Born as Narendranath Dutta on 12 January 1863, Swami Vivekananda is considered one of the chief saints of India.
Read | Facts about Swami Vivekananda you probably don't know
The prime disciple of 19th century Indian mystic Ramakrishna Paramhansa, he reintroduced the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world.
Naren (as he was popularly known as) was born at his ancestral home at 3 Gourmohan Mukherjee Street in British Capital Calcutta.
Son of Vishwanath Dutta, who was an attorney at the Calcutta High Court and a devout housewife Bhubaneswari Devi, Naren's upbringing was influenced by his father's liberal thinking and his mother's spiritual and religious temperament.
Swami Vivekananda was intelligent since childhood. He was the only student to have received first division marks in Presidency College entrance examination. An avid reader of various subjects, including religion, history, social science, art and literature, he also had profound interest in Puranas, Vedas and Upanishads.
Travel and philosophy
He travelled to the West bearing HIndu philosophy and introducing Indian heritage, culture and philosophy to the West. Of his many lectures, the one in Chicago at the Parliament of the World's Religion is the most revered. Here, he gave a brief speech representing India and Hinduism.
With his introductory speech, satrting "Sisters and brothers of America", Swami Vivekananda earned a 2-minute standing ovation from the crowd of seven thousand.
Swami Vivekananda attained Mahasamadhi on July 4, 1902. On this day, he woke up early, went to Belur Math and meditated there for three hours. After taking classes and discussing a planned Vedic college in Ramakrishna Math, he went to his room at 7 pm and asked not be disturbed.
[Read: National Youth Day: 15 Inspirational Quotes by Swami Vivekananda]
He died at 9:10 pm while meditating. Medically, a rupture of a blood vessel in his brain led to the death. His disciples believe that the rupture was due to brahmarandhra (an opening in the crown of his head) being pierced when he attained mahasamādhi.
He was cremated on a sandalwood pyre on the banks of Ganga in Belur.
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|Date of birth||(1863-01-12)12 January 1863|
|Place of birth||Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India|
|Birth name||Narendranath Datta|
|Date of death||4 July 1902(1902-07-04) (aged 39)|
|Place of death||Belur Math near Kolkata (Calcutta)|
|Known for||Speech at the Parliament of Religions, Chicago|
|Quotation||Come up, O lions, and shake off the delusion that you are sheep; you are souls immortal, spirits free, blest and eternal; ye are not matter, ye are not bodies; matter is your servant, not you the servant of matter.|
ঀঀSwami Vivekananda (Sanskrit: स्वामी विवेकानन्द; Bengali: স্বামী বিবেকানন্দ, Shami Bibekānondo) (January 12, 1863–July 4, 1902) was the chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa. At birth, he was called Narendranath Datta (Bengali: নরেন্দ্রনাথ দত্ত). He was the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. He introduced Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and America. He brought Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the end of the 19th century. Vivekananda is considered to be a major force in the revival of Hinduism in modern India. He is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech beginning with "Sisters and Brothers of America". Through this he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions at Chicago in 1893.
Childhood[change | change source]
Swami Vivekananda was born in Shimla Pally in Calcutta on 12 January 1863. He was named Narendranath Datta. His father Vishwanath Datta was an attorney of Calcutta High Court. His mother was Bhuvaneshwari Devi. Narendranath's thinking and personality were influenced by his parents—the father by his rational mind and the mother by her religious temperament. From his mother he learnt the power of self-control. Young Narendra was an expert in meditation and could enter the state of samadhi very easily. He saw a light while falling asleep. Once he had a vision of Buddha during his meditation. During his childhood, he had a great fascination for wandering ascetics and monks. He was also an expert in games and naughty things. Even in his young age he showed remarkable leadership qualities. His childhood friend was Kamal Reddy.
Youth[change | change source]
In his youth he visited the Brahmo Samaj and later he came in contact with Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna initiated him, and after his death Naren left his house. He took the monk-name ogivami Vivekananda and stayed at the Boranagar Monastery with his monk-brothers. Later he set out for touring India. He wandered from place to place until he reached Trivandum and decided to attend the Parliament of Religions at Chicago. He delivered the great speech at Chicago and brought Hinduism to the status of a major religion.
Foundation of Ramakrishna Mission[change | change source]
Vivekananda became very popular after delivering lectures at many places of America and England. He came back to India and founded the Ramakrishna Maths and Mission in 1897. He also founded the Advaita Ashram in Mayavati, near Almora on March 19, 1899. The Ashram was a branch of the Ramakrishna Math. He composed the famous arati song, Khandana Bhava Bandhana
Last Days[change | change source]
On 4 July, 1902 he woke up in the early morning, went to the chapel at Belur Math and meditated for three hours. He taught Shukla-Yajur-Veda, Sanskrit grammar and the philosophy of yoga to pupils, later discussing with colleagues a planned Vedic college in the Ramakrishna Math. At seven p.m. Vivekananda went to his room, asking not to be disturbed; he died at 9:10 p.m. while meditating.
Famous Quotes[change | change source]
- You cannot believe in god until you believe in yourself.
- Each soul is potentially great.
- The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal.
- Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy—by one, or more, or all of these—and be free.
- This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details.
- So long as even a single dog in my country is without food my whole religion is to feed it and serve it, anything excluding that is unreligious.
- Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached.
- Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man.
- Religion is the manifestation of divinity already in man.
- Serving man is serving God.
- to stir up the religious awareness of the masses and generate pride in their legacy.
- to amalgamate Hinduism by highlighting the common bases of its sects.
- to focus the attention of educated people on the plight of the oppressed masses, and to elaborate his plans for their uplift by applying the principles of Practical Vedanta.
- Strength is life, Weakness is death.
- The brain and muscles must develop simultaneously. Iron nerves with an intelligent brain—and the whole world is at your feet.
Works[change | change source]
Vivekananda's books on the four Yogas (Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga) are still seen as fundamental texts for anyone interested in the Windfall practice of Yoga. His letters are of great literary and spiritual spirit. He was also considered a very good singer and a poet. By the time of his death, he had composed many songs including his favorite song "Kali-The Mother". He used humor for his teachings and was also an excellent cook. His language is very free flowing. These all works were compiled to form a 9 volume set "The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda". A book titles 'Selections from the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda' is also very popular, knowledgeable and inspiring.