Swami Vivekananda And His Legacy
• Birthdate: January 12, 1863
• Birthplace: Bengal Presidency, Calcutta (Now Kolkata in West Bengal)
• Parents: Bhuvaneshwari Devi (Mother) and Vishwanath Dutta (Father)
• Education: Calcutta Metropolitan School; Presidency College, Kolkata
• Institutions: Ramakrishna Math; Vedanta Society of New York, and Ramakrishna Mission
• Religious Views: Hinduism
• Philosophy: Advaita Vedanta
• Publications: My Master (1901), Lectures from Colombo to Almora (1897), Karma Yoga (1896), and Raja Yoga (1896).
• Death: July 4, 1902
• Place of Death: Belur Math, Belur, Bengal
• Memorial: Belur Math in Belur, West Bengal
About Swami Vivekananda:
Hindu monk - Swami Vivekananda is regarded as one of India's most illustrious spiritual figures. He was not merely a spiritual thinker, he was also a prolific writer, an effective orator, and a fervent nationalist. He carried his master Ramakrishna Paramhansa's free-thinking philosophy into a new paradigm. He devoted all of his efforts to serving the underprivileged and the needy while working relentlessly to improve society. He was in charge of reviving Hindu spirituality and making Hinduism a respected religion over the world.
His message of brotherhood between all people and self-awakening is still pertinent today, particularly against the backdrop of the current global political unrest. Many people have found inspiration in the young monk and his teachings, and his words particularly for the nation's youth have evolved into self-improvement objectives. His birthday, January 12, is observed as ‘’National Youth Day’’ in India.
Childhood And Education:
Vivekananda was one of the eight children of Vishwanath Dutta and Bhuvaneshwari Devi and was born in Calcutta as Narendranath Dutta into a wealthy Bengali family. On January 12, 1863, the day of Makar Sankranti, he was born. Father Vishwanath was a prominent member of society and a successful lawyer. Mother Bhuvaneshwari, who had a powerful, godly mind, had a significant influence on her son Narendranath.
Narendranath was a bright little boy who showed intelligence. His playful demeanor belied his love of vocal and instrumental music. His academic performance was outstanding, both at the Metropolitan institution and the Presidency College in Calcutta. He possessed a broad knowledge of several subjects by the time he earned his college degree. He participated in athletics, wrestling, gymnastics, and bodybuilding.
He read voraciously and read almost everything there was to know. He studied western philosophy, history, and spirituality by David Hume, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and Herbert Spencer in addition to Hindu scriptures like the Bhagvad Gita and the Upanishads.
Relationship With Ramkrishna Paramhansa And About His Spiritual Crisis:
Despite growing up in a religious environment at home and having a pious mother, Narendranath experienced a severe spiritual crisis in his early years. His in-depth understanding caused him to begin to doubt the existence of God, and for a while, he held an agnostic belief. However, he was unable to entirely discount the idea of a Supreme Being.
For a while, he was involved with the Keshab Chandra Sen-led Brahmo Movement. In contrast to Hinduism, which is idol-worshiping and full of superstition, the Bramho Samaj recognized just one God. He was left with a plethora of unsolved philosophical issues about whether God existed. Vivekananda first learned about Sri Ramakrishna during this period of spiritual difficulty through William Hastie, the Principal of the Scottish Church College.
In the past, Narendranath met well-known spiritual figures from all religions and asked them one simple question: "Have you seen God?" This was done to satisfy his intellectual search for God. Each time, he was unable to provide a satisfactory response. At Sri Ramakrishna’s house within the grounds of the Dakshinewar Kali Temple, he posed the same query. Sri Ramakrishna responded without hesitating: "I have, indeed. I see God just as plainly as I see you, but much more deeply."
Vivekananda was surprised by Ramakrishna's response after originally being dissatisfied by the simplicity of Ramakrishna. With his love and compassion, Ramakrishna gradually won this obstinate young man over. More of Narendranath's questions were clarified when he made more trips to Dakshineshwar.
Due to the fact that he had to take care of his mother and younger siblings when his father passed away in 1884, Naredranath experienced severe financial hardship. He requested Ramakrishna to make a goddess prayer for his family's financial well-being. On Ramakrishna's advice, he went to the temple by himself to worship. But once he was in front of the Goddess, he was unable to request wealth and money, instead, he pleaded for "Vivek" (conscience) and "Bairagya" (reclusion). Narendranath's entire spiritual enlightenment occurred on that day, and he was afterwards led to an ascetic way of life.
