About Swami Vivekananda Biography
Swami Vivekanand’s name was Narendra Nath Dutta in his pre-monastic life. He was born in an affluent family in Kolkata on 12th January, 1863. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was a successful attorney with interest in varied subjects, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with qualities like deep devotion, strong character etc. The precocious boy, Narendra mastered music, gymnastics and studies. By the time he completed his graduation from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. He had a yogic temperament and used to practice meditation even from his boyhood, and was also involved in ‘Brahmo Movement’ for time being.
Meeting the Mentor
At the threshold of youth, Narendra had to undergo a period of spiritual crisis when he was confused by doubts about the very existence of God. And at that time, he came to know about Shri Ramakrishna from his English professor at college. In November 1881, one day Narendra went to meet Shri Ramakrishna at the Kali Temple in Dakshineshwar. He straight away asked him a question, which he had asked to several others but had received no satisfactory answer, “Sir, have you seen God?”
After a few years two incidents distressed Narendra considerably. One was the sudden death of his father in 1884, leaving his family in miserable condition. Hence, Narendra had to bear the burden of supporting his mother, brothers and sisters. The second event was the illness of Shri Ramakrishna which was diagnosed as throat cancer. In September 1885, Shri Ramakrishna was taken to a house at Shyampukur, and a few months later to a rented villa at Cossipore. At these two places the young disciples nursed their Guru with utmost care. Though there was poverty at home, as he was unemployed, Narendra had lead his fellows.
Beginning of Monastic Fraternity
Shri Ramakrishna instilled the spirit of renunciation and brotherhood in these youngsters. One day he distributed ochre robes among them and sent them out to beg food. He specifically instructed Narendra about the formation of the new monastic Order. In the wee hours of 16th August 1886, Shri Ramakrishna left his mortal body. After the Guru’s demise, all his fifteen young disciples began to live together in a decrepit building at Baranagar in North Kolkata. Under the leadership of Narendra, they formed a new monastic fraternity and in 1887 and took the formal vows of Sanyasa, consequently acquiring new names, Narendra now became Swami Vivekanand, although this name was actually assumed much later.
Cognizance of Life
After establishing the new monastic order, Vivekanand heard the voice of his soul for a greater mission in his life. While most of the disciples of Shri Ramakrishna thought about him in relation to their own personal lives, but Vivekanand thought of the Guru in relation to India and the rest of the world. As the prophet of the present era, what was Shri Ramakrishna’s message to the modern world and to India in particular? This question and the awareness of his own intrinsic powers urged Vivekanand to explore the whole world. So, in the middle of 1890, he received the blessings of Shri Sarada Devi, the divine companion of Shri Ramakrishna, known to the world as Holy Mother, who was then staying in Kolkata and left Baranagar Math and set out for a long journey to explore and discover the real India.
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