Monday, May 18, 2009

Youngsters To Be Change Their Life Style For Good Society

The Challenge Before the Youth
There is no denying that youth is the best period in an individual’s life and the way the youth are educated and their capabilities utilized goes a long way in deciding whether the nation is on the way to growth and prosperity or decline and decay. So it is no surprise that all institutions and leaders, be they political, religious, military or social,target the youth as their main resource and try to utilize them to best advantage.

The Present Scenario We live an era of globalisation and knowledge explosion. Now the prospects for the youth in general are very bright; in fact the consensus is, ‘it has never been so good.’But nothing good comes unalloyed and the present era also poses its share of problems to face, such as stiff competition, a fast life, all round temptation for indulgence and licentious living, cultural shocks, insecurity and so on. Realizing these dangers many youth organizations and cultural groups conduct seminars, workshops and symposiums to provide the youth with proper guidance and also to mobilize their resources for constructive purposes.

But these exercises, however, often end up as mere fruitless rituals. This is purely due to lack of coordination and absence of a common cause for the youth to pursue. Some of them present them a rosy picture of a very bright future, highlight the prospects offered by booming economy, unlimited employment opportunities, growing demand for outsourced workers starting with five figure salaries and so on.Yet some others call all these only myth and draw the attention of the youth to certain realities like loss of ethics and morals both in the private and public life, adulterated food,indifferent health services, educational institutions in chaotic condition, rampant corruption at all levels and a distressing political situation—in short a state of affairs that will make any right thinking person despondent. So what is myth for one is reality for the other and vice versa.This brings us to the question: what is myth and what is reality?

The Myth Idea
The English word ‘myth’ in common usage stands for any fictitious story,unscientific theory or belief, something imaginary, person or thing not really existing.The word is derived from the Greek root ‘mythos’ meaning story or legend, generally of unknown origin, usually about the exploits of Gods and heroes relating to religion, customs,rites etc. Some say the word is derived from the Sanskrit ‘mithya’ meaning false or not real as it is used frequently in that context as well.Myth as a topic is very vast and covers all aspects of human life. Every society, every age and every civilization has its own quota of myths. Only some are short-lived while others continue for millennia, some confined to small groups while others cover the entire society or even the whole nation and so on.As one set of myths get demolished, another set arises to take its place. Further, what is myth at one time becomes reality at a later date, and what is myth for some people is reality for others and vice versa. Myths are an integral part of every society, and have a positive contribution to make.All the myths that we are familiar with are partly representations of how we seek the reality of be. They may be historically true or untrue, the whole idea that they try to portray is that there is a deep-rooted hankering in the human mind to seek a perfect model of life.They are an expression of a desire for perfection and excellence.In this sense these myths are not myths but real.Joseph Campbell (1904-1987), the eminent American writer and thinker who did a life long study of myths,remarked once that he trusted myths more than history, because ‘myth is truer than history.’

The messages contained in the advertisements appearing in the media, and many of the items they publish or broadcast as well,are only myths. The media men claim to be serving the public but in reality they make money by misguiding the public. And the fact is that they have become vital part of our present-day life and cannot be dispensed with. For most people, what is myth and reality of life, hence, cannot be clearly demarcated.Certain things may be real to some, and same things may unreal to others. What is real to a child may not be of any importance to a grown up and vice-a-versa. Is there a set of values or a set of ideas which, if a youth follows, he or she can come out of this apparent confusion and seek a clear course of action and thinking in life?

What Youth Can Do

It is possible for us to chart out a definite way of life and thinking. The first thing to remember is that we should look within. This is where the core of spirituality lies. To many spirituality and self-improvement may be a ‘myth,’ but if there are myths all over, why not choose the ‘real’ myths, the myths that would lead to inner growth and fulfilment, both individual and collective? Myth in some form is inevitable and necessary for a healthy society. There are good myths and bad myths, like good bacteria and harmful bacteria or good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. What is required of the youth is to be enlightened so that they are able to distinguish one from the other and learn to protect themselves from the latter. Then only the immense potential present in youth will become manifest. How to develop this sense of discrimination from right and wrong?First of all the youth must learn to have faith in themselves. They often have a poor opinion about themselves. To all youth who suffer from this lack of self-confidence, one may refer to what Swami Vivekananda said:

‘He is an atheist who does not believe in himself.The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself.’

With faith in oneself, they can face all situations and challenges in life. This is the first value they need to cultivate. There is an urgent need to restore our self-esteem. Withoutself-esteem, nothing worthwhile in life can be achieved.

Along with faith in oneself, one must have an ideal in life. With no clearly stated purpose of life guiding them, most youth simply squander away their precious energies.In order that one be able to channel one’s time and energy in a meaningful way, one shouldhave an ideal. Let us recall what Swamiji said in this regard. He said:Unfortunately, in this life, the vast majority of persons are groping through this dark lifewithout any ideal at all. If a man with an ideal makes a thousand mistakes, I am sure that theman without an ideal makes fifty thousand.Therefore, it is better to have an ideal.

Indeed unless one has a destination to reach, where is the issue of losing one’s way? We must therefore have a destination to reach and never mind whatever difficulty we may face in order to reach that.As said earlier, the idea of myth and reality is so very deeply interwoven that one needs a sharp mind and a sound sense of values in order to separate grain from chaff.This is the real challenge before any youth.This requires that they re-educate hemselves.‘Education,’ said Swami Vivekananda, ‘is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested all your life. We must have life-building, man-making,character-making, assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart a whole library.’

To re-educate oneself, one needs to understand the real purpose of education to be man making. Education is not a process of getting some degrees and then searching for a job. Education is the total training a human being undergoes in order to make his and others’ life meaningful. Developing the power of concentration and developing one’s personality are the most essential parts of a true education.

In a very significant statement,Swamiji says We hear ‘Be good,’ and ‘Be good,’ and ‘Be good,’ taught all over the world. There is hardly a child,born in any country in the world, who has not been told, ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not tell a lie,’ but nobody tells the child how he can help doing them. Talking will not help him. Why should he not become a thief? We do not teach him how not to steal; we simply tell him, ‘Do not steal.’

Only when we teach him to control his mind do we really help him. All actions, internal and external, occur when the mind joins itself to certain centres, called the organs. Willingly or unwillingly it is drawn to join itself to the centres,and that is why people do foolish deeds and feel miserable, which, if the mind were under control, they would not do. What would be the result of controlling the mind? It then would not join itself to the centres of perception, and,naturally, feeling and willing would be under control. Is it possible? It is perfectly possible.

In conclusion one can say without the fear of contradiction that though there may be numerous myths and confusing ideas around us, the best course of action lies in developing one’s personality for that is where the solution lies. We must begin from ourselves, not by criticising and wanting to correct others. One tested method of encountering myth problem is to always stick to truth. It is well-known that if such a person follows reason and truth for a while, it itself will lead him to what is beyond reason, and he will be enlightened.And if we have made ourselves strong, the others will also learn to change. A society is nothing but a collection of units. If we take care of units, the whole will take care of itself.And this is real, not a myth.

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