Born into an aristocratic Bengali Kayastha family of Calcutta , Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality. He was influenced by his guru , Ramakrishna, from whom he learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self; therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind. After Ramakrishna's death, Vivekananda toured the Indian subcontinent extensively and acquired first-hand knowledge of the conditions prevailing in British India.
Vivekananda conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe. In India, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint and his birthday is celebrated there as National Youth Day. Vivekananda was born Narendranath Datta shortened to Narendra or Naren  in a Bengali Kayastha family   at his ancestral home at 3 Gourmohan Mukherjee Street in Calcutta,  the capital of British India, on 12 January during the Makar Sankranti festival.
Narendranath was interested in spirituality from a young age and used to meditate before the images of deities such as Shiva , Rama , Sita , and Mahavir Hanuman. His mother said, "I prayed to Shiva for a son and he has sent me one of his ghosts". In , at the age of eight, Narendranath enrolled at Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar 's Metropolitan Institution , where he went to school until his family moved to Raipur in Narendra was trained in Indian classical music ,  and regularly participated in physical exercise, sports and organised activities.
William Hastie principal of Christian College, Calcutta, from where Narendra graduated wrote, "Narendra is really a genius. I have travelled far and wide but I have never come across a lad of his talents and possibilities, even in German universities, among philosophical students. He is bound to make his mark in life". Narendra was known for his prodigious memory and the ability at speed reading.
Several incidents have been given as examples. In a talk, he once quoted verbatim, two or three pages from Pickwick Papers. Another incident that is given is his argument with a Swedish national where he gave reference to some details on Swedish history that the Swede originally disagreed with but later conceded. In another incident with Dr. Paul Deussen 's at Kiel in Germany, Vivekananda was going over some poetical work and did not reply when the professor spoke to him.
Later, he apologized to Dr. Deussen explaining that he was too absorbed in reading and hence did not hear him. The professor was not satisfied with this explanation but Vivekananda quoted and interpreted verses from the text leaving the professor dumbfounded about his feat of memory. Once, he requested some books written by Sir John Lubbock from a library and returned them the very next day claiming that he had read them. The librarian refused to believe him until cross examination about the contents convinced him that Vivekananda was being truthful.
Some accounts have called Narendra a shrutidhara a person with a prodigious memory. It was in this cultic  milieu that Narendra became acquainted with Western esotericism. The same search for direct intuition and understanding can be seen with Vivekananda. Not satisfied with his knowledge of philosophy, Narendra came to "the question which marked the real beginning of his intellectual quest for God.
Instead of answering his question, Tagore said "My boy, you have the Yogi ' s eyes. In Narendra first met Ramakrishna, who became his spiritual focus after his own father had died in Narendra's first introduction to Ramakrishna occurred in a literature class at General Assembly's Institution when he heard Professor William Hastie lecturing on William Wordsworth 's poem, The Excursion. This prompted some of his students including Narendra to visit Ramakrishna.
They probably first met personally in November , [note 1] though Narendra did not consider this their first meeting, and neither man mentioned this meeting later. Impressed by his singing talent, he asked Narendra to come to Dakshineshwar. In late or early , Narendra went to Dakshineswar with two friends and met Ramakrishna. Narendra's father's sudden death in left the family bankrupt; creditors began demanding the repayment of loans, and relatives threatened to evict the family from their ancestral home.
Narendra, once a son of a well-to-do family, became one of the poorest students in his college. One day Narendra requested Ramakrishna to pray to goddess Kali for their family's financial welfare.
Ramakrishna suggested him to go to the temple himself and pray. Following Ramakrishna's suggestion, he went to the temple thrice, but failed to pray for any kind of worldly necessities and ultimately prayed for true knowledge and devotion from the goddess.
In , Ramakrishna developed throat cancer , and was transferred to Calcutta and later to a garden house in Cossipore. Narendra and Ramakrishna's other disciples took care of him during his last days, and Narendra's spiritual education continued. At Cossipore, he experienced Nirvikalpa samadhi. After Ramakrishna's death, his devotees and admirers stopped supporting his disciples.
