Who is Swami Vivekananda? What are interests of Vivekananda and Works, Family Background and Education of Vivekananda?
Swami Vivekananda was born in 12th Jan 1863 in an illustrious Datta family of Shimla in Kolkata. Dattas were very religious, pious, rich, cultural and artistorcrastic. His grandfather Durga Charan Datta renounced the world after the birth of his first child, Vishwanathan, who later became a famous attorney of the Kolkata High Court.
Vishwanath Datta and he were named Narendra Nath. It is he who is now known to the whole world as Vivekananda (the bliss of knowledge and discrimination). This name was given to him in recognition of his great spiritual merits and achievements.
Narendra Nath healthy in body and intelligent in mind. He was a prodigy from his youth and had a well developed around personality. He was a gifted with deep spiritual disposition and power of concentration. From the very beginning he spent a good deal of his time in mediation and never ate-non-vegetarian food.
Swami Vivekananda, a great and genuine god man, saint, philosopher and creator of modern Hinduism, was the leading disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhansa. He deeply influenced the Western world with his Vedanta movement and gave Hinduism a new meaning and relevance. He synthesized and systematized various Hindu thoughts and ideals in order to make them more acceptable, comprehensible and practical.
He went to America in 1892 and represented India in the Parliament of Religious in Chicago in 1893. With his most brilliant, moving and impressive speech, he moving and impressive speech, he won laurels, many friends, admires and converts to Hinduism. His visit to England in 1896 was equally successful.
There he met the German philosopher and great admirer of Vedanta Professor Max Muller. The later invited and entertained Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda established the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Order at Belur Math on the banks of the river Ganga near Kolkata. He was the main force behind the Vedanta movement in America and Europe.
Vivekananda showed the way of self-realization and God-preached that all religious are different paths to same goal. Thus, he helped in spiritual reawaking and Renaissance and in creating a feeling of harmony, cooperation and friendship among the seemingly opposing creeds, cults and interests. He also established an Advaita Ashram, at Mayavati in the Himalayas.
When Swami met Swami Ramakrishna
He slept on the floor a blanket spread on it. His search for truth and God became a passionate urge with the passage of time. One day he met Swami Ramakrishna at his ashram and temple at Dakshineshwara to whom he expressed his strong desire of God-realization.
The meetings with Ramakrishna revolutionsed Narendra mind and thoughts and he began to have many new spiritual experiences. Consequently, Narendra became a frequent visitor and a close devotee of the Master. If he failed to visit Dakshineshwara for a few days Ramakrishna would become concerned disconsolate and even weep in absence. Then he would send someone to fetch him from his home. ‘
Vedanta? As a Narendra
Ramakrishna knew the past, the present and future of Narendra and found him the fittest disciple to be initiated into the esoteric lore of the Vedanta, he urged him to read Advaita literature. At first Narendra refused to follow the advice because he did not consider anything worth its while if it did not tally with reason. But the master’s magic association and blessings soon worked miracles and so he later became an ardent student and follower of Vedanta.
In 1884, Narendra’s father died suddenly of a heart stokes. He had spent lavishly and more than what he had actually earned. So the Datta family was in dire distress and financial straits. Narendra tried in vain to get a job. Under desperation, pressure and emotional stress, he become somewhat agnostic and then decided to renounce the world.
But his meeting with Ramakrishna proved a turning point. He asked the Master to pray for him to remove his poverty and wants, a favour that he taught the master would never deny. He urged the master to make an appeal to the Divine mother on his behalf. But then Ramakrishna said “My boy I can’t make such a demand.
But why don’t you go and ask the mother yourself? At the last Narendra went to the Kali temple at night and found himself filled the divine intoxication. Instead of praying for removal of poverty and grant of wealth, he prayed to the Divine mother, “Give me discrimination! Give me knowledge and devotion! Grant that I may have an uninterrupted vision of Thee! He was sent second time to the temple by the Master to pray for the removal of his family’s worldly wants. But again the same thing happened. He did not and could not pray for worldly things. Gradually their spiritual bonds and kinship grew close and closer.
Name of Lord Rama & Turn into Deep Samadhi
During the last days of Master at the Cossipore Garden, the Master entrusted Vivekananda the responsibility of the flock of his disciples and the propagation of his ideas, ideals and mission. The young disciples with Vivekananda as their leader stayed with the Master, Narendra would engage them in mediation, study, debate, discussion or singing of divine songs.
The unselfish parental love, care and spiritual training coupled with fraternal sprit of Vivekananda helped these young men into a very closely knit brotherhood devoted a great and noble cause. The member of these young devotees was limited to twelve.
It was during these days that Vivekananda with name of Lord Rama, his own Ishta-Mantra. Vivekananda instantly gained divine bliss and intoxication and remained in this exalted state for a very long time.
One day the Master called Vivekananda to his side and made him sit before him and gazing at him went to Samadhi. Vivekananda felt a subtle force like an electric current entering his whole being. Vivekananda too attained deep Samadhi. When he came to normal consciousness, he found the Master weeping.
On being asked why he was weeping, the Master replied, “Today, I have given you may all and have become a Fakir! Through this power you will do immense good to the world, and then only shall you go to back.” Thus, the Master bestowed his great powers on Narendra, the future Vivekananda.
After Master Death
At last the Master passed away on 16th Aug, 1886. They felt orphaned but gradually a calm resignation dawned on then and they began to realize the Master’s presence within. He, their Master was the same in the subtle state as in physical life.
Soon they established the first monastery and became sanyashis under the leadership of Vivekananda. They brought the holy relics of the Master to the math and monastery and started and regular worship. And thus a new order of monks and sanyashis was established.
Vivekananda, the leader and guardian of the young monks not only kept the flock together but also took them farther and farther on the path of God-realization. He moulded their lives and broadened their horizon of learning. Soon they went into the wide world and wandered all over the country as begging monks and spreading the spiritual message of their Master.
The Passing of Swami Vivekananda
The last months of Swami Vivekananda were spent at Belur Math. He continued to teach and help people until the very end. He had great love for people and wanted to help them as much as he could. He knew that the end was near, and he prepared for it. He even told his disciples that he would not live much longer.
Just three days before his passing he was walking in the math grounds with Swami Premananda. Swamiji pointed to particular place and said “When I give up the body. Cremate it there.”Today the Vivekananda Temple stands on that very spot. Then came the last day, July 04, 1902.