Friends, you must have heard about Swami Vivekananda. He was the supreme disciple of Ramkrushna Paramhansa. He spread Spirituality all over the world, throughout his life. People abroad used to rush to hear his speech in large numbers. American people were mad about his speeches.
Once a gentleman came to visit Swami Vivekananda and said, “Maharaj, please save me; my life has become hell due to my vices. How much ever I try, I cannot get rid of my bad habits. Please tell me some remedy for that.” The man started crying after telling all this. Swami Vivekananda did not say a word. He called one of his disciples and told something in his ear. After sometime, Swamiji took the gentleman along with him for a stroll in the garden. There, they saw a disciple embracing a tree very firmly and kicking it continuously, saying, “Leave me, leave me”. Seeing this, the gentleman started laughing and said, “Maharaj, what a fool he is. He himself has caught the tree and on top of it he is saying, leave me, leave me.” Swami Vivekananda laughed and said, “Yours is also the same case, don’t you think so ? You yourself have caught hold of the vices and then you only cry that they do not leave you.” Hearing this, the gentleman was ashamed a bit.
When they went ahead, they saw a gardener putting manure for the plants. It smelt awful. The gentleman could not bear the smell and held a handkerchief on his nose. Swami Vivekananda laughed and went further ahead. There they saw various flowers blooming on trees. The environment there was full of fragrance. The gentleman started enjoying the fragrance. He was very happy. Vivekananda was still smiling. The gentleman was surprised; he thought, “Is this man a lunatic ? I have placed such a serious matter before him and he is just laughing. Is he fooling me ?” Finally he asked Swami Vivekananda, “Maharaj, why are you smiling ? Have I done anything wrong ?” Vivekananda said, “The flowers are so less evolved compared to human beings, yet they transform the foul smelling manure into fragrance and distribute it among all, without holding back any of it. But a matured and fully grown-up human being cannot transform his vices into virtues. These flowers spread their fragrance in every situation, that is, while shaking, while smiling, even when they are plucked. They do not leave their characteristics; but a man gets unsteady even with a mild wind.” Hearing this, the gentleman got embarrassed. He realised his mistake. He left the place fully satisfied.
Children, if you also want to eradicate your vices, then as the gentleman had to leave the tree, only you will have to leave the vices. Chanting God’s Name brings about internal as well as external changes in our attitude. As shown by Vivekananda, we can transform our vices into virtues. Swami Vivekananda had practised Spirituality himself; hence he could relieve the man from his grief. He could direct the dispirited society because of his strong spiritual practice. Even today, Swami Vivekananda’s memorial at Kanykumari gives an evidence of his radiant personality.