Swamy Vivekananda | Braves By their Broken Hearts!

Have you seen God? 
Do you have enough courage to see the God? 
Do you know where the God is? 
Who created God? 
Does the God really exist? 
What is the real form of God?
What is the purpose of Life?
We don't know the better answers for all these questions.. But a great legend in the history knows all the best answers for your questions. He shook the world with his tremendous speech. He moved around the globe to show the actual meaning of a great religion. He questioned, He found answers, He awakened the spirits of Knowledge.. He is Narendranath Dutta, who popularly known as Swamy Vivekananda. What made this person to stand up with a powerful mind?


Narendranath Dutta (Swamy Vivekananda) | Biographical Sketch
  • Born in a Bengali family in Calcutta, the capital city of British India on 12th January, 1863.
  • He was one of the Nine siblings.
  • His father, Vishwanath Datta, was an attorney at the Calcutta High Court.
  • Durgacharan Datta, Narendra's grandfather was a Sanskrit and Persian scholar who left his family and became a monk at age twenty-five.
  • His mother, Bhubaneswari Devi, was a devout housewife. The progressive, rational attitude of Narendra's father and the religious temperament of his mother helped shape his thinking and personality. 
  • Narendranath was interested in spirituality from a young age and used to meditate before the images of deities such as Shiva, Rama, Sita, and Mahavir Hanuman.
  • Narendra was naughty and restless as a child, and his parents often had difficulty controlling him. His mother said, "I prayed to Shiva for a son and he has sent me one of his demons".
  • At the age of eight, Narendranath enrolled at Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's Metropolitan Institution, where he went to school.
  • He was the only student to receive first-division marks in the Presidency College entrance examination.
Narendranath Dutta (swami Vivekananda)
  • He was an avid reader in a wide range of subjects, including philosophy, religion, history, social science, art and literature. He was also interested in Hindu scriptures, including the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas.
  • Narendra was trained in Indian classical music and regularly participated in physical exercise, sports and organised activities. Narendra studied Western logic, Western philosophy and European history at the General Assembly's Institution (now known as the Scottish Church College).
  • Narendra studied the works of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Baruch Spinoza, Georg W. F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill and Charles Darwin.
  • While studying Western philosophers, he also learned Sanskrit scriptures and Bengali literature.
Inspirational Quotes by Swamy Vivekananda

  • William Hastie (principal of Christian College, Calcutta, from where Narendra graduated) wrote, "Narendra is really a genius. I have travelled far and wide but I have never come across a lad of his talents and possibilities, even in German universities, among philosophical students. He is bound to make his mark in life".
  • Narendra was known for his prodigious memory and the ability at speed reading. Several incidents have been given as examples.
  • In an incident with Dr. Paul Deussen in Germany, Vivekananda was going over some poetical work and did not reply when the professor spoke to him. Later, he apologised to Dr. Deussen explaining that he was too absorbed in reading and hence did not hear him. The professor was not satisfied with this explanation but Vivekananda quoted and interpreted verses from the text leaving the professor dumbfounded about his feat of memory.
  • Once, he requested some books written by Sir John Lubbock from a library and returned them the very next day claiming that he had read them. The librarian refused to believe him until cross examination about the contents convinced him that Vivekananda was being truthful. 
  • Not satisfied with his knowledge of philosophy, Narendra came to "the question which marked the real beginning of his intellectual quest for God." 
  • He asked several prominent Calcutta residents if they had come "face to face with God", but none of their answers satisfied him. 
  • At this time, Narendra met Debendranath Tagore (the leader of Brahmo Samaj) and asked if he had seen God. Instead of answering his question, Tagore said "My boy, you have the Yogi's eyes." It was Ramakrishna who really answered Narendra's question, by saying "Yes, I see Him as I see you, only in an infinitely intenser sense."
  • In 1881 Narendra first met Ramakrishna, who became his spiritual focus after his own father had died in 1884.
  • Narendra's first introduction to Ramakrishna occurred in a literature class at General Assembly's Institution when he heard Professor William Hastie lecturing on William Wordsworth's poem, The Excursion. 
  • While explaining the word "trance" in the poem, Hastie suggested that his students visit Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar to understand the true meaning of trance. This prompted some of his students (including Narendra) to visit Ramakrishna.

