Life of Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda or Narendranath Datta was born to Vishwanath Dutt and Bhuvaneshwari Devi In Kolkata on Monday 12th January 1863. The dutta family was rich, respectable and renowned for charity, learning and a strong spirit of independence. Though charitable to an extravagant degree and sympathetic towards the poor, Vishwanath was rationalistic and progressive in outlook and Bhuvaneshwari Devi was an accomplished lady with a regal bearing and deeply religious . Before Narendranath's birth she dreamt that Lord Shiva will be born as her son.

As a youth, Narendranath's leonine beauty was matched by his courage. He had the build of an athlete, a resonant voice and a brilliant intellect. He distinguished himself in athletics, philosophy and music and among his colleagues was the undisputed leader. At college, he studied and absorbed western thought and this implanted a spirit of critical inquiry in his mind. His inborn tendency toward spirituality and his respect for ancient religious traditions and beliefs, on the one side and his argumentative nature, coupled with his sharp intellect, on the other side, were now at war with each other. At this critical juncture, he remembered the words of his Professor William Hastie who had mentioned about Dakshineshwar's Saint who experiences Ecstasy every now and then. So, in 1881, the historic meeting of these two great souls, the prophet of modern India and the carrier of his message took place. Narendranath asked: 'Sir, have you seen God?' Sri Ramakrishna answered his question in the affirmative: 'Yes, I have seen Him just as I see you here, only more intensely.' At last, here was one who could assure him from his own experience that God existed.

The disciple's training had begun. While Sri Ramakrishna tested him in so many ways, Narendranarh, in turn, tested Sri Ramakrishna in order to ascertain the truth of spiritual assertions. Gradually, Narendranath surrendered himself to the Master and Sri Ramakrishna, with infinite patience, calmed the rebellious spirit of his young disciple and led him forth from doubt to certainty and from anguish to spiritual bliss. But more than Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual guidance, it was his love which conquered young Narendranath, love which the disciple reciprocated in full measure.

A remarkable change of outlook came over him between the closing of 1888. He realized that his was not the life of an ordinary recluse struggling for personal salvation. His wondering took him to various places of pilgrimage and historical interest to every nook and corner of India. Everywhere the glory of ancient India vividly came before his eyes, whether political, cultural or spiritual. In the midst of this great education, the abject misery of the Indian masses stood out before his mind that caused his soul to burn in agony. He had travelled through the whole of India often on foot, for nearly three years, coming to know India at first hand and at the end he meditated on a rock for three days on the past, present and future of India, his motherland and decided to go to west to seek help for the poor of India and thus give shape to his life's mission.

Swami Vivekananda travelled to America to take part in the parliament of religions which began on 11 Sep. 1893. When he began his address with the words, 'Sisters and Brothers of America, there was thunderous applause from the vast audience and it lasted for full two minutes. 'Seven thousand people rose to their feet as a tribute to something, they knew not what.' The appeal of his simple words of burning sincerity, his great personality, his bright countenance and his orange robes was so great that next day the newspapers described him as the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions and all the speeches were listened to with great respect and appreciation.

He had labored hard to give to the west his message of Vedanta as the universal principle and established a Vedanta society in United States and his London work, too had made some progress. Now his motherland was calling him and was eager to receive his message. When he returned to India, he was no more a unknown sanyasin. In every city, he got a grand welcome. People stopped the train on platforms by sleeping on the railway tracks to have the vision of this great patriotic monk.

To establish his work on a firm basis, he established Ramakrishna Mission on 1st May 1897.The aims and ideals of the Mission propounded by the Swami were purely spiritual and humanitarian. He wanted that future has to be shaped by a proper fusion of the two ideals of the East and the west. The Swami knew that his end was nearing, so his actions were deliberate and significant. He freed himself entirely from all formal duties by executing a Deed of Trust in favor of his brother disciples, transferring to them all the properties, including the Belur Math, so far held in his name. He had renounced his mortal body on 4th July 1902 but his words uttered in 1896 to Mr. Ericc Hammond reassures everyone of his immortality: "It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body to cast off like a worn out garment but I shall not cease to work. I shall inspire men everywhere, until the World shall know that it is one with God."

Romain Rolland truly described him in these words "Vivekananda was energy personified, and action was his message to men� His prominent characteristic was kingliness. He was a born king and nobody ever came near him either in India or America without paying homage to His majesty

Sister Nivedita's 150th Birth Anniversary

Celebrating 150th Birth Anniversary of Sister Nivedita.

 

Words of Wisdom

"He is born in vain who, having attained the human birth, so difficult to get, does not attempt to realize God in this very life"

...said Sri Ramakrishna

 

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