri Poojan Diwas) on 14th February in the year 2007.
Dhyan Yog Shivirs: From time to time, Meditational camps, Dhyan Yog Shivirs are organized pan India for the upliftment of youths. The largest participation is seen during Diwali Anushthan Shivir, where thousands of young children practice pranayama, yoga, and Dhyan along with the mantra Anushthan.
Tejaswini empowerment: To educate, empower young girls and for their spiritual, social and cultural upliftment, multiple initiatives such as Tejaswini Abhiyan, Tejasvani Yuva Shivirs and formation of Mahila Utthan Mandal have been in place.
Guidance by literature and video magazines: The sound knowledge of scriptures and Vedas is captured in books like Divya Prerna Prakash, Rishi Prasad, etc. which guide youth towards a path of success and spirituality.
Millions of people are experiencing happiness, peace, and blessedness in their lives by attending Pujya Bapuji’s Discourses, Shivirs, and by joining his divine works.
Today, the winds of Western culture are overshadowing society and influencing the youth of the nation. It has become crucial to protect them from degradation. This is only possible if they are guided by the light that can show them the path to righteousness and also protect them from deviation from their goals.
Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu has led millions on their path to spirituality and cultural excellence. His initiatives not only serve as companions for their success but also instill cultural values, knowledge, courage, celibacy, and patriotism. These youths not only develop their lives but also serve as responsible citizens of Bharat. His tireless efforts have given a new direction to the lives of the youth who then work on shaping a bright future for Bharat.