A SPIRITUAL REFORMER
Childhood, family profile and education
Quest for god.
Believed in Vedanta philosophy,
Attended world parliament of religion.
Founded Ramakrishna mission.
Contributed to Indian society.
Influence of his philosophy on youth.
Swami Vivekananda was born as Narendranath Dutta in Calcutta on 12th January,1863. His father Viswanath Dutta was a learned lawyer at the High court of Calcutta. Narendra obtained his education regularly, Narendranath learnt the epics and puranas from his mother. He was a natural leader and much sought after by the people because of his various accomplishments. Narendranath passed entrance examination from the metropolitan institute and earned his graduation degree from the general Assembly’s institution.
By the time of his graduation, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects like western philosophy and history. Born with yogic temperament, he used to practice meditation even from his boy hood and was associated with brahmo movement for some time. He met keshab Chandra Sen, Devendranath Tagore, the famous members of Brahmo samaj, but no body could satisfy his queries about the existence of God. It was at that time he heard about Sri Ramakrishna One day in November 1881, Narendra went to meet Sri Ramakrishna, who was staying at kali temple in Dakshineswar. He straightaway asked him the question ‘Sir have you seen God ?’ without a moment’s hesitation Sri Ramakrishna replied. "yes I have I see as clearly as I see you, only in a much intenser sense’’.
A part from removing doubts from his minds, Sri Ramakrishna won him over through his pure love and devotion.Thus, begun a guru-disciple relationship which is quite unique in the history of Indian spirituality. At dakshineswar he met sevsral young men who were devoted to sri Ramakrishna and they all became close friends. After the death of Sri Ramakrishna he vowed to devote his life propagate the message of Sri Ramkrishna. On 11th September 1893 Vivekanand attended the world parliament of religions as a spokesman for Hinduism in Chicago. The audience was enthralled by his excellent speech. He travelled throughout the United states of America and England and gave lecture on Vedanta interpretation of the Upanishad. He said "if there is a sin in the world it is weakness avoid all weakness in sin, weakness is death” During this time he also travelled to france, Switzerland and Germany also.
He started the Vedanta movement in England and the united state and established a Vedanta institution in San Francisco, USA. Many European became his disciple He preached universal brotherhood. He urged the people to imbibe the spirit of liberty, equality and free thinking. He strongly condemned the caste systems which divided our country. He urged people to reject meaningless superstitions and rituals. By his teaching, Indians began to believe that they were not as backward as they once thought themselves. They were perhaps more advanced than the western people in the field of religion, philosophy, art and literature.
In 1897 Vivekananda along with some of his followers founded Ramkrishna Mission.It was founded at the monastery of Belur Math on the river Ganges, near Calcutta. Ramkrishna mission tries to alleviate human sufferings And spread education among the illiterate masses. Two cardinal principles guide this mission, one is Ramkrishna’s view Religion is not for empty bellies and other is Swami Vivekananda’s view, if you want to find God serve man.’’
Swami Vivekananda was a true patriot. His contribution to Indian society was enormous. He dedicated his life to stop child marriage and eliminate illiteracy among women and backward classes. He Tried to uplift the socially marginalised and appressed classes. He claimed that spiritual self– realisation led to people realising their own potentialities. He fully believed in universality, cosmopolitanism and compassion. Mutual kindness and compassion between man was more important than that coming from God. He emphasised on self – perfection and service to mankind.
Swami Vivekananda died on 8th july,1902 while meditating. He was only 39 at that time.12th January , the birth anniversary of swami Vivekananda is celebrated as the ‘National youth day’ India. His famous writings on Jnana-yoga, Bhakti-yoga, and Raja-yoga on Hindu philosophy still inspire us. He declared ; The only God whom I believe, is the sum total of all souls and above all, my God is the afflicted, my God is the poor of all races.He is regarded as one of the great spiritual figure in India. He was able to motivate people with his effective and vibrant speech capacity. In his short life, Vivekananda left a remarkable influence on our lives.