Swami Vivekananda had undertaken long journeys in search of the truth before he reached the shores of Kanyakumari. Spotting a small island one furlong off the coast, he swam out to it, and engaged himself in meditation there. After some time, he returned to the shore, and devoted himself to the propagation of Hinduism.

A large centre has now been established on this island at a cost of Rs 2 crore (20 million). The construction, begun after independence, was completed in 1970. The main aim of the centre is “man-making”. When it made an appeal for recruitment of workers, dozens of highly educated men and women, as well as hundreds of young volunteers, responded to the call, and dedicated their lives to continuing Vivekananda’s mission.

Dr H.R. Nigendar is one of these dedicated volunteers. Earlier, he held a high position in the Space Flight Centre in America, but is now content with the modest life that the centre has to offer him. He does not feel out of place there. “A scientist’s job,” he said, “is to search for the truth, and my search is continuing. Earlier, it was in mechanical engineering, now it is in human engineering.”

Hundreds of people have abandoned a comfortable life and high position to engage in the quiet, constructive work that the Centre is conducting in various states around the country. In the words of Dr Nigendar, “It is a rich life indeed—rich in job satisfaction.”

A living nation alone can produce highly talented individuals who are ready to dedicate their lives to a noble cause, whose intellectual prowess makes them alive to lofty ideals. If people of high intelligence are not ready to dedicate their lives to high ideals, but engage instead in base pursuits, then all one can say is that such a nation has lost all vision and vitality.