  • Although he did not initially accept Ramakrishna as his teacher and rebelled against his ideas, he was attracted by his personality and began to frequently visit him.
  • As a member of Brahmo Samaj, he opposed idol worship, polytheism and Ramakrishna's worship of Kali. 
  • Narendra tested Ramakrishna, who faced his arguments patiently. "Try to see the truth from all angles", Ramakrishna replied.
  • One day Narendra requested Ramakrishna to pray to goddess Kali for their family's financial welfare. Ramakrishna suggested him to go to the temple himself and pray.
  • Following Ramakrishna's suggestion, he went to the temple thrice, but failed to pray for any kind of worldly necessities and ultimately prayed for true knowledge and devotion from the goddess. 
  • Narendra gradually grew ready to renounce everything for the sake of realising God, and accepted Ramakrishna as his Guru (Teacher).
  • In 1885, Ramakrishna developed throat cancer, and was transferred to Calcutta and (later) to a garden house in Cossipore. Narendra and Ramakrishna's other disciples took care of him during his last days, and Narendra's spiritual education continued.
  • Ramakrishna asked him to care for the other monastic disciples, and in turn asked them to see Narendra as their leader. Ramakrishna died in the early-morning hours of 16 August 1886.
  • Narendra decided to convert a dilapidated house at Baranagar into a new math (monastery) for the remaining disciples. Rent for the Baranagar Math was low, raised by "holy begging". The math became the first building of the Ramakrishna Math: the monastery of the monastic order of Ramakrishna. Narendra and other disciples used to spend many hours in practising meditation and religious austerities every day.
Swamy Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
  • In Antpur, in the Christmas Eve of 1886, Narendra and eight other disciples took formal monastic vows. They decided to live their lives as their master lived. Narendra took his name as SWAMI VIVIDISHANANDA.
  • He also used other names as SWAMI SACHIDANANDA, BHISHIKESHANANDA, VIRESHWAR to travel as an unknown monk.
  • In 1888, Narendra left the monastery as a Parivrâjaka ( the Hindu religious life of a wandering monk ) means, "without fixed abode, without ties, independent and strangers wherever they go".
  • His sole possessions were a kamandalu (water pot), staff and his two favourite books, the Bhagavad Gita and The Imitation of Christ. Narendra travelled extensively in India for five years, visiting centres of learning and acquainting himself with diverse religious traditions and social patterns.
  • He developed sympathy for the suffering and poverty of the people, and resolved to uplift the nation. Living primarily on bhiksha (alms), Narendra travelled on foot and by railway (with tickets bought by admirers). 
  • During his travels he met, and stayed with Indians from all religions and walks of life, the scholars, dewans, rajas, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, paraiyars (low-caste workers) and government officials.
  • Narendra left Bombay for Chicago on 31 May 1893 with the name "Vivekananda", as suggested by Ajit Singh of Khetri, which means "the bliss of discerning wisdom" from Sanskrit words "viveka" and "ānanda".
  • Vivekananda started his journey to the West on 31 May 1893 and visited several cities in Japan, China and Canada in the route to the United States, reaching Chicago on 30 July 1893, where the "Parliament of Religions" took place in September 1893.
  • Vivekananda wanted to join, but was disappointed to learn that no one without credentials from a bona fide organisation would be accepted as a delegate.
  • Vivekananda submitted an application, "introducing himself as a monk 'of the oldest order of sannyāsis ... founded by Sankara." supported by the Brahmo Samaj representative Protapchandra Mozoombar, who was also a member of the Parliament's selection committee.
  • Harvard psychology professor William James said about Vivekananda, ‘’that man is simply a wonder for oratorical power. He is an honor to humanity.’’
  • The Parliament of the World's Religions opened on 11 September 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the World's Columbian Exposition.
  • On this day, Vivekananda gave a brief speech representing India and Hinduism. He was initially nervous, bowed to Saraswati (the Hindu goddess of learning) and began his speech with "Sisters and brothers of America!". At these words, Vivekananda received a two-minute standing ovation from the crowd of seven thousand. 
