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About Swami Vivekananda

Narendra Nath Datta, popularly Swami Vivekananda, was an influential spiritual leader. He is an inspiring personality who strived to bring spiritual enlightenment among masses. With his humanistic teachings of the Vedanta philosophy, he tried to improve the religious consciousness of people in the West. He has also established Ramakrishna Mission with an intention of serving the poor.


Swami Vivekananda was born on 12th January 1863 in Kolkata to Vishwanath Datta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi. His father was an attorney with interests in a number of subjects, while Bhuvaneshwari was a highly devoted woman with strong character. He got the name Swami Vivekananda after he turned into a monk.

During his childhood, Narendranath was quite active, energetic and naughty. He was very much interested in education, games and learned vocal music as well. Since his young age, he started practicing meditation. Despite being young, he used to question the caste and religion based discrimination as well as superstitious customs. He respected ascetics a lot and would help anyone with anything when in need. Since an early age, he had developed the quality of renunciation and sacrificing for people.

Narendranath completed his matriculation in 1879 and then joined Presidency College in Kolkata. The next year, he went to the Scottish Church College and studied philosophy. He also learned about the western philosophy and history of European nations. As he continued pursuing his studies, he got associated with Brahmo Samaj, which was led by Keshab Chandra Sen. Brahmo Samaj was a religious movement, which Narendranath joined when he started getting doubts about the god’s existence.

It is during this time, he got to know about the priest, Sri Ramakrishna Pramahans of Dakshineshwar. Though Ramakrishna was not a scholar, but he was highly devoted and was also said to have realized God. On this trip to Dakshineshwar, Narendranath got to see and meet him. Not only he was impressed but he was deeply moved by the words of Ramakrishna and started visiting him often. Gradually, he became his disciple and got trained for five years in the Advaita Vedanta, which is about non-dualism philosophy.

Difficulties in the life of Narendranath started on the demise of his father in 1884. He then, took the responsibility and supported his family members. He again faced major distress when Sri Ramakrishna fell seriously ill and was moved to Shyampukur and then to Cossipore. The disciples of Ramakrishna looked after him with devoted care. During this time, he also laid foundation for the new monastic order and instructed Narendranath about its formation. On 16th August, 1886 Sir Ramakrishna died of his illness.

Narendranath along with disciples formed the new monastic brotherhood and took vows of sannyasa. It is then his name was changed to Swami Vivekananda. In 1890, Vivekananda travelled to different places like Vrindavan, Varanasi, Ayodhya and so on. During this journey, he came to know about the cultures of different regions along with the problems, and imbalance existing in the society. In 1893, he travelled to America to participate in the Conference of World Religions in Chicago. Swami Vivekananda won huge applause for the way he addressed the people. He wisely spoke on various subjects including Philosophy, Literature, History or Sociology. Later he travelled to England and made many disciples, which includes Margaret Nivedita also.

Swami Vivekananda was back to Indian in 1897 and started spreading the message of spiritual development. In 1897, he started Sri Ramakrishna Mission and in the next two years, he founded the Ramakrishna Math. During 1899 and 1900, he again travelled to the West. On 4th July 1902, Swami Vivekananda died at Belur Math near Kolkata.