Swami Vivekananda Short Biography

Swami Vivekananda (real name: Narendra Nath Datta) was born on 12th January 1863 in Calcutta (the Capital of British India at that time). He was an Indian Hindu monk and chief disciple of the 19th-century saint Ramakrishna Parahamhans. He took the responsibility of spreading Hinduism in India and contributed to the concept of nationalism in British India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the Western world.

Swami Vivekananda was born in a traditional Bengali family, to father Vishwanath Datta, who was an attorney at the Calcutta High Court and mother Bhuvaneswari Devi, a housewife. From his childhood days, he was interested in spirituality and uses to meditate before the images of Hindu deities. He was fascinated by wandering ascetics and monks.

In 1871, Swami Vivekananda enrolled at Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's Metropolitan Institution, and studied there till the family moved to Raipur in 1877. In 1879, he entered Presidency College with first division marks. During college days, Swami Vivekananda founded his interest in various subjects, including religion, philosophy, social science, history, literature and art. He was keen into reading and used to read a lot of Hindu scriptures, including the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas.

In 1981, Swami Vivekananda became a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhans. Though he followed him as his guru but was against idol worship, and went ahead in search of real god. After the death of Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda went ahead and founded first Ramakrishna Math in Baranagar in 1886. He vowed to wander like a monk. From 1888 to 1893 he visited many regions of India promoting Hinduism.

In 1893, Swami Vivekananda got a chance to visit west when the Parliament of the World's Religions opened on 11 September 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the World's Columbian Exposition. There he began his speech with “Sisters and Brothers and of America”, for which he received standing ovation from a crowd of 7000. During his lecture tours in US and UK he actively promoted the ideologies of Vedas and formed Vedanta Society of New York in 1894. Though following his ill health he returned to India and spent his final years here.

At the End

Swami Vivekananda died on 4th July 1902. According to his disciples, Vivekananda went to his room and died while meditating. He attained ‘mahasamādhi’ – a term used by his followers. But the possible cause of death was reported as the rupture of a blood vessel in his brain. Vivekananda fulfilled his prophecy that he would not live forty years.


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