Swami Vivekananda is a well-known Indian figure who was the most influential nineteenth-century philosopher of Vedanta and Yoga not only in Indian but also in western countries. He was a monk with a deep spiritual knowledge, excellent oratory skills inspiring many people all over the world emphasising on positive thinking. He believed in oneness and promoted humanity, mankind, and peace through his missionary.
Early Life and Education of Swami Vivekananda:
Swami Vivekananda was born in 12th January 1863 in Kolkata, India and named Narendranath Dutta. He was greatly inspired by his mother Bhuvaneshwari Devi, a very spiritual woman and father Vishwanath Dutta who was also a prominent social influencer. He did his schooling from Calcutta Metropolitan School and graduation from Presidency College, where he was known to be a very energetic child having good exposure in different fields such as music, sport, reading scriptures, bodybuilding and what not.
Once in his school days, his teacher asked a few questions to the whole classroom including Narendra as they were making noise and not focusing in the class. As Narendra was able to answer all the question, the teacher excused him from the punishment which he refused as he believed it was his mistake. This incident proves he possessed great concentration and righteousness right from his childhood.
Brahmo Samaj’s influence:
Keshab Chandra Sen and Debendranath Tagore led a town hall public meeting named as Brahmo Samaj which was attended by the Brahmos. Narendra was a part of this Brahmo Samaj and was highly influenced by its ideas. Sen, who reconverted in Hinduism from Christianity founded ‘Nava Vidhan’ in 1880. This church of new dispensation was formed with an intension of establishing the truth of all the religions and their oneness. At this period, Narendra had been acquiring knowledge on Hindu philosophy and Christian theology.
The new age beliefs of the Brahmo Samaj were beginning to get deep-rooted in his heart. Some of his beliefs then were, formless god, non-idol worship as Debendranath also had similar views regarding reincarnation and questioning the Vedas and Hindu Upanishads. Their emphasis was on common spirituality practice- yoga, which could be accessible to everyone regardless of their religion. For he believed in things which had answers to all his questions, his quest for god had just begun, where he asked several influencers if they have seen god.
It was from his lecturer William Hastie, he got to know about Ramakrishna. The lecturer once, when explaining about the world ‘trance’ in his literature class, suggested the students meet Ramakrishna if they wanted to understand this word in-depth. In 1881, Narendra met Ramakrishna for the first time and later the bonding became so stronger, as the rest is history. Narendra had asked the question on the existence of god to Ramakrishna as well, to which Ramakrishna in a deeper sense said that he had seen god, as he is seeing Narendra.
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On their first meeting, Ramakrishna asked him to come to Dakshineshwar after getting impressed by his singing skills. Initially, Vivekananda was not influenced but, after the sudden death of his father in 1884, Ramakrishna became his mentor and a source of solace, as his family got into financial crises, making him wandering for a job. Ramakrishna was so fond of Narendra that, he would become restless if Narendra hadn’t to come to meet him for a long time. Ramakrishna never gave a second thought before praising him, which he often found overwhelming.
Formation of Ramakrishna Math:
Narendra grew immense respect and love for his mentor Ramakrishna and started acquiring true spiritual knowledge. Ramakrishna wanted Narendra to lead the other disciples when he, unfortunately, happened to have throat cancer in 1885 and in his last days Narendra and others took care of Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna died in 1886 after which, Narendra and other disciples were left alone with a place to live in and so, some of the disciples resumed their normal life and some including Narendra formed a Math, where they used to spend hours meditating. It was in December month of the same year they took the monastic vows following their mentor Ramakrishna’s path. Narendra who took up formal renunciation also took the name Swami Vivekananda.
In 1893, in Chicago’s parliament meeting of religions, he represented Hinduism and people were awestruck by his spiritual knowledge. He then promoted Vedanta in his teachings in western. His writings included Kali the mother and Bartman Bharat. He died attaining Mahasamadhi in 1902 as he had predicted that he wouldn’t survive till his 40’s. His teachings of humanity, positivity and peace have stayed for decades and will stay forever.
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