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Swami Vivekanand

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Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12th 1963 as Narendranath Dutta (pre-monastic name) in Shimla Pally, Kolkata, West Bengal, India, as the son of Viswanath Dutta and Bhuvaneswari Devi. Considered one of the most famous and influential spiritual leaders of the Hindu religion, Narendranath (or Naren, as he was called by his close ones) was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who later founded Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. An icon to the young India, Swami Vivekananda is known as the greatest philosopher and spiritual leader of 20th century for his fearless courage, his positive exhortations to the youth, his broad outlook to social problems, and countless lectures and discourses on Vedanta philosophy.

Early Life of Vivekananda
Vivekananda practiced meditation from a very early age. While at school, he was good at studies, as well as games of various kinds - wrestling, fencing, etc. He also studied instrumental and vocal music.

In 1879, Narendranath entered the Presidency College, Kolkata (then Calcutta) for higher studies. After one year, he joined the Scottish Church College, Calcutta and studied philosophy. During the course, he studied western logic, western philosophy and history of European nations.

There started to arise questions about God and the presence of God in young Narendra's mind. This made him associate with the Brahmo Samaj, an important religious movement of the time, led by Keshab Chandra Sen. But the Samaj's congregational prayers and devotional songs could not satisfy Narendra's zeal to realise God. He would ask leaders of Brahma Samaj whether they have seen God. He never got a satisfying answer. It was during this time that he came to know about Sri Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar from Professor Hastie of Scottish Church College, Kolkata.

Narendra met Ramakrishna for the first time in November 1881. He asked Ramakrishna the same old question, whether he had seen God. The instantaneous answer from Ramakrishna was, "Yes, I have seen God, just as I see you here, only in a more clear sense." Narendra was astounded and puzzled. He could feel the man's words were honest and uttered from depths of experience. He started visiting Ramakrishna frequently.

During the course of five years of his training under Ramakrishna, Narendra was transformed from a restless, puzzled, impatient youth to a mature man who was ready to renounce everything for the sake of God-realization. Soon, Ramakrishna's end came in the form of throat cancer in August 1886. After this Narendra and a core group of Ramakrishna's disciples took vows to become monks and renounce everything, and started living in a supposedly haunted house in Baraganore. They took alms to satisfy their hunger and their other needs were taken care of by Ramakrishna's richer householder disciples.

His Great Achievements :

Baga Beach

Baga Beach

Baga Beach» Ramkrishna Mission : the Brain Child of Vivekananda

This institution is now one of the largest monastic orders of Hindu society in India. The mission emphasises on rendering welfare services undertaken with a spiritual outlook. It is an institution which provides spiritual & moral lessens as well as modern education to the future generations of India. The Mission carries on missionary and philanthropic work in conjunction with householders (Grihastha) disciples.

First Indian to Address the World
The word that moved most of the listeners in America was "Sisters and brothers of America", the famous words, which came out of Swami Vivekananda's mouth while addressing the people of America in the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Swami Vivekananda earned wild applause for beginning his address with the famous words, at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Illinois and is perhaps best remembered as the man who "stole the show" there.

Vivekananda's arrival in the USA has been identified by many to mark the beginning of western interest in Hinduism as a vital religious and philosophical tradition that might actually have something important to teach the West. Within a few years of the Parliament, he had started Vedantic centres in New York City, New York and London, lectured at major universities and generally kindled western interest in Hinduism. After four years of constant touring, lecturing and retreats in the West, he came back to India in the year 1897.

After a short life of 39 years, Swami Vivekananda passed away in Mahasamadhi on July 4, 1902 at Belur Math near Kolkata.

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