In 1881, an 18 year old teenager, not unlike yourself, presented himself before the spiritual guru, Sri Ramakrishna, at a temple in Dakshineshwar and asked him profound questions on the nature of existence. This interaction would later be known as the beginning of the making of the man who would go on to be known around the world as Swami Vivekananda.
This anecdote shows that it is never too early to consider the most important questions a person can face, it is never too early to ask what small change you can bring to this world and even if you haven’t thought of it until now, it is never too late to begin. At the core of his belief system was a deep and abiding trust in the true nature of human beings who would act as ethical beings because it was the right thing to do.
Each and every one of you will one day have to ascribe a meaning to your life. As Swami Vivekananda said, “Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.” Your education here, in this college and outside it, during your time here and long after you graduate, will help you find that truth. The true hallmark of that education would be one “by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.” So, seek out that education, discover that truth and remember to use it well.
I welcome you all to this great institution of higher learning and assure you of a nurturing and caring environment that will see all of you blossom into empowered and sensitive human beings.