Swami Vivekananda is one of the most eminent personalities of our country. He was born in Kolkata on 12th of January 1863. His father was Visvanatha Datta and his mother was Bhubaneshwari. His original name was Narendranath.
He studied Sanskrit, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Puranas etc. he learnt things very quickly. He had an aptitude for music. He had a good voice. He joined the school of Sri Eswar Chandra Vidya Sagar and completed primary education. He completed his secondary education, a course of three years, in one year, and passed with distinction. He joined the college in his 16th year and studied logic and philosophy. He was handsome and bold. He gained mastery over English language and proved to be an eloquent orator.
He was however not interested in worldly affairs. He was drawn towards spiritualism. He made his mind known to his parents and went to see Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa at Dakshineswar. On the request of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Narendranath sang some devotional songs. Swami Paramahansa went into trance listening to his songs.
Later he informed Narendranath that he wad able to see god in his trance. He added that if one prayed to God in all perfection, one could see god, Narendranath became a disciple of Swami Ramakrishna Parmahamsa. Later Narendranth’s father died and Narendranath was forced to take up a teacher’s job for some time to meet his family’s needs.
Swami Ramakrishbna endowed Narendranath with all his spiritual powers and made him his heir. With this Narendranath assumed the name of Swami Bibekananda and a Sanyasi in true sense. After the demise of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda started a mutt named after his Guru, at Belur. Swami Vivekananda implored the youth to develop the spirit of adventure. He travelled all over India and reached Kanya Kumari. There he swam the ocean, reached to rock nearby and meditated there. During his travel he found poverty all over India and was moved by the sufferings of the poor. He felt that serving mankind is serving God. He felt there was need for a tremendous effort in this direction. He loved the motherland and was a great patriot.
In 1893, Parliament of the world was convened at Chicago. With the financial assistance from Maharaja of Khetri, Vivekananda went to Chicago and addressed the audience on the greatness of Hindu religion. His address began with the words “My dear Sisters and Brothers of America”. This thrilled the audience, as this greeting contained the spirit of universal brotherhood. On return, he addressed meetings at London. One young lady by name Margaret became his disciple and later became Sister Nivedita to carry on his mission.
Swami Vivekananda said that the youth of the day were moving without any aim. There was no correct spiritual guidance. He felt that religion can lead a man on the moral and righteous path. He believed and propagated that all men of the world are one. Color, caste and creed had no meaning. He felt that there is a lot to be achieved. He advised the youth to move forward. His words were: “arise, Awake and stop not till the goal is reached”. Swami Vivekananda started many institutions under the Ramakrishna Mission to carry on his message of service. He passed away that at an early age on 4th of July, 1902.