Biography Of Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda was a Hindu monk and a direct student of Sri Ramakrishna. Vivekananda played an important part in the spread to Indian Yoga and Vedanta philosophical concepts to the West. He was a major draw at the first World Parliament of Religions in Chicago 1893. He delivered a an impressive speech about the universality of religions. He taught a philosophical system of traditional meditation, as well as the selfless act of service (karma yoga). He advocated for the emancipation of Indian women, and a halt to the most extreme excesses in the caste system. He is seen as an important personification of India’s increasing self-confidence and later nationalist leaders have often claimed to be inspired by his lectures and his personality.
“To be successful, you must be a fervent fighter, with a strong determination. “I will drink the ocean” tells the persevering spirit; “at my will mountains will crumble up”. Do you have that type of motivation, that type of drive persevere and you’ll get to your goal.”
– Swami Vivekananda
Childhood and Early life
Swami Vivekananda was born Narendra Nath Datta on January 12, 1863. He was born in Calcutta, Bengal, India.
When he was a kid, young Narendra was a vivacious child and was enthralled by various aspects of life – particularly the wandering ascetics. He was educated in an Western schooling at the Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar’s Metropolitan Institution. He gained a solid understanding of Western and Eastern philosophical concepts. His teachers commented that his memory was awe-inspiring and a tremendous capacity for learning.
In the spirit of the rationality of his dad, Narendra became a part of Brahmo Samaj which is a modern Hindu group, headed by Keshab Chandra Sen. It did not believe in idol worship.
The year 1881 was the time that Narendra was in Dakshineswar along with a friend in order to see Sri Ramakrishna, who was widely believed to be to be a saint of great stature and spiritual master.
Narendra found himself attracted to the charismatic persona of Sri Ramakrishna. He soon began to frequent his visits. In the beginning, his mind was not able to accept the methods and practices from Sri Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna was a simple ‘bhakti’ (devotional) path and was especially dedicated towards Mother Kali (the Divine Mother). However, in time Narendra’s spiritual encounters at the hands of Ramakrishna prompted him to fully recognize Ramakrishna as his Guru and abandoned to follow the Brahmo Samaj.
In 1884, Narendra’s father passed away and the family was left bankrupt. Narendra was responsible for feeding his entire family with a limited budget. Narendra later admitted that he would often starve as the family could not afford enough food. Much to the annoyance by his maternal grandmother, Narendra was often too involved in his spiritual pursuits to make making money his primary goal.
The year 1886 was the time that Sri Ramakrishna was killed only five years after meeting Narendra. Ramakrishna had opted for Narendra to be the head of the monastic followers. Vivekananda determined to create an academic (monastery) located in Belur Math
Swami Vivekananda then plunged himself into intensive spiritual exercises. He would often spend hours doing meditation or japa. He departed the monastery and became an sannyasin who traveled the world, going to many holy sites around India. Vivekananda was a man who lived day after day, beggars for food, and absorbed in his own spiritual journey. In his Complete Works Vivekananda narrates his experiences
“Many times have I been at the brink of death, hungry, tired and aching for days and weeks. I was without food and frequently could not walk further. I would then fall to the ground under the shade of a tree, and my it would appear as if my life was going by. I couldn’t speak, and I couldn’t even think, but then my mind returned to the notion: “I have no fear or death. Never was I born, nor did I die, and I’ve never had a thirst or hunger. I am It! I am It!
He began accepting followers and, in 1893, was invited to address the World Congress of Religions in Chicago. He embarked in the direction of Bombay on May 1st, first sailing to Japan before heading into his home in the United States. He set off with only a little funds and no contacts. However, with the help of Prof. John Wright of Harvard University along with other people, Vivekananda arrived in Chicago as an ambassador of the Hindu faith.
Biography Of Swami Vivekananda
World Parliament of Religions
On the 11th of September in 1893 Vivekananda delivered a brief speech to mark the opening at the annual conference. After stepping up to the podium, Vivekananda bowed to Saraswati (the goddess of learning) and then Vivekananda started his speech by saying “Sisters and Brothers of America!” The thing that struck me was Vivekananda’s persona and address led the audience of 7000 people to erupt in awe for two minutes, before Vivekananda continued his speech.
“It makes my heart swell with happiness that is beyond words when I am able to rise to the occasion of the warm and warm greeting you’ve extended to us. I thank you on behalf of the oldest order of monks throughout the world. I thank you for your service in the name of the Mother of all religions and I acknowledge for your kindness in the name million and billions of Hindu people from all kinds and religions.”
One of the main themes in Vivekananda’s speech was the universality and unity of all religions around the world. The media covering the event often reported the fact that Vivekananda was the most popular entertainer, enthralling audiences with his charisma and powerful speech.
Vivekananda spent two years delivering talks in American and also allowing disciples to adhere to the Vedanta philosophy. In 1894, he established the Vedanta Society of New York.
In 1895, Vivekananda travelled to England in 1895, where he was introduced to Prof. Max Muller of Oxford University and Margaret Noble (later Sister Nivedita) who would later become one of Vivekananda’s most close followers.
Through in the US, Vivekananda began an increase in correspondence with his brothers followers who were disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. He urged his fellow sannyasins themselves into social work and assist the most disadvantaged to get an education. This new dynamism was a fresh aspect of Indian spirituality and was an alternative to the traditional custom of escaping to the outside world. Vivekananda believed that his goal was to aid the world spiritually and materially.
In the year 1897, he returned to India to receive a warm welcome. The news of his accomplishments at the West was welcomed with enthusiasm and joy in India. Vivekananda was today a prominent figure. Vivekananda was a passionate advocate for India’s vast spiritual heritage as well as in the same breath was critical of the decline in India’s status because of casting system and the lack of education, subjugation to women and outdated traditions. Vivekananda offered a resounding appeal for India to move forward.
Biography Of Swami Vivekananda
“Come and be a man! Get rid of priests who remain opposed to progress because they are never able to change their hearts, and they would never be big. They are the heirs of centuries of religion and the rule of law. Eliminate the priestcraft first. Don’t be a slave! Get out of your confined spaces and look around. Discover how nations are on the move! Do you love man? Do you love your country? Come, let us strive for greater and greater things. Look at the future, not back even if are the closest and most dear crying. Do not look at all, but instead towards the future!” – Volume 5, Epistles – First Series, “III Alasinga” (15 May 2010)
Vivekananda inspired a growing feeling of pride in the nation and national fervor He was a significant character during his time during the Indian Renaissance of the late Nineteenth Century. Later Indian leaders such as Netaji, Gandhi, Pal and Tilak paid tribute to the influence of Vivekananda.
The year was 1899. Vivekananda came back to America for his second trip to America to spread Vedanta societies. Vivekananda later went back in India and, despite failing health, died on the 4th of July in 1902.
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