Swami Vivekananda, a renowned writer, scholar, thinker, saint and philosopher of modern India was born in Calcutta on January 12, 1863. His original name was Narendranath Dutta. He started his life as a non-believer to test the existence of God and the spirituality of faith. It was his scepticism that took him to Sri Ramakrishna who took him as his disciple. Narendranath gained enlightenment, became a Yogi and came to be known as Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda died in 1902.
Ordained by his Guru Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda traveled all over the world, speaking on and preaching the
spiritual essence of the Hindu philosophy and religion. This speech at the Parliament of Religions, Chicago, on 11th September 1893 was a revelation for the world. It brought instant popularity and fame. These views on religion as expressed in this address have been carefully recorded by his biographers and disciples. Addressing the audience there he said, I am a Hindu, I am sitting in my own little well and thinking that the whole world is my little well. The Christian sits in his little well and thinks the whole world is his little well. The Mohammedan sits in his little well and thinks that is the whole world”.
Analyzing the difference between science and religion, Vivekananda once remarked—
‘Science is nothing but the finding of unity. As soon as science would reach perfect unity, it would stop from further progress, because it would reach the goal. Thus Chemistry could not progress further when it would discover one element out of which all others could be made. Physics would stop when it would be able to fulfill its services in discovering ones energy of which all the others are but manifestations and the science of religion becomes perfect when it would discover Him who is the constant basis of an ever changing world, one who is the only soul of which all souls are but delusive manifestations. Thus it is through multiplicity and duality that the ultimate reality is reached. Religion can go no further. This is the goal of all science”.
Through his addresses and writings Swami Vivekananda has made India and her religious literature attractive and popular all over the world.
The present text, “The Indian Mind”, is an extract from the Swami’s address in reply to the welcome address made by the Raja of Ramnad (the present Rameswaram) on 25 January 1897. Vivekananda’s birthday is observed in India as Youth Day.