The spiritual figure known as Vivekananda was originally named Narendranath Datta. His exposure to both Hindu and Christian religions frequently conflicted with his beliefs for some time, until he met the spiritual master Ramakrishna and became a monk. His vast knowledge of culture grew the respect and recognition of raising interfaith awareness, which inspired him in becoming a tireless seeker of truth. He believed through his learnings from his guru that service to God can be displayed by service to humanity.
About Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Datta on 12 January 1863, in Kolkata, India. When he was later regarded as a patriotic saint, Swami Vivekananda's birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day. His grandfather was a Sanskrit and Persian scholar, his father was an attorney in the high court, and his mother was a homemaker with a religious temperament.
Swami Vivekananda grew up in an upper-middle-class family where he developed his personality which included well-balanced thinking that incorporated both spiritual and rational approaches to life. His young years were spent meditating and praying before the Hindu Deities that still influence him today.
Swami Vivekananda Background
Of Indian origin, Swami Vivekananda's spiritual journey included a unique blend of philosophy, religion, science, history, and literature. He was also an avid reader who enjoyed reading texts of various religions such as the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Vedas.
At the age of 10, when his family moved back to his birthplace after living in Raipur for 2 years, he took two entrance exams for Presidency College. He was the only student who earned first-division grades on both tests. He was an all-rounder, with training in Indian classical music, and actively participated in sports and organizing events. His intelligence manifested not just in the books but also applied to real life—he had traveled abroad by age 12 and didn't let Western materialistic culture influence traditional teachings.
By rebelling against the caste differences that had been established in Indian culture, Swami Vivekananda was determined to improve society for everyone. When he joined Brahmo Samaj in 1884, he was able to bring Christian practices into India, which allowed him to venture into social reform. He is widely known as the first Hindu teacher of education and his work continues today through organizations like Band Of Hope that helps youth find a way out of their problems and stay away from harmful habits like drinking and smoking.
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At an early age in his twenties, he first met Ramakrishna, and they didn't see eye-to-eye on the practices of Hinduism. Ramakrishna always prayed to a Goddess before offering up her deity to Lord Shiva. Vivekananda always questioned the forms of God and due to his Western influences argued that God is only something we can perceive through our senses.
It was when he attended his father's funeral at such a young age in 1884 that he then went through some harsh realities as he soon found himself saddled with debt. He started visiting Ramakrishna more frequently and also understood the philosophy of unity amongst all religions in 1885. At 25 years old, Vivekananda undertook a journey of self-renewal and became a spiritual leader after the death of his teacher in 1886.
Swami Vivekananda History
After the death of his guru in 1888, Vivekananda carried on with his mission to build the temple into a monastery and cleared away many misguides that surrounded the path. In 2 years, during the period 1888-1893, he traveled extensively to meet different people and also got acquainted with scholars and kings from across all religions. To live off alms donated by different people, he would go around in search of food sources and get them by sourcing a variety of food.
He witnessed the extreme poverty and suffering of the people in India and felt deep sympathy. He had a long journey to the West, starting on May 1st, 1893, and ending in Chicago on July 30th, 1893. He attended a Parliament of Religions in September 1893 with the help of a Harvard professor and spoke extensively about Hinduism during the event. He was called Vivekananda at first but later changed his name to Ramakrishna.
He visited the UK and the US again, establishing the Vedanta Societies there. He incorporated his teachings from the Bhagavad Gita in his speeches and tried to enlighten people by introducing them to Karma Yoga. The philosophy of doing good to others and of following divinity is supreme and will be followed by all spiritual beings. His legacy lives on today and he's still remembered as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the 20th century.
Swami Vivekananda Death
On 4 July 1902, Swami Vivekananda died while in a state of meditation after living his day like any other and teaching his followers, and discussing the teachings with Vedic Scholars. Went to his room in the Ramakrishna Math, the monastery he built in honor of his Guru to meditate and breathe his last.
His followers believe the cause of death to be the rupture of a blood vessel in his brain that happens when one attains nirvana, the highest form of spiritual enlightenment when the 7th chakra is the crown chakra which is located on the head opens and then gains maha samadhi while meditating. The time of his death was 9:20 pm. He was cremated on a sandalwood funeral pyre on the banks of Ganga opposite his guru.
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