‘Presence of Mind’ of Swami Vivekananda | Story

Swami Vivekananda is known for his quick wit and wisdom. Here is a small story that emphasis why doing things in the right way is more important than the hard way. This story also emphasizes on use of tools and techniques to get ahead rather than wasting precious amounts of time. Way back I read this on the internet of a wonderful incident towards the same. Coincidently this story was retold by J. Krishnamurthy in one of his talks. This shows the importance of this story.

Once, Swamiji was wandering near the Himalayas. During the journey, he came across a river. The boat was used as a means of transportation there. He saw that the boat had left the riverbank just before he arrived. So, he sat on the riverbank waiting for the boat to return.

Soon, a Sadhu (enlightened sage) arrived at the riverbank and saw Swamiji sitting there waiting for the boat and asked him, “What’s your name?”

“I am Vivekanand”, Swamiji replied.

Sadhu tried to mock him and said, “So, you are the famous Vivekanand who thinks that he has become a great sage by speaking in foreign nations.”

Sadhu continued, “Could you cross the river? See, I can cross it by merely walking on it” and demonstrated by walking for few steps on the river.

Swamiji saw it and replied in a humble tone, “It’s a great power indeed. How much time did it take for you to get this power?”

Sadhu proudly replied, “It’s not so easy. I had to bear the tough Himalayas for 20 years, devote myself to Tapasya (penance) and after this extreme sadhana (practice) I got this power!”

Swamiji replied, “You wasted 20 years of your life doing something that a boat can do in 5 minutes. You could have instead devoted those 20 years to serving the poor. That was your waste of time, not wisdom!”

Sadhu was speechless upon hearing it.

Swamiji always practiced “Service to people is service to God”


Praveen Hanchinal is an Educator, IT Consultant, Professional Speaker on Artificial Intelligence (AI, ML, DL), Cloud, Big Data, IoT (Internet of Things) and BlockChain. Have been working on AI, Cloud, Big Data, IoT technologies for 9.0 years. He is a Team Lead, Educator, IT Consultant, trains and gives talks on topics of his interest and educates people. Trained around 11000+ people which include teachers, students, industry professionals and government officials on recent technologies.

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