Date of Birth: 12-Jan-1863
Place of Birth: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Date of Death: 04-Jul-1902
Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), born Narendra Nath Datta, was an Indian Hindu monk and chief disciple of the 19th-century saint Ramakrishna.
He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India.
Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech which began, “Sisters and brothers of America …,” in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893. Vivekananda conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe.
In India, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint and his birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day in India.
Vivekananda’s mother, Bhuvaneswari 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.
Vivekananda became a member of a Freemasonry lodge and a breakaway faction of the Brahmo Samaj led by Keshub Chandra Sen and Debendranath Tagore. His initial beliefs were shaped by Brahmo concepts, which included belief in a formless God and the deprecation of idolatry.
Vivekananda was a powerful orator and writer in English and Bengali; most of his published works were compiled from lectures given around the world. He was a singer and a poet, “A singer, a painter, a wonderful master of language and a poet, Vivekananda was a complete artist.” composing many songs and poems . Vivekananda blended humour with his teachings, and his language was lucid. His Bengali writings testify to his belief that words should clarify ideas, rather than demonstrating the speaker (or writer’s) knowledge.