Information about Swami Vivekananda
The 'Patron saint' of India,Swami Vivekananda is respected throughout the world as a spiritual genius.Though he died young,his life was filled with achievement and hard work.
Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Datta into a well-known Calcutta family on January 12,1863.his father was a famous lawyer and his mother was an aristocratic woman.It was she who introduced Narendranath to the Hindu religion with stories of the "Mahabharata and Ramayana".As a result,he was deeply religiious and was always searching for someone who had seen God.
As a boy,he was very energetic and spirited.He was also excellent at sports and a brilliant student.He loved reading and read everything he could get his hands on.and managed to retain everything he read as well.He was never content to believe everything he was told,instead he would demand proof that it was true.
It was while he was studying in college that his professor,seeing his curiosity about God,suggested that he go meet the saint,Sri Ramakrishna at the Dakshineshwar Temple.He set off at once and finally found a holy man who had seen God and who promoised to show him a way to see him as well.
Sri Ramakrishna, with his enoromous knowledge and simplicity,won over Narendranath and soon became his teacher and master.Narendra learnt about the true spirit of the "Vedantic Literature".Thus was born Swami Vivekananda.He gave up all worldly pleasures and started to lead the life of a monk.
After Five years of training,Sri Ramakrishna passed away.But before dying,Sri Ramakrishna named Vivekananda the leader of all of his disciples.Vivekananda started a monastery where he and his disciples carried on their spiritual practices.They also spent a lot of time travelling and spreading their teachings.He spent years wandering arounddiferent parts of India.He soon got the oppourtunity to represent religions held in Chicago.He was India's first cultural and spiritual ambassador or representative.He wanted to create a bridge between the East and west-While India would gift America it's ancient spiritually,the latter would lend Indians it's scientific and industrial outlook.
His speeches at the conference met with instant success.His messages 'Unity of mankind and harmony of religions'-became extremely popular and was declared to be the heart and soul of the entire conference.He impressed his listeners so much that he was invited to give several speeches in Chicago,Eastern United States,as well as Europe.
Wherever he went,he spread his master's teachings and inspired people greatly.His message was that "each soul is divine and the goal of life is for each of us to realize that divinity for ourselves".So instead of trying to look for God in temples,books,or scriptures,one should worship God in each human face.His method of teaching was unique.He took out the scientific truths from the Upanishads and vedas and put a stop to all those who said that religion was unscientific.The old philosophy of Vedanta was given a new form that suited modern scientific thinking.
For three years he travelled in America and England,spreading Vedanta philosophy and relogious teachings.Even after he passed away,there were several Vedanta societies that were set up in America and Europe throughout the 1930s.Most of these originated from Vivekananda or from those who heard him speak during those few years abroad.
In 1900,he returned to India and was given a hearty welcome.He now came to be known as the "Patron saint" and his birthday was declared a national holiday by the government.realizing that along with recognizing your own divinity,you should also recognize it in others,he decided to spend his life in the service of man.He and his disciple helped the poor and uneducated and thus he formed the Ramakrishna Math and Mission.The purpose of the mission was to eliminate the suffering of the poverty-struck people of India.
More than 1000 monks from the Mission serve people all over the world.In the west,the work mainly involves organizing workship,teaching,writing and lecturing.In India,the Mission is known for its charitable activities-running hospitals and schools,rural development and relief work in times of emergency.The core of the mission is the spirit of "service of God in Man"-meaning that serving people is a way of workshipping God.
Often known as Ramakrishna or Vivekananda centres,the Mission has centres in many of the American cities-New York,Boston,Providence,Chicago,St.Louis,Seattle,Portland,San Francisco,Berkeley,Sacramento and Hollywood.Once he returned to America to teach a short period.After a series of lectures and writings,he came back to India.On the fouth of July 1902,he breathed his last at his monastery in Belur,a place on the Ganges,North of calcutta.He was only 39 years old.In the ten years that he devoted to teaching,he had influenced thousands of lives around the world.
In 1976,celebrating America's Bicentennial Swami Vivekananda was honoured by the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery.He was declared to be the one who came to America from abroad and had a significant impact on its spiritual development.
* All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.
* All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.
* Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.
* The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.
* That man has reached immortality who is disturbed by nothing material.
A simple man,with a profound insight into life,Swami Vivekananda still lives in the hearts and minds of millions of people all over the world.
Last updated on October 25, 2009
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