Swamy Vivekananda at Parliament of Religions, Chicago
  • According to Sailendra Nath Dhar, when silence was restored he began his address, greeting the youngest of the nations on behalf of "the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasins, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance, of and universal acceptance".
  • Parliament President John Henry Barrows said, "India, the Mother of religions was represented by Swami Vivekananda, the Orange-monk who exercised the most wonderful influence over his auditors".
  • Vivekananda attracted widespread attention in the press, which called him the "cyclonic monk from India". The New York Critique wrote, "He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them".
  • The New York Herald noted, "Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation".
  • American newspapers reported Vivekananda as "the greatest figure in the parliament of religions" and "the most popular and influential man in the parliament".
  • The Boston Evening Transcript reported that Vivekananda was "a great favourite at the parliament... if he merely crosses the platform, he is applauded".
  • He spoke several more times at receptions, the scientific section, and private homes on topics related to Hinduism, Buddhism and harmony among religions until the parliament ended on 27 September 1893. Vivekananda's speeches at the Parliament had the common theme of universality, emphasising religious tolerance. He soon became known as a "handsome oriental" and made a huge impression as an orator.
  • Vivekananda adapted traditional Hindu ideas and religiosity to suit the needs and understandings of his western audiences, who were especially attracted by and familiar with western esoteric traditions.
  • In 1896 his book Raja Yoga was published, becoming an instant success. It was highly influential in the western understanding of yoga, marking the beginning of modern yoga.
  • During his stay in America, Vivekananda was given land in the mountains to the southeast of San Jose, California to establish a retreat for Vedanta students. He called it "Peace retreat", or Shanti Asrama. The largest American centre is the Vedanta Society of Southern California in Hollywood, one of the twelve main centres. There is also a Vedanta Press in Hollywood which publishes books about Vedanta and English translations of Hindu scriptures and texts. 
  • On 1 May 1897 in Calcutta, Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission for social service. Its ideals are based on Karma Yoga. Both Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission have their headquarters at Belur Math. 
  • Vivekananda founded two other monasteries: one in Mayavati in the Himalayas (near Almora), the Advaita Ashrama and another in Madras. Two journals were founded: Prabuddha Bharata in English and Udbhodan in Bengali.
  • Despite declining health, Vivekananda left for the West for a second time in June 1899 accompanied by Sister Nivedita and Swami Turiyananda. Following a brief stay in England, he went to the United States. During this visit, Vivekananda established Vedanta Societies in San Francisco and New York and founded a shanti ashrama (peace retreat) in California.
  • On 4 July 1902 (the day of his death) Vivekananda awoke early, went to the monastery at Belur Math and meditated for three hours. He taught Shukla-Yajur-Veda, Sanskrit grammar and the philosophy of yoga to pupils, later discussing with colleagues a planned Vedic college in the Ramakrishna Math. At 7:00 p.m. Vivekananda went to his room, asking not to be disturbed. He left his final breath at 9:20 p.m. while meditating. According to his disciples, Vivekananda attained "mahasamādhi". 
Brief Biographical time-line of Swamy Vivekananda
  • The rupture of a blood vessel in his brain was reported as a possible cause of Vivekananda's death. His disciples believed that the rupture was due to his brahmarandhra (an opening in the crown of his head) being pierced when he attained mahasamādhi. 
  • Vivekananda fulfilled his prophecy that he would not live forty years. He was cremated on a sandalwood funeral pyre on the bank of the Ganga in Belur, opposite where Ramakrishna was cremated sixteen years earlier.
     

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