Living As A Monk:
Ramakrishna, who had been battling throat cancer, suffered a terrible illness in the middle of 1885. Sri Ramakrishna was relocated to Shyampukur in Culcutta in September 1885, and a few months later Narendranath moved into a rented home there. Here, he organized a group of young people who were fervent Sri Ramakrishna devotees, and they collectively cared for their Guru with devotion. Sri Ramakrishna gave up his physical form on August 16, 1886.
Around fifteen of Sri Ramakrishna's students, including Narendranath, started residing together in a run-down structure at Baranagar in North Calcutta, which was dubbed Ramakrishna Math, the monastic order of Ramakrishna, after the latter. They publicly renounced all connections to the outside world and accepted monastic vows here in 1887. The brotherhood gave themselves new names, and Narendranath became Vivekananda, which is Sanskrit for "the delight of discerning wisdom."
The brotherhood practices yoga and meditation while subsisting on alms given willingly by customers during holy begging, or "madhukari." In 1886, Vivekananda resigned from the Math and embarked on a "Parivrajak" tour of India on foot. He traversed the entire nation, soaking up a lot of the social, cultural, and religious facets of the people he met. He became aware of the hardships and illnesses that the average person encountered in life and made a lifelong commitment to alleviate their suffering.
At The World Parliament of Religions:
He learned about the World Parliament of Religions, which took place in Chicago, America, in 1893, while he was travelling. In order to represent India, Hinduism, and his Guru Sri Ramakrishna's teachings, he was eager to attend the gathering. While contemplating on the rocks of Kanyakumari, India's southernmost tip, he experienced the affirmation of his wishes. Money was raised by his followers in Madras (now Chennai), and on May 31, 1893, Vivekananda, Ajit Singh, and Raja of Khetri departed from Bombay for Chicago.
On his journey to Chicago, he endured unfathomable challenges, yet his enthusiasm never wavered. When it was time, on September 11, 1893, he entered the platform and startled everyone with the words "My brothers and sisters of America." The audience applauded him standing ovation for the opening sentence. He continued by outlining the tenets of Vedanta and its philosophical implications, putting Hinduism on the map of major world religions.
He stayed in America for the following 2.5 years, starting the Vedanta Society of New York in 1894. In order to spread Hindu Spiritualism and Vedanta to the western world, he also travelled to the United Kingdom.
The Ramakrishna Mission And Teachings:
In 1897, Vivekananda went to India and was welcomed both warmly by the populace and the aristocracy. After giving a number of talks across the nation, he made his way to Calcutta, where he established the Ramakrishna Mission on May 1, 1897, not far from the city. The main mission of the Ramakrishna Mission, which was founded on the Karma Yoga beliefs, was to assist the nation's underprivileged and suffering citizens.
The Ramakrishna Mission engaged in a variety of social service endeavors, including founding and operating schools, colleges, and hospitals, disseminating the practical Vedanta principles through conferences, seminars, and workshops, and starting relief and rehabilitation efforts all over the nation. His assimilation of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy and Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual teachings of Divine manifestation combined to form his religious conscience.
He gave instructions on how to cultivate the divinity of the soul through acts of service, worship, and mental training. For Vivekananda, the achievement of spiritual freedom which includes all aspects of one's religion is the ultimate aim. Being a well-known nationalist, Swami Vivekananda put his countrymen's general welfare first. "Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is attained," he implored his countrymen.
It was predicted by Swami Vivekananda that he would not live past the age of forty. He continued his day's work at the Belur Math, instructing the students in Sanskrit grammar, on July 4, 1902. In the evening, he retired to his room, and about nine, he passed away while meditating. The renowned saint was burned on the banks of the Ganges after allegedly achieving "Mahasamadhi."
The real roots of Indian nationalism were made known to the world by Swami Vivekananda. He demonstrated how a country with such extreme diversity can nevertheless be united by a sense of brotherhood and humanity. Vivekananda focused on the shortcomings of western civilization and how India helped to overcome them. According to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose: "Swamiji brought together the East and the West, science and religion, the past and the present.
That's why he's so awesome. His lessons have helped our compatriots develop a level of self-respect, self-reliance, and self-assertion that is unprecedented." Vivekananda was effective in creating a fictitious link between Eastern and Western cultures. He provided Westerners with interpretations of Hindu scriptures, philosophy, and way of life. He helped them understand that, despite its underdevelopment and poverty, India had a significant cultural contribution to contribute. He was instrumental in breaking India's cultural barrier to the rest of the globe.