Born on the 12th
day of January in the year 1863 at Bengal in
British India, Narendranath
Datta famed as Swami Vivekananda. He is credited with the revival of Hinduism
all over the world. He established
the Ramakrishna Math along with the Ramakrishna Mission.
He is also contributed his part in the Indian Freedom Struggle. He was a youth
motivator. He is the reason why Hinduism is so widely known in all around the
world and counted as a major religion. His spiritual teachings are derived from
his teacher Ramakrishna. According to
Ramakrishna, all the living beings are living embodiment of supreme god; so
service to god can be done by serving to all forms of life. This became the
Vivekananda’s philosophy. When he was in the United States of America in 1893
as the Indian ambassador for the “Parliament of the World’s Religions”; his
speech which began with the lines “Sisters and brothers of America …” made
him so popular in the West. After that he spent a lot of time in the USA, and
parts of Europe to spread the ancient Indian principles
of Vedanta and Yoga; he created the awareness for the Hindu
Religion in the West.
Early Life and Childhood:
Swami Vivekananda was born
on 12 January 1863, in a Hindu Kayastha family.
He was originally named
Narendranath Datta by his parents. He lived with his father, Vishwanath Datta;
and his mother, Bhubaneswari Devi along with his nine siblings.
He was engaged in
transcendental thinking from his childhood. He would meditate in front of
images of Hindu gods and goddesses.
He was quite mischievous and
his parents were always troubled by him.
He was sent to Ishwar
Chandra Vidyasagar’s Metropolitan Institution when
he was eight years old (1871). After that,
he continued his studies at Presidency College, Calcutta (1879).
Vivekananda had interests in many fields. He
was also at Scottish
Church College, where he studies the European style teachings and philosophies
of the Western world. He was also a keen reader of ancient Hindu texts
including The Bhagavad Gita, the Puranas, the Vedas,
the Upanishads, the Ramayana,
and the Mahabharata. He
used to compare both the styles of thinking and was exploring the new ideas to
find the similarity between them.
In 1884, he completed his B. A. degree.
Keshab Chandra Sen
influenced Swami Vivekananda to be a part of the “Brahmo Samaj”. He actively
participated in the activities and helped youth to stay away from doing
However, the thoughts and teachings of Brahmo
Samaj were not enough to satisfy the curiosity about God in the young’s
Vivekananda’s mind. He would ask many questions to many saints. His quest for
finding the right answer led him to Ramakrishna.
Ramakrishna was able to answer all of Vivekananda’s questions and was able to
lead him in the right direction.
After the death of his
father in 1884, Swami Vivekananda’s family ran into financial troubles. It was
a very hard time for Vivekananda; to seek solace he started visiting
Ramakrishna frequently. Although he opposed the ideas of Ramakrishna at first
and didn’t consider him his spiritual
guru, he continued meeting with him. And gradually Ramakrishna became his guru.
Ramakrishna died of throat cancer; naming
Vivekananda as his successor. Vivekananda continued to explore his spiritual
thoughts and decided to provide service to mankind as it’s the best way to
serve God. Vivekananda was given the duty to lead the disciples.
the time of financial troubles, many disciples left Vivekananda. To save the
money, Vivekananda decided to move to Baranagar. At Baranagar, he founded the
very first Ramakrishna Math.
During his time at Baranagar, he devoted himself to God. He would meditate for many
hours. He also tried to write a book which he could not finish.
Vivekananda took his formal monastic views in
a village called “Antpur”. He also adopted the name “Swami Vivekananda”.
He decided to leave his math in the year
1888. He decided to become a solo Hindu Monk. He only took his books with him
and his head full of knowledge.
During his five years of travel, he did many
things for the Indian society. He used to give speeches at the institutions. By
exploring India, he learned about diverse Indian cultures and compared how the
things were in different religions. As a kind-hearted
person, he also helped people to overcome poverty. It was the time of Indian
Freedom Struggle so he also spread the feeling of nationalism among the youth
and motivated the people to fight for the freedom.
In the year 1893, Vivekananda began his world
tour. Starting from Japan, he visited several other countries including China,
Canada and finally the United States of
America. There he wanted to attend the Parliament of Religions at Chicago in
the same year but he was not invited. So he reached out to John Henry Wright of Harvard University,
who asked Vivekananda to give a speech at Harvard. So with professor’s help, Vivekananda was able to take part in the Parliament of
Religions as a representative of Hinduism.
When he began his speech “Sisters and
Brothers of America…” it was praised by the crowd of seven thousand people.
Vivekananda received wide popularity in the West and was praised by many
important people of that time. He was the Hero of the press.
He spent two years touring the United States,
and due to health concerns, he had to
give private lessons about Vedanta and Yoga.
In the year 1897, he founded the Ramakrishna
He again went to the west starting from
England and finally reaching America. He established Ashram in California.
On 4th of July, 1902 he left his
body. At that time he was in Calcutta.
was a complete artist. He could draw paintings, write songs, and write poems
and many articles. His work was humor and
was simple. Some of his publications include:
with Vaishnav Charan Basak)
Raja Yoga (1896)
Philosophy: An address before the Graduate Philosophical Society (1896)
from Colombo to Almora (1897)
Bharat (in Bengali) (March 1899), Udbodhan
The Baker and Taylor Company, New York
philosophy: lectures on Jnâna Yoga (1902) Vedânta Society, New York
Jnana yoga (1899)
Life and Legacy:
His disciples like
Ashokananda, Virajananda, Paramananda, Alasinga
Perumal, Abhayananda, Sister Nivedita, Swami Sadananda continued
his work after his death.
His thoughts revolutionized the Hinduism all
around the world.
He was a significant figure in India’s Freedom Movement.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi
also recognized him as a great leader.
Entrepreneur Jamshedji Tata, American
scientist Nikola Tesla was also inspired by him.
National Youth Day
in India is celebrated on his birthday