Shreemat Swami Vivekananda (1863 – 1902):-
Narendranath Dutta, later known as Swami Vivekananda about whom Shree Ramakrishna, his spiritual teacher used to tell that he was one of the seven great ancient sages, was born in Kolkata on 12th January 1863. His father was Viswanath Dutta, a renowned attorney and mother was Bhuvaneswari Devi, a noble, intelligent, affectionate, pious lady. His first teachings of the great qualities like truthfulness, courage, fellow-feelings etc. started on the lap of his generous mother. He received the teachings of self-respect, self-confidence etc. in his childhood from his high-minded father. Narendranath was a strict follower of truth, he was uncompromised to compromise a least against truth from his very boyhood. This nature of him pushed him to the question that does the God really exist? Narendranath approached to many renowned persons on the realm with the question but nobody except Shree Ramakrishna gave him a simple clear, satisfactory answer without any hindrance. Shree Ramakrishna told clearly, “He is, His existence is much clearer than you are to me, if you follow my instructions, I can show you also”. Narendranath began to visit Shree Ramakrishna more and gradually accepted him as his Guru, the spiritual teacher. He dipped into the realm of deep spiritual practices under his Guru’s instructions and soon attained the peak of spiritual world, the Nirvikalpa Samadhi, he wanted to stay there merging into that but Shree Ramakrishna scolded him that that was not for him, he had to perform Mother’s Work i.e. to teach the world for its uplift. Then the door of Nirvikalpa Samadhi would be locked for him and that would be opened after finishing the Mother’s work. Shree Ramakrishna instructed him how the Mother’s works have to be performed.
In the meantime he lost his father who used to earn much but his large heart used to spend much more for others, so he was not able to keep money for his family. In this condition Narendranath had to face a great hardship. Despite his utmost trying he was failing to arrange the minimum necessary arrangements for his mother and brothers and he had to undergo in starving often. So he had to pass then through great agony.
Then at the same time his Guru, Shree Ramakrishna was also being ready for leaving this world by accepting incurable decease, cancer. Narendranath had to manage these difficult tasks simultaneously – i) to administer his family matters as described before, ii) to organize his brother-disciples for the service of Shree Ramakrishna, the pole-star of their lives, going to leave this world soon and iii) to dip into his spiritual practices for realization of the ultimate truth.
Shree Ramakrishna left his mortal body on 16th August 1886. Narendranath along with his brother-disciples i.e. most of the young disciples of Shree Ramakrishna accepted the vow of Sannyasa and they all dipped into great austerity and spiritual practices which was unique in the history of spiritual world. Narendranath, the leader of this monastic group leaded them very efficiently with great love and placing of his own life of knowledge, spirituality, austerity, unselfishness, method of workings etc. in front of them.
This budding organization afterwards manifested into twin organizations, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. After few years he travelled the whole India, the land of renunciation and spirituality to know about all the pros and cons of her. His thorough travel throughout the country unveiled the mystery how an all-round developed country turned to its present miserable condition where most of common people of the country were living like beasts without sufficient food and cloth, they had lost their self-confidence and they were about to forget their human-nature but he further noticed also that all the fine attributes of a real man like feelings for others, faith to God, ability to work etc. were still alive in them.
He began to think how those descendants of great Rishis could be re-established on their past glory. He found the answer from his core of heart that they had to endow again with self-respect and real teachings were necessary for them. But how that can be done? He got the answer from his inner-self and got direction from the Cosmic-Power also. He decided to go America to attend the Parliament of Religions which was to be organized in Chicago as a representative of Hindu Religion. Already he had been requested for that by his friends and disciples of Madras.
At this time he took the name of Swami Vivekananda and started for America with little money collected by his friends from themselves by subscription. He reached Chicago on 30th July 1893.
America was totally an unknown country to him and he was alone there. He had no credentials which was almost must to attend the Parliament of Religions with him. He had no sufficient money also but he had to wait for Parliament because he reached America in well advance. So he had to face a lot of great difficulties which was sufficient to frighten anyone, as much he might be brave. But depending upon the God alone he overcame all and at last he attained the Parliament of Religions in Chicago as the representative of Hinduism. His lectures put a great impact on the audience and afterwards on most of the educated Americans for his genuine love for them, deep knowledge on all the scriptures of Hinduism and other religions and over all his realization of the truth, described in the scriptures.
The people of western countries came to know what treasures were inside the Indian Culture and how great was the Indian Nation! They became respectful to India and Indians though a part of Christian Missionaries and a part of his own countrymen became jealous and hostile to him for his acceptance to a large number of people. But that jealousy and hostility could no harm to him, on the contrary helped others to understand his great and high qualities.
His countrymen who lost their self-reliance which was the main cause of degradation of India get back that sels-reliance and India began to regenerate. Western people came to know about the real religion or the real spirituality which was a great balm to reduce their mental unrest.
He came back to India on 15th January 1897. Now he put emphasis on the works in India to impart the real education among the masses. According to him education is the panache to solve all the problems of mankind. He travelled all over the country and delivered lectures among the masses to make them conscious about his ideas for regeneration of India.
He established Ramakrishna Mission and nicely fixed the forms of both the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission with the help of his brother-disciples and his own disciples. He concretized his ideas of making “One’s own salvation and welfare of the world” through this twin organization.
Through the Ramakrishna Mission he materialized the ideas of his Guru, Shree Ramakrishna – “Serve the creature as the God”. After giving a new dimension in religious doctrines of the world and rousing the vitality in national life of India following Shree Ramakrishna’s directions, he was preparing himself for his ultimate journey from the world. He was giving hints also for that to his inner circle, but they were not ready to understand the meaning of those. He left his mortal body on 4th July 1902.
Few teachings of Swami Vivekananda are as follows:-
No need of looking behind. Forward! We want infinite energy, infinite zeal; infinite courage and infinite patience; then only will great things achieved.
Be moral, be brave, be a heart-whole man – strictly moral, brave unto desperation. Don’t bother your head with religious theories; cowards only sin, brave men never. Try to love anybody and everybody.
Faith, sympathy, fiery faith and fiery sympathy! Faith, faith, faith in ourselves, faith, faith in God – this is the secret of greatness.
The ideal of faith in ourselves is the greatest help to us. If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practiced, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would be vanished.
To me Mother’s grace is a hundred thousand times more valuable than Father’s grace, Mother’s blessings are all paramount to me.
Him I call a Mahatman whose heart bleeds for the poor, otherwise he is a Duratman.
After so much austerity, I have understood this as real truth, God is present in every Jiva, there is no other God besides that. Who serves Jiva serves God indeed.
Give up jealousy and conceit. Learn to work unitedly for others. This is the great need of our country.
Great things can be done by great sacrifices only.
One may gain political and social independence, but if he is a slave to his passions and desires, he cannot feel the pure joy of freedom.