LIFE AND WORKS OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA
Swami Vivekananda embodied the mission of India in the world. When his Guru Swami Ramakrishna died, he said, “I will come like a bombshell and make the world follow me like a dog”. He reappeared at Madras after seven years.
Known earlier as Narendranath Dutta, he was born on January 12, 1863 in Calcutta. His mother was a pious lady steeped in the great Hindu epics. From his early childhood his mother with pious nature had a great influence on the child. His mother used to teach him personally. She taught him the languages of Hindi and Bengali. His father was a lawyer and a friend of the poor. Even in boyhood, Narendranath possessed great physical strength, presence of mind, a vivid imagination, deep power of thought, keen intelligence, an extraordinary memory, a love of truth, passion for purity, a spirit of independence and a tender heart. He studied in colleges in Calcutta and graduated from the Scottish Church College.
He was an expert musician. He acquired deep ability in physics, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, history and literature.
He came in contact with Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar Kali Temple and became his follower. He tested his guru before surrendering himself to him. Ever since Narender was a small child, he had nursed the desire to see God but no saint could enlighten the child on the subject, when he came in contact with Swami Ramakrishna Param hamsa, he asked him.
“Sir, have you seen the God?”
“Yes, I have seen the God,” said the guru. I have seen him more tangibly than I see you. I have talked him more intimately than I am talking to you. I can make you see him if you only follow me”.
Swami Ramakrishna endowed Narendra Nath with all his spiritual powers and made him his heir. With this Narendranath assumed the name of Swami Vivekananda and a sanyasi in true sense. After the demise of Swami Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Swami Vivekananda started many institutions named after his Guru at Belur. Swami Vivekananda implored the youth to develop the spirit of adventure.
Swami Vivekananda travelled extensively as a wandering monk from the Himalayas to Kanya Kumari. In 1893 he set sail for America to attend the Parliament of Religions at Chicago. For attending this Parliament of Religions he was given financial assistance by the Maharaja of Khetri.
He carried the day by his wonderful exposition of the Vedanta philosophy and Hindu religion. His address began with the words ‘My dear Sisters and Brothers of America’. This thrilled the audience as the greeting contained the spirit of universal brotherhood. On return he addressed meetings at London, one young lady by the name Margaret became his disciple and later became Sister Nivedita to carry on his mission. He established many Vedantic centres in USA.
He told the youth of India, “Have faith, that you are my brave lads, born to do great things. Let not the barks of puppies frighten you: no, not even the thunder bolt of heaven, but stand up and work”. He advised the youth to move forward, this words were “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”.
He said: Truth always triumphs. What India wants is a new electric fire to stir up a fresh vigour in the national veins.
“No need of looking behind. Move forward! The old religion said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself”.
“Follow truth wherever it may lead you; carry ideas to their utmost logical conclusion. Do not be cowardly and hypocritical”.
“Manifest the divinity within you, and everything will be harmoniously arranged around it”.