Timeline History

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda , whose pre-monastic name was Narendranath Dutta (January 12, 1863 - July 4, 1902) was one of the most famous and influential spiritual leaders of the Vedanta philosophy. He was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and was the founder of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. Many consider him an icon for his fearless courage, his positive exhortations to the youth, his broad outlook on social problems, and countless lectures and discourses on Vedanta philosophy.

Biography

Narendranath Dutta was born in Shimla Pally, Kolkata, West Bengal, India on January 12, 1863 as the son of Viswanath Dutta and Bhuvaneswari Devi. Even as he was young, he showed a precocious mind and keen memory. He practiced meditation from a very early age. While at school, he was good at studies, as well as games of various kinds. He organised an amateur theatrical company and a gymnasium and took lessons in fencing, wrestling, rowing and other sports. He also studied instrumental and vocal music. He was a leader among his group of friends. Even when he was young, he questioned the validity of superstitious customs and discrimination based on caste and religion.
In 1879, Narendra entered the Presidency College, Calcutta for higher studies. After one year, he joined the Scottish Church College, Calcutta and studied philosophy. During the course, he studied western logic, western philosophy and history of European nations.
Questions started to arise in young Narendra's mind about God and the presence of God. This made him associate with the Brahmo Samaj, an important religious movement of the time, led by Keshab Chandra Sen. But the Samaj's congregational prayers and devotional songs could not satisfy Narendra's zeal to realise God. He would ask leaders of Brahma Samaj whether they have seen God. He never got a satisfying answer. It was during this time that Professor Hastie of Scottish Church College told him about Sri Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar. Narendra met Ramakrishna for the first time in November 1881. He asked Ramakrishna the same old question, whether he had seen God. The instantaneous answer from Ramakrishna was, "Yes, I see God, just as I see you here, only in a much intenser sense." Narendra was astounded and puzzled. He could feel the man's words were honest and uttered from depths of experience. He started visiting Ramakrishna frequently.
Though Narendra could not accept Ramakrishna and his visions, he could not neglect him. It had always been in Narendra's nature to test something thoroughly before he could accept it. He tested Ramakrishna to the maximum, but the master was patient, forgiving, humorous, and full of love. He never asked Narendra to abandon reason, and he faced all of Narendra's arguments and examinations with infinite patience. In time, Narendra accepted Ramakrishna, and while he accepted, his acceptance was whole-hearted. While Ramakrishna predominantly taught duality and Bhakti to his other disciples, he taught Narendra the Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy of non-dualism.
During the course of five years of his training under Ramakrishna, Narendra was transformed from a restless, puzzled, impatient youth to a mature man who was ready to renounce everything for the sake of God-realization. Soon, Ramakrishna's end came in the form of throat cancer in August 1886. After this Narendra and a core group of Ramakrishna's disciples took vows to become monks and renounce everything, and started living in a supposedly haunted house in Baranagore. They took alms to satisfy their hunger and their other needs were taken care of by Ramakrishna's richer householder disciples.
Soon, the young monks of Baranagore wanted to live the life of a wandering monk with rags and a begging bowl and no other possessions. On July 1890, Vivekananda set out for a long journey, without knowing where the journey would take him. The journey that followed took him to the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent. During these days, Vivekananda assumed various names like Vividishananda, Satchidananda, etc., It is said that he was given the name Vivekananda by Maharaja of Khetri for his discernment of things, good and bad.
During these wandering days, Vivekananda stayed on king's palaces, as well as the huts of the poor. He came in close contact with the culture of different regions of India and various classes of people in India. Vivekananda observed the imbalance in society and tyranny in the name of caste. He realised the need for a national rejuvenation if India was to survive at all. He reached Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent on 24 December 1892. There, he swam across the sea and started meditating on a lone rock. He thus meditated for three days and said later that he meditated about the past, present and future of India. The rock went on to become the Vivekananda memorial at Kanyakumari.
Vivekananda went to Madras and spoke about his plans for India and Hinduism to the young men of Madras. They were impressed by the monk and urged him to go to the United States and represent Hinduism in the World Parliament of Religions. Thus, helped by his friends at Madras, Raja of Ramnad and Maharajas of Mysore and Khetri, Vivekananda set out on his journey to the USA.
Vivekananda was received well at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Illinois, where he delivered a series of lectures. He also earned wild applause for beginning his address with the famous words, "Sisters and brothers of America." Vivekananda's arrival in the USA has been identified by many to mark the beginning of western interest in Hinduism not as merely an exotic eastern oddity, but as a vital religious and philosophical tradition that might actually have something important to teach the West. Within a few years of the Parliament, he had started Vedantic centres in New York City, New York and London, lectured at major universities and generally kindled western interest in Hinduism. His success was not without controversy, much of it from Christian missionaries of whom he was fiercely critical. After four years of constant touring, lecturing and retreats in the West, he came back to India in the year 1897. Admirers and devotees of Vivekananda gave him an enthusiastic reception on his return to India. In India, he delivered a series of lectures, and this set of lectures known as "Lectures from Colombo to Almora" is considered to have uplifted the morale of the then downtrodden Indian society. He founded the Ramakrishna Mission. This institution is now one of the largest monastic orders of Hindu society in India.
However, he had to bear great criticism from other orthodox Hindus for having travelled in -- what they perceived to be -- the impure West. His contemporaries also questioned his motives, wondering whether the fame and glory of his Hindu evangelism compromised his original monastic vows. His enthusiasm for America and Britain, and his spiritual devotion to his motherland, caused significant tension in his last years.
He once again toured the west from January 1899 to December 1900. On July 4, 1902 at Belur Math near Kolkata, he taught Vedanta philosophy to some pupils in the morning. He had a walk with Swami Premananda, a brother-disciple and gave him instructions concerning the future of the Ramakrishna Math. In the evening he went for meditation in his room facing the Ganga and died in Mahasamadhi.

Religious Revivalism As Nationalist Discourse: Swami Vivekananda and New Hinduism in Nineteenth-Century Bengal

Religious Revivalism As Nationalist Discourse: Swami Vivekananda and New Hinduism in Nineteenth-Century Bengal

No Synopsis Available




Vedanta Philosophy: Lectures By The Swami Vivekananda On Raja Yoga Also Pantanjali''s Yoga Aphorisms, With Commentaries, And Glossa

Vedanta Philosophy: Lectures By The Swami Vivekananda On Raja Yoga Also Pantanjali''s Yoga Aphorisms, With Commentaries, And Glossa

Vedanta Philosophy: Lectures By The Swami Vivekananda On Raja Yoga Also Pantanjali''s Yoga Aphorisms, With Commentaries, And Glossa




Inspired Talks By Swami Vivekananda

Inspired Talks By Swami Vivekananda

Inspired Talks By Swami Vivekananda




Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

No Synopsis Available




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