The math became the first building of the Ramakrishna Math: We underwent a lot of religious practice at the Baranagar Math. We used to get up at 3: What a strong spirit of detachment we had in those days! We had no thought even as to whether the world existed or not. Narendra collected and arranged most of the songs of this compilation, but could not finish the work of the book for unfavourable circumstances.
In December , the mother of Baburam [note 2] invited Narendra and his other brother monks to Antpur village. Narendra and the other aspiring monks accepted the invitation and went to Antpur to spend few days. In Antpur, in the Christmas Eve of , Narendra and eight other disciples took formal monastic vows. During his travels he met, and stayed with Indians from all religions and walks of life: Vivekananda started his journey to the West on 31 May  and visited several cities in Japan including Nagasaki , Kobe , Yokohama , Osaka , Kyoto and Tokyo ,  China and Canada en route to the United States ,  reaching Chicago on 30 July ,   where the " Parliament of Religions " took place in September Bonney ,   to gather all the religions of the world, and show "the substantial unity of many religions in the good deeds of the religious life.
Vivekananda wanted to join, but was disappointed to learn that no one without credentials from a bona fide organisation would be accepted as a delegate. Parliament President John Henry Barrows said, "India, the Mother of religions was represented by Swami Vivekananda, the Orange-monk who exercised the most wonderful influence over his auditors". The New York Critique wrote, "He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them".
After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation". Vivekananda's speeches at the Parliament had the common theme of universality, emphasising religious tolerance. After the Parliament of Religions, he toured many parts of the US as a guest. His popularity opened up new views for expanding on "life and religion to thousands". Vivekananda spent nearly two years lecturing in the eastern and central United States, primarily in Chicago , Detroit , Boston , and New York.
He founded the Vedanta Society of New York in Beginning in June , Vivekananda gave private lectures to a dozen of his disciples at Thousand Island Park in New York for two months. During his first visit to the West he travelled to the UK twice, in and , lecturing successfully there. In Germany he met Paul Deussen , another Indologist. His success led to a change in mission, namely the establishment of Vedanta centres in the West.
This society still is filled with foreign nationals and is also located in Los Angeles. He called it "Peace retreat", or, Shanti Asrama. There is also a Vedanta Press in Hollywood which publishes books about Vedanta and English translations of Hindu scriptures and texts. From the West, Vivekananda revived his work in India.
He regularly corresponded with his followers and brother monks, [note 5] offering advice and financial support. His letters from this period reflect his campaign of social service,  and were strongly worded. Also, let them have oral lessons on geography and such other subjects. No good will come of sitting idle and having princely dishes, and saying "Ramakrishna, O Lord!
In Colombo he gave his first public speech in the East. From there on, his journey to Calcutta was triumphant. Common people and rajas gave him an enthusiastic reception. During his train travels, people often sat on the rails to force the train to stop so they could hear him.
While in the West, Vivekananda spoke about India's great spiritual heritage; in India, he repeatedly addressed social issues: These lectures, published as Lectures from Colombo to Almora , demonstrate his nationalistic fervour and spiritual ideology. Its ideals are based on Karma Yoga ,   and its governing body consists of the trustees of the Ramakrishna Math which conducts religious work. Two journals were founded: Prabuddha Bharata in English and Udbhodan in Bengali.
Vivekananda earlier inspired Jamshedji Tata to set up a research and educational institution when they travelled together from Yokohama to Chicago on Vivekananda's first visit to the West in Tata now asked him to head his Research Institute of Science ; Vivekananda declined the offer, citing a conflict with his "spiritual interests".
He consolidated the work of the math and trained disciples for several months. Vivekananda composed " Khandana Bhava—Bandhana ", a prayer song dedicated to Ramakrishna, in Despite declining health, Vivekananda left for the West for a second time in June  accompanied by Sister Nivedita and Swami Turiyananda. Following a brief stay in England, he went to the United States. The French philosopher Jules Bois was his host for most of this period, until he returned to Calcutta on 9 December After a brief visit to the Advaita Ashrama in Mayavati Vivekananda settled at Belur Math, where he continued co-ordinating the works of Ramakrishna Mission, the math and the work in England and the US.
