Swami Vivekananda was the person who astonished me with his courage & achievements and inspired me the most.
He was born in an aristocratic family in Calcutta, along with 8 siblings. He was known as Narendra or Naren. At the young age, he excelled in studies about religion, history & social science, art, literature, music and gymnastics. He was the first person who introduced Indian philosophy, yoga and vedantha to the western world. He started practising meditation from his boyhood.
Sri Ramakrishna was his English professor at college. Vivekananda put the same question he asked many people earlier,”Sir, have you seen God?”. Ramakrishna replied instantly,”Yes. I have seen Him clearly as I see you in a much intenser sense”. Vivekananda started showing pure and unselfish love towards him. He accepted Sri Ramakrishna as his spiritual guru and started to visit Dakshineshwar often to see him.
The sudden death of Vivekananda’s father, left the family bankrupt. He, once a son of a well-to-do family became one of the poorest boy in the college. His spiritual education continued through Sri Ramakrishna and the poverty did not make him tired. Sri Ramakrishna passed away due to throat cancer and Vivekananda was nominated as his successor by Sri Ramakrishna, before his death.
Then, Vivekananda took the Hindu religious life of a wandering monk and traveled extensively throughout India. He visited Japan, China, Canada and USA. His famous speech about Hinduism on 11th September 1893, at Art Institute of Chicago began with the words,”Sisters and brothers of America”. At these words, he received two minutes standing ovation from the crowd of seven thousand people. He insisted about universality and religious tolerance. He was named cyclonic monk from India.
Vivekananda spent two years lecturing in Chicago, Detroit, Boston and New York. He founded the “Vedantha society of Newyork”. He was offered academic position in Harward University and the Columbia University but he declined both. Then, he traveled to UK and the other Europeon countries. The Irish woman Margaret Elizabeth became his disciple later, in the name of sister Niveditha.
I will continue the information about Swami Vivekananda in my next blog.