He had many visitors, including royalty and politicians. Although Vivekananda was unable to attend the Congress of Religions in in Japan due to deteriorating health, he made pilgrimages to Bodhgaya and Varanasi. On 4 July the day of his death  Vivekananda awoke early, went to the monastery 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.
Vivekananda went to his room, asking not to be disturbed;  he died at 9: Vivekananda fulfilled his prophecy that he would not live forty years. Vivekananda propagated that the essence of Hinduism was best expressed in Adi Shankara 's Advaita Vedanta philosophy.
Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or mental discipline, 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.
Nationalism was a prominent theme in Vivekananda's thought. He believed that a country's future depends on its people, and his teachings focused on human development. Vivekananda linked morality with control of the mind, seeing truth, purity and unselfishness as traits which strengthened it. Vivekananda supported brahmacharya celibacy ,  believing it the source of his physical and mental stamina and eloquence. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone.
This is the way to success, that is the way great spiritual giants are produced". Vivekananda was one of the main representatives of Neo-Vedanta , a modern interpretation of selected aspects of Hinduism in line with western esoteric traditions , especially Transcendentalism , New Thought and Theosophy. In the background of emerging nationalism in British-ruled India, Vivekananda crystallised the nationalistic ideal.
In the words of social reformer Charles Freer Andrews , "The Swami's intrepid patriotism gave a new colour to the national movement throughout India. More than any other single individual of that period Vivekananda had made his contribution to the new awakening of India".
Sri Aurobindo regarded Vivekananda as the one who awakened India spiritually. The first governor-general of independent India, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari , said "Vivekananda saved Hinduism, saved India". In him everything is positive and nothing negative".
I cannot touch these sayings of his, scattered as they are through the pages of books, at thirty years' distance, without receiving a thrill through my body like an electric shock. And what shocks, what transports, must have been produced when in burning words they issued from the lips of the hero! Jamshedji Tata was inspired by Vivekananda to establish the Indian Institute of Science , one of India's best-known research universities.
The th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda was celebrated in India and abroad. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India officially observed as the occasion in a declaration.
Swami Vivekananda as a tribute for his th birth anniversary. Although Vivekananda was a powerful orator and writer in English and Bengali,  he was not a thorough scholar,  and most of his published works were compiled from lectures given around the world which were "mainly delivered [ According to Banhatti, "[a] singer, a painter, a wonderful master of language and a poet, Vivekananda was a complete artist",  composing many songs and poems, including his favourite, [ citation needed ] " Kali the Mother ".
Vivekananda blended humour with his teachings, and his language was lucid. His Bengali writings testify to his belief that words spoken or written should clarify ideas, rather than demonstrating the speaker or writer's knowledge. Bartaman Bharat meaning "Present Day India"  is an erudite Bengali language essay written by him, which was first published in the March issue of Udbodhan, the only Bengali language magazine of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission.
The essay was reprinted as a book in and later compiled into the fourth volume of The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Here a list of selected books by Vivekananda that were published after his death .
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Swami Vivekananda disambiguation. Vivekananda in Chicago , September On the left, Vivekananda wrote: But since his father died, his family's financial position did not allow him to prosecute further study. Naren was a good singer. Once Ramakrishna Paramahamsa happened to hear Naren singing a devotional song. He asked the young man to see him at Dakshineswar, where he was a priest at the Kali temple.
From his childhood, Naren was eager to see God face to face. He asked many religious stalwarts about his desire in the past, but none could satisfy him. Now this God-man of Dakshineswar said to Naren that as one can see him, he can also see God in the same real form. He wanted the saint to prove it to him. And in course of time, Naren had that wonderful divine experience in his life.
His Guru taught him that God lives in every human being. So by serving mankind, one can serve God. Naren was later named as 'Swami Vivekananda', when he became a monk. Hence there should not be any dispute among the preachers of different religions that they worship god in separate forms or with different beliefs.
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